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December 17, 2008

Malaysia's state firm may buy heart hospital-paper
Malaysian plantations-to-automotive conglomerate Sime Darby is interested in a government-initiated project to take over the country's top heart hospital, Reuters reported, quoting a domestic newspaper Wednesday.

The Ministry of Finance has submitted a proposal to the cabinet on the privatisation of the National Heart Institute and Sime Darby has expressed its interest in taking over the hospital, the Edge Financial Daily reported, citing unidentified sources.

While the idea has been backed by the Finance Ministry, which owns the hospital, officials from the Ministry of Health are less keen on the sale, the newspaper said.

"They do not agree to this sale unless there is a safety net for the poor and the underprivileged," the newspaper quoted a source as saying.

Sime Darby and the finance ministry were not immediately available for comment.

State-controlled Sime, the world's top palm oil producer by planted area, also has interests in the Malaysian healthcare industry. It owns the Sime Darby Medical Centre, a private hospital in the Subang Jaya suburb near Kuala Lumpur.

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