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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fernandes' healthcare dream – to set up Tune Hospital

Posted on 24 October 2013 - 05:41am
Eva Yeong

KUALA LUMPUR (Oct 24, 2013): Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, the founder of the Tune Group of Companies, is eyeing a new frontier – healthcare.

In his presentation to participants of the World Capital Markets Symposium on "Disruptive innovation: The Future of Business" here yesterday, Fernandes said it is a dream of his to set up Tune Hospital.

Indeed, he said plans for Tune Hospital are "a little bit further than the conceptualisation stage now".

Fernandes, via Tune Group, is already involved in aviation, hotel, telecommunication, financial services and sports, among others.

"My last dream one day is to build Tune Hospital. (Today,) the difference in efficiency between state and private hospitals is huge. The state (hospitals) can't serve everyone. Invariably, lots of people get caught out, getting poor service," he said, adding that some hospitals are "a bit old fashioned" in the way things are done.

"Malaysia is a young nation and as it ages, healthcare will become a very big part of the nation's budget.

"If we can find something that is slightly more expensive than state, but 80% cheaper than private health, you can take a lot of the burden off the state system," Fernandes said.

Later, on Budget 2014 that will be tabled in Parliament tomorrow, Fernandes hopes that it would have an element to reward productive companies and industries.

"I hope the budget supports productive industries. It's a reality that something has to be done (to address deficit), either raising taxes or cutting spending. The third one, which is a much more preferred option is to increase productivity and support entrepreneurs who can drive a lot in this economy and create a lot of jobs, and more taxes through better productivity.

"I hope there's an element that rewards companies that can create jobs," he told reporters after his presentation.

Fernandes cited the tourism sector which has been a "fantastic contributor" to the economy.

"One very simple thing is to break down monopolies, to create fair and well-regulated markets. The banking industry has done a good job at this – to inject more competition into the market and to make companies more productive. It's lacking in some areas but the banking industry is very good at this," he added.

He said Malaysians have to be aware of the need to cut the country's budget deficit and the fairest way of doing so is to introduce the goods and services tax (GST) as he believes that with GST, those who spend more will pay.

Meanwhile, Fernandes said AirAsia Bhd plans to make Kota Baru an international stop, with its maiden flight to be to Medan. This will be followed by flights to Singapore and later Indochina.

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