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Govt okay with selling IJN stake to Sime Darby

KUALA LUMPUR, 18 Dec 2008: The government has no objection in principle for Sime Darby Bhd to acquire a stake in IJN Holdings Sdn Bhd but the conglomerate must ensure high priority for the poor, said the Deputy Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak today.

“We are in the process of finalising the matter with the Ministry of Health although in principle we have no objection to the proposal,” he said after chairing a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on AIDS in Parliament today.

Najib, who is also the Finance Minister, said Sime Darby must pledge its commitment that the poor would not be marginalised if IJN is to be transferred to it.

“Whatever the position of IJN, it is important for the social programme to be given high priority,” he added.

It was reported that Sime Darby had written to the government proposing to acquire a stake in IJN Holdings, the operator of the national heart institute. IJN is currently the leading medical heart centre in the region and is 99.99% owned by the Ministry of Finance.

When asked if there were other parties interested in acquiring a stake in IJN, he said: “Not, as far as I know.”

Najib said the proposal would have some advantages for IJN as funding would not be a problem for Sime Darby and doctors would also receive better remuneration.

“Given the need for better treatment of heart diseases and the competition from new hospitals coming up, it is possible to pinch doctors from IJN,” he said.

It was reported that Sime Darby is expected to pay a premium price above the typical hospital valuation of 16 times the price to earnings (PE) ratio as IJN is a reputable heart specialist centre in the region. — Bernama


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