KUALA LUMPUR, Aug 15 — Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin today pleaded with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob to allocate more funds for public health.
According to Khairy, the benchmark spending on public health is between 4 and 5 per cent of a country’s GDP, but for Malaysia, data showed it was only 2.59 per cent of the GDP in 2020.
“I know all ministries are asking money from YB and all ministries are important, but there are ministries that are more important than others,” he said in his speech at the opening of the Health Policy Summit 2022 here.
He then paraphrased a line from George Orwell in the allegorical book Animal Farm that some animals were “more equal” than others.
“In that spirit, MoH is desperate, more equal, because our core business is life and death YB,” he added, referring to Ismail Sabri by an honorific title.
Khairy said he hoped the prime minister would increase the budget for public healthcare to 5 per cent.
He said that the current funds were insufficient to treat the general public and was weighing heavily down on his ministry after Covid-19.
He said there have been numerous complaints from patients about the long wait they had to put up with just to see a doctor.
He added that those needing more specialised treatments had a longer wait.
As example, he said cancer patients might have to wait up to four months to undergo a computerised tomography scan or and Magnetic Resonance Imaging at Hospital Kuala Lumpur.
“We are only talking about the public hospitals, what about the rural clinics and health quarters?” he asked.
Khairy added that the prime minister was invited to grace the Health Policy Summit as he has a “kind heart and loves the Malaysian Family”.
He expressed his hope that more attention will be given to Malaysia’s public healthcare system.
“Our big hope for the national health system is that it will get more investment support in the future,” he added.
In his keynote address earlier, 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.