Malaysia Budget 2018 Commentary by Selvam Ramaraj, Executive Director of AJ Pharma Holding:
Budget 2018’s core thrusts of accelerating investments, trade industries are significant steps in placing Malaysia as a player in the global private healthcare market, while prioritising the rakyat’s wellbeing and boosting the efficiency of our local public healthcare services.
Investments to spur the medical tourism industry will cement the credibility of our healthcare service providers by incentivising industry players to obtain quality accreditation and certification from authorised bodies. This will also help establish medical tourism as a significant revenue contributor for the nation.
Furthermore, the government’s allocation of RM27 billion towards quality public healthcare services will spur the nation’s progress towards a better, more efficient and equitable healthcare system. The comprehensive focus on enhancing medical supplies, upgrading medical facilities and infrastructure across the country, investing in the latest medical equipment, boosting healthcare service delivery and creating a medical aid fund for underserved communities, are all positive steps in revitalising our public healthcare sector. Beyond medical interventions, we laud the government’s allocation of RM30 million (mn) for the Healthy Community Nation Empowerment fund.
We strongly believe that these provisions will foster an ecosystem that empowers communities, improves quality of life and enhances life expectancy of every citizen regardless of location, age, gender, ethnicity or socio-economic standing.
Furthermore, we are pleased with the government’s allocations such as RM50mn for haemodialysis assistance and RM10mn for the treatment of rare diseases as this will encourage the industry to sustain and pursue further investments.
At AJ Pharma Holding, we strongly believe that access to affordable and quality healthcare is a fundamental right for all. To this effect, we have been putting the building blocks in place to become a significant contributor to the nation’s healthcare development and overall community wellbeing. We look forward to driving these aspirations with government stakeholders in line with the positive measures outlined for the healthcare sector in Budget 2018.
Malaysia, like the rest of the world, is on the brink of the fourth industrial revolution and digital economy era. With the announcements made in the Malaysia Budget 2018, we see an increased emphasis on preparing the nation to become a fully-developed digital economy through targeted initiatives such as the Malaysian Digital Policy.
The upgrading of smart manufacturing facilities and Futurise Center in Cyberjaya reflect the government’s sustained commitment to invest and support the industry as it continues progressing to the next level. The RM83.5mn allocation to further develop the first ‘Digital Free Trade Zone’, which is expected to attract RM 700mn in investments and creating 2,500 jobs also puts the nation in good stead. These investments will go into strengthening the nation’s infrastructure and raising import values to push Malaysia into becoming the region’s primary e-commerce hub.
Gartner is forecasting a 6% growth in technology spending for 2018, putting Malaysia ahead of most Asia Pacific countries. With the initiatives announced in Budget 2018, Gartner is confident that Malaysia is on the right track towards become a fully digitised nation.