KUALA LUMPUR, July 27 — The government intends to improve Malaysia’s position to rank 25 in the UN Human Development Index which takes into account health and education outcomes, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim.

When launching the ‘Madani Economy: Empowering the People’ initiative here today., he said for that, access to health and quality education is a priority for the government and allocations will be increased in line with the government’s financial capabilities.

Anwar, who is also the Minister of Finance, said the sustainability of the health system is very important to assure the well-being of the people.

“As recommended in the Health White Paper, the government is committed to a target of 5 per cent of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) for health service spending by optimising the public and private healthcare systems.

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“The Health White Paper encompasses strategies for a period of 15 years with the aim of creating a more sustainable, resilient and quality health system towards improving the level of people’s well-being and access to health for all. Among the approaches that will be taken include health care at the primary level that is whole of society,” he said.

The Prime Minister said the provision of quality health access was demonstrated by the construction of the National Disease Control Centre with a project cost of RM305 million in Negeri Sembilan.

He said the centre’s role is not only for disease referral but also as a facility to prepare the country to face any possible pandemic in the future.

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Anwar said in addition to this, a new paradigm shift includes a shift in the public health approach from treating patients to disease prevention, i.e. people’s self-reliance will be empowered to maintain, protect and improve self-health.

On education, he said the government will continue to provide a comfortable school environment and the best facilities for children.

“We have done various efforts, especially increasing allocations, simplifying procurement procedures and reducing the power of implementation (decentralisation) to speed up the implementation of school projects and improve dilapidated schools. At the same time, the Jendela (National Digital Network Plan) project continues to ensure that all schools are equipped with internet,” he said.

Acknowledging that education is supply-driven, Anwar said national education needs to be more demand-driven by strengthening cooperation with industry and employers, especially in the implementation of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) as implemented at the Penang Skills Development Centre PSDC).

“Aware of the fact that we now live in a global economy that is constantly changing and challenging, there is a need for a more progressive lifelong learning approach for all Malaysians.

“We need to provide life-long learning paths in whatever skills the people want to learn, whether it’s at universities, TVET institutions, or micro-credentials skills that are required,” he said.

The Prime Minister said for that purpose, the government through the Social Security Organisation (Sosso) provides an allocation of RM42 million for the Career Building Programme which is a skills improvement programme (upskilling) for informal workers, including gig workers with Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM) qualification and below. — Bernama