KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 17 — For Budget 2021, each family will be able to get up to RM1,000 tax exemption for vaccine expenditure, Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz said today.
The finance minister said that this tax exemption will be for various vaccines, including the pneumococcal, influenza, tetanus, as well as the Covid-19 vaccine.
“This does not contradict the government’s commitment to provide Covid-19 vaccines for up to 70 per cent of residents for free,” Tengku Zafrul said while winding up the debate on the Temporary Measures Act for Government Financing (Coronavirus Disease 2019 (Covid-19)) (Amendment) Act 2020 at the Dewan Rakyat today.
The government has announced that it will be giving free Covid-19 vaccines for all Malaysians and is set to vaccinate 70 per cent of the population as a target to achieve herd immunity.
However, it’s possible that private health facilities that manage to procure a Covid-19 vaccine on their own may also provide vaccination to those who wish to pay and get it ahead of time.
Tengku Zafrul also said the policy for distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine is currently being studied by the Ministry of Health (MOH).
“MOH predicts that the vaccine will be procured and ready to be used by the end of the first quarter of 2021,” the Finance Minister said.
So far, Malaysia has managed to procure Covid-19 vaccines for 30 per cent of its population: 20 per cent from American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer for 6.4 million Malaysians next year and 10 per cent from the country’s participation in the global vaccine access plan, the COVAX facility.
The finance minister also announced that the upper limit for tax exemption for medical treatment for parents has been increased from RM5,000 to RM8,000.
“This exemption is not only for Covid-19, but it has been suggested to help taxpayers that help to take care of their parents.”
The government has allocated an additional RM4 billion for the budget for Covid-19 under MOH. This is an addition from the RM1 billion allocated before. RM2 billion will be used for the purchase of assets, personal protective equipment, reagents and consumables, and an additional RM3 billion will be used to purchase Covid-19 vaccines.
During Tengku Zafrul’s winding-up speech, Kuala Selangor MP and former Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad asked the finance minister to state his commitment in ensuring that all vaccine deals made by the government are direct and do not involve any third party.
“I give my commitment here that the government will only deal directly with vaccine suppliers without a middleman,” Tengku Zafrul replied.