Kuching: Sarawak is close to becoming a medical tourism hotspot, said Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.
Addressing orthodontists at a dinner on Saturday, Taib said the state was set to attract world attention with an anticipated breakthrough 'soon' by its scientists working on a treatment for AIDs.
He said this and the plan to build a medical city in Samarahan, now only requiring ironing out some matters with the federal government, would draw globe trotters to Sarawak for the cure and the medical services the state would be offering.
"Sarawak is waiting for its own breakthrough for our own contribution to the medical world to cure AIDS...it is just around the corner as the trials are successful," he said during the 'Night of A Thousand Smiles' gala dinner hosted by Malaysian Association of Orthodontists at the Borneo Convention Centre Kuching here.
He said many would be keen to get the cure, thus the government hoped to tap into this market by coming up with a plan capable of complementing this.
"The Sarawak government has allocated a big area ...to venture into the medical tourism industry.
"Now we are trying to iron out details with the federal government...to enable us to move forward and not get tied down by a lot of bureaucracy," he said.
Taib believed that the federal government would respond positively to the state government's efforts which he described as being in line with the federal government's aim of boosting the local medical tourism industry.
"Sarawak will respond positively to any policy on medical, in particular medical tourism, implemented by the federal government," he stressed.
He, however, was quick to add that while the government was actively promoting the medical tourism industry, it did not forget the need to give an affordable medical treatment and services to needy groups, especially the poor.
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