Malaysia: Budget 2016 - Health Sector

Budget 2016 was announced by the Finance Minister on 23rd October 2015.

RM23.03bil has been allocated for healthcare representing 8.6% of the overall sum.

Other countries whose percentages are similar to ours include the United Arab Emirates (8.7%) and South Africa (9.1%).

On the higher end of the scale, countries like Sweden allocate 13.8% of its budget on healthcare, while Norway and Canada spend 17.9%.

Contrast this with countries such as Pakistan, with 1.3% of its annual expenditure on healthcare, Morocco (4.8%), India (3.4%) and Indonesia (6.2%).

After receiving feedback from various segments of society including NGOs, effective from 1 January 2016, the Government had agreed to forego the GST revenue on several basic necessities .

One of which is the "Zero-rating" of all types of controlled medicines under the Poisons List Group A, B, C and D as well as an addition of 95 brands of over-the-counter medicines.

With this latest development there is a double increase from 4,215 to 8,630 brands of medicines.

The medical fraternity and patients hailed these additions. However they were disappointed that the tax was not removed for all healthcare services.

Malaysian Medical Association (MMA) president Dr Ashok Zacha­riah Philip said cancer patients using newer drugs, for instance, could save RM400 to RM600 from zero-rated drugs because it could cost thousands a month.

He said GST imposition should be totally removed from all healthcare services because when imposed, doctors with taxable turnover of more than RM500,000 would add the cost to the overall cost and pass it on to patients.

He also welcomed more hospitals and clinics being built as the growth had been slow the last few years but did not agree to the building of 1Malaysia clinics as the capacity of services was limited.

Five new hospitals to be built in Pasir Gudang, Kemaman, Pendang, Maran and Cyberjaya.

Kajang Hospital to be rebuilt and upgrading of rural and urban health clinics. The RM 848mil Kuala Lumpur Women and Children’s Hospital will commence operations next October.

RM 72mil in medicine assistance, including haemodialysis, for 10,000 patients.

RM 4.6bil for medicines, consumables, vaccines and reagents to all government hospitals and clinics.

RM 52mil to open new 1 Malaysia clinics and to continue 328 others. Ministry statistics have shown that the number of people seeking the services of 1Malaysia clinics increased from 1.32 million in 2010 to 4.42 million in 2013.

RM 260mil for building and enhancing community, health and dental clinics nationwide.

 /theSTAR 24-10-2015

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