The Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) has welcomed plans announced by the prime minister for a national mental health care centre, saying that this and the increase in budget allocation for the health ministry should be supported by all stakeholders.
In a statement, MEF president Syed Hussain Syed Husman cited figures from a 2015 health ministry report showing that one in three Malaysians – about 29% of the population – suffered from mental health issues.
"The numbers remain the same until now," he added.
Thanking Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob for his earnestness in addressing the people's mental health issues and for making such matters a top priority in his Keluarga Malaysia agenda, he said this showed the caring side of Ismail and the government.
"MEF had raised the issue of mental health many times and is indeed happy that the prime minister has taken the issue of the people's mental well-being as a priority."
He also said that the establishment of such a centre would help to effectively manage and address the mental health issues faced by the people, particularly employees.
He voiced hope that the centre would one day be a reference on mental health issues for the region as well as Asia Pacific.
He also suggested that employers work with the government to form a council and lay out plans to address mental health issues.
"All the stakeholders should work together for the well-being of the people. When the people are healthy, productivity increases and employers, employees and the people will be happy.
"The national assets are really the people," Syed Hussain added. "We must do all we can to protect our core assets, the people."
The health ministry's allocation in the RM372.3 billion budget for next year was raised from RM32.4 billion to RM36.1 billion.