Need more government hospitals in the urban area


Lim Chee Han


Agora Society Malaysia

Policy Code:

3i Health

Problem Statement:

Government hospitals in major cities, even before the COVID-19 pandemic, are usually overcrowded, hospital beds are significantly occupied (state hospitals recorded ore than 70% Bed occupancy rate in 2019). Due to urbanization in Malaysia, 77% of population now are in the urban area, as a result, more households fall into urban poverty, they cannot afford to seek serious treatment in private hospitals, government hospitals have to play a significant role as a safety net for these people. However, according to the National Health Morbidity Survey 2015, only 38% correspondents were satisfied with the waiting time to see doctor in public hospitals, while 21% said it was either poor or very poor. Given also that in the past 10 years (2009-2019), the hospital admission and outpatient numbers have grown 15% (or in real numbers, about 600 thousands and 5 million, respectively), there is a great need to increase the capacity to serve the populated areas such as the Klang Valley, Johor Bahru and Penang.

Value(s) and Belief(s):

Healthcare as a social welfare service by the government for attending the need of people, especially those who cannot afford private healthcare in the urban areas. Healthcare disparity should not exist based on the ability of people to pay.

Proposal of Solution:

The government should commit into constructing substantially more hospitals or expanding the existing ones in the urban area which experience great healthcare demand. A good indicator would be the hospital bed occupancy rate, for those who have reached 80% and above. Given hospital construction will take time (3-5 years to complete), planning further ahead and allocation of matching fund from the developmental budget for MOH are instrumental. Therefore, significant increase of MOH budget is expected to build up the public healthcare capacity.


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