Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Get it right, Bernard. It's the "rakyat". Period.

Barisan Rakyat? What "Barisan Rakyat" is Bernard Khoo talking about?

Malaysiakini named the "rakyat" as the newsmaker of the year and NOT "Barisan Rakyat", a term coined by a few anti-Government activists. In actual fact, it was just the plain "rakyat" who brought about the changes that we saw in 2008. I wish Bernard will not put a spin to it and call it "Barisan Rakyat".

Many or even a majority I would say voted for the Opposition not because the Opposition is good but because they were angry with the Government led by Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. I don't think they are turncoats. I am sure Dato' Sri Mohd Najib Tun Razak will remedy the situation when he takes over.

Kudos also to bloggers who managed to change a few things during the year.

Happy New Year.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Tuanku Jaafar Ibni Al-Marhum Tuanku Abdul Rahman (1922-2008)

Saya turut bersedih di atas kemangkatan DYMM Yang di-Pertuan Besar Negeri Sembilan Al-Marhum Tuanku Jaafar Ibni Al-Marhum Tuanku Abdul Rahman pagi tadi.

DYMM Tuanku Jaafar, putera kepada Yang di-Pertuan Agung yang pertama Al-Marhum Tuanku Abdul Rahman Al-Marhum Tuanku Muhammad, telah dilahirkan pada Julai 19, 1922. Tuanku Jaafar telah memerintah Negeri Sembilan Darul Khusus selama 40 tahun, bermula dari 6 April 1968.

Semasa pemerintahan DYMM Tuanku Jaafar, saya telah dikurniakan anugerah kebesaran sebanyak dua kali sempena hari keputeraannya, Pingat Khidmat Cemerlang Masyarakat pada tahun 2002 dan Bintang Ahli Setia Negeri Sembilan pada tahun 2005.

Selama 4 dekad, DYMM Tuanku Jaafar telah memerintah Negeri Sembilan Darul Khusus dengan penuh adil dan saksama.

Semoga rohnya dicucuri rahmat dan ditempatkan di syurga Firdausi seperti yang telah dijanjikan kepada hamba-hambaNya yang soleh.


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

To all my Christian friends, I wish you a Merry Christmas and to everyone, a Happy New Year. Let's leave behind our sorrows during this festive season and rejoice with our beloved ones.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Pengambilalihan IJN oleh Sime Darby batal

Saya mengucapkan tahniah kepada kerajaan kerana telah menunda (tersurat), membatalkan (tersirat) pengambilalihan Institut Jantung Negara oleh Kumpulan Sime Darby Berhad.

Saya berharap kerajaan akan mengambil kira pendapat rakyat dahulu sebelum membuat keputusan sebegini pada masa depan.

Saya juga mengucapkan tahniah kepada 35 orang pakar perunding di IJN yang telah mengeluarkan satu kenyataan untuk membetulkan persepsi bahawa isu kenaikan gaji mereka adalah satu faktor untuk menswastakan IJN.

Berikut adalah kenyataan penuh yang dikeluarkan:

19th December 2008

Statement from IJN medical consultants

We read with concern the perceived perception that the medical staff of IJN are demanding higher pay and will leave IJN if these demands are not met.

We feel it is important that these negative perceptions are correctly put into context.

The institution was set up in 1992 as a corporate body directly under the purview of Ministry of Finance. Its board of Directors include representatives from Ministry of Health and MOF to ensure its direction and objectives of providing good quality and affordable medical care to Malaysians from all walks of life are adhered to.

In that respect, IJN has done and continue to do well, both in maintaining its moral as well as financial obligations. The institution has been self-sustaining since its inception (and has been able to pay year end bonuses annually without fail). For 2007 and up to end Nov 2008, we have accumulated 285,764 number of outpatients, performed 15,084 cardiac catheterization interventions including angiograms and angioplasties, 6,094 heart and lung surgeries, 7 mechanical hearts and heart and lung transplants surgeries.

As true with any organization of our size, there will be people leaving the organization at various times in order to pursue different career paths. Over the last 7 years of operation, out of a total of 35 consultants, only 7 have left IJN to work either in local or overseas private centres. Therefore, our consultants' annual attrition rate is only 3%, and we have responded consistently over time to promote our home grown talents to fill up the voids accordingly. Currently, 75% of IJN consultants have been in their posts for more than 10 years.

All of us are salaried based on a different payscale than that of the MOH though not at par with the private centres. Periodic review of salary scale is usually undertaken, subject to approval from Ministry of Finance.

As proven from our consultants' attrition rate and longevity in serving this institution, it is logical to surmise that on the whole we are happy with the current scheme and proving it by remaining with IJN. Many of us have served than 10 years, excluding time spent within the MOH Hospitals prior to setting up of IJN.

Whilst we have yet to have a clear picture of the proposed privatization by Sime Darby, we would like to reiterate our commitment to serve IJN in its current form and want to stress that the proposed privatization of IJN must not be seen to be as a response to our demands for better pay. The medical personnel of IJN are not at all involved, directly or otherwise, in the negotiations for the said privatization.

Being responsible employees of IJN, we are not in the position to dictate the outcome of the privatization proposal from Sime Darby to the stakeholders of IJN. However, the perception that the privatization proposal is in response to demands for higher remunerations by its medical staff is misconceived and must be corrected accordingly to safeguard and preserve the trust placed upon us by our patients.


1. Sharifah Suraya Syed Mohd Tahir
2. Suhaini Kadiman
3. Nor Azlina Abdul Jalil
4. Ariffin Marzuki Mokhtar
5. Thiru Kumar Namasivayam
6. Mohd Sharif Mohd Shaffie
7. Mohamed Hassan Mohamed Ariff
8. Azhari Rosman
9. Amin Ariff Nuruddin
10. Ahmad Khairddin Mohd Yusof
11. Aiza Aizan Abdul Rahim
12. Mohd Nasir Muda
13. Shaiful Azmi @ Jamauddin Yahaya
14. Balachandaran Kandasamy
15. Azlan Hussin
16. Razali Omar
17. Chew Soon Ping @ David Chew
18. Rosli Mohd Ali
19. Robaayah Zambahari
20. Mohd Azhari Yakub
21. Pau Khew Kong
22. Sivakumar Sivalingam
23. Abdul Rais Sanusi
24. Hew Chee Chin
25. Hamdan Leman
26. Alwi Mohamed Yunus

IJN issue - people's opinions ignored?

Call it a gut feeling, but I think the issue of selling Institut Jantung Negara to Sime Darby Berhad is going to be the Barisan Nasional Government's most unpopular decision since the petrol hike. The petrol hike as we know, was one of the reasons for BN's worst ever performance in the 2008 general election. I am not talking about the RM0.78 petrol hike after the election which of course, angered the people even more. I am talking about the earlier ones.

On the outset, the selling of IJN to Sime Darby may look like a simple business deal. But to many Malaysians, it is not.

First, the sentimental reasons - IJN was founded by Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, the nation's fourth Prime Minister at a time cardiovascular disease became the No 1 killer in Malaysia. So when you are caught in the traffic jam along Jalan Tun Razak like we often do, and when we take a look at IJN, the first thing that comes to mind is Dr Mahathir and the fact that this institution was built by him for the people. The institution is now so popular that people from all over the world seek treatment there. The poor who are only required to pay a nominal fee, are also welcome at IJN. They are never shooed away like some private hospitals. The Government servants and their spouses also enjoy the same treatment, I was told.

Secondly, the commercial reason - why should it be sold to Sime Darby? Why wasn't it open to other companies who specialise in hospitals? Although both the Government and Sime Darby have given the assurance that the poor will still be able to get cheap treatment, people simply don't buy it. True, Sime Darby has the financial capability to increase the salaries of specialists to US$30,000 a month, but where will its profits come from. This has to be made clear. You cannot treat 3,000 rich patients a month for a higher fee and try to balance it up with 50,000 poor patients who pay only the registration fee of RM8.

Thirdly and the most important fact is that the people are now feeling left out from the Government's decision-making process. I make no apology for saying this, but the Government seems to be making decisions these days like as though the people, whom they are answerable to, do not exist. IJN was built from the people's money and Sime Darby is a public-listed company. A Press statement should have been issued a long time ago to inform the people that Sime Darby was making a bid to buy IJN. Then the Government can gauge public opinion before a decision is made. In this case, the Cabinet simply approved the bid. The people only knew about it AFTER the decision was made.

So why isn't the Government talking to the people? It is things like these which make the Government unpopular and give the Opposition a field day!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Why the need for Sime Darby to buy into IJN?

I am confused, just like millions of other Malaysians, I am sure. What is the actual Cabinet decision pertaining to the Sime Darby Berhad-Institut Jantung Negara issue? The earlier statement says that the Cabinet has agreed in principle to begin discussions with Sime Darby which has shown an interest in "buying" IJN.

However, in its statement to Bursa Malaysia yesterday, Sime Darby said it is eyeing "a stake" in IJN.

So has there been a change of mind? Did the public outcry influence this change.

But the real story remains much stake is Sime Darby seeking to buy? Is it 51%? Could it be 99.9%?

No doubt Sime Darby is a GLC, but it is a profit-making entity. Will it not be tempted to make profits out of the ordinary people if it takes over IJN?

There have been many horror stories about private hospitals, including Subang Jaya Medical Centre which is owned by Sime Darby. They have even refused to accept seriously injured accident victims simply because they were unable to pay a deposit.

I don't really see a logic in the Government's decision to sell IJN to Sime Darby. IJN has been performing well as the country's No 1 heart hospital. It is renowned throughout the world.

As we know, former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad founded IJN in 1992. He went through two bypass surgeries there.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Bukit Antarabangsa tragedy...Ada fulus, terus lulus!

Each time there is a landslide at the Ampang area, we get statements from Government officials and politicians that development in the hilly areas will be prohibited permanently.

But who are we kidding? A couple of months after such tragedies, we see cranes and tractors moving in to work on new projects.

Why is the Ampang Jaya Municipal Council allowing this? Shouldn't it be held responsible if the projects that it approves cause such tragedies? It reeks of corruption. Surely, there must be some form of incentive which encourages officers to approve these projects although they are not supposed to. Otherwise, will developers continue to get the necessary approval for projects in the hilly areas? Money, it seems, can buy all forms of approvals. Ada pulus, terus lulus!

The highlands in Ampang serve as water catchment areas. This simply means the level of rainfall in these areas is high. If we chop down the trees, we won't have enough greens to absorb the water. If the water is not absorbed, it remains on the ground and loosens the soil. The soil then begins to move and cause landslides.

So many lives have been lost, so many properties destroyed, landslides after landslides have occured, but trees are being chopped down indiscriminately and developments at the hilly areas continue.

Our problem is, we never learn from history.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Ho Koh Chye (1942-2008)

I was shocked and saddened when I received an sms from Lazarus Rokk informing me that one of Malaysia's greatest sportsman, former Olympian Datuk Ho Koh Chye passed away at the Kelana Medical Centre this evening.

Although at the point of writing this blog, the cause of his death had not been established, it was learnt that he had earlier today complained of abdominal pains.

Ho, 66, was a great sportsman. He represented Malaysia in hockey for many years and played a pivotal role in making Malaysia the top four in the world hockey ranking. Those were the days when you took part in sports in the spirit of nationalism and patriotism and not the lure of monetary rewards. Those were the days when Ho, like other sportsmen and sportswomen, survived on a RM10 meal allowance a day.

An old boy of St Paul's Institution in Seremban, Ho was one of the best hockey goalkeepers the country had ever produced.

Even after retiring from active hockey, he continued to contribute as a volunteer towards developing Malaysian sports.

He was the Chef-de-Mission of the Malaysian Contingent to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

Having represented Negri Sembilan in hockey from 1983 to 1989, I knew Ho as a dedicated man who devoted his entire 66 years of life to the development of sports in Malaysia, especially hockey.

Ho's untimely death leaves a vacuum in the Malaysian sporting arena which only a great person like he was can fill.