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Malaysia eyes medical-tourism crown

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KUALA LUMPUR — Muslim tourists have long chosen Malaysia, its beaches and its malls as a holiday destination thanks to cultural affinity. Now the Southeast Asian country, where Muslims make up about 60% of the population, wants to parlay its visitor dividend into a bid to overtake its neighbours for the world's medical-tourism crown. 

It seeks to appeal to less-affluent patients with reasonably priced treatments. But figures show it has some ground to make up on Thailand and Singapore in boosting its share of an industry that generates $38 billion-$55 billion annually.

Malaysia is a new player in the market, competing with experienced, branded names. But it is quickly attracting the attention of patients, earning third place for "best and most affordable healthcare" by International Living, a lifestyle magazine.

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