Subramaniam admits GST for healthcare, pledges minimal effects
BY YISWAREE PALANSAMY
NOVEMBER 07, 2013
Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam (pic, right) admitted today that healthcare will be affected by a 6% Goods and Services Tax (GST) but promised to minimise the effects and ensure affordable medical services.
The minister had assured Malaysians on Monday that healthcare was exempted from the GST, which will be implemented on April 1, 2015. But the DAP had revealed the minister was wrong about the tax.
“Please be assured that the Ministry of Health will continue to play a proactive role in minimising the effects of GST on essential health services so as to ensure that all Malaysians, particularly those in the low income group will continue to have access to affordable healthcare,” he said in a statement issued in Putrajaya today.
With the implementation of GST in healthcare, the costs will increase. The assurances given by the Minister of Health in minimising the effects on the public, appears to be an empty promise yet again. There is no outline of any concrete plan. In fact, much information is shrouded in secrecy. Even if government hospitals do not see any increase in the actual amount paid by the patient, it is likely that this “loss” will be offset by an increase in taxes or the reduction in subsidies elsewhere.
It is amazing that the Government has the gall to inform Malaysians that without GST, the country will go bankrupt. Yet, it is reported with nauseating frequency of the wastages in Government spending. It is obvious that financial prudence is not the forte of our ruling Government.
There is need for greater transparency in Government policies and spending. GST in healthcare will result in many more flooding the existing overloaded Government services. With hardly any foresight, our administrators are slow to react and any changes are usually implemented too slowly or too ineffectively to be of any good.
The debate continues.