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Malaysian doctors seek Cambodian patients

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Datuk Pengiran Hj Mohd Hussein Bin Datuk PG Hj Mohn Tahir Nasruddin, Malaysia’s Ambassador to Cambodia, yesterday. Photograph: Stuart Alan Becker/Phnom Penh Post

Malaysian government officials yesterday were promoting their country’s healthcare sector in efforts to persuade Cambodians to seek medical services there as part of a broader commitment to the growth of bilateral trade between both countries.

Malaysian Ambassador to Cambodia Datuk Pengiran Haji Mohd Tahir Nasruddin said during the third Showcase Malaysia 2012 Exhibition in Phnom Penh that 10 Malaysian hospitals participated in the fair to consult with attendees about their services.

“At this time Malaysian healthcare provides the high quality of medical treatment and it has worldwide recognition,” he said.

Mony Roeun Sok, a representative of Mahkota Medical Center’s office in Cambodia, said that among the 10 participating Malaysian hospitals, only Mahkota had representative offices in Cambodia and have so since 2010.

He said the trend of getting medical checkups in Malaysia has grown this year due to more advertising and via word-of-mouth of previous patients. In the past, few people knew about the quality of healthcare services in Malaysia, he added.

When his company started in 2010, there were about five customers per month, but this had gradually increased. So far this year, the hospital averages about 50 people per month, he said.

Some of them went to Malaysia to get checkups with a service called “Medical Tourism”, while between 30 and 40 per cent went to have more involved procedures.

For a medical check-up, they spent between $200 to $500, depending on the checks, said Roeun Sok, who added that cost of Malaysian medical services is 30 per cent cheaper than in Singapore and about 10 per cent less than in Thailand.

He said the cost of heart surgery is $13,000 to $15,000 in Malaysia, but would cost $22,000 to $25,000 dollars in Singapore.

Malaysia isn’t the only country hoping to lure Cambodians looking for quality, low-cost medical care. In early June, the South Korean Tourism Organisation held the “Korean Medical Tourism Event”, aiming to attract more Cambodians to use the country’s services, beyond the 24,000 Cambodians who visited South Korea in 2011.

Charm Lee, president of the Korean Tourism Organisation, said they came to seek out possible patients and explore the market potential, adding: “We came to Cambodia because we think that market is good and that Cambodian tourists are interested in Korea.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Rann Reuy at reuy.rann@phnompenhpost.com

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