The Health December 2020 - Page 11

It was the largest ever budget but is the 4.3 per cent increase to the Health Ministry adequate given the gravity of the third Covid-19 wave ?
BUDGET december , 2020 | The Health

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BY KHIRTINI K KUMARAN

Budget 2021 , tabled in parliament

on Nov 6 by Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz , is the biggest in Malaysian history at RM322.5 billion .
As the nation deals with the unprecedented Covid-19 pandemic , a lot of focus was on the allocations for healthcare .
From Budget 2021 , RM31.9 billion was allocated for the Ministry of Health , a 4.3 per cent increase from 2020 ’ s RM30.6 billion . But critics have said more should have allocated given that the third wave of the pandemic is going to take time to deal with .
Covid-19 allocations
In efforts to support the fight the Covid-19 pandemic , particularly the current epidemic wave and the requirements needed until 2022 , the Covid-19 fund ceiling is to be raised from RM45 billion to RM65 billion .
In addition to the 2020 ’ s RM1.8 billion allocation for the implementation of the Movement Control Order and the public health needs related to Covid-19 , the government has allocated for next year , an additional RM1 billion to stem the third wave of Covid-19 . This allocation will include RM475 million for equipment and supplies for the Health Ministry ; RM318 million for frontliners ’ PPEs and hand sanitisers ; RM150 million for National Disaster Management Agency to coordinate efforts to fight the pandemic ; RM50 million to purchase equipment , laboratory supplies and medicine in university hospitals ; and procuring required equipment to resume dental services , virtual clinical services , and preparation of preliminary zone facilities and thermometers at health facilities to meet the Standard Operating Procedure ( SOP ).
Acknowledging the sacrifices of the frontliners , the government will also provide a one-off payment of RM500 to frontliners , in addition to the continuation of the monthly RM600 Covid-19 Special Allowance until the pandemic is successfully curbed .
Medical treatment tax exemptions
The budget also raised the tax relief limit on medical treatment , whereby tax

What ’ s in the budget for healthcare ?

It was the largest ever budget but is the 4.3 per cent increase to the Health Ministry adequate given the gravity of the third Covid-19 wave ?

To encourage Malaysians to get vaccinations for disease preventions , tax exemption of up to RM1,000 for medical treatment expenses involving vaccination such as pneumococcal , influenza and Covid-19 is given .
exemption of up to RM8,000 and RM1,000 for treatment of serious diseases and full medical check-up respectively is given .
Meanwhile , tax exemption of up to RM8,000 is also provided for medical treatment , special needs and care for parents . To encourage Malaysians to get vaccinations for disease preventions , tax exemption of up to RM1,000 for medical treatment expenses involving vaccination such as pneumococcal , influenza and Covid-19 is given .
OKU financial assistance
The budget also seeks to improve the welfare of vulnerable groups by increasing the monthly rate of financial assistance .
Aid for Persons With Disabilities ( OKU ), who are incapable of work is increased to RM300 while the rate for Incentive Allowance for OKU workers increased to RM450 .
The overall rate increase involves an allocation of RM2.2 billion , that is an additional RM700 million , and will aid more than 400,000 beneficiaries .
Public health segments
An allocation of RM90 million was made for the pneumococcal immunisation programme for children . In addition , RM6 million will be allocated for the procurement of biologic medicine for various rheumatology illnesses such as Rheumatoid Arthritis
Addressing the issue of mental health problem such as emotional stress , anxiety and depression , especially during this pandemic , RM24 million will be provided for strengthening the Mental Health , Violence and Injury Prevention , and
Substance Abuse Programmes Meanwhile , the mySalam programme , which covers hospitalisation , critical illness as well as Covid-19 claims , will be broadened to cover medical devices such as heart stent or prosthesis .
For kidney patients , RM25 million will be allocated for home-based Peritoneal Dialysis treatment programme to enhance the quality of life for them as well as to reduce the waiting time and overcrowding at hospitals .
Other health related measures
As part of the Youth and Sport Development measure , RM19 million is provided to implement the Malaysia National Healthy Agenda , aimed at strengthening a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of diabetes , hypertension and obesity . A total of RM28 million is also provided to implement the MyFit Programme , National Sports Day and Inspire Programme for the disabled community .
In the Sustainable and the Tourism Industry measure , the budget allocates RM35 million to the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council and also extend income tax exemption for the export of private healthcare services until the year of assessment 2022 .
A total of RM100 million from the proceeds of the Sukuk PRIHATIN is provided for the conduct of research relating to infectious diseases covering vaccine development as well as treatment research and diagnostics .
The budget also revealed that RM400 million has been committed by the country ’ s four largest glove manufacturers namely , Top Glove , Hartalega , Supermax and Kossan to fight against Covid-19 .
Some have called for a windfall tax to be imposed on glovemakers and other companies making huge profits but the Finance Minister has shot it down saying it might scare away potential investors . — The Health