Malaysia’s health ministry seeking five percent of country’s GDP to upgrade healthcare system

·2-min read

The Health Ministry of Malaysia is looking to secure five percent of the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) to upgrade the country’s public healthcare and ensure that it has a world-class standard healthcare system in the future.

According to Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin, the baseline for public health spending in an upper middle-income nation is between 4% and 5% of its GDP.

However, he said that Malaysia is currently only investing 2.59% of its GDP into public health expenditures, which is why the public grumbles about the lengthy wait times for services like MRIs and CT scans in government hospitals.

“We are only talking about the public hospitals, what about the rural clinics and health quarters?” he said at the opening of the 2022 Health Policy Summit on Monday.

He said that after Covid-19 spread, his ministry was under severe strain because the available funds were insufficient to treat the general populace.

He said that numerous individuals had complained about the protracted wait times they had to even see a doctor.

He noted that those who required more specialised care had to wait longer.

He gave the Kuala Lumpur Hospital as an example, saying that cancer patients may have to wait up to four months before getting a computerised tomography or magnetic resonance imaging scan.

“Just one figure I need the Prime Minister to remember is five. Not RM5 billion, not RM5 million but five percent of our country’s GDP,” he said.

Khairy said the Covid-19 pandemic has heightened the need for healthcare reforms, especially for the public sector and highlighted the interdependence of health, finance and the society.

In November, the Health Ministry is expected to table a Health White Paper in Parliament to ensure a more sustainable and resilient public healthcare system.

”I know all ministries are also seeking allocations from the Prime Minister and all ministries are equally important but some ministries are more important than other ministries.”

“As George Orwell said in his book, ‘all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others and in the same spirit the ministry (MOH) is created more equal than others as our core business is on the life and death of the people,” he said.

He also assured that, despite the fact that there are rumours about a general election (GE), all policies and programmes that would ultimately benefit the people would not be impacted by the GE.