REIT to collect extra RM3 billion for Health Ministry

Zanariah Abd Mutalib

PUTRAJAYA: Health Minister Dr Dzulkefly Ahmad has planned to form Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) to get an extra fund of RM3 billion, without relying entirely on government annual budget.

Dr Dzulkefly said he had informed the Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and the Cabinet about his plan, and expected to implement REIT this year.

“Although we do not get additional budget for 2019, I am committed to get the (extra) RM3 billion, especially to buy state-of-the-art machine that can boost the quality of our medical facilities,” he said in his speech at the closing of Cancer Care Walk “Sayangi Malaysiaku” at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) today.

The Cancer Care Walk ‘Sayangi Malaysiaku’ programme was launched on Aug 21, involving participants walking from Kuala Lumpur Hospital to the NCI, aimed to collect fund for HKL Cancer Care project to provide transport for patients who had to make frequent trips to NCI as well as for temporary accommodation project for NCI cancer patients.

Also present were NCI director Dr Asmayani Khalib and Cancer Care Association president Mohd Amin Ali Sidik.

On cancer, Dr Dzulkefly said, a study had shown that 58.1 per cent of cancer patients in Malaysia only sought treatment after their illness had reached critical level.

“With early detection, we can prevent the cancer from spreading,” he said, citing example of early detection for breast cancer.

“The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also stated between 30 and 50 per cent of cancer diseases can be prevented if they are detected early. This is why public awareness on cancer is important,” he said. © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd