Speechs in the year
Tarikh/Date	:	13/02/2003
Versi 		:	ENGLISH
Penyampai	:  	PM 

      It  is  both  a  pleasure and an honour  for  me  to
   address  this assembly.  It is a pleasure because  I  can
   take  this opportunity to welcome all of you to Malaysia,
   the  host  for  the  11th ASCVS. I do hope  that  besides
   participating in the scientific deliberations,  you  will
   also  experience  the  hospitality  that  is,  I  believe
   characteristic of Malaysians. It is an honour because  it
   gives  me  an  opportunity  to  meet  with  people  whose
   knowledge  and  skills means so much to me in  particular
   and the sick and the old in general.
   2.    I  have  accepted the invitation of Dato Dr.  Yahya
   Awang,  Dato Dr. Mohd. Azhari Yakub and the rest  of  the
   organising  committee with pleasure because I  value  the
   leadership that they have shown, both in organising  this
   conference and in the field of cardiac care in Malaysia.
   3.    Conferences of this kind, in my opinion, should not
   only  discuss techniques and developments but should help
   us  re-focus on the broader concerns of health,  both  in
   our  own  communities and in the world as a  whole.   The
   health  of  humanity is not as it should  be  considering
   the  advancement in our knowledge of the human  body  and
   the  state of modern medical science and technology.  And
   this  is  because for most people the cost is  too  high.
   We  seem  to prefer spending huge sums in developing  new
   ways  to  kill people rather than saving them.  We  shall
   not  wipe out AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria, or any of  the
   other  infectious  diseases that  plague  the  developing
   world  because  too  little  money  is  being  spent   on
   research  to cure or prevent these diseases.   These  are
   diseases of the poor who will not be able to pay for  the
   cost  of  research through high prices.  But research  on
   impotency  and its cure promises more returns.   So  vast
   amounts  are  dedicated to the problems of the  rich  who
   are  the  people keen on restoring their  virility.   The
   poor  are resigned to eventually lose their drive and  to
   fade away.
   4.     Treating  heart  diseases,  whether  medically  or
   surgically  is still very costly.  I have often  wondered
   if  I  had  not  been the Prime Minister when  I  had  my
   attack, whether I would be here today.
   5.    Reflecting on the theme of this Conference which is
   "Cardiovascular Surgery in Asia: The Coming  of  Age",  I
   think  it is fair to say that cardiac surgery in Malaysia
   has  certainly come of age. In less than 20  years  since
   the  first  open  heart operation was performed  in  this
   country,  I  understand there are now 4000  cases  yearly
   nationwide  of which 2500 heart operations  are  done  at
   tertiary  referral  centres, such as the  National  Heart
   Institute   (Institut  Jantung  Negara).  From   arterial
   switches  in  the  Neonate  to  coronary  bypass  in  the
   Octogenarian, the spectrum of services provided  is  very
   6.    There  are many milestones that have been  achieved
   in  cardiac  surgery in Malaysia, in  particular  at  the
   National   Heart   Institute.    Soon   after   IJN   was
   operational  in 1992, mitral valve repair was  introduced
   in  1993.  In  1995  it  saw  the  introduction  of  Ross
   procedure,  REV  procedure  in complex  congenital  heart
   condition  and  use of the radial artery  as  a  coronary
   artery  bypass conduit. IJN mirrored closely the  current
   trend  of  doing  bypass surgery (CABG)  on  the  beating
   heart;  the  first  MIDCAB was done in 1996  followed  by
   Beating   Heart  Multivessel  CABG  the  following   year
   7.    This  institute  has  the  biggest  experience  for
   thoracic  aortic  aneurysm surgery in this  region.  From
   surgery  to  the  ascending aorta  to  the  most  complex
   surgeries of the arch of the aorta and descending  aorta;
   these  operations have become routine surgeries  at  this
   Institute  which  makes  it the leading  centre  in  this
   region  for  the  treatment of this devastating  ailment.
   Heart  transplantation has been a reality since 1997  and
   I  believe that lung transplantation will soon no  longer
   be a dream.
   8.    The  Government has gone to great lengths to assure
   every  individual equal access to cardiac care and  today
   no   Malaysian  needs  to  leave  our  shores  to  obtain
   treatment for heart diseases.
   9.    I  speak  now as a heart patient who had  undergone
   surgery.   Cardiac surgery is, as we all know,  a  highly
   complex  operation, combining the best of technology  and
   human  skill.  Both cannot be undervalued.   But  surgery
   is  not just a matter of applying skill and knowledge  to
   cure  a  patient, in particular the heart  patient.   The
   surgeon  has  to  empathise with the  patient.   He  must
   understand  the  worries of the patient and  the  family.
   He  or  she has to be there and figuratively to hold  his
   hand  as  he goes through the operation and to be  there,
   when  he  wakes  up with an assurance that everything  is
   going  to be all right.  The human touch on the  part  of
   the surgeon is all important.
   10.   As for medical science, we are fortunate that there
   have   been   tremendous  advances  in  the  control   of
   infection,  in  anaesthesia, in post operative  care,  in
   the  design  of  surgical  apparatus  and  the  operating
   theatre.   The sophistication of all these will  come  to
   nought  if  the  surgeon and his team are  not  adapt  at
   using  them.  We can buy all these equipments  and  drugs
   but  producing  the surgeons and the ancillary  staff  is
   far  more  challenging.   It is more  so  for  Government
   owned  hospitals which cannot pay the high salaries which
   the  private sector can afford.  We are building a  large
   number   of   ultra   modern   fully-equipped   paperless
   hospitals  costing billions of dollars.  But we  may  see
   them  as  White Elephants because we cannot  staff  them.
   As  one who resigned from Government service to set up my
   own  clinic, I know that Government can never  match  the
   attractive remunerations in the private sector.    Should
   the  Government increase the pay, the private sector  can
   more  than  match  it.   That  is  the  dilemma  of   the
   Government.   I  see  no end to the dilemma  because  the
   more  doctors  that we produce and train, the  bigger  is
   the  demand for their services as the standard of  living
   rises.   The  problem is aggravated by  richer  countries
   offering better compensation.
   11.   However we are happy that on the whole the  medical
   services  in Malaysia have improved tremendously  and  in
   the  field  of  cardio-vascular surgery we can  be  quite
   independent and relatively we are less costly.
   12.   With  that, it gives me great pleasure to  formally
   declare  open  the  11th  Annual  meeting  of  the  Asian
   Society for Cardiovascular Surgery.

   Sumber : Pejabat Perdana Menteri