KUALA LUMPUR, March 16 — PKR president Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim today suggested that the Health Ministry’s initial budget of RM150 million to fight the Covid-19 outbreak be further increased, proposing for the bigger budget to then be used on things such as free face masks for Malaysians.
Anwar said the Malaysian government needs to continue strengthening the capacity of the country’s healthcare system to cope with the Covid-19 infection over the short, medium and long term, arguing that this means additional funds were required for big spending on improving such capacity.
“In this regard, the budget for the Ministry of Health in the previous stimulus package needs to be increased substantially from the RM150 million already allocated.
“A key feature of this is embarking immediately on a large-scale spending programme to improve capacity. This includes — additional medical equipment and physical infrastructure for public hospitals and clinics, provision of free masks and effective hand sanitizers for the rakyat, ramping up the acquisition of test kits and medications,” the Port Dickson MP said in a press statement today.
“Let me be clear. It is the government’s responsibility to undertake these measures and the burden should not be passed to the public,” he added.
On February 27, then interim prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad announced a RM20 billion economic stimulus package to help the country cope with economic risks arising from Covid-19.
At that time, Dr Mahathir had said the Health Ministry had up to then committed RM150 million to purchase the relevant equipment, medicine and consumables in the effort to contain the Covid-19 outbreak, with the government to provide the necessary resources to ensure the disease is well-managed.
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