RM3.9bil increase is a commendable commitment from the Government. It shows that the Government understands the need for a stronger commitment and investment in health. Implementation is crucial. Health policies are all about central policy and local implementation.
However, the number of new posts (permanent and contract) that will be created does fall short of our expectations given that there are shortages in manpower and a high number of contract doctors in the system. MMA is aware Health Minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa has been lobbying with the Finance Ministry (MOF) and Public Service Department (JPA) for an increase in permanent positions.
More clarity is also needed on the 1500 positions that have been allocated for medical officers, dental officers, and pharmacists.
It needs to be noted that although this year’s budget is higher than last year’s, the pandemic is now well under control, so we believe more funds should be available for utilisation.
The Skim Perubatan Madani is a welcomed move, as a public private collaboration is indeed the way forward to decongest the system. We await more details and look forward to the smooth implementation of this programme.
We also welcome allocations to repair and upgrade public healthcare facilities; however, it is hoped there will be transparency in the spending for this purpose and follow-up to ensure it is well implemented.
We hope there will be a breakdown of the allocations for each healthcare facility and a timeline for its projected completion. These details should be put in the public domain.
The MMA also applauds the Government’s move to channel revenue from excise duty on nicotine liquids and gels for e-cigarettes and vaping products to the Health Ministry and its plans to properly regulate the e-cigarette and vaping industries. — Feb 25, 2023
Dr Muruga Raj Rajathurai is the president of Malaysian Medical Association.
The views expressed are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Focus Malaysia.