Top US hospital to open facility in Malaysia: report

KUALA LUMPUR, September 26, 2010 (AFP) - The US-based Johns Hopkins University will partner a local company to establish a teaching facility and hospital in Malaysia at a cost of about 582 million dollars, a report said Sunday.

Prime Minister Najib Razak was quoted as saying a site in central Selangor state will be chosen for the facilities, and that the US university's presence there will boost Malaysia's efforts to become a regional medical-research hub.

"Johns Hopkins has got a very good name. The idea is to create Malaysia as a hub," he was quoted as saying by the Sunday Star newspaper.

Najib said the US university would offer a four-year programme, in a private initiative between Malaysian and US investors. An agreement is expected to be signed next month.

Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai said the presence of Johns Hopkins University would boost Malaysia's health tourism industry and prompt more Malaysian-born specialists to come back and work in the country.

The US-based Johns Hopkins University as has campuses in China, Singapore and Italy.

Malaysia recently announced ambitious plans to double investment by private companies over the next 10 years. This follows a sharp decline in foreign direct investment, which fell 81 percent to 1.4 billion dollars in 2009 from 7.3 billion in 2008.