KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 29 — Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz today announced the federal government’s plan to expand personal tax relief to cover psychotherapy consultation costs.
Tengku Zafrul, in tabling the Budget 2022 in Parliament, said the government has allocated RM70 million to address mental health issues via counselling and psychosocial care, support services, increasing advocacy programmes, and promoting civil societies in driving forward the country’s mental health initiatives.
“Additionally, the government plans to expand the scope of individual income tax relief for health screening expenses to cover consultation costs involving registered psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, and counsellors,” Tengku Zafrul said.
The government also plans to strengthen the clinical management of rare diseases in Malaysia such as lysosomal, in line with its Agenda Nasional Malaysia Sihat (ANMS) 2020-2030 blueprint.
Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin recently acknowledged that one of the major challenges at the Ministry of Health (MOH) is the expensive treatment cost for rare diseases.
Khairy said a paediatric patient on an enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) requires between RM500,000 and RM1 million a year on medication alone. ERT is done by giving the patient an intravenous infusion of a solution containing an enzyme that is deficient or absent in the body.
In 2021, a total of RM10 million was approved for the continued treatment of existing rare disease patients and to start treatment for patients on the waiting list.
Meanwhile, to strengthen the readiness of public health services, Tengku Zafrul said the government will work with the Red Crescent Society and St John Ambulance to improve the access and response reach of ambulance services.