KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 13 – Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim today announced an allocation of RM41.22 billion for the Ministry of Health (MOH) in Budget 2024, a whopping increase of about 13.5 per cent from RM36.3 billion allocated in Budget 2023.
The 13.5 per cent increment, or RM4.89 billion, also marks the biggest percentage of increase for MOH’s budget since 2014, and is the highest in absolute terms.
“This is the biggest increase of allocation among ministries,” Anwar, who is also finance minister, told the Dewan Rakyat today when tabling Budget 2024.
He added that RM5.5 billion of the MOH’s RM41.2 billion budget will be used to procure medicine supplies, consumables, reagents, and vaccines.
“However, I have instructed that the procurement of medicine must be closely vetted to minimise waste, and we should seek medicines from the region, rather than relying exclusively on Europe and the United States,” Anwar said.
Separately, Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa said the large increment for the MOH represented the government’s investment for health needs that would then improve workers’ productivity and the national economy.
“In line with the Health White Paper, Budget 2024 is a very positive start towards raising [public] health care sector spending to 5 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP),” she said in a statement.
In the new federal budget, MOH’s share of RM41.2 billion accounts for 10.5 per cent of the RM393.8 billion total budget, which is 1.1 percentage points higher than its share in the 2023 budget.
However, the MOH continues to hold the position of the second-largest allocation in the federal budget after the Ministry of Education.
MOH’s operating expenditure for this year is set to increase by 11.6 per cent (RM3.65 billion) to RM35.15 billion, up from the RM31.5 billion allocated in 2023.
The ministry has also set aside RM6.07 billion for development expenditure in 2024, which is 25.7 per cent, or RM1.24 billion, higher than the RM4.8 billion allocated in 2023.
This budget announcement comes at a critical time, as the health care system grapples with ongoing shortages of personnel, as well as subpar facilities and equipment.
With an allocation of RM393.8 billion, the government’s latest spending figure for 2024 is the largest in the country’s history, surpassing last year’s record-breaking allocation of RM388.1 billion.
The government’s allocation includes RM303.8 billion for operating expenses and RM90 billion for development expenditure.