Occupational rehabilitation in Singapore and Malaysia

Kay Fei Chan, Charlie W C Tan, Doreen S C Yeo, Heidi S K Tan, F. L. Tan, E. W. Tan, Grace P Y Szeto, Shu Kei Cheng

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Introduction: Asia is the new and favored magnet of economic attention and foreign investments after it made an almost uneventful rebound from the depths of financial crisis of 2008/2009. Not many Western observers fully understand the diversity that is Asia other than perhaps its 2 growing economic giants of China and India. Indeed many smaller countries like Singapore and Malaysia in South East Asia along with Australia and Hong Kong (a Special Administrative Region within China) look to symbiotic relationships with these two economic giants. The purpose of this discussion paper is to examine the current issues related to the development and provision of occupational rehabilitation services in Singapore and Malaysia with a forward-looking view of how Asia's different developing societies could potentially benefit from better alignment of occupational rehabilitation practices and sharing of expertise through international collaboration and dialogue platforms. Methods: Seven therapists and one physician who are frequently involved in occupational rehabilitation services in their home countries critically reviewed the current issues in Singapore and Malaysia which included analysis of the prevalence and cost of occupational injury; overview of workers' compensation system; current practices, obstacles, and challenges in providing occupational rehabilitation and return to work practices. They also offered opinions about how to improve the occupational rehabilitation programs of their two home countries. Conclusion: Even though Malaysia and Singapore are two different countries, in many ways their current provision of occupational rehabilitation services and the problems they face with are very similar. There is a lot of room for systemic improvements that require government support and action. Most prominently, the training of more healthcare professionals in the assessment and rehabilitation of the injured worker should be encouraged. There could be better liaison between the many stakeholders and more funding made available to develop resources and to jump start strategic programs. As these two countries are witnessing rapid economic growth, more resources should be allocated to establish holistic care of the injured workers emphasizing early interventions and prevention of chronic disabilities.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Occupational Rehabilitation
Issue numberSUPPL. 1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2011


  • Obstacles and challenges
  • Occupational rehabilitation
  • Singapore and Malaysia
  • Workers' compensation system

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rehabilitation
  • Occupational Therapy


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