National healthcare system White Paper to be tabled in Parliament in November, says Khairy

PETALING JAYA: A White Paper on the national healthcare system will be tabled in Parliament this November for bipartisan support to ensure it is future proof in the event of changes in governments, says Khairy Jamaluddin.

The Health Minister said the White Paper is an official government document that will outline the current status, gaps and constraints faced in the national healthcare system.

“This document will also submit proposed solutions in phases in terms of service delivery reforms, financing, governance as well as organisation covering a period of 15 years,” he said when replying to a question raised by Wong Hon Wai (PH – Bukit Bendera) in Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday (March 15).

Wong had asked about the scope of the White Paper and when it would be tabled in Parliament.

He added that the White Paper will also take into account the results and the recommendations as well as various healthcare system studies that were previously done and also to take into account the views of stakeholders including the people through engagement sessions.

“This White Paper is expected to be tabled in Parliament in November,” he said.

He added that the Ministry developed this White Paper to strengthen the national healthcare system so that healthcare services are equitable, of high quality, accessible with affordable and sustainable cost for the long-term.

“This effort is important to meet the needs of people’s health in line with Malaysia’s status now as an upper middle-income country and for the future,” said Khairy

“All these efforts will involve a ‘whole-of-government’ approach and ‘whole-of-society’ approach to mobilise the actions of various parties to ensure the health of the people would be better,” he added.

Khairy also admitted that there is a “chronic underinvestment” of the national public healthcare system.

“Malaysia as an upper middle-income country invests less than the total optimum amount every year,” he said.

He added that the country’s public healthcare expenditure is low at 2.58% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020.

“We should be at the levels of other upper middle-income countries where their public healthcare expenditures are at least 4%. As such, the questions of funding and allocation will be an important issue that have to be discussed and decided in the White Paper,” he said.

In a question raised by Steven Choong Shiau Yoon (PBM – Tebrau) on whether the issues outlined in the White Paper would still be implemented even if there is a change in government, Khairy said the White Paper would be “future proof”.

“This means that whoever helms the position of Health Minister, the reforms of the national public healthcare system would continue. That is why I have decided that this process must be brought to the Dewan Rakyat so that there will be bipartisan consensus on the decisions made. Only with a bipartisan consensus, this will be a document, a direction with shared aspirations regardless of the government or minister that sits on this chair.

“I have proposed for this to be reported not just to the Cabinet but also the Special Select Committee so that milestones that are achieved are according to the plans reached in the consensus when this White Paper process was being prepared,” he said.