KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 7 — The Malaysian Medical Association (MMA), while thanking the Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin’s efforts in getting a larger budget for the Health Ministry, expressed hope for further details on human resources in the public health care esystem.
Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz, during his tabling of the federal 2023 budget in Parliament today, announced a large 11.5 per cent increase in the Ministry of Health’s (MOH) 2023 budget to RM36.1 billion from RM32.4 billion the previous year.
“There is still a long way to go in addressing the issue of contract doctors and the shortages in specialists,” said MMA president Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai in a statement today.
CodeBlue previously reported that a record 768 contract doctors left their jobs in MOH last year. The number of resignations among contract doctors multiplied over the five-year period, from 110 resignations in 2017 to 768 resignations in 2021. A total of 168 contract doctors quit in 2018, while 475 left their jobs in 2019, and 511 resigned in 2020.
Dr Muruga Raj believed that Khairy’s proposal for six new initiatives was what swayed the Ministry of Finance into awarding the MOH a larger budget.
“We believe his proposal for six new initiatives worth RM3.4 billion to the Finance Ministry in late September made an impact in convincing the Finance Ministry on the need for a much higher allocation for the Health Ministry.”
In addition to the above, Dr Muruga Raj highlighted the MMA’s satisfaction with the bigger operational budget for MOH.
“MMA is glad that the government has recognised the need for a higher operational budget with an allocation of RM31.5 billion for its operational expenditure which we believe will go towards addressing the issue of many of its ageing healthcare facilities.”
Zafrul announced in Parliament that the government has set aside RM420 million for the repair of old hospitals and clinics, and also for the replacement of old equipment, with a focus on health care facilities in the interiors of Sabah and Sarawak.
“The government’s emphasis on prevention through enhancements to its various screening programmes is also welcomed. It is hoped this will encourage the public to take full advantage of the support given.”
The government allocated RM75 million for the Peka B40 health screening programme for next year, a cut of RM5 million from RM80 million the previous year.
Another RM80 million was allocated to the Social Security Organisation’s (Socso) health screening programme to detect and prevent diseases like cancer and heart disease. This programme is open to 2.3 million workers registered under Socso’s disability scheme.
“Going forward, MMA hopes there will be transparency in the utilisation of the various allocations under the Health Ministry.”