By Hakim Mahari
KUALA LUMPUR, 29 October 2021: The government has allocated RM70 million to ensure mental health issues are given priority, says Finance Minister during the budget’s tabling at Dewan Rakyat today.
According to Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz, the government has allocated plans to expand the scope of income tax relief for individuals who need to get mental health check-ups.
“This pandemic crisis has exacerbated the problems of poverty, domestic violence, and depression to the point of becoming a cause of mental health issues.
“Therefore, this budget allocates RM70 million to continue to ensure that this mental health issue is given priority,” he told Dewan Rakyat.
He further explained that the allocation was to strengthen support, counseling, and psychosocial services, increase advocacy programmes and strengthen the role of non -governmental organisations (NGOs) as drivers of mental health programmes.
“Furthermore, the government also intends to expand the scope of individual income tax relief for health examination expenses to include the cost of consulting services of psychiatrists, clinical psychologists, and registered counsellors,” he added.
Datuk Seri Tengku Zafrul explained that a total of RM32.4 billion is provided to the Ministry of Health (MOH) for operating and development expenditure.
“As a government that cares about the well-being of its people, the allocation for the Ministry of Health is the second largest after the Ministry of Education.
“Our war with the COVID-19 pandemic is not over yet. Therefore, an additional RM4 billion is provided specifically to continue the agenda to address COVID-19 which includes RM2 billion to fund vaccination programmes,” he said.
He said another RM2 billion was also provided to increase the capacity of public health service facilities such as the purchase of medical supplies, consumables, PPE, and health kits.
“In the spirit of the Malaysian Family, the MOH has also outsourced to private hospitals and hospitals supervised by other Ministries to optimise health capacity in the country.
“Furthermore, to continue to win in the fight against COVID-19, the government intends to implement the procurement of anti-viral drugs that are found to be effective against various viruses, including COVID-19,” he said.
The 2022 Budget with the theme, “Malaysian Family, Prosperous” supports the Three Main Axes, namely strengthening recovery, building resilience, and driving reform.
The 2022 Budget will provide a total of RM332.1 billion which sees the highest allocation value compared to all previous budgets.***
Source: The Star