Risk entrepreneurship and the construction of healthcare deservingness for ‘desirable’, ‘acceptable’ and ‘disposable’ migrants in Malaysia

M.E. Ormond*, Alice Nah

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


In recent years, scholars have focused on the concept of Healthcare deservingness, observing that healthcare professionals, state authorities and the broader public make moral judgements about which migrants are deserving of health care and which are not. Such literature tends to focus on migrants with irregular status. This article examines how state calculations of healthcare deservingness have also been applied to authorised migrants. Focusing on Malaysia, we examine the ways in which state authorities construct migrants as ‘desirable’, ‘acceptable’ and ‘disposable’, differentiated through calculations of their biological and economic risks and potential contribution to ‘the nation’. To
do this, we analyse recent government and commercial policies, plans and practices to reflect on how such biopolitical orderings create the conditions for risk entrepreneurship – where public and private actors capitalise on profit-making opportunities that emerge from the construction of risky subjects and risky scenarios – while reinforcing hierarchies of healthcare deservingness that exacerbate health inequalities by privileging migrants with greater economic capital and legitimising the exclusion of poor migrants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4282-4302
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Ethnic and Migration Studies
Issue number20
Early online date11 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


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