KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 – Travellers at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) will soon have more options for premium Covid-19 testing on arrival and pre-departure.
Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) is expected to appoint a second company, joining BP Lab Sdn Bhd, in conducting Covid-19 screenings at the country’s primary international airport by the end of the first quarter this year.
Transport Minister Wee Ka Siong said the expansion of private Covid-19 screening facilities, in addition to services provided by the Ministry of Health (MOH), can help cut waiting time for Covid test results and reduce congestion at the entry point, as Malaysia reopens its borders on April 1.
Additionally, the appointment of another private company for Covid-19 screening would encourage competition and prevent price discrimation by any single party.
“In order to avoid any monopoly practice by a company in providing Covid-19 screening facilities to passengers arriving at KLIA, MAHB has started an open tender process to appoint a second screening company at the airport,” Wee told Baling MP Abdul Azeez Abdul Rahim in a written parliamentary reply on March 15.
Wee said charges for Covid-19 screenings are determined based on operating costs and investments made by the appointed company, while taking into account charges imposed at regional airports – making the test fees reasonable and affordable.
BP Lab currently has five Covid-19 screening facilities at KLIA and three at klia2. Each can provide Covid-19 RTK, Rapid Molecular PCR and RT-PCR results within 15 minutes, 1 hour, and 3 hours, respectively.
BP Lab has an on-site laboratory at KLIA, complete with a sample processing, extraction and amplification (PCR) room, which was approved by the MOH last year. The laboratory is expected to cater to up to 45,000 passengers daily and conduct up to 100,000 tests per day on departure, transit, and arrival passengers as traffic grows.
According to BP Healthcare’s website for Covid-19 screening, passengers have two RT-PCR testing options: a quick, an hour and a half, RT-PCR test costing RM370 for Malaysians and RM470 for foreigners, or a regular, three-hour RT-PCR test priced at RM250 for Malaysians and RM350 for foreigners.
Bintulu MP Tiong King Sing told Deputy Health Minister Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali, during the latter’s winding-up speech in the Dewan Rakyat last Wednesday, that the current RT-PCR tests in Malaysia were expensive, citing China where an RT-PCR test only costs ¥40 (RM27).