More than half of those with diabetes do not know they have the disease, says Dr Lee Boon Chye.
The Deputy Health Minister said the prevalence of diabetes among Malaysian adults was 17.5% and 9.4% of them were undiagnosed and untreated according to the 2015 National Health Morbidity Survey.
"It's quite a high number. We need to increase awareness to the people to be more pro-active to test for diabetes," he said when opening a diabetes symposium here on Sunday (Oct 14).
"The ministry is also appealing to all private healthcare to play a greater role in screening and treatment of all non-communicable diseases (NCD), including diabetes," he said.
Dr Lee said the people should know that diabetes can be treated.
"And if managed well, we can prevent complications like heart attack, stroke and kidney disease," he said.
Dr Lee said under the ministry's health education unit, they have a "Komuniti Sihat Perkasa Negara (KOSPEN)" programme to promote awareness on healthcare.
"The programme is multi-agency and multi-disciplinary, involving other agencies, like the Rural Development Ministry, Community Development Department, Village Development and Safety Committee and local communities.
"They will have health screening programmes for NCD like diabetes, hypertension and obesity.
"We encourage the people to do tests at health and private clinics," he added.