Friday, January 02, 2009

IJN Probe (Part 2)

Continued from Part 1

Trojan Horse

The first name that comes up in the mind of many, when Sime Darby announced the proposed takeover of IJN, was its Chairman, Tun Musa Hitam. Some political pundits saw this move as Musa’s 'revenge' to destroy another legacy of Tun Dr Mahathir. This time it is right to his very “heart”.

Only God knows his true intention.

Unlike other leaders who splashed money abroad for sinus medical treatment, Dr Mahathir insists on local surgeons to undertake his heart operation. At IJN, he undertaken heart surgery twice. At the age of 82 last year, he risked his life in his belief that Malaysia Boleh. He was damn right. Our Malaysian surgeons and medical staff can do.

When Sime Darby’s proposed acquisition received an all round disapproval from the public, political parties - government and opposition, and all quarters, it was truly an embarrassing situation for Musa.

Deputy Health Minister Datuk Dr Abdul Latiff Ahmad was quoted on The Star, December 21st 2008 as saying “The Government has assured the people that it will not sell or privatise the National Heart Institute (IJN) as long as there are no alternatives which provide similar service.”

This should be the guiding principle to save IJN from the Barbarians. This fight should be heightened for there maybe Trojan horses within IJN.

Christmas Eve Surprise

The day before Christmas, the press reported Musa’s reply. He tried to comfort the public that his company’s proposal will not affect the poor and low income earners. Retirees and Government pensioner will continue to receive their benefit. But he did not disclosed that Government revenue from civil servant clients is an integral part of their plan.

During the PC to announce the Labu Vision City plan, Sime Darby CEO, Dato Zubir Murshid's intention to raise medical charges to squeeze out more profit from IJN was obvious, when he compared IJN’s profit of RM20 million to SJMC’s RM25 million (that include declining quality in service, refusal of emergency patients, and dismal CSR).

To corporate professional, Musa was fulfilling his fiduciary duty as Director to shareholders by giving the interest of the Company foremost consideration.

Musa being a political animal, the politician within him could not resist to surface. He claimed there is no element of nepotism and cronyism. Why did he raised that when the public does not suspect such happening? Was he trying to take a swipe at someone? Can he be absolutely sure there will be no such elements? Can he guarantee there will be no such elements beyond the ability of the public to possibly detect?

[Note 3-2-2009 11:00 am: The lead to the subsequent story came from a lead from the blog Politica here and some investigation was made.]

That Christmas Eve evening, the Board of Directors of IJN Sdn Bhd had its already scheduled meeting. Dr Mohd Ezani Md Taib, the Cardiothoracic Consultant Surgeon and its Clinical Director for Heart and Lung Transplant Department was invited to make a presentation.

At the end of his presentation, Dr Ezani suddenly detoured into the Sime Darby takeover proposal. He told the Board members that IJN should stop acting like a “bank”. He suggested the Board to strongly consider the privatisation proposal because IJN should stop relying on Government subsidy.

This opinion of Dr Ezani seemed contradictory with his public disposition. He was a signatory to the December 19th, 2008 public statement by the Medical consultants (in the unavailable second page). He was a participant in a meeting which seemed unhappy with the privatisation. It wasn’t very clear what he meant by "bank" and subsidy, but it surprised bankers from among the Board members. If it had been exactly what the term is normally meant, the young surgeon did not understand the business model, corporate strategy and financial plan of IJN.

Upon recovering from that surprise, one member of the Board of Director told his fellow members that EPU would proceed with the privatisation. Sime Darby would take-up 51% equity and from the remaining 49%, there would be private party/ies.

This made the young doctor a suspected mole to pursue a piece of the 49% stake in IJN? Is it fair to assume just from his expressed opinion in a Board meeting and publicly seen having a conversation with Khairy?

[Update 3-1-2009 11:00 am: A Voice of ABITW received feedback and unconfirmed messages to dispute Dr Ezani's pro-privatisation position and felt the original posting was defamatory. Since it has never (yet) the practise of this blog to retrieve back published story, the storyline and subject will remain. Nevertheless, we oblige to edit the story for a fairer analysis. This blogger welcome a statement from Dr Ezani and assure his right of reply will not be denied. He may do so in the comment box and it will be duly published as a posting.]

[Update 3-1-2009 6:00 am: A commentator named Dr Ezani has posted a denial in the commentary and it is posted as a posting here]

Dr Ezani comes from a distinguish family - well connected and to do - from Johor. His father, Haji Mohamed Taib bin Ibrahim is the Co-Founder and Chairman of Muhibbah Engineering Berhad. He is a close associate of the Kuok Group and receive his break at their flour mill subsidiaries. His mother's side is believed to be sister to the illustrious retired General Tun Ismail Ibrahim. They are related to the late Tan Sri Abdul Kadir and Tan Sri Fatimah Hashim, both members of Tunku Abdul Rahman’s cabinet. A source informed that his father-in law is Tan Sri Professor Rashdan Baba, former Chairman of Telekom and Guthrie.

With such family connection from Johor and father’s close link with the Kuok Group, it raises many possibilities. He has a family name to uphold. Money could not be solely a motivation for he is well paid. If he is ambitous, he has the resources and connection. The late Tan Sri Kadir's son, former SC Chairman Dato Ali Kadir was a team member in the fund raising and financial planning raising


The Board of Directors have unanimously opposed to the proposed takeover of IJN. To the distinguished professional and politican-free members of the Board of Director, Dr Ezani's exact words are crystal clear. It would be difficult for him to dispute if they unanimously confirmed his exact words.

They could be asking at the back of their mind where did Dr Ezani get the notion of IJN survived on Government subsidy? Did any "Tingkat 4 boys" (reputed to have shallow analysis, textbook thinking, and hasty decision on public policy) got to this innocent doctor and advised him such?

Despite being young, he is an influential personality and has the ability to convince over his colleagues. Few days earlier on December 22nd, IJN’s Emergency Professional Advisory Committee had a meeting. The minutes of the discussion was published by SDW blog but was removed. Dr Ezani was fairly silence.

Several questions were posed on the Merger. One participant was particularly vocal against management. Issue was raised to demand more say in the running of the hospital by the professional staff. (It has been the practise of IJN that hospital administration and management be run by non-medical staff as suggested by one founding member, Dr Zainal).

The Chairman and CEO was indirectly accused of knowing before hand of takeover. No one, except the powers in Putrajaya, bosses of the golden colored building at Jalan Sultan Ismail and maybe the Trojan Horses, would knew before hand of the takeover proposal. Is there someone creating distrust towards the management to serve the 'powers' and 'bosses'?

Other than the pediatric cardiologists, whose activist boss and former Malaysiakini columnist, Dr Mazeni Alwi was away, all medical consultant were signatory to the press statement. When Dr Mazeni returned from abroad, the Department confirmed support for the press statement.

But, slowly and surely few more Trojan horse warriors are being slowly enticed. There are those suspecting the Chairman Salleh “Budu”.

He joined IJN some two years ago after his contract with Taman Teknologi Malaysia was not renewed by Dato Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis, the then Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation. With the wife, Dato Seri Shahrizat Jalil ability to plead to Pak Lah, he managed to secure the Chairmanship post. He is the nearest to a "political appointee" and his loyalty will most likely be for Pak Lah. His position is as Government representative.

Initially, Salleh suspiciously attempted to repeat his old habit to nominate suppliers but his list was rejecetd for not making the grade. One blog commentator highlighted that he was awarded the National Feedlot Sdn Bhd but bungled it with his indiscipline financial management.

However, is it fair to suspect him just because of his past failures? Or because he has a politican as wife? After all, he is unanimous with the Board to oppose the takeover.

In a takeover excersie or privatisation excercise, management or ambitious executive could really make a killing. Is there such opportunity for 99.99% Government-owned IJN?

Next: IJN Probe (Part 3): Barbarian Invasion

* Edited and updated: 3/1/2009 11:00 am


Anonymous said...

Asalamualaikum Voice,

I am not sure why and how the stories started but let me clarify things.

1. My so called meeting with KJ was pure coincidence. I was waiting for the health minister and Dato Dr Robaayah. As I waited with Dato Salleh , KJ came out of Dato Ismail's suite and stopped to meet us. I actually mention , please dont allow the privitaisation.It will have a tremendous impact on the public and I was worried.Thats it. Does this by chance meeting , labels me as one of the conspirators.

2. As for the Christmas ev meeting. I was not invited to give a presentation. I was one of the 8 consultants nominated to meet the board. However only 5 attended.

3. Yes , I mentioned that IJN should not behave like its a bank ( like a corporate entity ) BUT it should stick to its original core activity ( that is being a hospital ) I dont know why this was left out. You can check with my medical director , dep. medical director , head of cardiology and another 2 consultants that attended that meeting. ( the MD is also a board member )

4. I have no corporate interest nor have the resources to be part of this conspiracy.

5. My parents are in their 80s , my uncle is wheel chair bound and I only know the doctor son of Tan Sri Kadir , an prominient endocrinologist.None of them have any interest in this , although they are patients of IJN. My Father in law is not interested in all this now and is busy entertaining his cucus

6. I stand firmly to state again that I am against privatisation and have been very vocal against it. This is well known amongst my fellow doctors and staff.

7.I am not sure why I am being implicated in al these things but my loyalty remains with my patients especially those that require constant government support like the transplant and mechanical heart patients. Why do you think I am so vocal against privatisation.?

8. On the claim that I was quiet during the professional meeting , I was very vocal but the points and discussion were all summarise by the secretary.

I am very disturbed by your allegations and remarks and may i request that you take them back..

Thank you and wasalam

Dr. Mohamed Ezani Md Taib

Anonymous said...

Dear Sir,

I was disturbed with the article on IJN and the Trojan Horse. I happen to be one of the doctors who attended the Emergency Board of Directors meeting. The part about Dr Ezani making a point towards consideration for privatization was absolutely inaccurate. We stand by the earlier and only statement we the doctors made to the press.

Anonymous said...


I've come up with a "Save the IJN" logo. Would appreciate it if you could use it on your blogsite.



Anonymous said...

I think the bigger picture here is about the take-over and the existence of person or group of doctors that is working behind the scene and not about what you have said or don't say during that meeting.

I was reliably informed by close sources that there was definitely objection to the proposed takeover by the group of doctors during the Emergency Board Meeting but its NOT coming from you, Dr Ezani.

And if you were really against the proposed take-over, I suggest you correct the wrong perception by organizing a petition signed by your peers strongly objecting to the take-over.

This will send a strong signal to the hungry wolves and the power-that-be not to mess around with a scared institution like IJN.

Have a heart, I know you will do the right thing.


Anonymous said...

While anonymous posts (and anonymous bloggers) claim to have sources "close" to IJN please take note that the the doctors actually working at IJN and who have left comments on your blog are unafraid to use thier real names.

Why is this? It's because we have nothing to hide. We also have nothing to gain from the privatization move. No doubt, there will likely be a more lucrative pay scheme from the greater emphasis on private practice. And while I've read posts on how us affluent IJN doctors "don't need the money" let me point out my wife's reaction of disbelief to this:
namely: "I didn't realize you were overpaid! "

BUT: If we wanted to make more money by moving to private practice, we would do so. We would resign and set up practice in one of the many private hospitals in the country. We do NOT need the IJN to become a private entity for that to happen.

We however choose to stay with IJN and we certainly prefer the present owners.

Ezani had nothing whatsoever to do with encouraging the Sime Darby move. Quite the opposite and its regrettable that you chose to include details about his family in your post. You're of course able to get on your high horse and vouch for your blog policy of not retracting posts but...

... I don't see you publishing any of YOUR personal details anywhere.

Alwi M Yunus, IJN

Anonymous said...

Salam Dr.Ezani,
I sincerely hope that your respond is the truth. From your respond it appears that your meeting with KJ was pure coincidence. I am just curious,if it is a practice at IJN that you or another doctor have to wait / to receive everytime the Health Minister comes? I thought doctors have better things to do. Just Dato Salleh with other admin guy should suffice. In this particular incident why you?

Anonymous said...

Voice keep on revealing and assuming because since we can verified certain information,the duty to clearified is bound to those EMPUNYA BADAN..

Jadi kepada siapa yang makan CABAI dia yg terasa PEDAS nya...

My Say