NILAI, 31 March 2009: The government has allocated a sum of RM13.7 billion this year to enhance healthcare facilities for Malaysians including building more hospitals, clinics and quarters, said Prime Minister Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi.
He said, the money would also be used to purchase new equipment, increase the supply of medicines, development of human resources, research and enforcement activities.
Abdullah said that last year, the government had spent around RM11 billion and the figure had increased every year since 1983.
“The incidence of ailments such as diabetes and cancer has been on the rise. Taken together, these shifts have caused public sector healthcare financing to spiral upward over the past two decades,” he said in his speech during the International Islamic University Malaysia (IIUM) Medical City ground breaking ceremony here in Bandar Enstek today.
He said, with the right investments and policy, the present government was confident that Malaysia could be a leading centre of medical excellence.
“Today, the nation has already positioned itself on the regional map with its world-class facilities and highly trained workforce.
“Our world-class expertise is being increasingly recognized. Malaysia’s ownership and operation of hospitals is expanding into Indonesia, India and Vietnam among others,” he said.
Private medical centres also had an important part to play, that is, to complement and supplement the national healthcare system, he said.
Abdullah said Malaysia had come very far to achieve the universal access to quality healthcare for the people and the journey was far from complete.
“It’s common knowledge that ill health can lead to poverty and that poverty in turn breeds ill health. This is the cycle we need to break…furthermore, vulnerable groups in society including low-income households, the disabled, the aged and single mother will also be particularly worse off without access to quality healthcare,” he said.
He said in Malaysia, health condition had improved far beyond what one might expect from income growth alone.
“The effects of improved health will directly enable us to help those least able to help themselves as it will have the greatest impact for the poorest and the most vulnerable,” he said.
The IIUM Medical City with an estimated value of RM4.7 billion will locate the entire medical and health industry value chain within a 528 acre development known as medicalcity@enstek.
Set to be the region’s prime education centre in medicine, the city is expected to be fully completed in the year 2025.
Facilities will include a 600-bed University Hospital, research, commercial and convention centre.
It will also accommodate several higher institutions of learning such as Kolej Tunku Kursiah, Institut Aminuddin Baki, Politeknik Nilai, Pusat Latihan Bahasa Inggeris, Maktab Perguruan Teknik, Akademi Dewan Bahasa & Pustaka and Institut Pendidikan Bahasa. — Bernama