KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 7 – The government has allocated RM4.9 billion in Budget 2023 for the Health Ministry’s (MOH) public health spending.
Finance Minister Tengku Zafrul Aziz said the funding for MOH’s public health programme will be used to procure medicines, reagents, vaccines and disposable items, marking a 12 per cent increase from the 2022 budget.
Zafrul also announced that RM420 million has been earmarked for old equipment and facility upgrades across MOH clinics and hospitals.
The government announced the construction of several new hospitals and health care facilities with new equipment that will cost an estimated RM1.8 billion. This includes Hospital Maran in Pahang for RM350 million, a new block for women and children at Hospital Melaka, and five clinics in Negeri Sembilan, Sabah, and Sarawak.
The establishment of the National Centre of Excellence for Mental Health (NCEMH) will cost another RM34 million, Zafrul said when tabling Budget 2023 in Parliament today.
A tax exemption for dental checks and treatment of up to RM1,000 in 2023 was also announced in the federal budget. An additional RM10 million will be allocated to acquire 10 3D printing machines for dentures that could reduce patient visits at public dental clinics.
Zafrul also announced increased allocation for rare diseases at RM25 million in 2023. Those contributing to the government’s Rare Disease Trust Fund, formed in July, will also be entitled to tax exemption for their donations.
“It is hoped that many parties will come forward to contribute to ease the financial burden for rare disease patients,” Zafrul said.
The public health allocation in Budget 2023 also includes RM80 million for the Peka B40 programme, Zafrul announced in his budget speech. However, the Estimated Federal Expenditure document states an RM5 million cut for Peka B40, from RM80 million allocated for 2022 to RM75 million allocated for 2023.
The health screening programme Social Security Organisation (Socso) will also be expanded to 2.3 million registered workers to encourage early detection and prevention of critical illnesses such as cancer and heart disease, Zafrul said, with an allocation of RM80 million.
Zafrul expressed the government’s hope to continue the mySalam insurance scheme by calling insurance and takaful companies to participate in the health protection programme.
Since its inception in 2019, the programme has approved claims covering critical illnesses and hospitalisation worth RM734 million to 1.5 million individuals from low-income households. This includes 500,000 individuals who received compensation for Covid-19 worth a total RM330 million.
On Covid-19 vaccines, the government has assured that there is sufficient stock for Covid vaccine boosters to be delivered next year. As of September 30, 2022, Zafrul said the government has spent RM5 billion for the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme.
The government has allocated RM6 billion in total to procure Covid-19 vaccines.