update2: 8/12 Govt will allow private sector to take over National Heart Institute (IJN) provided it continues to service low-income groups: PM Abdullah/STARIn principle, this sms sucks. It's not something pleasant to wake up to, the above sms alert. I'm seasoned a journalist enough to know that Najib must have said more to the Press on the issue but, nonetheless, I in principle must state that the Minister of Finance's response to this issue is far from re-assuring. For the people, that is.
update1:18/12 Govt will continue to regulate fees at IJN even after privatisation so that patients will not be overcharged: Health Minister Liow/STAR
18/12 The Govt in principle has no objection to Sime Darby move to acquire a stake in the National Heart Institute (IJN): DPM Najib/STAR
(update: pls read full story here).
Read my previous posting, here. About 85 % of IJN's patients are poor people and government servants. I'm sure Najib must have mentioned this to the Press. I'm also certain that he would address the welfare of the doctors and nurses at IJN in the event that the MoF decides to allow a private corporation to take over the institute.
However, even if the Government can assure that IJN's corporate and social responsibility will be intact, the fact that Sime Darby is behind the proposal is another turn-off.
What Sime Darby is known to do best is to swallow. It swallowed two giants as big as itself and it's still not much bigger than what it had been. It's auto business is in trouble, its commodity trading is in trouble, and it has dipped itself in shit over the sacking of senior executives. Its human resources boss has been charged in court and so has the auditors. In short, this company does not inspire confidence. [And it's advised by Fox Communications, a company set up by cronies for cronies].
Najib needs to tread carefully. He needs to listen to the people, too. He needs to think of the people.
Let me just say if the IJN is situated in Terengganu, the Barisan Nasional would lose big in the KT by-election on Jan 17, 2009.
p.s. Mahathir haters, take note: I've stated in a comment in response to some commenters under my last posting that it was Dr Mahathir, in his usual dictatorial way, who forced the Barisan Nasional government back then to put heart and soul into the creation of the IJN.