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Friday, December 19, 2008

IJN – No to privatization

Lim Kit Siang

by Dr. Chen Man Hin

When Institut Jantung Negara (IJN) - National Heart Institute - was launched in 1992, the Malaysian government promised that IJN would be a centre to serve all people with heart diseases, irrespective of race and with due care and treatment for the poor.

Assurance was given that heart patients would be treated fairly as in all government-run hospitals and that IJN would not be an exclusive hospital for the rich and well-to-do. People from all walks of life would be allowed to enjoy the facilities in the special heart hospital.

This aspiration of IJT to help poor heart cases is now shattered by the announcement that IJN would be handed to a private company, albeit the largest corporation in the country - Sime Darby.


It is unlikely that Sime Darby will run IJN as a social and charitable hospital, like a government hospital. Its objective is to earn as much profits as possible. There are too many private hospitals in the country which charge substantially, which only the rich could afford.

With Sime Darby at the controls of IJN, the poor who form the majority of the patients will suffer, and being unable to pay, they will not have access to health care offered by IJN as of today.

The government stands to lose by giving control of IJN away:-

1 IJN is a going concern and successfully managed and bringing great benefits to the people and a sound reputation internationally as a well-organised heart centre.

2. as an institute with excellent facilities and world class medical expertise, it is well placed to lead the battle against the threat of heart disease as the number one killer in the country. This is the sacred duty of IJN. This role cannot be performed by a private hospital whose aim is to make profits.

3. The government must not relinquish its responsibility by giving up the one place where heart patients look confidently for care and treatment, in particular the poor of this country.


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