GEORGE TOWN, Sept 28 — The Federal Government chose not to impose service tax on private hospitals so they could provide affordable treatment, said Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng.
“The previous government imposed six per cent GST... we didn’t impose service tax because we want to help those who need to seek treatment.
“We lose billions there, so we hope this would help to reduce the cost of private health care,” he told reporters after the launch of three new services at Mount Miriam Cancer Hospital here today.
Also present at the event were Penang Agriculture, Agro-based Industries, Rural Development and Health Committee chairman Dr Afif Bahardin, Bukit Bendera member of parliament Wong Hon Wai and Mount Miriam chief executive officer Joan Lim-Choong.
Meanwhile, Lim said he had noted to Dr Afif to arrange a meeting for him with private hospital representatives in Penang to discuss their forward planning in regard to the medical tourism sector which incidentally is under the purview of the Finance Ministry.
To this end, he hoped private hospitals could reduce their cost to encourage more health tourists to seek treatment in the country.
Doing so would increase the volume of foreign patients, and more profitable, particularly in the face of intense competition from neighbouring countries which were also promoting their own health tourism, he said.
Nevertheless, he said, despite the competition, Malaysia was still ahead, “due to quality of our professional servicing, our affordability and nice place to recuperate”.
Earlier, Lim who is also Air Putih assemblyman launched three new services at Mount Miriam Cancer Hospital — CyberKnife Robotic Radiosurgery, Ambulatory Procedure Department (APD) and Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine worth RM25 million.
Lim said he was happy to see the hospital doing its part to help the people especially needy patients financially.
“What surprised me is that, despite being a not-for-profit hospital, not only did Mount Miriam pick up the baton, they also made a powerful sprint ahead with the acquisition of newer models, becoming the only hospital in Malaysia and Singapore today to offer CyberKnife treatment,” he said. — Bernama