Don’t shy away from making tough calls, advise former health ministers

PETALING JAYA: Steel political will is needed to ensure health reforms for the nation can be implemented effectively – even if it means making tough calls, say two former health ministers.

Khairy Jamaluddin, who helmed the ministry from 2021 to this year, said current minister Dr Zaliha Mustafa and the ministry should not be afraid of making difficult decisions.

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“You have the backing of former (health) ministers,” he told reporters after participating in a Universal Health Coverage Day forum on Tuesday (Dec 13).

Khairy added that many of the reforms planned by the ministry had already been prepared when Tan Sri S. Subramaniam held the post from 2013 to 2018.

“Much research and many discussions have been done and a strong political will is needed to carry them out,” he said.

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Datuk Seri Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad concurred and said the current political landscape, comprising a coalition government between various political blocs, had to move forward with health reforms.

“There is no other choice but to move forward in implementing them.

“Political will is needed and given how much research has been done, implementation is key.

“This (implementation) will also influence the healthcare landscape across various aspects,” said Dr Dzulkefly, who helmed the ministry from 2018 to 2020.

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Deputy Health Minister Lukanisman Awang Sauni said he would take heed of the points mentioned by the previous health ministers during the forum.

“The Health Minister and myself are also working hard to realise the aspects worked on by previous health ministers,” he said, adding that he was also open to receiving feedback from them.

Subramaniam also took part in the forum.