PUTRAJAYA, Jan 6 – Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa today expressed hope for a bigger allocation for the Ministry of Health (MOH) for 2023 than the RM32.41 billion allocated for 2022.
“We pray that we will get enough budget for us to continue to implement efforts to strengthen the health services in our country,” Dr Zaliha said in her 2023 new year address to MOH staff here today.
“Recently, in the Cabinet, the prime minister has given his assurance that the provisions for health will, God willing, at least be maintained, although we pray we will get more.”
Dr Zaliha said the MOH is expected to receive a higher allocation this year compared to the amount allocated in 2022 “in line with the importance” of the health sector to the country.
The previous Ismail Sabri Yaakob government on October 7 announced an allocation of RM36.14 billion for MOH under Budget 2023, an 11.5 per cent increase from RM32.41 billion under Budget 2022. The 14th Parliament did not pass the budget before its dissolution for the 15th general election.
Although this marked the biggest increase by percentage and absolute terms in the past five years, critics noted that the public health care budget, against the gross domestic product (GDP), remained the same at 1.98 per cent as in 2022.
Anwar Ibrahim, in his first press conference as PM, did not discount the possibility of tabling a new budget, although he said the budget tabled in October could also be tweaked.
Last month, Anwar’s government tabled a provisional supply bill to cover civil service emoluments, which included RM19.32 billion approved for the MOH. Of that amount, RM17.05 billion was allocated for operating expenses, and RM2.27 billion for development.
The remaining allocation is expected to be announced during the retabling of Budget 2023 scheduled on February 24.
Former Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin previously aimed to double the public health care budget to 5 per cent of Malaysia’s GDP within eight years by 2030.
He noted that at currently 2.58 per cent of GDP, Malaysia has among the smallest public health care budgets among middle income countries.