Malaysia highlights its strength in healthcare, ICT and Green Technologies among other service clusters
AME Info FZ LLC / Emap Limited  |  April 2010

At specialised seminars held on the sidelines of the three-day Malaysia Services Exhibition (MSE-2010) at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre (DICEC), Malaysian officials and experts highlighted the increasing strengths of key economic sectors; including healthcare, ICT and Green Technology services, and the role these will be playing on a global level in the future.

Malaysian medical specialists, Dr. Yap Lok Huei and Dr. Fouziah Hasan, said Malaysia has strengthen its position as one of the world's top five healthcare destinations by taking up several initiatives, including the establishment of Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC), enhanced tax incentive for healthcare service providers who offer services to foreign medical tourists and tax exemption equivalent to 100% of qualifying capital expenditure incurred for a period of five years for the construction of new hospitals or for expansion, modernisation, refurbishment of existing hospitals from January this year until December 2014.

Organised by Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE), with the support of Dubai Chamber and Dubai Export Development Corporation (EDC), the MSE-2010 is showcasing strengths of Malaysian expertise in eight service clusters - Professional Services, oil and gas, construction, information and communication technology (ICT), healthcare, franchising, education and specialised training and financial services.

They said MHTC, established in July last year, has been working towards positioning Malaysia as the preferred destination for world-class healthcare services and promoting global awareness of Malaysian healthcare facilities and services and facilitating the development of the Malaysian healthcare industry to penetrate the global market.

MHTC is also be a focal point or a 'one-stop centre' for all matters related to healthcare travel, to facilitate enquiries on policies and programmes on healthcare travel development and promotion, and serve as a one-stop centre for solutions on matters related to healthcare travel.

Compared to many countries, developed and developing, our healthcare costs are very competitive. An angioplasty which costs around $57,000 in the US and $13,000 in Thailand, is only about $11,000 in Malaysia. A knee replacement procedure which costs around $40,000 in the US and $13,000 in Singapore, is only $8,000 in Malaysia. Nuwire Investors, an online news source, has ranked Malaysia amongst the world's top five medical tourism destinations in terms of quality, affordability as well as receptiveness to foreign investment.

There has been a significant increase in the number of health tourists from the Middle East, especially the UAE, coming to Malaysia in the recent years.

The top 35 private hospitals of Malaysian healthcare industry have been able to collectively see their revenue grow from RM58.9m with around 103,000 medical tourists in 2003 to RM299.1m in 2008 with around 375,000 medical tourists. In terms of growth, medical tourists grew at an average of 30% per annum while revenue grew at an average of 35% per annum during that period. The global healthcare travel market is projected to grow to between $40-60bn in 2010, with some even projecting up to $260bn in 2020.

Mr. Saifol Bahri Shamlan, Vice President Industry Development, Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), said, "the facility was estimated to provide 50,000 total jobs and RM5.5bn investments by 2015. He said cloud-based computing services are set to become the next engine of growth and that Malaysia was well placed to be a reference model for solutions engineered for the world. MDeC has taken on the challenge to develop an entire IT industry for Malaysia by re-shaping the corporation's industry development functions into an organisation that performs end-to-end aid in development, growth and commercialisation of numerous players in Malaysia's IT industry."

Mr. Shaifubahrim bin Mohammed Saleh, Advisor to the National ICT Association of Malaysia (PIKOM), said, "the association, formed in 1986, has 1300 members, representing the whole spectrum of ICT products and services. He said the National Green Technology Policy (NGTP) was launched in August 2009 which refers to the development and application of products, tools or systems that can preserve environment and natural resources, as well as minimizing or reducing negative effects on human activities. PIKOM initiated an E-Waste Recycling Program together with Malaysia Department of Environment in August 2009, raising awareness on the importance of recycling. He said Energy Star 4.0 compliant PCs to reach 90% efficiency by end 2010 while Energy Star 4.0 compliant Servers to reach 92% efficiency by end 2010."

Mr. Ahmad Asri Abdul Hamid, President of Professional Services Development Corporation (PSDC), said, "Malaysia has placed great emphasis on development of Green Technology services. Malaysian consultancy firms have the experience and expertise in developing green projects, both locally and internationally. They are able to offer their services at competitive cost. He said PSDC was positioned to identify and facilitate involvement of Malaysian consultancy firms in the global market."

He added, "114 construction related professional services firms from Malaysia export to 63 countries and were involved in 517 completed and ongoing projects. Construction-related firms have the most presence in ASEAN, closely followed by the Middle East and South Asia. The UAE is among the Top 10 countries of export for construction-related professional services firms.

"Malaysian experienced and highly capable professional services' firms' offers high quality services at competitive cost. Malaysia has strong Private-Public relationship and Malaysian professional services firms placed strong emphasis on sustainability, environment friendly and new technology."

PSDC said about 42% of Malaysian construction-related projects are located in the Middle East. The total cost of 525 projects is worth US$13518 million. Out of this, Saudi Arabia accounts for $3453m followed by the UAE with $3180m and Qatar with $2045m. Bahrain accounts for $795m.

Honourable YB Dato Mustapa Mohammed, Malaysia's Minister of International Trade and Industry, said in 2009, the services sector contributes about 57.4% to Malaysia's Gross Domestic Product, and was targeted to reach 70% by 2020. In 2008, the total trade in services amounted to $57.7bn, an increase of 1.3% from $56.9bn in 2007.

In 2009, a total of 2,720 projects with investments of RM36.3bn ($10.4bn) were approved in the services sector.

Out of this, domestic investments accounted for 90.6%, while foreign investments contributed 9.4%. These projects are expected to provide over 37,000 employment opportunities.

Recognising the potential for growth in services, both trade and investment, Malaysia has taken measures to liberalise the services sector covering among others computer and related services, health and social services , tourism services, transport services , sporting and recreation services and business services .

He said Malaysia Services Exhibition projects the capabilities and expertise of the cross section of Malaysian services sector. It also reinforces our commitment to continue partnering and working with companies in the region in pursuing new business ventures.

MSE-2010 is expected to be attended by over 5000 visitors, including trade buyers from the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Oman among other places.

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