The First 100 Days of the New Health Minister

The Malaysian Health Coalition (MHC) welcomes Dr Zaliha Mustafa as the new Health Minister, and congratulates her as Malaysia’s first female Health Minister. We pledge to offer support and constructive suggestions to the Minister as necessary, and wish her success.

We suggest the following guiding principles for the new Minister’s First 100 Days:

  1.       Continue the Reforms Process

With the double threats of the COVID-19 pandemic and an economic recession, the Ministry must prepare our public healthcare system to meet with a surge of patients needing healthcare. In the long run, we must reform our health system to make it healthier and more resilient. The proposal to increase public health expenditure to 5% of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2030 should be continued. We also urge the Minister to continue with the work of the Health White Paper (HWP) and the Control of Tobacco Product and Smoking Bill 2022. We must continue the unfinished business as we embark on a multi-year journey of reforms to future-proof our health system and improve the wellbeing of Rakyat.

  1.       Care for Health Professionals

We are reassured that the Minister has pledged to resolve the issue of contract doctors. We urge the Minister to also simultaneously resolve the issue of all contract health professionals like dentists, pharmacists, nurses, paramedics and other contract professionals. There should also be improvements in their career progression, scholarships for further studies, fairer terms of service and a better work environment (including time to rest). For this, we suggest expediting the establishment of a Health Reform Commission to provide guidance on how to strengthen the human capital for health in Malaysia.

  1.       Increase Focus on Social Determinants of Health

The focus of the Ministry of Health (MOH) cannot just be sick-care or health-care; it must be health and well-being. Health is broad, including early childhood education, nutrition, labour rights, social protections and even air quality. Many of these factors are not managed by the MOH. Therefore, the MOH must establish strong inter-Ministerial collaborations with other relevant ministries or agencies, and work together to improve the social determinants of health for all residents of Malaysia.

The MHC looks forward to working closely with the Minister, and to building a Malaysia where all residents can receive the best healthcare whenever and wherever needed, without financial hardship. We look forward to a progressive five years ahead. 


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