Kuala Lumpur, 20 October 2022 — The Malaysian 15th General Election is an opportunity to gauge the interest, concern and commitment of political parties regarding health and social care in Malaysia, their understanding and appreciation of the urgency for action to be taken, and the willingness to commit political capital to address key issues. The Galen Centre for Health and Social Policy calls on all manifestos to not shy away from the tough decisions and institutional changes needed and publishes today a document titled “#GE15 | Health and care priorities for the new government” which outlines what the Galen Centre thinks is needed from the manifestos or pledges of political parties aspiring to be the new government.
“There is no magic wand, or expecting someone else to take up the burden of responsibility for much needed reforms. Strong commitments, including strengthening policies and necessary financial and human resources, to proposed reforms are needed. Not five or ten years from now. Today.” emphasised Galen Centre’s Chief Executive Officer, Azrul Mohd Khalib.
“Any aspiring political party or coalition wanting to form a new government that wants to demonstrate that it is serious about improving the general health and wellbeing of Malaysians needs to effectively address 4 critical issues: healthcare financing, non-communicable diseases, mental health, and ageing population.”
“If the political parties do not have at least 3 out of the 4 listed, that means that they are not serious about ongoing and future challenges impacting the state of health of Malaysians, and instead kicking the problem down to another government to solve, or worse pretending that these issues are not relevant to the electorate,” he stressed.
“Prioritising increases in the yearly allocation for health is always welcome. However, genuine support and meaningful change to beat back the crises of NCDs and lack of preparedness for an ageing population, while supporting and sustaining population health and wellbeing requires more than that.”
“If a government wants to see people’s health improve and move beyond business as normal, we need to see bold action, using all the levers that the government has at its disposal to improve the health and wellbeing of the population. This will involve eye watering difficulty as it means that the next government should not shy away from specific measures, including taxation and regulation, where the evidence suggests and has demonstrated that it can help and work for positive and sustained change,” he said. “We urge all parties to read our document and see whether their manifestos meet expectations on health.”
“We will be reading and evaluating the respective manifestos of the main political parties and coalitions, and will not hesitate to highlight the good, the bad as well as the ugly when it comes to health. Malaysia is facing multiple crises of health and social care. We cannot afford half measures.”
“Healthcare has rarely, if ever, been the focus of political debate in any election campaign, much less a general election. Many believe that health should not, in fact, be politicised. That should change.”
“This coming general election provides an opportunity for Malaysians to ask those running for office, not only their fixes for existing problems, but also their plans for the future of the country’s healthcare.”