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Sakmongkol ak 47

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Friday, 19 December 2008

Barbarians at IJN's Gate

Sime darby and IJN

This is my preliminary take on the IJN- Sime Darby issue.

  1. Is the agree-in principle stance by the government on the proposed acquisition of majority share in IJN by Sime Darby, part of the government’s strategy of asset rationalisation? Selling off assets to make money? But then where is the open tender process announced by the DPM?
  2. What is the financial record of Sime Darby’s Medical Center at Subang Jaya.?
  3. What are the book balances of IJN?
  4. who is the consultant in this corporate shuffle?

A few years ago, when I was serving as a wakil rakyat, there was a boy from the village called Kampung Sri Makmur in Pekan. He was suffering from a congenital hole in the heart condition. He sought treatment from IJN. After seeing the doctors there, the father came to me and showed me the expected cost. In 2004, it was RM18,000. Imagine the horrified expression of the father, a kampong fellow scrounging a living doing kampong work

I wrote a letter to the authorities at IJN asking for a waiver of the fee and asking for a subsidy which is available for patents who are destitute. IJN came back and agreed to a nominal fee of RM 1,000. The boy had his surgery and is now doing fine. I remember another case of a boy with the same ailment staying on the 12th mile Gambang - Kuala Lumpur road. If I am not mistaken, he came from a kampong called Taman Sriku. He got the same waiver from IJN and paid only a nominal fee.

I cited the two cases to illustrate the seriousness by which IJN took up its corporate social responsibility. It was the saviour of thousands of people suffering from various ailments related to the heart. It was able to do this because, profit motive wasn’t top on its list of priorities. Because it took its CSR seriously, it was able to accommodate these two cases. I am sure, there were thousand other cases.

Will it still be accommodating once Sime Darby takes over? The following rate schedules should be sufficiently illustrative

CHARGES

SIME DARBY’S SJMC

IJN

SINGLE BYPASS

40-50,000

25-30,000

ANGIOPLASTY

35-45,000

18-35,000

I share the same discomfort and disgust with many others at the prospects of Sime Darby taking over IJN. Everybody knows, Sime Darby is a profit seeking business entity. I am not going over the list of the cons of Sime taking over IJN. That has been done by many other bloggers.

This seems to be the modus operandi of corporate takeovers. They study a target and then present a proposal to the government. Are the powerful people who serve on the board of IJN sufficiently informed about this buying in? people can be mesmerised by numbers especially if the board members stand to gain some golden handshakes as hosts.

I thought Khazanah has its medical businesses in Apollo Health services? Suppose, as an indication of second opinion which doctors usually advise people to do, would the government invite Apollo to submit their own proposal? That would enable the government get a more informed judgement instead of (a) relying on the Sime Darby boss’s assurance. (b) a statement by the prime minister (b) a not so assuring agree- in- principle statement from the DPM.

Agree in principle means what? That you actually have agreed but for reasons of public assuaging, you come out with a hazy enough response to indicate to the people, you appear to be on their side? This response seems a callous one- even in a matter involving life and death, it is still reduced to a political shuffle. The PM’s assurance? It is just like Bush’s senior- read my lips spin of truth. The assurance from Sime Darby’s boss? Its like the promise of the fox that he will take good care of the chickens. .

IJN was established as a specialist medical facility committed to delivering the most advanced standards in cardiovascular and thoracic medicine for adult and paediatric heart patients. It has treated well over a million patients, helping save many lives in the process. IJN has since gained wider recognition as the leading Cardiovascular and Thoracic Health Centre in the region as the rising number of referrals for complicated and demanding cases and visits from foreign cardiologists so eloquently testifies. Its expansion has been so remarkable; it achieved its goal of being financially self-sustaining within a year of operations.

If it is financially self sustaining, then, why is the government inclined to accept Sime Darby’s offer? IJN has substantial cash reserves of about RM400m and makes a profit of about RM100m a year. In addition, it receives donations from the public. It’s not exactly in the red.

Sime Darby’s Subang Jaya medical centre is well known for its costly treatment, as the above Table shows. Those who can afford are usually staff of multinationals and other employer funded patients. IJN on the other hand is the saviour of last resort for millions suffering from heart disabilities. They will not be able to afford high fees.

Suppose the same number of patients seek treatment at IJN. The IJN charges 18k on corrective heart surgery. If a kampong patient like the above I cited pays only 1k, that means the government absorbs 17k. Assume now, the cost for the same disability after Sime takes over is RM25k. if the same kampong patient pays RM1k, the government subsidises RM24k. imagine now, there are 50 patients seeking similar treatment a year. The government will have to pay out RM 1.2 million a year as subsidies. At the old subsidy cost of RM 17k, the government pays RM850,000. Meaning- government subsidy payments increase after Sime takes over. Imagine further, 500 patients each subsidised at RM 24k each? That’s 12 million a year.

I think there is more than meets the eye here.

6 comments:

Malaysian Tigress 19 December 2008 at 12:29  

Eh Dato,

Apasal pulak kalau Sime Darby take over, taxpayer kena absorb the cost? Higher pulak tu?

Should it be borne by the entity taking over?

I think I also am getting a heart condition reading the about the ever increasing daily shenanigans of these jokers. (In between they have the time to watch Mammamia The Musical)

Why don't they just sell Malaysia to Singapore and get it over with? make their trillions and belah pi Australia or Mongolia? I hope they don't sell us for 1 ringgit! I was planning on selling my house to fund my kids ed!

Even today ade three cases of urgent appeals for heart surgery funds. Where are the corporate bigwigs and the CSR initiatives? maybe they can set up more IJNs to cater for the masses instead of stealing from them?

Tok Mila 19 December 2008 at 12:42  

They really think us stupid. That is the disgusting reality. It is now quite obvious (at least to me after reading The Scribe's posting) that this scheming is part and parcel of the big picture involving the DPM's brother and his/interest in the Sime Darby group.

The PM? He just don't care, why should he? He is probably happy to let this be associated to his successor.

We, the rakyat - we're being pushed deeper and deeper into the black hole.

Moo..,  19 December 2008 at 13:39  

Sime Darby is so rich, why can't they start their own heart hospital and just leave IJN alone.

Is this is allowed the next step is that Sime Darby will take over the Tun Hussien Eye Hospital soon....

Queen Of The House 19 December 2008 at 14:30  

While they are at it, why not the government consider selling over the police, the army, all the hospital services in the country, the judiciary, ... everythinglah ... then the government can make money out of these sales and tak payah pening kepala manage everything and all the pak menteris can go see musicals.

The IJN Foundation helps out needy patients by paying for what the patients cannot pay. Sometimes without the patients even asking. I know this for a fact because the manager of the IJN Foundation is my friend from school. Several years ago, my niece had to undergo a series of operations at IJN. The estimated cost was RM15,000. After several complications and an extended stay of over one month, the total costs came to over RM100,000. My brother had already paid off RM18K and exhausted all family funds. He went to the counter to pay a few more thousands, lamenting that he has no more money, and the cashier told him to hang on to his last few thousands while they sort out some form of assistance. He came home later smiling "Tak payar bayar lagi dah" he said. As easy as that! But would it continue to be as easy ar that if IJN is privatised?

Economist Kampong 19 December 2008 at 16:19  

Dato

Your 3 article lumped all Malays into a single category. I beg to differ. If you had strictly analysed the UMNO supported Malays (MT members, ketua bahagian, ketua cawangan and the retinue of their operatives and hangers on, then i suppose your thesis is spot on.

But how many % of the total Malays are these?? Very very small at best, only a handful at worst.

Yes there are lots of subsidies dished out by the Government. These include subsidies given to the oil/fuel, food/commodities and others supposedly for the low income groups. BUT that is just what it is - for the low income groups NOT for the Malays exclusively!. IT is for all Malaysians to enjoy!!

EVEN the subsidies that have very Malay beneficiaries - subsidy baja padi, subsidy beli padi, subsidy disel nelayan - help to keep food prices down. So ultimately it is meant to put chepaer food on the table - even for the very rich!!

If you still think the agric type of subsidies given to farmers (mostly Malays and Bumiputras) are unbecoming - and would shackle the Malays to a mentaliti subsidi - think again, Please. The most subsidised farmers are not in poor countries but in the USA and EU. How do you make of that!! AT any rate, this thing about subsidies given to poor people (mostly Malays and Bumiputras)does not add to your contention that Malays developed the dependency traits because of that.

In any society, the influential few benefits from the pork barelling - this is happening even in - a once communist CHINA!!! So Malaysia is perhaps a text book case on that. But again this is not a Malay exclusive. IT is enjoyed by all BN operatives.

Worst yet as the Selangor SEDC saga recently revealed, over 75% of its contracts and over the past 30 over years too - were directly or indirectly handed over to chinese companies. SO what is new ?? -- Nothing!!, the Malays always get the blame even when we were the VICTIMS!!!

I think you have also missed a very important aspect of this analysis you were trying to make - it is of the role of UMNO is creating and propogating the culture of dependency and pork bareling among the Malays!!

Fortunately it is only affecting the UMNO (active) mambers. Other Malays are not affected by it.

We, the rest of the Malays can take care of ourselves. And We have sufficient silaturahhim to take care of -- not only our family members but the other less fortunate in the society.

I observed that it is ONLY the UMNO Malays that had not learnt to be philanthrophic and charitable.

May Allah bless us all in our eforts to develpp ourselves and our fellow brothers.

Anonymous,  19 December 2008 at 22:19  

Dato,

I certainly agree with your extrapolation of figures and at the end of the day, the tax payer will end up paying to the private corporation. The terms you used on PM's assurance and fox and the chicken is most striking.

Why should IJN be privatized when it is very healthy financially and having less than 5% staff turnover. IJN currently is perhaps the most efficient and effective government institution looking at it's track record serving the poor and needy rakyat.

The question is, who is behind this idea and what is their agenda?

Cheers,
Kongkor

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