TMC Life Sciences mulls education centre in Johor

PETALING JAYA: TMC Life Sciences Bhd is in talks with foreign education and training institutions to set up a health sciences education and training centre at Vantage Bay Healthcare City in Iskandar Malaysia.

“One of the things that I’m very keen for us to do as a group, and this is something we are going to do at Vantage Bay, is to go into health sciences education and training. It is not just for the group; if we are able to do this, we can deliver that for the rest of the (healthcare) system here,” its executive director and group CEO Roy Quek told reporters at a briefing yesterday.

He said many top education and training institutions around the world are keen to invest in Malaysia and the group is already in serious talks with some potential partners, including institutions from the UK and Australia.

Referring to the health director-general’s recent comments on the proliferation of medical graduates in Malaysia, Quek said the issue is about the quality of medical schools, medical graduates and hospitals.

He said the proposed education and training centre would offer medical and nursing degrees as well as allied health programmes.

“We should have some clarity by middle or the third quarter of this year,” he added.

Besides the proposed education and training centre, the group will also open a 2,500 sq ft pharmacy in Johor, to complement its upcoming 500-bed Iskandariah Hospital in Stulang Laut, Johor Baru.

“We are going to have a large pharmacy there, as a kick-start for the site. We expect that when we finally develop the rest of Thomson Iskandar (medical hub) and the Vantage Bay Healthcare City, we will probably have the largest retail pharmacy operations in Malaysia there,” said Quek.

The pharmacy will be ready in three months’ time and will offer various products including healthcare and personal care products.

Meanwhile in Indonesia, the group plans to invest in possibly combining medical services with the traditional Balinese heritage of care and healing. However, it has not decided whether the venture will be made by its Indonesian-listed firm PT Orix or other vehicles within the group.

While the group will use its local vehicles as much as possible in each of the markets it operates in, Quek said it does not discount synergies and co-investments within the group.

On whether it would inject its Singapore assets into TMC Life Sciences, Quek said no decision has been made yet.

On whether it would expand the company’s public shareholding spread, Quek said it does not discount the possibility of raising it from the current 21.79%, which was approved by Bursa Malaysia last year.

“If we are able to ensure more people get the chance to join us on our growth trajectory, we are happy to do so,” he said.

This year, the group is expected to open a new TMC Fertility Centre branch in Ipoh and begin work on Iskandariah Hospital as well as the expansion of the Tropicana Medical Centre in Kota Damansara.

The group plans to award the contract for Phase 1 of the expansion in Kota Damansara, which will cost RM300 million and add 400 beds to the facility, this year.