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updated at: Wed, 09 Dec 2020, 05:25PM MYT

Allocation for MoH much higher under Budget 2021, insists deputy minister amid flak from opposition

Original Source From TheEdge Publish at Wed, 09 Dec 2020, 05:32AM

KUALA LUMPUR (Dec 9): Deputy Health Minister Dr Noor Azmi Ghazali insisted today that the allocation for the Ministry of Health (MoH) under Budget 2021 is higher year-on-year, after the inclusion of certain “implicit” allocations, amid criticisms from opposition MPs on the allocation amount.

During his winding up of the MoH’s budget for 2021, Noor Azmi said with the inclusion of implicit funds, which include the Covid-19 fund, the allocation for the ministry is actually RM35.82 billion, or 11% higher than the RM31.94 billion stated in Budget 2021.

“This is what I was trying to explain — what is implicit and explicit [in MoH’s allocation],” he said, amid a barrage of interruptions from MPs, who questioned why the budget is lower this year, despite there being a pandemic.

His explanation on the total allocation for MoH triggered many MPs to question how there can be “implicit” allocations for the ministry, with some putting a poser over transparency in the budget.

“Is this considered off-budget spending? This was not included in the [Budget 2021] estimates,” said Datuk Seri Dr Zulkefly Ahmad (Amanah-Kuala Selangor).

Meanwhile, other MPs questioned how these implicit allocations can be debated, given that they were not included in the budget, leading to a shouting match between the MPs, before Dewan Rakyat Speaker Datuk Azhar Azizan Harun stepped in.

“How are we going to conclude today’s session in this condition? I have given the floor to the deputy minister to wind up and answer the questions brought up. If he is not given a chance to speak, how is he going to answer your questions?

“If you don’t agree [with his answer], then that is the end of it. That is how it works,” said Azhar during the session.

Under Budget 2020, the government had allocated a total RM30.6 billion to MoH, while Budget 2021 outlined a RM31.9 billion allocation — a 4.3% increase.

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