Friday, December 19, 2008

IJN: Of bypass and by-election

It's the sort of thing that seldom happens in Malaysia. But today, the 35 medical consultants at Institut Jantung Negara signed a petition to protest against the planned takeover by Sime Darby. It's a rare show of solidarity. Obviously, the Cabinet has also taken notice and heard the grumbling on the ground. It has asked for the takeover to be deferred. Many Cabinet members, I am told, spoke up strongly against the takeover proposal.

Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak has said that the decision has nothing to do with the coming Kuala Terengganu by-election, when questioned by reporters. But certainly the government can do with one issue less in the coming battle ahead with PAS.

Sime Darby, which has taken over the Subang Jaya Medical Centre, has taken pains to assure that IJN's fee structure and services would remain the same for the poor, with assurances that they would continue its social responsibilities. But the concern from the poor is understandable as medical treatment is expensive. When a private company runs a hospital, it is obvious that the bottom line is profit. It has to answer to its shareholders. Sime Darby has to convince, if it eventually gets to take over, how it intends to fulfill its social obligations as a private concern.

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

Dear Datuk Wong.

First, Subang Medical is run by accountants. They just care about the bottom line numbers. It is an assembly line. How many pills and how much margin per pill.

IJN is a different thing. It is the last hope for many peole. How can you put the accountants to manage this?

I do not believe Sime Darby will run IJN with this kind of compassion.

Stopping this takeover is the right decision. I would question why Sime Darby can even think of this.

ChengHo said...

this initiative is out of dated out of place at the wrong time at the wrong political landscape. Najib will do a lots of damage if the privatation of IJN proceed. Which thinkthank advice him the 4th floor?

Whatmeworry said...

Health Care should be one of the top priorities of any government and institutions like IJN should never be privatised. The BN govt wasted so much of public funds on mega and non profitable projects when it could have channelled all these "loss" funds to upgrading our existing hospitals and building new ones.

I hope the govt will listen to the views of the ordinary people and forget about letting Sime Darby take over IJN.

Anonymous said...

Something will have to give should IJN be privatised. There is no way Sime Darby, a for profit company, will be happy to maintain the RM20 million profit IJN is reported to generate.
Eventually the bean counters will step in and maybe start prescribing cheaper medicine, shift doctors to SJMC or make cheap treatment harder to get access to, ie a longer waiting list etc.
The bottomline is that privatisation is Malaysia has never resulted in lower cost. Sometimes processes get more efficient but costs eventually go up and the people end up paying more.
IJN as a corporatised entity is working fine. Don't try and mess with something that is not broken.

amoker said...

The "Najib government" is again showing its uncompasionate side will reinforce the many rumours of his style of leadership when, and if he takes over. As the finance minister, he has failed in a lot of areas. His management of the economy is unconvincing with its denials. Thank God we have Zeti.

Anonymous said...

Something will have to give if IJN is not privatised...especially next year......the MOF just cannot keep up with the mounting bills...and if IJN...a monopoly now... opens its extra 150 beds next year....the MOF is in danger of going bust..it will have to steal more money from PETRONAS, EPF or even the MOH to keep IJN alive....this is how heart hospitals run on a socialist program usually will go bust.......somekind of health financing program will have to be put in place...either this ...or IJN will go bust or already is bankrupt.....the public will want it....but whoever runs government will have to make that tough call.....the end result of neglecting health for such a long time.....

Anonymous said...

They are only concerned about the poor people. How about the middle class people?? Can they afford the fees when Sime takes over? Obviously they will try to squeeze the middle class to subsidize the poor. I doubt rich people will go to IJN since they can afford other private hospitals or even overseas. In short, the only available heart operation option for middle income group will vanish when Sime takes over.

Anonymous said...

One of the good things of the post March 8 tsunami is that the governments, be they BN or PR, cannot afford to be arrogant or choose to ignore loud ground sentiments.

I must congratulate your paper for immediately commenting on the issue and being sensitive to the issues involved, even in the business pages.

This is also rare for you as previously, I think The Star will also just echo the official line and play up the business concerns and eventually let the issue fade away.

charles said...

IJN privatisation issue is just another case of "transparency & accountability" by the government, in which the leader must always remember to serve its ordinary members/voters, otherwise they will not obtain their support anymore. This is because IJN is still profitable and serving its public well, why suddenly push for privatisation? We hope someone in-charge could explain the reasons of change, to the public.

HeadLiner said...

A friend didnt have the money for their baby boy to have an urgent heart operation at IJN.
He appealed for a discount which was given and was told just pay a minimal fee for deposit (which was very small) and the urgent op would go ahead...

His appeal for the reduction in fees was brought to the board of IJN and they were compassionate enough to see the urgency to help this baby whom they have never met...they made the decision in less than one day..

Kudos to the doctors that assisted on this...

Baby Darius while not out of total danger is recovering well...

Would this still be the same under Sime Darby ?
Any guarantees ?

Anonymous said...

in a private hospital, they count by the cotton buds. IJN is by the people and for the people. Sime, being a conglomerate with profit in their blood, should stay away. For goodness sake, go and build your own name in the medical field. Stop being a leech at the expense of the ordinary people who has sufferred enough after the IPP and toll fiasco.
Should we do a "bush shoe" for Zubir? Not diplomatic, yes?

Anonymous said...

To the poster who worries about MOF running out of cash to keep IJN running, not everything the government provides must make a profit. If they want it that way, then stop collecting taxes and charge a fee for eveything so that the can make money.
The can also stop buying submarines and fighter jets, providing money to the hardocre poor, subsidising school fees for the needy etc...