Farewell Datuk Dr Lim Kee Jin

Datuk Dr Lim Kee Jin, passed away peacefully on December 3 at age 92 but his legacy in giving hope and comfort to the sick and disabled, lives on in the KPJ Group and Johor Area Rehabilitation Organisation or JARO.

A memorial table was set up in the lobby of KPJ Johor
Specialist Hospital in honour of Datuk Dr Lim Kee Jin
Dr Lim was many things to many people but he is best remembered as the man behind the birth of KPJ Johor Specialist Hospital (JSH), the first private hospital in Johor Baru, and as former chairman of JARO, a registered charitable society and sheltered workshop.

Born in Penang, Dr Lim came to JB in 1958 when he was posted to the then Johor Baru General Hospital (JBGH), later renamed Hospital Sultanah Aminah, as Consultant Physician.

In his long and illustrious career, Dr Lim carved a reputation for himself as a brilliant doctor, teacher, mentor and friend, and is recognised as a Giant in Medicine for his contributions that touched lives and changed healthcare standards, first in JB and throughout the nation.

Flags were flying at half-mast at JARO as a sign of
respect at the passing of Datuk Dr Lim Kee Jin
Since the opening of the first private hospital in JB in 1981, the KPJ Group has developed into the nation’s premier private healthcare provider with a network of over 20 private hospitals, employing over 800 medical specialists and is listed on the main board of the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange.

The tribute on a plaque dedicated to Dr Lim in 2001 by Johor Corporation and KPJ Healthcare Berhad succinctly reads: “It takes a special kind of man to set a course in life and follow through, no matter what the obstacles.  It takes a special kind of man to aim for the best, to be the best, and to pursue his goals with passion and enthusiasm.”

Besides founding KPJ JSH, Dr Lim was also an ardent teacher of medicine who founded the first post-graduate medical training centre in Malaysia within the then JB GH in 1969.

The plaque dedicated to Datuk Dr Lim Kee Jin
in KPJ Johor Specialist Hospital, JB
Datuk Dr M. Singaraveloo, who was mentored by Dr Lim in JB GH and who later joined KPJ JSH in 2002, paid tribute by describing Dr Lim’s passion for teaching and mentoring doctors.

“After his ward rounds, Dr Lim still found time to facilitate post-graduate studies and held weekly meetings for lectures, presented cases and discussed them with us,” said Dr Veloo as he marveled at the tremendous effort put in by Dr Lim to prepare doctors for exams.

In 1952, a rehabilitation workshop (later renamed JARO), started by Chest Physician, Dr Beryl Wilberforce-Smith, in JB GH was then a unit of the Malaysian Anti-Tuberculosis Association, for recovering tuberculosis patients to train them with skills in basketry, book-binding and tailoring.

JARO staff and committee bidding an emotional farewell
to Datuk Dr Lim Kee Jin
When Dr Lim joined the hospital, these patients came under his care and this started him on a life-long mission to rehabilitate people with disability by training and equipping them with marketable skills so that they can have a sense of dignity with financial independence.

Dr Lim was elected Chairman of JARO in 1962 and popularly re-elected from 1962 to 2007 to the role which he held for 46 years until he stepped down in 2008 due to health reasons.

“His leadership, kindness and compassion, and his lifework of service to others will continue to inspire us,” read a tribute posted on the Friends of JARO Facebook page.

As JARO was a significant part of Dr Lim life, his family honoured this sentiment on his final journey by arranging for the cortege to stop in the porch of the Lim Kee Jin Wing of JARO for staff and committee members, to pay their last respects to him.

A version of this was published in The Malaysian Insider on 8 Dec 2015 

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