Former prime minister Muhyiddin Yassin has called on the government to defer and reassess its proposed hike in medical fees at public healthcare facilities.
He said the increase in health care service fees would further burden the people who are currently suffering from rising prices of goods and daily necessities, inflation rates and the increase in the overnight policy rate.
The Perikatan Nasional (PN) chairman also hopes the government will exempt the low-income or B40 group from healthcare treatment fees in an effort to alleviate their burden.
"However, many not under the B40 group have also fallen into poverty due to the rising cost of living," he said during a debate on the health white paper in the Dewan Rakyat.
"So if there is a proposal to increase the rates for public health care treatment, I request that it be postponed and reconsidered."
The health white paper tabled in the Dewan Rakyat today outlines that the ministry was looking to review the fee structure at public healthcare facilities.
According to the 57-page document, the current structure which imposes the same fees for all has led to huge disparity between what patients need to pay and the costs to provide the services.
The Pagoh MP meanwhile welcomes the government's proposal to increase public health care expenditure to 5% of Malaysia's gross domestic product, adding that it is one of the promises outlined in the PN manifesto for the 15th general election.
"I understand that in a situation where the government is facing fiscal constraints, alternative sources need to be sought to fund government expenditures, including imposing certain fees for services provided to the public.
"However, I would like to remind the government not to rush to increase health care service fees in hospitals and government clinics, as this will further burden the people," he added.