Twenty Malaysians have died this year while seeking so-called miracle cures for terminal illnesses in China, reports said yesterday.
The number of Malaysians seeking expensive cures in China for cancer and other terminal diseases is rising, Health Minister Chua Soi Lek was quoted by the Star newspaper as saying.
He said Malaysians were being misled by unscrupulous agents into believing that their diseases could be cured.
"This is a terrible tragedy and a massive waste of money," he said, according to the paper.
Chua said that Malaysia's medical facilities and technology are among the best in the region, according to the New Straits Times.
"Don't be naive. If the cancer cannot be treated here, it also cannot be treated abroad," he said after several patients lodged complaints on false treatments promoted by local agents.
Michael Chong, who heads the public service bureau for the Malaysian Chinese Association -- the second largest party in the country's ruling coalition -- said people were not only throwing their money away on bogus treatments, but risking their lives.
Patients were promised a cure for their ailment in Guangzhou, Chong was quoted by the papers as saying.