Malaysia aims to boost the number of medical tourists from the UAE by between 15 and 20 per cent this year as the country looks to boost ties with the UAE , according to Mary Wong Lai Lin, CEO of Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC). 
“We want to work with the UAE government and travel agents [to attract patients to Malaysia],” Lin said.
Malaysia is working on developing its medical infrastructure. There are 11 new hospitals under construction, which are set to be completed in three years’ time, according to Lin.
Also, some of Malaysia’s hospitals are undergoing expansion to accommodate the influx of medical tourists. 
Malaysia’s top source markets for medical tourists are Indonesia, China and India.
Around 768,000 international patients visited Malaysia last year , up 15 per cent compared to 2012, she said.
Of those, 15,000 came from the Gulf, with the UAE accounting for around 1,000 visitors, representing a 10 per cent increase over 2012. This year, Lin expects UAE visitors to grow between 15 and 20 per cent.
She expects the number of Gulf visitors to reach 20,000 by 2016.
Malaysia’s top medical destinations  include Penang, Kuala Lampur and Melaka, which have 65 hospitals in total that are registered under MHTC.
The country’s key medical services include heart, cosmetic and eye surgeries, and dental care, among others.
By Sarah Algethami