Continued from Part 1
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
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