Only the stupidest will believe that after privatization of IJN (Institute Jantung Negara or National Heart Institute) the current low fees will be maintained. Conglomerate Sime Darby Berhad (SIME: stock-code 4197) proposed to buy up to 51% stake of the institute and the ruling government whole-heartedly thought it was a freaking good idea but the incoming PM Najib flopped (after IJN’s medical consultants’ objection) today when he said in-depth review and study will be conducted instead. So does that mean Najib opened his big mouth earlier without facts and was ill-advised? Since IJN is operated by IJN Holdings Berhad and wholly owned by his own Ministry of Finance, it’s amusing to hear how “fast and furious” Najib was in “selling off meats” from his ministry in exchange for money.
If you remember other privatization projects such as the electricity, water utilities and transportation such as PLUS Expressway Berhad (KLSE: PLUS, stock-code 5052), public’s interest was never a priority. There was only one objective – to rip off people’s last cloth and make as much profit as possible. It doesn’t matter how much you pay your taxes and the fact that a caring government should provide the basic necessity such as a good transportation system. Still remember how former Works Minister Samy Vellu and his buddy former dictator Mahathir told the public to use other alternatives (right, as if there’s one in the first place) if they refused to pay tolls?
The same cycle will happen if Sime Darby is allowed to buy over IJN and soon you will hear the same excuse from Sime’s boss and Health Minister that if you cannot afford the fees then go elsewhere. You don’t believe Sime Darby has nothing better to do but to pour huge amount of money acquiring IJN with intention to do social work, do you? If there’s one sector that is recession-proof and will continue to suck your hard-earned money, that sector is obviously health-sector. Try to tell the private hospital that you need a surgery but you couldn’t afford it and the next thing you’ll get is a big kick on your butt out of the door. Try to tell government hospital that you’re sick and you’ll be made to wait for hours (if you’re lucky) or be given appointment which is weeks away, not to mention being shout at as if you’re a small kid.
So it’s all about profit and money that Sime Darby is seeking such acquisition, period. Furthermore why acquire IJN if there will be zero changes to IJN current business model? IJN is a self-sustain entity with RM20 million a year profit company hence the greedy corporate wolves couldn’t leave it alone. After numerous privatizations the burdens on government shoulders have greatly be lifted and with billions of dollars in taxes collected, the government should have an easier life now managing the country. Amazingly the nation’s coffer is running out of money so much so that the government has the cheek to squeeze money from the public via high fuel price (Hey! The global crude oil is now approaching $30 a barrel for God sake) and the ingenious 3% cut in employees’ EPF contribution plan (and in the process more taxes).
For now if you were to park at IJN it’s free but I’m not sure after the acquisition. OK maybe parking is a petty issue and low fees for more than 80% of its poor patients are the main objectives. Maybe we should ask Sime Darby’s CEO Ahmad Zubir how many poor people have actually benefited from Sime’s existing SJMC (Subang Jaya Medical Center). Sime Darby is not a charitable organization mind you so sooner or later the fees will be hiked (if IJN was acquired). But then the estimated RM400 million cash reserves is simply too tempting to let this deal goes off for good, no? Nevertheless you need more than thirty plus signatures from IJN’s medical consultants to tell Ahmad Zubir to fly kite and take his money to the Ministry of Health crying for this new IJN toy. When money is on the table it is all-right to sacrifice the healthcare of thousands of the poor, what more with these 33 skillful medical consultants. Let’s see what happens after the coming by-election.
Other Articles That May Interest You …
- SIME aborts cable, no more cheese or the Rats move it?
- Sime Darby Mini-Crisis, Two Fired and Three to Resign
- The Composite Index, Plantation Stocks and the Wolf
- IOI building muscle to become Stronger and Bigger
- Mega-Sales needed to attract Rio Tinto to revives Bakun
- Plantation Merger & Acquisition Heating Up