KUALA LUMPUR, Nov 6 — The government has allocated RM31.9 billion for the Ministry of Health (MOH) under Budget 2021, marking a marginal 4.3 per cent increase from this year’s RM30.6 billion budget amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
MOH reported today an all-time daily high of 1,755 Covid-19 cases nationwide, with the biggest proportion of infections reported in Sabah (1,199 cases), followed by Penang (192 cases), and Selangor (164 cases). MOH projected on November 4 an increase of slightly fewer than 1,000 Covid-19 cases a day for the next one week.
Of the total RM322.5 billion Budget 2021 — including the RM17 billion Covid-19 Fund allocated next year under a separate law, the Temporary Measures for Reducing the Impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19) Act 2020 — MOH received 9.9 per cent of the 2021 federal budget, marking a slightly smaller share of the budget compared to MOH’s share in the 2020 budget.
The-then Pakatan Harapan government previously allocated MOH RM30.6 billion, or 10.3 per cent of the overall RM297 billion Budget 2020.
The current Perikatan Nasional government only increased MOH’s allocation by 4.3 per cent for 2021 from 2020, continuing a trend of increasingly smaller raises since the 2019 budget.
It is to be noted that Budget 2020 saw an increase of 6.6 per cent for MOH from 2019, whereas MOH’s allocation in Budget 2019 was raised by 7.8 per cent from 2018.
Next year’s RM17 billion allocation for the Covid-19 fund will be channelled to the Kita Prihatin economic stimulus package, additional assistance for the well-being of Malaysians, and to serve the needs of frontliners and vaccines supply, Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz said today when tabling Budget 2021 in Parliament.
From the total of RM31.9 billion, MOH will use RM27.2 billion for its operating expenditure and RM4.7 billion for development expenditure.
MOH’s RM27.2 billion operating expenditure for 2021, which goes towards running the ministry, marked a slight decline from RM27.9 billion estimated for 2020. Cuts were made to services and supplies (from RM10.9 billion in 2020 to RM9.6 billion in 2021) and assets (RM76.4 million to RM74.1 million), grants and fixed charges (RM511.7 million in 2020 to RM481.5 million in 2021). Emoluments saw an increase from RM16.5 billion in 2020 to RM17.1 billion in 2021. Drugs and medications fall under services and supplies.
MOH’s development expenditure almost doubled from RM2.7 billion in 2020 to RM4.7 billion for 2021. The budget for services and supplies multiplied by over eight times from RM318.1 million in 2020 to RM2.7 billion in 2021. Assets were cut from a budget of RM2.3 billion in 2020 to about RM2 billion in 2021. Grants and fixed charges reduced from RM62.9 million in 2020 to RM59.9 million in 2021.
Tengku Zafrul told Parliament today that the government’s total expenditure of RM322.5 billion for 2021 was the largest in history. Of that, the government has allocated RM236.5 billion for operating expenses, RM69 billion for development expenditure, and RM17 billion under the Covid-19 Fund.
A separate RM2 billion has been allocated for the Contingency Reserve Advance Warrant. The 2021 fiscal deficit is projected at 5.4 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP).