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Berita MPA Newsletter May 2015

11 June 2015

From the President

GST and us Paediatricians

Dear friends and colleagues, 

It was no April Fool’s joke that the Goods and Services Tax (GST) came into force on the 1st of April 2015. There was so much confusion as how it should be implemented, what was involved and how it would impact the common people on the street.

The principle of Value Added Tax (VAT) or Goods and Services Tax (GST) as it is called in Malaysia is good, as it is a fairer way of taxation. The more one consumes, the more tax one has to pay. However the way it was explained, publicised and marketed in Malaysia to the public, created more confusion. The campaign of the GST project was in shambles. There was more confusion than clarity and transparency of GST implementation. Some shops even called it a day and closed their business, as it is too much trouble and uncertainty. This was worsened by the defining categories of exempt and zero-rated supplies and how this was designated - what or who should be in what category. Many industries scambled to argue their way so as to get relief from being taxed.

Healthcare industry and GST

The private healthcare industry was not spared at all. At first when it was first announced, private healthcare services were exempted. However, later the private clinicians practising in hospital settings were subsequently given different status – at one time the clinician was an “outsourced service provider”, then it became “independent contractor” service provider. Who were they truly? The basic core of care and service provider in the whole continuum of healthcare from cradle to tomb of a patient is still the doctor. The clinician is the main coordinator of the team. The clinicians plan, discuss and work with the patients and the allied professionals, with the facilities available in the hospital. The clinicians are hardly “independent providers” to the patients who pay the bill. They are part of the whole scheme of healthcare services. The doctors work hand in hand to bring on the best outcome for the patients. As Professor Dato’ Dr Azizi Omar puts it in his letter to the New Straits Times recently, “…pertinent philosophical and ethical questions to ask are – Is seeking pleasure equivalent to seeking treatment for life and limb? Are they equally taxable?”

In the final analysis with the GST implemented, the patient has received the brunt of the tax. Overall, the patient would end up paying more when seeking care from the private sector. The private hospital will have to increase their prices to the patient, as cost of operation has increased, due to absorbing the GST on some of their purchases (as the private hospitals are an exempt supply status). The doctors have to spend more time now to make sure all the paper work is in order and the GST collection is paid on time. We hope the government will monitor and measure these impacts on the industry and the patients. Everybody is adjusting and trying to find a common ground as to the right balance of taxation and affordability. Cost of running healthcare services itself especially drugs and state of the art equipment are increasing year by year, so is it fair to add more burden to the industry or the consumer? Should there be a value added tax for healthcare services? There are more questions than answers. We will see.


The Malaysian Paediatric Association, as a non-profit organisation is not spared also. It is a GST registrable institution and providing taxable supplies. Therefore for this coming 37th MPA Annual Congress to be held on 16th-19th Spetember 2015 at Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur, the registration fee includes GST, which MPA will have to forward to the national Customs Department. We hope this would not deter you from attending, as a very interesting programme has been lined up with the theme, “Paediatric Infections & Vaccinology”. I would like to take this opportunity to also thank the APPA President, Datuk Dr Zulkifli Ismail, for organising the Asia Pacific Vaccinology Update 2015 focusing on Diarrhoea and Pneumonia in conjunction with our Annual Congress 2015.

It is my pleasure to invite all of you to the Annual Congress, block the dates on your busy calendar and spare some time to update yourself during the Annual Congress. At the same time catch up with your friends and colleagues in the capital city of Kuala Lumpur. 

Kok Chin Leong
President 2013-2015 

For other articles and announcements, please download the full Newsletter below...

  arrowBMPA 2-2015 May.pdf (English - pdf - 3300 Kb)   

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