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Apart from upgrading and enhancing the domestic healthcare services sector for the benefit of our people, good efforts are in place to increase national capacity and potential to be a major Health Tou


From: Passions, Special Feature, May 2009.
A healthy nation is a thriving and prosperous one, if one subscribes to the adage that health means  wealth.  Datin  Paduka Siti Sa'diah Sheikh Bakir is someone who knows the important role that healthcare has played in Malaysia. After all, as the Managing Director of KPJ Healthcare Berhad, she has been at the forefront of developing the private healthcare sector in Malaysia. In conjunction with our celebration of Merdeka, PASSIONS speaks to Datin Paduka Siti Sa'diah on her perceptions and hopes for the nation.
For Datin Paduka Siti Sa'diah, Malaysians have much to be proud of, having achieved much in the 52 years since Merdeka. As she noted, Malaysia has grown from "a young country struggling to enter into its own after more than 300 years of colonial rule" to a country where "her citizens have recorded many milestones, encompassing a vast array of undertakings."
Definitely, the progress Malaysia has made in healthcare is one of the great achievements of the nation. With the industry continuously evolving, growing and progressing, Datin Paduka Siti Sa'diah observed that Malaysians have been able to move away from being entirely dependent on the public sector when it comes to healthcare services.
She opined that this is thanks to several factors, not least of all the excellent training and education that many local healthcare professionals have had. In fact, as she shared, "Malaysia is able to provide internationally-recognised healthcare education and training", and undoubtedly the
KPJ Healthcare Group stands as a prime example of that excellence at work. As one of the leading healthcare concerns in the country, KPJ has helped shape private healthcare in Malaysia.
It is no wonder that Datin Paduka Siti Sa'diah is proud of the achievements that KPJ has made — having grown from just one hospital to 21 in the space of just 28 years. Similarly, as a patriotic Malaysian, she is filled with pride over the milestones made by the country since 1957. As she told PASSIONS, what makes Malaysia special is its diversity. "Where else," she asked, "can you find some many races that call themselves one nation? Our diversity is our strength, our unity drives us forward."
To her, everyone's contributions - particularly those of women who are increasingly becoming key decision makers - count in the drive towards a fully developed Malaysia. Thus, when speaking on her goals and aspirations in contributing more to the nation, Datin Paduka Siti Sa'diah noted that "Malaysia is well-poised to strengthen its presence in the international arena" when it comes to healthcare. This is especially the case in health tourism, which KPJ Healthcare is actively involved in.
As she shared, Malaysia was ranked third in the list of best medical tourism destinations in the world just behind Panama and Brazil according to a survey by NuWire Investor. Thus, she feels that it is important for the private and public sectors in healthcare to work together to strive to push Malaysia into first place. And without a doubt, with Datin Paduka Siti Sa'diah playing a leading role, KPJ Healthcare will continue to play a role in the development of the healthcare industry which has already made a proud name for itself in Malaysia.