The Malaysian Health Coalition welcomes the Prime Minister’s assurance on October 1, 2023 that the education and health ministries will receive the largest allocations in Budget 2024.
We believe that a substantial allocation is necessary to improve the health of Malaysians and our health care system. We also call for gradual and planned increases of funding to reach 5 per cent of GDP by Budget 2027.
We further recommend the following:
Allocate Funds According To The Priorities Of The Health White Paper
We welcome the passing of the Health White Paper (HWP) in both Houses of Parliament in June 2023. The HWP represents Malaysia’s latest effort and best chance for successful health reforms in recent years, given the HWP is supported by two health ministers, two Prime Ministers, and two health directors-general (an unprecedented milestone since reform attempts began in the 1980s).
We look forward to the implementation of the HWP, which will be measured in decades rather than in years. A critical success factor for success is the formation of necessary technical working groups and a Health Reform Commission, as envisioned in the HWP.
Begin Diversifying Funding Sources To Ensure Sustainability
The HWP states that in 2020, Malaysia funds health care through three main sources: tax-funding from the government (55 per cent of all health care spending), out-of-pocket payments or OOP (36 per cent), and private insurance (9 per cent).
The World Health Organization (WHO) believes that if OOP is below 20 per cent, few households will face catastrophic health expenditure. Therefore, we believe that the government must begin diversifying funding sources to reduce OOP spending and reduce the reliance on government spending.
New funding sources may include gradually introducing social health insurance, earmarking sin taxes, rationalising user fees, or appropriate mobilisation of charities and zakat.
Invest In Primary And Preventive Health Care, And The Social Determinants Of Health
A strong primary health care system focusing on preventive health care will reduce visits to hospital, increase health literacy, and eventually reduce the demand for hospital care.
Our first steps can include stronger public-private partnerships with private general practitioners, the use of digital health where needed, the increase of training positions for family medicine specialists and allied health care providers, and a strong focus on the social determinants of health, like poverty eradication, labour laws, and healthy living conditions.
We also call for more facilities and services for the disabled community in Malaysia, as well as an appropriate focus on dental services and mental and psychological health care services that are comprehensive, holistic, equitable, and empowers the allied health care professions.
We appreciate the challenges of raising spending on health and social services at a time when Malaysia has a RM1 trillion debt. However, health should be considered an investment, and not a cost.
Healthier Malaysians contribute to the economy, and health investments today will reduce health care costs in the future. We look forward to a responsible, far-sighted, ambitious and Madani Budget 2024.
- Academy of Medicine Malaysia (AMM)
- Association of Malaysian Optometrists (AMO)
- College of Anaesthesiologists, Academy of Medicine Malaysia
- College of Physicians, Academy of Medicine Malaysia
- IKRAM Health
- Islamic Medical Association of Malaysia (IMAM)
- Lung Cancer Network of Malaysia (LCNM)
- Malaysian Association for Bronchology and Interventional Pulmonology (MABIP)
- Malaysian Association of Clinical Biochemists (MACB)
- Malaysian Association of Dental Public Health Specialists (MADPHS)
- Malaysian Association of Environmental Health (MAEH)
- Malaysian Association of Medical Assistants (PPPM)
- Malaysian Coalition on Ageing (MCOA)
- Malaysian Dental Association (MDA)
- Malaysian Dermatology Association (PDM)
- Malaysian Paediatric Association (MPA)
- Malaysian Pharmacists Society (MPS)
- Malaysian Society of Anesthesiologists (MSA)
- Malaysian Society of Clinical Psychologists (MSCP)
- Malaysian Society of Geriatric Medicine (MSGM)
- Malaysian Society of Intensive Care (MSIC)
- Malaysian Society of Ophthalmologists (MSO)
- Malaysian Thoracic Society (MTS)
- Medical Mythbusters Malaysia (M3)
- Obstetrics & Gynaecology Society of Malaysia (OGSM)
- Public Health Physicians Association of Malaysia (PPPKAM)
- Dr Amar Singh-HSS
- Prof Asri Said
- Dr Khor Swee Kheng
- Dr Mano Shunmugam
- Dr N Ganabaskaran
- Prof Syed Aljunid
- Prof Dr Uma Palanisamy
- Prof Zaleha Abdullah Mahdy
- Dr Zulkifli Ismail
- This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of CodeBlue.