The Straits Times
Publication Date : 11-11-2011
Billionaire investor Peter Lim is teaming up with the Johor royal family to build a S$2 billion (US$1.55 billion) complex that will include a hospital, hotels, flats and entertainment outlets in Johor Baru.
The 10ha complex will be erected on a waterfront site just a few hundred metres from Johor’s new customs, immigration and quarantine facility, making it highly convenient for Singaporeans.
The developers are looking at concepts and designs and obtaining work permits. The first phase of construction should begin at the end of next year, with the hospital expected to be functional by early 2015.
A 200-bed general hospital with specialist services in areas such as diabetes and ophthalmology will be built in the first stage.
The second phase involves building the supporting facilities for the medical hub, such as serviced apartments, entertainment facilities and a shopping mall.
Singaporeans and Malaysians with CPF can use Medisave at proposed JB hospital
Mr Koh Kim Huat, director of Best Blend, the joint-venture company behind the development, said the idea arose over a year ago.
“Peter and the Sultan are old friends, and they wanted to do something meaningful, so they decided to build a hospital to provide quality health care, where the main beneficiaries will be from Singapore and Johor,” added Mr Koh, who is also the spokesman for the development.
The medical hub will be managed by Thomson International Health Services, the consultancy and management division of Singapore’s Thomson Medical Centre.
Mr Lim, 58, known as the “remisier king” for his uncanny ability to spot a winning stock, bought Thomson Medical Centre earlier this year.
Thomson’s senior nurses and doctors will be involved in running the medical hub.
Singaporeans and Malaysians with Central Provident Fund accounts will be able to utilise their Medisave reserves to pay for treatment at the new hospital as they will be able to obtain referrals from Thomson Medical Centre Singapore.
There are plans to set up a training school for nurses and medical technicians at the hospital, and to establish facilities for health promotion and disease prevention.
A key area of focus will be treating the kind of chronic and lifestyle diseases associated with growing affluence that are affecting increasing numbers of Malaysians.
Mr Koh added that the location was chosen in particular for its proximity to Singapore.
Teacher Jasmine Sia, who recently gave birth to her son at Thomson Medical Centre, said she would not mind trying out the services in Malaysia.
Ms Sia, 26, told The Straits Times last night: “I live in Bukit Panjang, so the time taken for me to get to Johor and to Thomson will be the same.
“Cheaper services will be welcome but what really matters is the quality of the health care, and whether the waiting time will be long.”
Mr Lim, who is estimated by Forbes estimates to be worth US$1.8 billion, declined to comment.
He has been on an acquisition streak recently. As well as buying Thomson Medical Centre earlier this year, he also snapped up an undisclosed stake in McLaren Automotive, the new British sports car manufacturer.
Last year, he made an unsuccessful £320 million (US$510 million) bid for Liverpool Football Club.