Saturday, December 20, 2008

IJN PRIVATISATION


As posted by Dr. Mahathir Mohamad at www.chedet.com on December 19, 2008 3:57 PM

1. I have always been for privatisation. In fact privatisation started during my time. People know all about the Government companies, departments and functions which were privatised. Some were successful, some were not. But I don't think people know about privatisation proposals which had been rejected. I know about them because the proposals were studied carefully before they were rejected. There were reasons of course but there was no necessity to make public the rejections or the reasons.

2. With regard to the Institut Jantung Negara, I must say I have a personal attachment to it. I don't think I need to explain why. The IJN is really the institution that is physically closest to my heart.

3. IJN is a unique institution. It started as a Government department but the Government felt that it was unfair to put the staff on Government pay scheme. So it was corporatised. As a corporate body it has been successful in giving the people good service. It is one institution that has not been subjected to criticisms and vilifications by the press or the public as most other institutions have been. We often hear of its many "firsts" and we are proud of them.

4. The doctors and nurses are very well trained and efficient. During the 50 days I was hospitalised there I never heard them complain about their salary or how they have been treated. They seem to me to be a happy lot. They are not mercenary, thinking only of their pay. I think they love their work; they love to see their patients recover and go back to normal, especially their transplant patients.

5. The service they provide is excellent. People usually complain about their personal grouses to me. But not a single patient, rich or poor that I have met has voiced complaints to me or to the people I know about their bad experience with IJN.

6. Maybe I am biased because I owe my life to IJN. But I think as a corporatised institution the IJN has done extremely well.

7. If it is going to give the same service to civil servants and pensioners the Government will have to pay out the same amount of money after privatisation. How does the Government gain? Besides if the poor are going to be charged the same low fees and charges how does Sime Darby make money? Or will the Government continue to subsidise an ever growing bill for treatment of the poor? If so why is there a need to privatise? How does Sime Darby, a business entity make money when 80 per cent of the patients are poor?

8. Some of the major surgeries performed there are so costly that the IJN lost money on them. Will Sime Darby shoulder these losses?

9. There are far too many questions about this privatisation which need to be answered. Some I think cannot be answered.

10. I seldom oppose privatisation but this is one instant when I feel privatisation is the wrong thing to do.

11. Leave this institution as it is. It is our pride and it is doing a good job as it is.

12. The Barisan Nasional Government is not too popular today. Why do something that may give the opposition another issue to belabour the Government.