Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Malaysia's flailing enterprise.

In December 0f 2007, Boston Consulting Group published 2008 BCG Global 100 Challengers
Malaysia has 2 entries Petronas and MISC. As Bloomberg states "both are stateowned companies. Take them away and Malaysia - a former "Asian Tiger" - has little to show by way of genuine non-government entrepreneurship that's also competitive"

Read the full report by Bloomberg here

I point out the obvious

"History shows that while many countries have been able to make it from low
income to middle income, relatively few have carried on to high income," the
Bank's researchers said.
"A lot of complex challenges have to be met, from raising the skills and innovativeness of the labour force, to creating sophisticated financial systems, to maintaining social cohesion, to greatly reducing corruption.''
These are also the prerequisites for fostering the spirit of enterprise, without which the biggest economies of Southeast Asia may just remain stuck where they are."

Yes it is indeed complex, and quite frankly Malaysia is now a middle-class nation. Our next economic quantum leap will have to coupled with a vibrant innovative and entrepreneurial community. Which are then supported by sound governmental policies and administration and financial systems. Reducing wastage and utilising human and financial resources to it's maximum capacity.

What we see today, are not only the wanton wastage of government funds, but outright corruption and vested agendas by Cabinet Ministers to line their own pockets.

Prime example, the Port Klang Free Zone (PKFZ) is now a gleaming 4.6 Billion white elephant (read MalaysianUnplug). It was an construction exercise merely to line the coffers of powers-to-be, notably MCA (Malaysian Chinese Association) Cabinet members.

The Malaysian Constitution was lately amended to allow one man the present Election Commision Chairman to serve an extra year all the way to 2008, so he can continue his gerrymandering of the upcoming general election.

Amending the Constitution for a single man ! Only in Malaysia - he must be the most powerful man in history. Read Parliamentary Hansard December 11, 2007 (only available in Malay)

As Malaysians, as a people, as a nation, we are accountable to one another. Yet, we are not only hoodwinked but betrayed everyday by the ruling party.

Yes, we will remain stuck in this rut for some time to come.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I lament the sorry fate that befalls LaSallian Education in Malaysia

I had to write something after the outburst in Parliament regarding Mission Schools and how it was controlled by the Vatican, that children were forced to sing "church songs". The one phrase to use to this uneducated and dishohourable Member of Parliament - "slander and ungrateful sloth"

I have followed rather closely this topic, and, nostalgically I reflect over how our education system has changed, deteriorated and have been politicised. I disclose I am a La Sallian, so was my father.

The Education Ministry in Malaysia, is wholely a political machinery, stocked with administrators who derive personal gains in the large financial allocation that has always been alloted to the Ministry.

The current climate, both political and socially will not allow any resurrection of a school system even vaguely resembling the old La Sallian heritage.

In addition, much has been talked about private instituitions. In essence, if this was the stance and the motivations were noble enough, private LaSallians instituitions would have been set up a long time ago.

In addition, I would assume existing mission schools can easily be converted to private instituitions, as land and property may still have belonged to the Mission.

My opinion is that the Christian Brothers have long deserted Malaysia. The Brothers serve the community, especially the poor and unfortunate, they are selfless and dedicated educators. They do not relish being soaked in politics, administrative overheads and operating in an environment that is unappreciative and hostile.

Malaysia's economic progress and wealth could largely be attributed to the Mission schools. These Schools have produced generations of Malaysians who are proficient in English, properly gounded in academics and universal values.However, this economic progress will be the bane of the La Sallian Mission, in which an order such as the La Sallian Order does not operate too well in such a materialistic and non-appreciative society.

The final nail in the coffin has long been nailed, La Sallians will have nothing much but memories of their shared heritage. Unless we move in a concerted fashion, both financially and to garner political support for any return of the Brothers (either privately or publicly), the La Sallian mission will die a natural death.

Education by Mission schools, not even a word of thanks

In 1967, the official Yearbook of the Federation of Malaysia states;
when reporting the quality of education in schools run by the Christian bodies expressed:
“..... the Mission schools, particular those under the direction of the Roman Catholic Christian Brothers and the Americam Methodist Church were chiefly responsible for the rapid advancement in English education.And by 1914, some three fourths of the boys receiving education were in those schools ..... It is a striking tribute to the selflessness of these men and women that they should have gained the ready confidence and affection of both parents and teachersdespite differences in religion and culture ......”

Available school records before world war II , in fact showed that 74% of the boys and almost all the girls were in Mission schools.

Today, we have the following statement from Parliament.
Tuan Syed Hood bin Syed Edros [Parit Sulong]: Bukan sahaja patung, tetapi Ahli-ahli Yang Berhormat pergilah, tengoklah salib Kristian diletakkan di depan-depan sekolah. Saya tidak faham Kementerian Pelajaran, adakah pegawai-pegawai tidak nampak atau memang dasar kita membenarkan perkara ini. Walau bagaimanapun, saya sebagai orang yang bertanggungjawab kepada diri saya, agama, bangsa dan tanah air ini, saya menyatakan pendirian saya bahawa patung-patung ini hendaklah dirobohkan, salib-salib ini hendaklah dimusnahkan dan pengaruhpengaruh gereja di sekolah-sekolah ini hendaklah dihentikan. Begitu juga dana yang dikumpulkan di sekolah-sekolah ini. Adakah kita mendapat laporan? Kalau boleh kementerian mendedahkan dana sekolah-sekolah ini. Saya difahamkan ada sekolah-sekolah ini juga ditaja oleh pihak-pihak gereja. Dana-dananya datang daripada gereja-gereja dan adakah pihak kementerian pantau sumber-sumbernya? Adakah audit-audit dilaksanakan?

Member of Parliament (Malay of course) has called for the removal of Christian symbols from these schools. so what of tradition, never mind even a word of thanks to these schools for producing and providing generations after generations of Malaysians with quality education and English as a first language.

Picture of St. George's from

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A few words to all

An old friend of mine dropped me a note this morning.
We were on the topic of the state of Malaysia and migration for the sake of our families.
An excerpt of the email.

which is what I think that your plan or the exit
> strategy is exactly what I
> should hv done years ago..... But again, there will
> always be the other side
> of the coin. the struggle of being alone in a
> foreign land and all..... Its
> something that we will have to do in the face of
> adversity of living
> abroad.......

My reply to him and to everyone who has ever thought of migrating for the sake of the children and future generations. References to names have been replaced.

It's actually not that bad overseas. What you hear are
usually emotional and clouded perspectives. There is
no adversity, none whatsoever.

The social support structure is set up well overseas
due to the fact that everyone here lives the way it
is. Extended families are a luxury, therefore people
depend on these support mechanism.

- i.e. daycare are regulated by the government with
CPR specialists, food are regulated by qualified
dietician, this is because lots of parents leave kids
with daycare.

- Schools are required to present a daily report
online on homework and teacher's comments.

- Hospitals are well equipped with natal care, post
and pre-natal. Counseling sessions and free lessons
Nurses actually called (*wife name*) daily to check on her blood
sugar level during pregnancy. They gave her a blood
sugar test kit for free, taught her how to use it.

- In California, instead of raising energy prices at
every whim and fancy, the electricity company actually
comes to your house and plant trees for FREE to
provide shade so as to reduce energy consumption.
(financial accountability and participative democracy
at work)

- In Singapore, HDB community centres have taichi
sessions for the elderly, dialysis centres, subsidised
daycare etc for kids and elderly (again, smaller
families and parents have to go to work).

Like I said, people are mentally clouded by the factor
of being alone and are overwhelmed by the this fact.
We longed for familiarity - we look for our teh tarik,
when we can either make it ourselves or go to
starbucks for a Chai Latte.

However, if you live in a social system which is
predominantly based on nuclear/small families, these
structures are provided by the very society.

Hence, to summarise, it WILL work out well for you and
(*wife name here*) should you make a move. Simply because in
Australia/UK/USA/Singapore family structures are
smaller and a participative democracy ensures that the
needs of the individual is taken into account.

Quite frankly, I realised our needs are not very
different - whatever culture or background you come

If you think Malaysia gives you the trappings of a good life, think again. Good is relative and the human perception is again relative.
Fearing the unknown is natural, however do not allow unfamiliarity to cloud your decisions. Understand unfamiliarity is part of change as you move from your comfort zone to a new social framework. However, just bear in mind that you are just as human as the next Australian, Singaporean, American and quite frankly your needs and perception of happiness, social justice and fairness is usually not very far off.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

More abuse of NEP and Little Napoleons at work again

I cannot vouch how accurate this is, nevertheless, it does not surprise me.

Read it and imagine the arrogant and high-handed policies of Malaysian (i.e Malay) policy implementors.

Sent: Tuesday, September 18, 2007 4:58 AM

I am going to relate actually what happen at a meeting Klang Valley housing developers had with Kuala Lumpur City Hall DBKL) on July 31 on the matter of Bumi reserved lots.

All the developers who attended the meeting had already complied with the condition of publishing in the major newspapers the bumiputera units for sale and in addition
we were told to book a space at a designated place for a further campaign to sell the bumi units.

The above exercise does not come cheap. Advertising space in the major papers and rental of space at a major shopping complex can cost us close to RM20,000. Can you imagine our frustration when we were told to repeat the whole exercise when we could not sell the bumi units ?

In exasperation, I told the DBKL officials that even if we were to give a 20 percent discount to the bumis, they would not buy our houses because they were located in Salak South, Sungai Besi, a middle-class enclave of the urban Chinese. Nearby there is a market selling pork and a Chinese school.

The official just said, 'You have to advertise in the papers again and do the campaign at Mid-Valley Megamall again," without any compromise.

We are a small housing developer and the total units built was 40 with the bumi allocation at 12. We had complied with all the stipulated conditions and now after more than a year of waiting, DBKL still does not want to release the bumi units to be sold to the non-bumis.

At the meeting, DBKL dropped a bombshell. If we could not sell the bumi's units, then we would now have to now pay the bumi discount quantum direct to DBKL. In our case, since we gave a 7 percent discount, the quantum for each unit was RM29,400. For the 12 unsold bumi lots, we would have to pay RM352,800 to DBKL. All the developers who attended the meeting protested vehemently at this atrocious policy and refused to pay and the meeting ended without any resolution.

We would like to ask DBKL what rationale is there to give a discount to Bumis who could afford to buy a RM420,000 house? This is clearly an abuse of the NEP. Why should developers and the other races need to bear the cost of implementing their bumiputera ownership policy. It is thoroughly unfair to expect developers to bear the cost of advertising and conducting roadshows in order that Malays buy the houses. The Bumis have millions of ringgit to pay as compensation to divorce first wives, marry 2nd wives in very grand manner.

But no money to buy houses ???

Boleh land

It is exactly these policies that drives business under in Malaysia. No value is added to the chain, instead policy makers constantly have policies that deplete the economy of any value that have been created.
Sound housing developers, profit making enterprises are forced into losses by imposing required freebies which must be dished out to Bumiputras.

It is exactly these Bumiputra policies that are driving business under and acclerating capital flight from Malaysia