The Care Industry in Numbers

By Yeong Pey Jung

September 2022 STATISTICS
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THE CARE INDUSTRY covers all aspects of care provided to a country’s population, and this includes healthcare, childcare, elderly care as well as health services provided by organisations and companies such as pathology labs and physiotherapy centres. Universal healthcare is provided for all Malaysians and public healthcare amenities are established in every state under the care of the Ministry of Health.

Figure 1 depicts the public health facilities that are available in Penang. Seberang Perai Tengah is the only district with two public hospitals, making up 33.3% of all public hospitals in Penang. Meanwhile, Penang General Hospital is considered the best-equipped hospital, with the highest number of available beds at 1,158 (54.8% of total beds) and the highest number of admissions (60,254; 43.4% of all admissions) in 2019.

Timur Laut sustains the highest percentage of all other public health amenities, with the exception of community clinics. Seberang Perai Tengah comes after, in proportion to the population distribution of the state. As Figure 1 shows, public health clinics (Klinik Kesihatan) in Timur Laut make up 30.3% of the state’s overall clinics, followed by Seberang Perai Tengah (24.2%). The trend prevails when it comes to dental clinics (specialist and otherwise). Community clinics, however, are mostly situated in Seberang Perai Utara, where there are 23 clinics (34.8%). Conversely, the number of health clinics and dental clinics are the lowest in Barat Daya, at 9.1% and 14.3% respectively.

Timur Laut, by far, has the largest number of private hospitals. With 10 hospitals (and counting), the district accounts for 71.4% of all private hospitals in the state. The same trend is observed for other private health amenities such as private clinics (32.1%), private dental clinics (36%), private haemodialysis centres (31%) and so on.

As with public health amenities, Seberang Perai Tengah follows with the second largest percentage of amenities. On the other hand, private health amenities in Seberang Perai Selatan are found to be the most lacking in terms of numbers, as the district does not host a private hospital[1], maternity hospital, hospice or an ambulatory care centre (ACC) as of 2019. The percentage of private clinics and dental clinics are also the lowest. Compared to public health amenities where the district has considerably less amenities, Barat Daya consistently ranks third (or equal second) when it comes to the number of private health amenities (hospice and ACC excepted). 

Childcare is also a vital part of the care industry. In 2019, there were 185 registered childcare centres/services of different types in Penang. Institution-based childcare centres hold the biggest percentage at 73.5% of all childcare centres.[2] This is followed by home-based childcare – with 32 registered services, they make up 17.3% of the state’s overall registered childcare services. There are very few workplace-based childcare centres in private corporations and community childcare centres, with a combined percentage of 1.6% for both types of childcare.

The most recent 2022 data shows that there are a total of 119 registered institution-based childcare centres in Penang. As seen in Figure 4, Seberang Perai Tengah has the highest number with a total of 29 childcare centres (24.4%), followed closely by Seberang Perai Utara with 28 childcare centres (23.5%). While Timur Laut and Barat Daya share an equal percentage of 19.3%, Seberang Perai Selatan has the least amount of childcare centres.

Expectedly, registered childcare givers for institution-based childcare centres are the highest, with 479 caregivers making up 80.2% of the total (Figure 5). Workplace childcare givers (for both government and private sectors) followed with 15.7%, and registered community and home-based childcare givers were a minute percentage at 1% and 3% respectively.

Data are not widely available when it comes to care centres for senior citizens and differently abled persons. Table 1 shows that there were 19 and 10 registered care centres respectively for senior citizens and differently abled persons in 2019. Registered caregivers for senior citizens outweighed those for differently abled persons. 

There is also an ongoing process and effort to register confinement homes in Penang. Currently, there are 14 licensed confinement centres in Seberang Perai, as well as 10 unlicensed centres.[4] Unfortunately, detailed data regarding confinement centres on Penang Island are not available.


[1] A private hospital, Columbia Asia Hospital, is slated to be completed in Batu Kawan by 2023. Retrieved from

[2] Institution-based childcare centres are initiatives of private and/or non-governmental organisations and have to have 10 or more children under their supervision. Retrieved from

[3] Latest statistics provided by JKM as of 2022: there are 31 registered nursing homes and care centres for the elderly, however, the information is not available by type of organisation.

[4] Information provided textually by Penang State Welfare Department.

Yeong Pey Jung

is a senior analyst with the Socioeconomics and Statistics Programme at Penang Institute. She is a reading enthusiast and is surgically attached to her Kindle.