Media Statement - Health Budget 2017 Part 1

Media Statement by Dr Lim Chee Han, Senior Researcher at the Penang Institute in Kuala Lumpur on the 2nd of November, 2016

Slashes made to public health and medical care expenditure contradicts the government’s “enhanced healthcare” provision promise and may further jeopardize effective delivery of public health services.

“Health is everything. As such, concerted efforts will be implemented to enhance the health levels of the rakyat and quality of the healthcare in the country.” So said Prime Minister Najib Razak, during the tabling of Budget 2017.

The ability of the government to deliver on this promise may be jeopardized by the serious reductions in ‘services and supplies’ category of public health and medical care operational expenditure (opex), both of which come under the Ministry of Health. This year, medical care services, which cover hospital supplies, blood transfusion medication and pharmaceutical supplies, suffered a RM589 million allocations cut, dropping by 12.9% from RM4.576 billion in 2016 to RM3.987 billion in 2017. Meanwhile, public health allocations fared even worse, falling from RM1.483 billion in 2016 to RM1.245 billion in 2017, percentagewise amounting to a 16.0% reduction.

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