Hopefully, this marks the entry of innovative financing in public sector healthcare, with a change in the mindset of the powers that be in terms of finding strategies for being more cost-effective and efficient in delivering on health. In tabling the Supply Bill (Budget) 2020 in Parliament today, Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng said the allocation was to fulfil Pakatan Harapan's (PH) election manifesto promise. The Employees Provision Fund (EPF) will be providing an incentive of RM10,000 to couples who are looking to undergo fertility treatment procedures such as an in vitro fertilisation (IVF). The government has acted to rectify that by lowering the age for inclusion. This is a strong indicator of the government’s continued belief in the importance of spending on healthcare. “The Government remains committed to ensure access to quality healthcare for all, as part of its aspiration to create an inclusive Malaysian society. Lim said to ensure a more responsive emergency and trauma services, RM59 million will be allocated in collaboration with non-governmental organisation medical ambulance services to acquire more ambulances. The thrust of the 2020 Budget, tabled on Friday, is obvious with a great focus on the growth and digitalisation of the economy but with an emphasis on human capital and social welfare as well. The fixed income tax rate for non-residents shall be increased by 2% from 28% to 30%. The Budget papers state this "growth is underpinned by resilient domestic demand, particularly household spending following stable labour market and low inflation." Key economic forecasts in the Budget include: Malaysia’s GDP is forecast to grow 4.7 per cent in 2019 and 4.8 per cent in 2020. Of course, some might call this a “konar baring” if not a U-turn, but I personally see it as an indicator of the government’s willingness to be flexible and to make necessary changes to an already-implemented programme in order to ensure better delivery and outcomes. For MySalam, the social protection programme, we saw in the middle of last year already how the government received input from stakeholders and advocates and made the important change of including university hospitals in the scheme. Affordable healthcare: Could decentralisation lead the way? The government is also contemplating to allow the withdrawal of EPF savings before the minimum retirement age for coverage of medical treatments which is in line with EPF’s terms and conditions, and not tax penalty deductible. Calculate Your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC), WHO Issued New Guideline For Multidrug Resistant Tuberculosis, Congenital Syphilis – A Leading Worldwide Cause of Newborn Death, Koro: The Genital Shrinking Disease With A Malaysian Origin, Role Of Technology In The Welfare Of Malaysia’s Aging Population, Why Insurance Companies in Malaysia Should Start Covering Bariatric Surgery, World vs Multiple Sclerosis: Awareness Is Key. The third and fourth reasons why we are happy that this budget reflects the input of the people can be seen in the cases of MySalam and PekaB40. Providing tax exemption of RM6,000 for people who are looking to undergo fertility treatment. Whether the schemes are being successfully implemented is a different issue. The locations involved include Setiu, Sungai Petani, Cameron Highlands, Kudat and Sungai Simunjan. This again reflects the input that stakeholders have provided over the year about these programmes. The positive news is that the government is willing to listen to input and to make changes to the schemes and how they are rolled out. The healthcare sector was pretty pleased with the announcement of a larger allocation for healthcare of RM30.6 billion compared to RM28.7 billion last year, an increase of 6.6%. The Peka B40 Non-communicable Disease medical screening programme has also been improved in terms of coverage, with the age limit for enrolment set at 40 rather than 50 years old.