KPJ Healthcare Berhad

A leader in Malaysia's challenging healthcare services industry

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"A seed is planted in the depths of the soil, watered, fertilised and nurtured. Branches and leaves then sprout, becoming bigger and stronger, reaching for the sky".


An extract from KPJ Healthcare's coffee table book produced to celebrate KPJ's 25th Anniversary in 2006 aptly describes the incredible success story of KPJ: "A seed is planted in the depths of the soil, watered, fertilised and nurtured. Branches and leaves then sprout, becoming bigger and stronger, reaching for the sky".

Datin Paduka Siti Sa'adiah Sheikh Bakir, Managing Director of KPJ Healthcare Berhad, exuded such dignity, confidence and pride as she spoke to me about KPJ. Her quiet pride and sense of fulfilment was understandable as she recalled how she joined the Johor Corporation as a rookie graduate and was suddenly entrusted with the important job of preparing the concept paper for Johor Corporation to make its debut into the healthcare industry. It was Dato Dr. Lim Kee Jin who mooted the idea for the Johor Corporation to establish the first private hospital in Johor. This idea was imediately snapped up by the then CEO of Johor Corporation, Tan Sri Dato Basir Ismail, whom Datin Paduka referred to as her first mentor, with her second mentor being the current KPJ Chairman, Tan Sri Dato Muhammad AN Hashim. He summoned Datin Paduka Siti Sa'diah, who instantly expressed her anxiety and told him that she did not know much about the healthcare industry, to which Tan Sri Basir replied, "I am now giving you the opportunity to learn up as much as possible on the industry and present to me a Viability Study Report. We are not going to establish just one private hospital. We are going for a chain of hospitals." That jolted Datin Paduka and she decided then and there had to take up the big challenge and prove to her boss that she can do it, and did she do it! The KPJ Group established its first hospital in 1981, and now operates 18 private hospitals throughout Malaysia plus 6 private hospitals in Indonesia, Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia!


Setting up a chain of hospitals and being Malaysia's largest healthcare provider is one thing but the accountant's mind in me wanted to know whether they are a financial success. She smiled and coolly replied, "We touched RM1 Billion in revenue last year". I nearly fell off my chair! I was so proud to hear that a Malaysian organisation can generate that kind of annual revenue. They actually achieved a 33% increase in revenue of RM1.108 Billion in 2007 compared to RM831.5 Million in 2006. It was their most positive achievement in the Group's 26- year history. Again 55 a chartered accountant, I have the need to state some impressive figures.

                                                  2006                          2007
                                                   RM                           RM
Shareholders' Funds        442.6    Million            508.8  Million
Annual Revenue                 831.5    Million          .1    Billion
Pre-tax Profit                        60.1     Million            85.3   Million
Total Assets                        1,101.9    Million        1,204.7Million
Number of Outpatients      1.6 1                             1.7
Total Operating Beds          817 Mil Beds             1,941   Million Beds

Dato Dr. Lim Kee Jin - Dr. Chakr Sri Na Nagara

Johor Specialist Hospital
The growth is impressive when one goes back to KPJ's first year in 1981 when it had just one private hospital, the Johor Specialist Hospital, with a staff of 120, seventy beds, 8 medical consultants, 40,000 outpatients and an annual turnover of RM10 Million. The following reflections from the pioneer specialists give us a quick glimpse down memory lane:

Dato Dr. Lim Kee Jin, Consultant Physician
“It has been a very satisfactory and rewarding experience to have initiated the creation of this hospital, especially in working with Johor Corporation; the tribute should be given to Tan Sri Dato' Basir Ismail who was responsible for bringing in Johor Corporation to sponsor the project".

Dr. Ong Ah How, Consultant Radiologist
"In 7987, the Radiology Department started with two rooms doing very basic x-rays and fluoroscopy... Over the years, the department has grown. Back in 1981, the department handled about W patients a day, Today, we average about 80-100 patients per day!"

Dr. Mak Kock Kheng, Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist
"The consultants and management were committed to make the hospital a viable venture and a success... The consultants, Datin Paduka Siti Sa'adiah and Encik Ahamad (the Administrator) were jointly managing the hospital. The management committee met regularly in the evenings and occasionally at night to trash out problems. Slowly but surely, the business grew".

Tawakal Hospital
Six years later in 1987, a breakthrough opportunity came in the takeover of Tawakal Hospital, which was saddled with almost RM16 Million in losses and a huge debt with a bank. This was a challenge which Datin Paduka and her management team could not resist. They put forth their best negotiation skills with the bank offerring "haircut" proposals and projecting "breakeven" financial results for 1988- which was actually realised! They changed the old management, enforced multi-tasking amongst staff, conducted census on staff-bed occupancy ratio and strived on optimum management productivity. Not only did they breakeven in 1988 but within five years, the loss was also wiped out.

Johor Specialist Hospital

Ipoh Specialist Hospital
Private medical specialists had toiled to form the Ipoh Specialist Centre which was opened on 10th October 1981. Acquired by KPJ in 1989, the hospital's name was changed to Ipoh Specialist Hospital (ISH) in 2001 and has today become a key player in Perak's healthcare services industry. Following the acquisition, KPJ further enhanced ISH's managerial systems, improved processes and strengthened the hospital's human capital management, thereby encouraging rapid hospital-wide growth. Reflections from the pioneers of the Ipoh Specialist Hospital:

Dr. Chakr Sri Na Nagara, Consultant Obstretician & Gynaecologist
"(There was a) singleness of purpose amongst the staff and doctors in the early years of ISC.... Everyone was willing to go the extra mile. Staff worked on plans and committees in the formative years.

Dr. F. N. Yoong, Resident Consultant ENT Surgeon:
"We had many late-night meetings, which never ended before midnight and often extended to 2.00 a.m. Fortunately, we were much younger then and the late nights did not impair our ability to work the following day".

The KPJ Group went on to build or acquire the remaining hospitals in Malaysia as well as three more in Indonesia, one in Bangladesh and two in Saudi Arabia.

Earlier on, Datin Paduka Siti Sa'adiah had disclosed that the larger objectives of the Johor Corporation's strategy of entering into the healthcare industry was threefold: to prevent the braindrain out of Malaysia, prevent the outflow of foreign exchange and to present the state of Johor as one of the most vibrant industries in the country.

Ipoh Specialist Hospital


Nurses for the World
KPJ acknowledges the critical role played by nurses in the healthcare service, hence, in advance of its tagline "Nurses For the World", its Puteri Nursing College (PNC) was established in 1991 and in 1994, PNC established a milestone by conducting post-basic nursing specialization programmes in collaboration with the Edith Cowan University, Curtin University and the University of South Australia. In 1997, PNC signed an MOU with the Liverpool John Moore's University, UK, introducing the Operating Department Practice Programme. By April 2006, PNC moved to its campus under the name of PNC International College of Nursing and Health Sciences in Nilai, Negeri Sembilan. PNC is now able to take in 1,000 students at any one time, guided by highly qualified teaching staff and making big steps towards realizing its tagline. Now, KPJ's nursing staff have been seconded to Saudi Arabia. Following this very fruitful overseas placement, KPJHassignec a 5-year Hospital Management Agreement: to manage existing hospitals under the New Jeddah Clinic Hospitals in Saudi Arabia.

As further proof of PNC's strong growth potential, PNC's Johor Bahru branch was opned in January 2008, to cater to the increasing demand for nursing graduates, to fill both and global requirements.

Exporting Healthcare Competencies
KPJ has a good reputation in the international arena, as the provider of quality integrated healthcare services, especially in terms of hospital management services. Senior members of the KPJ management team have been appointed as the Chief Executive Officers (CEOs), Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) and Chief Nursing Officers (CFO) of hospitals in Indonesia, Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia.

In addition, KPJ also offers a diverse range of professional services including nursing expertise, nursing training and education programmes, hospital commissioning and other healthcare-related technical matters Furthermore, as proof of KPJ's ability, the Secretariat of the World Islamic Economic Forum (WIEF) has appointed KPJ to provide nursing and healthcare training services to Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia.

KPJ SerembanSpecialist Hospital

Medical Tourism
KPJ recorded a 40% increase in health tourism patients in 2007, registering an income of RM18 million compared to the total revenue of RM12.9 million in Year 2006. This increase was driven by KPJ's high level of clinical excellence and competitive pricing. KPJ hospitals currently receive patients from Australia, UK, Saud Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Korea, Japan, Indonesia Brunei and Myanmar.

First World Islamic Healthcare REIT
KPJ ventured into uncharted waters by successfully launching the AL-'AQAR KPJ REIT (Real Estate Investment Trust). This KPJ REIT is the world's first listed Islamic healthcare REIT, which was listed on Bursa Malaysia on 24 July 2006, was 4.5 times oversubscribed. KPJ made ground-breaking history and won the inaugural Deal of The Year Award (Islamic REIT category) by Islamic Finance News (IFN) and the Islamic Finance Award for the most
Innovative Deal Category from Euromoney magazine, all in year 2007. Datin Paduka Srti Sa'diah explained that REIT is a unique product for financial management. It unlocks the value of assets and provides funds for more acquisitions and the opportunity to grow the business. She was excited at the challenge of managing revenue-generating assets with multiple objectives. With a twinkle in her eye, she took me by surprise and asked, "Is your hospital up for sale?" knowing that I am the President of a Charity Hospital in Seremban. I just smiled back, still not quite recovered yet fat this big-time power-player in the hospital industry was asking me that question!

Highly advanced Healthcare settings.

Intrapreneur Network
Holding true to the principle of "shared growth and shared prosperity" KPJ provides opportunities for their employees with potential to establish new entrepreneurial e-enterprises and there are now three intrapreneur companies, namely Healthcare Technical Services Sdn. Bhd., Teraju Farma Sdn. Bhd. and Fabricare Laundry Sdn. Bhd. Under an initiative introduced by JCorp, KPJ assists staff members who have displayed entrepreneurial skills to own and manage related companies by providing strategies input, specialised skills transfer, management information systems and financial support.

Patient Centered Services
KPJ is always on the lookout for new techniques 1 in surgeries and medical treatments. In 2006, with the Center for Severe Obesity, Inc. Florida, USA and Tyco Healthcare Medical Supplies Sdn. Bhd., to establish a Severe Obesity Centre at KPJ Damansara, to treat obesity and weight management problems. A team of surgeons from Florida has successfully trained KPJ's laproscopic surgeons to undertake this new technique in bariatric surgery.

In June 2008, KPJ Healthcare Berhad (KPJ) took caring for patients to whole new level when it launched Pain Management Services, the first of its kind, in KPJ Ampang Puteri Specialist Hospital (APSH). The year also saw KPJ setting up two Wellness Centres in two of the Group's Accreditated hospitals, namely KPJ Ampang Puteri and KPJ Damansara Specialist Hospital, to provide information and services pertaining to healthy lifestyles, the reduction of health risk factors and the prevention of disease.

CSR Award.

The Other Side of the Corporate Leader

Woman-to-Woman with Datin Paduka:
Datin Paduka Siti Sa'adiah enjoys swimming for exercise. For music, she likes "the oldies" and her favourite singer is Engelbert Humperdinck. She enjoys cooking and her favourite dishes are spaghetti and lasagna. Her usual breakfast is a cup of milo and vitamins, whilst lunch is usually some bread or meehoon soup. "Hugh Grant" she replied and I nearly fell off my chair the second time, as she identified her favourite actor. On hindsight, I asked myself, "and why not Hugh Grant?" He has impeccable manners, he would make a good person to chat with at a social event and he looks like a person you cannot be angry with for too long, but still, Datin Paduka's reply gave me a little jolt. Her favourite actress is Julia Roberts and she likes medical fiction movies.

She enjoys holidays overseas, first to visit her daughter and grandchildren, currently residing in Ireland and to her favourite countries such as Turkey, Morocco, Spain, Korea and China. To her, Turkey is a modern Muslim nation, Morocco has a beautiful mosque constructed in the sea, and Spain has some beautiful Islamic architecture whereas Korea and China are very scenic. Her two sons are educated in Mandarin and she was proud to see them conversing in Mandarin in China. She recalled it was not easy to take up the challenges in the early part of her career, when her children were still young. She brought work back home so the she could sit with the children while they were doing their homework. She had to wake up early in the mornings to attend to home chores and be well prepared to go to the office. Datin Paduka Siti Sa'adiah believes that most women have that inner strength to balance home responsibilities with career because anything could happen and women should not be too dependent. Her tips to those who want to advance in their career is to "be good in micro management, in other words, take note of the details, and reply to complaints straightaway" To those who have reached the top, she said "don't be bossy and empower and motivate your subordinates".

Datin Paduka Siti Sa'adiah has been conferred a long list of awards and featured in publications for more than two decades. She is petite in appearance but a large powerhouse in personality and leadership.

Put Datin Paduka and the KPJ Group together and it can only result in corporate dynamite: a combination of great leadership, great thinking and great results. INSPIRE wishes both of them nothing but the best in the years to come.