KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 29 — The government has announced an allocation of RM32.4 billion for the Ministry of Health (MOH) under Budget 2022, a limited increase of about 1.5 per cent from RM31.9 billion allocated in Budget 2021 despite ongoing threats from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The impact of Covid-19 on the country’s health care system has resulted in increased health care costs with delayed screenings for non-communicable diseases such as cancer and diabetes, as well as a huge backlog of over 59,000 procedures.
The marginal 1.6 per cent increment marks the lowest budget increase for MOH since the 2019 budget. To compare, Budget 2021 saw an expansion of 4.3 per cent for MOH from 2020, while MOH’s allocation in Budget 2020 was raised by 6.6 per cent from 2019. MOH’s allocation in Budget 2019 was raised by 7.8 per cent from 2018.
From the total of RM32.4 billion, MOH will use RM28.03 billion for its operating expenditure and RM4.38 billion for development expenditure. Of the total RM332.1 billion Budget 2022, MOH received 9.76 per cent of the 2022 federal budget, marking a slightly smaller share of the budget compared to MOH’s share of 9.9 per cent in the 2020 budget.
MOH’s RM28.03 billion operating expenditure for next year marked a slight increase from RM27.22 billion for 2021. However, the ministry’s RM4.38 billion development expenditure for 2022 was a reduction of its 2021 allocation of RM4.7 billion.
Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz announced that a separate RM4 billion would be allocated specifically to tackle the Covid-19 epidemic, comprising RM2 billion for the Covid-19 vaccination programme and RM2 billion for public health care facilities to procure medicines, consumables, personal protective equipment (PPE), and health kits.
The government’s total expenditure of RM332.1 billion for 2022 is the country’s biggest yet in history. Of that, the government has allocated RM233.5 billion for operating expenses, RM77.6 billion for development expenditure.