Budget 2023: Health Ministry receives RM200mil more from October 2023's budget, bringing total to RM36.3bil

PETALING JAYA: The Health Ministry received an additional RM200mil in allocation under the revised Budget 2023, bringing the total allocation for the ministry to RM36.3bil.

The ministry received RM36.1bil under the spending plan tabled by the previous government in October last year and RM32.4bil under Budget 2022. It also received the highest jump in allocation from Budget 2022.

In tabling Budget 2023, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim said a bulk of the allocation will be mainly used for the procurement of medicines, reagents, vaccines and disposables.

The Finance Minister said RM3bil will be allocated for the appointment of 1,500 medical officers, dentists and pharmacists for permanent and contract positions.

Anwar also announced a slew of measures to address congestion at government hospitals which includes optimising public health capacity by outsourcing patients from congested hospitals to university, army and private hospitals.

A total of RM120mil will be allocated for the Madani Health Scheme for the poor to receive treatment at clinics of general practitioners (GPs).

Another RM700mil will be allocated for the construction of a women and children’s wing with a capacity of 476 beds at the Melaka Hospital, while hospitals that are 100 years old, namely the Kuala Kangsar, Jelebu, and Pontian hospitals will be upgraded and refurbished.

Health scheme for the lower income, Peka B40 will be further strengthened with an allocation of RM80mil. The scheme will now include diabetes screening.

Anwar also announced that the threshold for tax relief for medical expenses will be increased from RM8,000 to RM10,000, while a relief of up to RM4,000 will be given for treatment of Autism, Down Syndrome and other Specific Learning Disabilities.

He added the government plans to impose excise duty on liquid and gel products containing nicotine, which is being used for electronic cigarettes and vape.

Expressing support for the generational-end game (GEG) initiative, Anwar said half of the collection from excise duties from vape and electronic cigarettes will be ploughed to the Health Ministry to improve the quality of health services.

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