Health Minister Dzulkefly Ahmad is planning to set up a Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) to obtain additional funds for the Health Ministry, up to RM3 billion, to improve the quality of health services in the country.
He said the proposal was made in his capacity as the Health Minister and that Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad, as well as other Cabinet ministers, had been informed of the plan which is expected to take off this year.
Speaking at the Sayangi Malaysiaku Cancer Care Walk closing ceremony in Putrajaya today, Dzulkefly said the proposal was made as one of the means of financing to generate funds for the ministry.
“Even though we are not expected to receive additional allocations from Budget 2019, I am committed to raising about RM3 billion, especially for the procurement of sophisticated machines to improve the quality of health services in the country,” he said.
He said even though at this time the government was facing financial constraints due to the debts incurred by the previous government, the Health Ministry is committed to giving the best service to the people.
"The ministry will be looking at supplementing allocations … to combat disease, including reducing the financial costs, suffering and morbidity of patients," he said.
In this regard, he added that a study had found that 58.1 percent of cancer patients only sought treatment at hospitals when their illness had reached a critical level.
He said early detection of cancer could raise the effectiveness of treatment, especially when administered to prevent the cancer from spreading.
He encouraged people to educate themselves on cancer symptoms and to seek medical examination as soon as possible if they detect any abnormalities. –Bernama