Two duelling slogans, ‘1Care for 1Malaysia’ and ‘Tak Nak [Reject] 1Care’, provide a succinct representation of what can arguably be considered the most contentious issue in healthcare for Malaysian society spanning the last three decades. The tagline ‘1Care for 1Malaysia’ invokes the health plan that was prepared by the Ministry of Health (MOH) for the Tenth Malaysia Plan (2011–2015) (MOH 2010). The health plan is a comprehensive overall policy document that sets the vision and direction for the nation’s healthcare sector. Central amongst the various programmes described in the document is a statement of intent for a ‘restructured Malaysian health system’ (ibid.: 51) that revolves around the establishment of a long-awaited social health insurance scheme.