A total of 155 consecutive anaesthetics in three public Malaysian hospitals were prospectively studied to assess preoxygenation practices by their anaesthesia providers. Preoxygenation was practised in 96.1% of patients. Specialist and non-specialist anaesthesiologist did not preoxygenate 8.8% and 2.3% of their patients, respectively. Overall incidence of arterial oxygen desaturation during induction was 15.5%. Arterial oxygen desaturation occurred more frequently with emergency surgery (30.2%) in comparison to elective surgery (9.8%). Arterial oxygen desaturation occurred more frequently with non-specialist (18.9%) than specialist anaesthesia providers (3.0%).