ISEC Penang Opening Ceremony and Book Launch

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Carat Comms Management congratulate on the grand opening of ISEC Penang branch on 4 June 2023. The ceremony weas officiated by Chief Minister of Penang, YB Chow Kon Yeow.

The increasing demand for specialised healthcare services due to an ageing population, a trend that is likely to continue with life expectancy increasing, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said this when he officiated the grand opening ceremony of state-of-the-art ISEC Penang, the International Specialist Eye Centre in Jalan Larut, George Town, today.

The Penang government is proactive and has recognised this through the Penang2030 vision. In fact, Penang is currently the second highest ageing state in Malaysia after Perak. Almost 15% of Penang’s 1.77 million population is 60 or older. The United Nations Population Project predicts that by 2040, Penang will have the highest ageing population in Malaysia. Roughly 26.2% of our people will be 60 years old or more.

“This has a direct consequence on the prevalence of visual impairment not only for Penangites but also for the entire country. That should concern us. It is estimated that around 25% of our population suffers from various eye conditions, ranging from refractive errors to more complex disorders. These conditions not only impact the quality of life of individuals but also have broader socio-economic implications.”

“That is why we must start looking after ourselves, and each other, better. A healthy-ageing society is a successful society. Now is the time for us to progress and transform into a state which is a truly caring society,” Chow said in his speech before taking part in the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Chow also congratulated ISEC Penang for reaching this milestone, having opened its door in 2014 in Jalan Burmah before moving to its present premises in Jalan Larut last December. He said the upgrading of ISEC Penang is a significant addition to the state’s healthcare landscape, another step towards fulfilling the state’s vision of becoming a hub for advanced medical care. Chow said the state takes immense pride in its commitment to providing accessible, high-quality healthcare services to its population.

He emphasised that Penang is a world-class destination for health tourism. In 2022, Penang welcomed 145,000 international medical arrivals, out of which 54% of these arrivals came from Indonesia. Chow stressed that it is important that Penang must not be complacent, but continuously strive to remain at the top through innovation, investment and attraction of talents to the health industry.

He expects that Penang’s tourism, which has seen a strong rebound since the reopening of borders, to see a full recovery to pre-pandemic figures by the end of this year. Malaysia is targeting 16.1 million foreign tourists this year, an increase of 60% more than the total in 2022 with many of them medical tourists due to factors such as affordability, high standards and strategic location. He is confident that ISEC Penang would play an important role in the Penang recovery as the medical hub of choice for the region because of its modern facilities and latest technology.

Among those present at the opening ceremony were state Tourism and Creative Economy Committee chairman Yeoh Soon Hin, ISEC Penang medical director Dr Alan Ang Jin Soon, and Penang Centre of Medical Tourism executive director Dr Mary Ann Harris.

Dr Ang attributed ISEC Penang’s success thus far to a team of dedicated doctors and staff members after he and Dr Tsaing came back from the United Kingdom to set up the Penang centre, its first outside of Kuala Lumpur, about 10 years ago. He said it was a humbling experience for them as they never dreamt that ISEC Penang would celebrate this milestone. There were ups and downs in their 10-year journey, but Dr Ang said they too had the great fortune to rope in other distinguished doctors to join them.

“We have a team and staff that are second to none. They all work hard. I think the reason for our success is because ISEC Penang is synonymous with good quality eye care services. And that is what we will continue to build on because this building represents great opportunities … new opportunities for like-minded people to join us, the opportunity to expand and also the opportunity to give back to society,” Dr Ang said.

Dr Ang said among the CSR (corporate social responsibility) programmes that they have done were free screening programmes (checks for glaucoma, and cataracts) and eye checks for schoolchildren and residents of House of Hope. “We discovered that a lot of the senior residents have advanced cataracts and could not afford surgery. So, in collaboration with House of Hope, we managed to get them into ISEC and with the help and sponsorship from our suppliers, we managed to do the cataract operations and restore their sight.

“This is just an example and we look forward to doing more of this. It is the community that supports us and we want to give back to the community,” Dr Ang said. The opening of ISEC Penang was accompanied by a book launch titled ‘Treatment of Dry Eye.’ The book, authored by Dr Zeng Qingyan and translated by Dr David Wen Wei Woo, Dr Eng Hui Gan and Dr Chung Nen Chua with illustrations by Li Pan, focuses on addressing dry eye conditions.

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