Latest News
Health Tourism in Malaysia Investor Research KPJ in the News KPJ 2013 Annual Report
Home > Corporate Profile


For a woman who is small in size, Datin Paduka Siti Sa'diah Sheikh Bakir brings mega achievements to her position as managing director of KPJ Healthcare Berhad, one of the leading private healthcare p


From, MC (Madam Chair) magazine, volume 18, 2009.
In the flesh, 55-year-old Datin Paduka Siti Sa'diah Sheikh Bakir is surprisingly small and soft-spoken for a woman who last year steered KPJ Healthcare to earn its first billion ringgit. Surely one would need rather large shoulders to bear the accountability of KPJ Healthcare's core activity — managing 24 specialist hospitals in Malaysia and abroad.
But that is not all. Aside from its principal business, KPJ Healthcare Bhd also provides management services; project management and engineering maintenance services for specialist hospitals; marketing and distribution of pharmaceutical, medical and consumer healthcare products; and operates a private nursing college, to name a few of its ventures.
That's a lot of responsibility for one woman, but this pint-sized woman takes it all and more in her stride.
She sits as chairman of various hospitals in the KPJ Group and of Willis (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd. She is director of Kulim Malaysia
Berhad, Puteri Hotels Sdn Bhd and Damansara REIT Managers Sdn Bhd. These are just the companies within the Johor Corporation JCorp) Group — the holding company for KPJ Healthcare Bhd — that she is involved in.
Outside JCorp, she is a director of Kumpulan Waqaf An-Nur, a non-governmental organisation dedicated to the provision of healthcare services to the less fortunate.
She has been the president of the Malaysian Society for Quality in Health (MSQH) since its inception in 1997 and a board member of MATRADE since 1999.
She is also a member of the Malaysian Productivity Council's (MFC) Consultative Panel on Healthcare — a position she has held since 2001; and a member of the National Patient Safety Council, Ministry of Health since 2003.
One of the positions she is most proud of is being elected Independent Director of Bursa Malaysia. She has served on the board since 2004.
"The other positions I hold outside KPJ are due to recognition — people have seen my potential and my track record and they invite me to contribute to their organisation," says Siti Sa'diah, explaining how she ended up wearing so many different hats.
She has built a good support team in KPJ, so that she can delegate work and concentrate on consultation and sharing her experience with those who want to learn from her.
"Over the years I have built a solid team. Building the team is crucial. Once you have the right people in the right places it makes your work a lot easier because you can delegate and trust your team to deliver. I can, in turn, focus on sharing my experience with my followers. Your followers must believe in you and trust in you before you can see the results."
Siti Sa'diah joined Johor Corporation in 1974, as soon as she graduated from the University of Malaya with an economics degree. She has stayed with the company ever since.

Datin Paduka Siti Sa'diah Sheikh Bakir, Managing Director of KPJ Healthcare

"What drives me? I work hard and diligently. I inherited that from my father. I watched him work very hard, day in and day out. He was an honest man who worked hard until he retired. I am motivated to be successful. The more successful you are the more you are motivated."
Siti Sa'diah's drive and determination were evident from an early age. She was born in Mersing and did her primary and secondary schooling there.
A teacher in her community had recognised her confidence despite her tender years and suggested she start schooling early. This is how she ended up going to Standard One at the age of five and a half. Although the youngest in her class (the others were six and a half or older), she volunteered to be the class monitor.
"I felt no qualms about it."
After her Form Six, which she also completed in Johor Baru, she headed to UM in Kuala Lumpur but her heart brought her back to her hometown once her degree was in hand.
"Being an economics graduate I wanted to do something related to economics in a corporate setting. I also wanted to go back to Johor. I had been interning at the Johor Corporation and when I got my results, they offered me an executive position. I have not looked back since."
JCorp was only four or five years old when she joined it. At that time, it was focused on development within the state of Johor.
Since joining Johor Corporation in 1974, she has been directly involved in the development and expansion of JCorp's Healthcare Division.
"We built this company (KPJ Healthcare Bhd) from zero base."
The idea for KPJ Healthcare was kind of accidental.
JCorp was asked to build a private hospital for the state. In those years, Johor was opening its doors to foreign investors and the state wanted to be prepared for an influx of expatriates.
"When expatriates come here, one of the first things they look at is good healthcare options. At that time, even our locals were going overseas for certain treatments. So the demand was there."

Datin Paduka Siti Sa'diah Sheikh Bakir

Siti Sa'diah says JCorp's foray into the healthcare sector led to much economic activity within the state, and later throughout the country. It reduced the brain drain and the amount of foreign exchange flowing out of the country as more Malaysians began to put their faith in local facilities.
"From the outset, we intended to be a good model of a Malaysian company — and so we have become that. Now we share our experience with others. People want to learn from us be-cause we stand out."
They do too. KPJ Healthcare has grown by leaps and bounds, crossing the boundaries of the state and even the nation — owning hospitals in Indonesia and the Middle East.
When it opened the first KPJ Specialist Hospital in Johor Bahru, there were no intentions to even cross the state boundary.
However, it had the opportunity to delve deeper into the healthcare business when KPJ in 1988, asked to take over Tawakal Hospital in Kuala Lumpur, which was having serious financial problems.
"We took it and turned it around and this has become our niche."
Since then, KPJ has acquired and built more hospitals. When Ipoh hospital wanted to sell its shares, KPJ bought it and it has since grown by leaps and bounds.
Last year, it bought Kuantan Specialist Hospital, which was under receivership, and turned it around.
"Our niche is to doctor the sick hospital," says Siti Sa'adiah.
In 1992, she moved from JB to KL, so as to keep up with the increased activity within the company.
And thus has been her journey so far. She started by helping JCorp to form the first KPJ hospital. In 1988, she was made CEO of KPJ Sdn Bhd, a position she held until the company was listed in 1994 as KPJ Healthcare Bhd.
Her daily duties involve ensuring everyone within the group meets operating standards, and looking into the building of new hospitals and acquisitions.
Of utmost importance to her is the development of people. This led to the training of nurses with the setting up of KPJ's Puteri Nursing College in Nilai, Negeri Sembilan.
"We run activities in line with our core business."
As Malaysia sets its sights on becoming a health tourist hub, KPJ has also positioned itself to meet the increase in demand for this particular segment.
"You cannot do this if you don't have good doctors, good managers and a good support team.
We select good, competent doctors who will attract patients and remain relevant."
She says every organisation has a life cycle.
"Like a human being, an organisation has its embryonic stage and then proceeds to various states of development and then you die. While it is inevitable that a human dies, a company will die only if it is not rejuvenated. You rejuvenate the company by being relevant, offering new services and maintaining standards."
She says last year, 200,000 patients were serviced by about 650 specialist doctors and 7,000 management staff in KPJ's hospitals.
"Ultimately, I am responsible for all their performance."

Datin Paduka Siti Sa'diah Sheikh Bakir

It is extremely interesting that this one woman, who has so many responsibilities outside the home, would seek to be entirely responsible for what goes on inside her home.
With her three children grown up and living on their own , she sees no need for a live-in maid and manages with someone who comes in two or three times a week to help with the cooking and cleaning.
She does everything else herself, including the laundry and making brunch for her family on weekends when she is not outstation.
"My children and husband have been very understanding. When my children were small we would sit at the table together and they would study while I would do my work. It has given me great satisfaction to watch them complete their education and become successful."
Her three children are aged 32, 27 and 24. The two older ones are married and she now has four grandchildren who live in Dublin.
"It is just me and my husband now. My husband loves gardening so he is in control of the outside of the house while I am in control of the inside. I do the things that I like and he does the things that he likes, and when we need to be together we are together. We go to Dublin together to see our grandchildren quite often."
Siti Sa'diah says it is inevitable that in life, women have to do more than men.
"We have to balance the family and work and make sure both are doing OK.
"When my children were small, I monitored their schoolwork. I sat with them during their music classes for the first two years. That's how I spent time with them."
She just slept less and never wasted time watching TV
"Life is about making choices. If you choose relaxation and easiness, then you are not productive."
Siti Sa'diah says one of these days she intends to slow down.
"I feel I have trained a lot of people and there are successors to me — it is up to the board to pick them. I am satisfied but not complacent. I continue to groom people to take over. Even when I leave the company I want to see that whatever I have done will flourish forever."
Challenges KPJ faces
"As managing director, my most important role is positioning my company among the competition.
"One needs to be visionary. How do you grow? How do you grow with full governance as a public-listed company? Where do we want to be in five years? Of course you have to look at the swat analyses, look at the economy and political situation. Do you have a strong financial backup to train, acquire and build?"

Datin Paduka Siti Sa'diah Sheikh Bakir with staff at hospital.

Managing a company
"A manager is someone who manages the economic resources of the organisation effectively and efficiently to meet the desired results. You are given targets and KPIs to meet.
"KPJ has gone through various phases of development, integration, consolidation and transformation. Now we want to keep transforming for the better — through our strategies and activities.
"We are a small company that has grown and now we have a very strong base. This will allow us to do things faster. It took me about 27 years to get our first billion. I hope to get my next billion in four or five years."
"I believe in the bottom-up management style. I believe in listening to people and getting their feedback, especially of those on the shop floor. This is very important. You are powerful when you get their loyalty and trust.
"We have to empower the staff. Once they are empowered and they know their responsibilities, they will perform.
"We inform our people about the company's performance, whether we are doing well or facing difficulties. I too practise this openness and transparency."
I am nothing -without my team
"I also use models I believe in and practise them to help us get better and higher.
"For instance, I believe in the 7S McKenzie framework. The idea mooted here is that the organisation is not just the structure but is also made up of six other elements. These are divided into two types — hard and soft. The hard elements are Structure, Strategy and System which are easy to identify and feasible. They can be found in strategy elements, corporate plans, organisational structures and other documentations. The soft elements, which are Shared Values, Skills, Style and

Staff, are more intangible and harder to influence. If an organisation can achieve a good balance between all these elements, it will be successful."

Datin Paduka Siti Sa'diah Sheikh Bakir during interview.

Traits she expects in her staff
"Number one for me would be integrity. Whether you are a doctor, or on the management team or the staff, whatever you promise you must deliver. You should not take anyone lightly or for a ride. Don't fail, mislead or upset people. We want our people to be clean and have no conflict of interest. Yes, knowledge and qualifications are important but for me, integrity is more important.
"Courtesy, smiling faces are part of our corporate culture. I tell them that everyone who walks through the door is a potential customer contributing to their pay cheque."
What staff appreciates about her, "I am open and transparent? If I like it I say it, if I don't like it, I also say it. I am a firm believer in transformation leadership where the leader and the follower are engaged so that they raise the levels of performance of each other.
"People who come to KPJ and JCorp should be above average. They come here and grow with us. We have a nurse who is now a general manager. We have a pharmacist who is now a GM. We are open to our staff bettering themselves within the company."
KPJ's selling point
"We have put our house in order. Our hospitals are accredited. How do you get an award? You have to fulfill certain criteria either in marketing, finance or management. When bench-marked against these criteria, we have shown to have it all."
Personal achievements she is proud of
"The listing of KPJ Healthcare Bhd really raised the industry's perception of us. It drove home the point that we are not a fly-by-night corporation but here to stay, grow the company and give value to the shareholders.
"I am proud of the growth of the company and its people and especially of the growth of our education arm.
"When I see that we can be more creative and innovative... that makes me proud.
"I keep telling my staff that no matter what their position they should think of creative ways to do our work. I feel I've reached a stage where we can climb any mountain together."
Daily duties
"When I am not in the office, my secretary will send a pack to my home with urgent matters that need to be dealt with and what I need to be prepared for the next day. I usually wake up before subuh and go through everything."
Most challenging period
"JCorp faced its worst recession in the late 1990s. At that time the company had a lot of debts. But we worked together. We could have sold Kulim and KPJ Healthcare but we didn't. Instead we took pay cuts, travelled in groups, travelled in economy class and so on, to cut costs. I was involved in the restructuring. The period taught us to be more prudent and economical. Now we know we must be prepared for rainy days. When it happens you do what you can and stretch yourself. I like to stretch my people to the edge knowing there is no edge except the competitive edge over our competitors.
"Our KPJ counter in the stock market is not recession proof but I believe we are more re-salient this time around. We must be prepared and manage our resources well. We don't want to cut or spend out of turn.
"My state Johor) awarded me a Datukship.
"I think I receive a lot of recognition especially when I am invited to sit on the boards of other companies.
"Where KPJ is concerned we have won many awards.
"We are the first Islamic REIT to win awards by EURO Money Magazine and Islamic Financial News (Dubai). We were recognised because of the innovativeness of our company."
"I love to swim. I am also an ardent collector of little novelties from the different countries I travel to. I read a lot of medical fiction. I love to read memoirs of women. I have read the memoirs of Margaret Thatcher, Hillary Clinton and Mrs. Indira Gandhi. I also like to play Scrabble."

Datin Paduka Siti Sa'diah Sheikh Bakir

The Future of KPJ
"We want to build more hospitals and acquire more. Standalone hospitals have to bear high costs. We have a structure in place and economics of scale. We also have the expertise."

The Brand Laureate Awards 2008
KPJ received The Brand Laureate Awards on July 1. 2008 at Sunway Lagoon Resort Hotel for putting the country on the world map. KPJ senior group general manager Amirud-din Abdul Satar received the award from Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad. The BrandLaureate Award and its various categories were conceptualized to honour excellence amongst brands in Malaysia and globally.

The BrandLaureate Awards (Best Brand)
KPJ Ampang Puteri Specialist Hospital (APSH) received the BrandLaureate Awards on Jan 8, 2008 at Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur for Best Brands in Healthcare (Hospital Category). APSH was judged for its brand strategy/identity, brand culture, brand performance/profitability, brand equity and integrated brand communication. APSH’s win is a testimony to the brand's success and the dedication and tenacity of the management and staff.

Frost & Sullivan Awards, 2008
Frost & Sullivan honoured South East-Asia's best companies in its 3rd Award Ceremony with 38 awards for medical research organisations, healthcare technologies, pharmaceutical and healthcare services. KPJ received the South-East Asia Private Hospital Group Growth Strategy Leadership Award for being recognised as the best in class company for innovation and perseverance.
The award was presented to Dato' Dr. K. Kulaveera Singam, KPJ group advisor, Medical Services Development and Marketing by Aroop Zutshi, Frost & Sullivan's president and senior partner on June 13, 2008 at Inter-Continental Hotel, Singapore.

Technology Business Review ASEAN Awards, 2007
KPJ Healthcare Berhad received this award for its superb performance in finance, innovations, adaptation of technology, customer service relationship, human resource management and corporate social responsibility. This was received on Oct 26, 2007.

Asian Hospital Management Award (Runner-Up), 2007
KPJ Johor Specialist Hospital received the Asian Hospital Management Award which is an accepted Hospital Management Awards programme for Asia Pacific, on Aug 31,
2007 from Faber Healthtronics, Thailand for carrying out best hospital practices and implementing outstanding and innovative projects and programmes.

National Award for Management Accounting (NAfMA), 2007 (Certificate of Merit)
Both KPJ Johor Specialist Hospital and Bukit Mertajam Specialist Hospital received this award on Dec 13, 2007 for being recognised as hospitals which adopt best practice management accounting and creating value that leads to business excellence, in pursuit of world-class business performance.

Enterprise 50,2007
Received by Kuantan Specialist Hospital, KPJ Ampang Puteri Specialist Hospital, Puteri Specialist Hospital and Tawakal
Hospital on Dec 22, 2007 from SMIDEC, this award recognizes the achievements of home-grown companies which are positioned for the future. The evaluation was based on the hospitals' management and financial performance.

MSQH Accreditation.
 MSQH, an independent, non-profit organisation which ensures safety and continuous quality in health services provided by healthcare facilities, awarded this accreditation to:
KPJ Ampang Puteri Specialist Hospital
KPJ Damansara Specialist Hospital *KPJ Selangor Medical Centre
KPJ Ipoh Specialist Hospital, and *KPJ Johor Specialist Hospital

Export Excellence Award, 2007
KPJ Ampang Puteri Specialist Hospital received the Export Excellence Award from
MATRADE on Feb 6, 2007 for its commitment and efforts in penetrating the export markets. It also recognizes the hospital's investment in developing Malaysian brands and its commitment in promoting the brand internationally.

Inaugural Service Excellence Challenge Award, 2007
KPJ Selangor Medical Centre won this award after completing the challenge themed 'Transforming Customer Service into a Total Customer Experience' during the Focus Learning Service Challenge on Nov 13, 2007 from Focus Learning Corporation Berhad. The challenge was to prepare their teams to perform their customer service practice.

ASEAN Business Awards 2007
KPJ Johor Specialist Hospital was one of the finalists in the 'Most Admired ASEAN Enterprise-Corporate Social Responsibility' category, by the ASEAN Business Advisory Council on Nov 18, 2007.

National Occupational Safety & Health Excellence Award, 2007
This award was received by KPJ Ampang Puteri Specialist Hospital from the Ministry of Human Resource on Jan 24, 2007, for its good record of achievements for occupational safety and health management at the workplace through the safety and health audit.

Special Award from Malaysian Productivity Centre (MPC)
Puteri Specialist Hospital (PSH) received this award for its initiative in quality productivity enhancement in the private healthcare industry. The award was presented to KPJ managing director Datin Paduka Siti Sa'diah Sheikh Bakir by International Trade and Industry Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin on April 7, 2008.

Accreditation Certification
JSH joined its sister hospitals and received three years accreditation certification from MSQH in March 2006.

KPJ, Hospital Tawakal

Baby Friendly Hospital
During the year, APSH received certification as a Baby Friendly Hospital from the Ministry of Health and World Health Organisation.

Enterprise 50
KSH, on its first attempt, secured placing in the Enterprise 50 listing organized by the Small and Medium Industries Development-Corporation.

ISO 900:2000 Certification
During the year, SSH and PNC were certified with ISO certification by Moody International, while HTSSB received the certification from TUV Rheinland.

Matrade Export Excellence Award
APSH received the Export Excellence Award in the category of medical and healthcare services for 2006 from MATRADE.

Occupational Health & Safety Certification
APSH received another award for Occupational Health & Safety organized by the Department of Health & Occupational Safety and Human Resource Ministry.

Productivity Award
DSH won the Productivity Award organized by the National Productivity Corporation in June 2006.

Quality Management Excellent Award
PSH received the Quality Management Excellent Award organized by the National Productivity Corporation and Ministry of International Trade and Industry in March 2006.

As at 31 December 2006, KPJ amassed RM342.1 million in net tangible assets and shareholder funds of RM442.6 million based on a paid-up capital of RM204.0 million.