Health Related & Social Services

International trade in health services is growing where we are witnessing health professionals  moving to other countries, whether on a temporary or permanent basis, usually in search of higher wages and better working conditions.

The WTO classification for this sector covers

  • Hospital services: According to the Private Healthcare Facilities Act and Services Act 1998 (Act 586 ) Malaysia, private hospital services refers to  any premises, other than a Government hospital or institution, used or intended to be used for the reception, lodging, treatment and care of persons who require medical treatment or suffer from any disease or who require dental treatment that requires hospitalization. For Malaysia, Health Related and Social Services includes specialised medical and dental services for all specialties excluding services by general medical and dental practitioners
  • Other Human Health Services: Ambulance services and residential health facilities would be    covered here.
  • Social Services
  • Others

It does not include  veterinary services and services provided by nurses, midwives etc. which would come under Professional Services.


What a service provider needs to know

As a service provider of this sector, you may be interested in the following 

  • The Relevant Medical Acts and Health Related Acts;
  • The Regulatory agency/agencies;
  • The liberalisation initiatives and specific service sector commitments that Malaysia has entered into.


The Acts

  • Private Healthcare Facilities and Services Act 1998     (Act 586).
  • Private Healthcare Facilities and Services (Private Hospitals and Other     Private Healthcare Facilities) Regulations 2006 (P.U. (A) 138/2006) (Regulations).
  • Medical Act 1971     (Act 50).
  • Medical Regulations 1974.
  • Dental Act 1971     (Act 510).
  • Dental Regulation 1976


Liberalisation Initiatives

In 2012, the Prime Minister announced that private hospitals would be autonomously liberalised with up to 100 per cent foreign shareholding being allowed.  

In the same announcement, foreign medical and dental specialists would be allowed to practise in private hospitals. To date, the former has come into effect while the latter is pending amendments to the relevant Acts.


Specific service commitments

Under GATS, with regard to Market Access, foreign equity is only through a locally incorporated joint-venture corporation with Malaysian individuals or Malaysian-controlled corporations or both with foreign shareholding in the joint-venture corporation not exceeding 30 per cent.

The joint-venture corporation can only operate a hospital with a minimum of 100 beds.

Under AFAS, health services allows  70 per cent foreign equity.

As for Specialised medical services, foreign specialists need to apply for temporary registration and have completed their internship abroad. They are to practice only in private hospitals of at least 50 beds. Specialised ‘stand alone' clinic by foreign investors are allowed pending amendments to the relevant Acts.

Specialised dental services, foreign dental specialists are allowed to practise for teaching purposes at both public & private universities. Specialised ‘stand alone' clinic by foreign investors are allowed pending amendments to the relevant Acts.

Malaysia has made commitments for private hospitals with foreign equity varying between 40 to 49 per cent bilaterally with the following countries :

  • Japan ( MJEPA );
  • New Zealand (MNZFTA );
  • Pakistan (MPCEPA ); and
  • India ( MICECA ).

The same commitments have been made regionally with China ( ACFTA ), Australia – New Zealand (AANZFTA ) and Korea (AKFTA ).


For further information, please contact: 

  • Mr. Lim Shean Lee
    Policy and International Relation Division
    Phone No : 03-8883 2833
    Fax No: 03-8888 8692
    Email :
  • Dr. Zabedah Baharudin
    Medical Practice Division
    Phone No : 03-8883 1288
    Fax No: 03-8883 1328
    Email :
  • Dr. Rusni Mohd Yusof
    Oral Health Division
    Phone No : 03-8883 4205
    Fax No: 03-8888 6133
    Email :