The health ministry is seeking an increase in public health expenditure to 5% of the GDP to ensure that Malaysia has a world-standard public health system.
Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said in an upper middle-income country, the benchmark for public health expenditure is between 4% and 5% of the GDP.
Nonetheless, he said Malaysia is only allocating 2.59% of its GDP for public health expenditure, leading to complaints of long waits for services such as MRI or CT scans at government hospitals.
"I know that all ministries are also seeking allocations from the prime minister and all ministries are equally important, but some ministries are more important than other ministries.
"As George Orwell said in his book, ‘all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others', and in the same spirit the (health) ministry is created more equal than others as our core business is the life and death of the people.
"Just one figure I need the prime minister to remember is five. Not RM5 billion, not RM5 million but 5% of our country’s GDP," he said at the opening of the 2022 Health Policy Summit in Kuala Lumpur today.
The conference themed "Future of Health Services Through the Development of Health White Paper" was officiated by Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob.
Meanwhile, Khairy said that the policies and programmes meant to benefit the people in the long run were not affected even though the government under the leadership of Ismail was facing speculation on the general election.
He said in one year of administration, much had been achieved including the successful control of the Covid-19 pandemic as well as the formulation of several crucial legislations including the Anti-Sexual Harassment Bill 2021 which was passed after more than 10 years in draft, as well as the Anti-Party Hopping Bill which he said would see stability and integrity in politics.
"In the field of health, the prime minister has also given his support to me to bring the Control of Tobacco Products and Smoking Control Bill 2022 and consented to table a white paper on health to transform the country’s health system.
"Even though we have not been in the government for a very long time, we have succeeded in bringing about long far-reaching reforms," he said.