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Sabah making name in wellness tourism
Published on: Sunday, February 06, 2022
By: Anthea Peter
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Sabah making name in wellness tourism
Prof Dato Sri Dr Mike Chan (left).
Kota Kinabalu: The biopharma industry and medical wellness tourism in Sabah are untapped avenues with massive potential as revenue sources and there is a need for the State Government to diversify into such industries, said a biomedical wellness expert.Co-owner and founder of the European Wellness Biomedical Group, Prof Dato Sri Dr Mike Chan, said there is also a need for the State Government to support the industry in terms of funding and granting Pioneer Status. “Wellness tourism is surprisingly in Sabah today. For the last two years before the Covid-19 pandemic, in 2018 and 2019, we’ve had 2,000 patients who came as far as from the United States and East Asia — China, Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and the Philippines. “Wellness is an industry where in the past, the rich would go to Switzerland and Germany and spend a lot of money there. “(But now), there are a lot of rich Chinese billionaires who travel to Kota Kinabalu (to) spend the money. They are willing to spend the money in other parts of the world, but they like Kota Kinabalu. “The Chinese Government looks highly on us and our products are all approved in Japan. “Why doesn’t the State Government support this in terms of medical wellness tourism?”

He said this during the two-day Sabah International Business and Economic Summit (SIBES) 2022 at the Sabah International Convention Center (SICC), here. 

He added there is also a need to train and change the mentality of the locals, in order for the biomedical wellness industry in Sabah to move to the next level, adding that this presents another untapped avenue, which is medical wellness education. “We have been sending a lot of locals (for training). There are more than 50 biotech staff here from local universities and employed by our company. We train them all the time and send them to Europe.

“Additionally, there are eight European doctors here in Kota Kinabalu and we’ve been providing education to more than 2,000 medical doctors who are keen in bioregenerative integrative medicine, which the Europeans are strong for. “There’s a lot of potential and talented people around, so we have to keep Malaysian talents here. In Sabah, we have a few labs. We brought the Germans and spent USD6 million to build a highly advanced lab.

“Thus, there is a huge potential in biomedical science, and people like us have been involved, doing research in the last 37 years

”We cannot just go with agriculture in Sabah, I know we are rich with all the resources but now is the time where we have to expand,” he said. Mike, who is also the Adviser of KSI Strategic Institute for Asia Pacific, said there are many branch topics that can be endeavoured under the industry, especially in anti-aging.

“We are not specialising in just human stem cells — we also have animal stem cells, plant stem cells and peptides — there are so many things we can do and there are a lot of things that conventional medicine does not have solutions for. “We accept the challenges, we’d like to go further and there is always a solution in the anti-aging industry. “Our job is to make everyone better, younger than they should be. We want a younger biological age by revitalising and rejuvenating your organs as all organs have a life span. “The most important thing is we must have a healthy nation at the same time. So we need the Sabah Government to support biomedical sciences here too, apart from medical wellness tourism. “Like the Chief Minister said, the (State Government) is open to investors. We have the investors, there are investors willing to spend millions here, as long as Sabah is open to them. “We do have our frustrations as Malaysians. “The Chinese Government is signing a contract with us and giving us a grant of US$20 million, but we cannot even ask for a Pioneer Status in Malaysia, so this is something we have to look into,” Mike stressed. 

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