A change of heart?

The government reportedly decided to defer the plan to sell a substantial stake of the National Heart Institute (Institut Jantung Negara, IJN) to big corporation Sime Darby in light of strong opposition from the general public.

This sudden shift on the part of the government is certainly a relief, although possibly temporary, for many Malaysians, particularly those who have heart-related ailments and, worse, are not well-off.

If there’s a lesson to be learnt from this episode is that matters of the heart — and healthcare as a whole — should involve consultation with the Malaysian stakeholders, i.e. the general public because they are the ones who’d bear the brunt of any form of privatization of healthcare.

There’s another thing we need to be clear in our minds: big corporations are in the business to make handsome profits. They are not there to play charity.

This explains why few people are convinced by the assurance made by the government that the privatised IJN would not hike medical charges after the planned takeover.

Given this context, it is indeed heart-warming to learn that the IJN consultants had expressed their collective preference and commitment, which is ‘to serve IJN in its current form’.


2 Responses to “A change of heart?”

  1. 1 Ganesan 19 December 2008 at 7:02 pm

    Only Barisan Government can come out with stupid reason to make money by privitising IJN. IJN is a premier Cardiac hospital with research facility to make Malaysia a well known Healthcare facility in this region. It is where Doctors are trained in the field of Cardiology. By privitising we will lose the essence of this institution. We need to strongly condemn such move as this will bring hardship to the poor who cannot afford private care. Lets us make BN lose in the next election for being such a ‘caring government’.

  2. 2 anna brella 19 December 2008 at 8:25 pm

    Based on the very hard experience learned at great cost in the UK, any privatisation of a public general or teaching post-graduate research-centred hospital will fail disastrously.

    Medical facilities are need-based, learning-oriented and research-centred, NOT profit-based, greed-oriented and maximisation of shareholders’ wealth-centred.

    That is not a loose opinion but a solid, informed fact based on direct experience.

    So try to stop this privatisation because the IJN seems to be worth saving from the claws of greed, as it seems to have the good reputation of being one of the better public hospitals around for those who cannot afford to pay through no-fault of their own, the extortionate private hospital medical rip-off fees.

    And I know as a matter of fact through even harder experience that the IJN is certainly better than… the University hospital …

    “Imagine Power To The People” John Lennon.

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