MARA: Stop being an albatross around Malay Entrepreneurs


February 17, 2017

MARA: Stop being an albatross around Malay Entrepreneurs

“…there is something wrong with Mara. From business to education, it seems to be making all the wrong moves. It needs to have more faith in bumiputeras. Bumiputeras cannot flourish or advance themselves in spaces closed off to other races and cultures. Mara must recognise that bumiputeras are not just competing with other Malaysians, but also the citizens of the world. It must lead, not stubbornly cling to the old ways.–Syukri Tahir

Mara is one of the most important and respected institutions in Malaysia. Since its formation in 1966, it has helped countless thousands of bumiputeras succeed in business and industry. But has Mara adapted enough to remain relevant and effective today? Sadly, I don’t think so.

Image result for MARA

I say this because Mara seems more interested in protecting bumiputeras from the world than letting them compete in it. This is a recipe for stagnation and backwardness. Take the Mara Digital Mall, for example – it was set up as a bumiputera alternative to Low Yat Plaza. What exactly has it achieved?

Because it was created and promoted as a platform for bumiputera IT traders, non-bumiputera customers have largely stayed away, choosing to shop at Low Yat instead. How are bumiputera traders supposed to survive – let alone thrive – when their customers are only limited to one race?

I recently paid a visit to the Mara Digital Mall in Kuala Lumpur and found the traders to be demoralised. Many shops had stock shortages, confirming what traders told online news portal Free Malaysia Today last December. If you want to buy anything, you will have to pre-order in advance. Rather serve as a vehicle for bumiputera empowerment, the mall may well turn out to be an embarrassment to bumiputera entrepreneurs.

Image result for Minister Ismail Sabri is an idiotMinister Ismail Sabri from Pahang

Mara’s short-sightedness also extends to education. Recently, now suspended Mara chairperson Annuar Musa said that UniKL, which is wholly-owned by Mara, recognises the Chinese-education-based Unified Examinations Certificate (UEC) as an entry qualification. He correctly bases this on long-standing government policy. Because UniKL is a private institution of higher learning rather than a public one, it is allowed to recognise the UEC.

Image result for MARASuspended MARA Chairman

In recognising the UEC, Annuar saw an excellent opportunity to grow UniKL, expand the diversity of its students, and give it an international outlook. Sadly, the rest of Mara disagreed with him, including the minister who oversees the institution – Ismail Sabri Yaakob. Annuar has the right idea, but he got into trouble for speaking it. How can Mara advance the cause of bumiputeras if Mara’s leadership can’t even see or comprehend the bigger picture?

They need to realise a few things. UEC recognition will allow us to keep talented Chinese-educated students in the country instead of having them leave for places like Taiwan and Singapore. Also, it will boost race relations and national unity because campuses will have students of different races and backgrounds.

It would not make sense to reject the UEC when prestigious universities around the world – from Australia to the UK to the United States – recognise it. The UEC is accepted at Harvard, Yale, MIT, Oxford, and Cambridge. If these are considered role models in education, then why shouldn’t UniKL follow in their example?

Furthermore, UEC students will expand the revenue base of UniKL and Mara. After all, Mara only sponsors bumiputera students – non-bumiputeras will have to pay, enhancing Mara’s ability to sponsor even more bumiputera students. In the end, it is bumiputeras who benefit the most from UEC recognition.

But as you can see, there is something wrong with Mara. From business to education, it seems to be making all the wrong moves. It needs to have more faith in bumiputeras. Bumiputeras cannot flourish or advance themselves in spaces closed off to other races and cultures. Mara must recognise that bumiputeras are not just competing with other Malaysians, but also the citizens of the world. It must lead, not stubbornly cling to the old ways.

Malaysian Civil Service: Can they think, raise the right issues, and do things right?


May 20, 2016

Malaysian Civil Service: Can they think, raise the right issues, and do things right?

http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com

No one of substance in government is bold enough to raise the right issues as most prefer wallowing in self-consolation hoping things will eventually self-correct.

by TK Chua

There is a management thought that says we must be honest and bold enough to raise the right issues or to ask the right questions. If we do not have the right questions, it does not matter much that we have the right answers. Right answers to wrong questions are useless.

1MDB is Malaysia’s Najib-inspired Blue Ocean Strategy Bull

Today, Malaysia is reeling from the reality that no one of any substance in government is bold enough to raise the right issues or ask the right questions as most prefer wallowing in self-consolation, hoping things will eventually self-correct. Rarely do they rock the boat and challenge the established paradigm. Instead, they pretend to support every phoney reform undertaken – from Pemandu, BR1M, BRAM, BROOM, NBOS  Initiatives (watch video above), to GST and all the baloney that takes place in GLCs (e.g. 1MBD).

Malaysia’s Top Civil Servant with his Brains Trust

We know from history it is never easy to reform a system or a country from within. The death of the Qing dynasty and the French Revolution convey the same story – failed reforms.

People in power usually cannot see it or refuse to see it. They become insensitive and insular to the needs of others. Hence, while many in the country are struggling to get by, the ruling elite shamelessly and effortlessly indulge in obscene extravagance even for a simple event like a birthday or wedding celebration. We used to laugh at Marie Antoinette’s infamous “let them eat cake” joke, but I don’t think we have ever learnt anything worthwhile from it.

Why do I say we are addressing the wrong issues? Let me list a few examples:

i. We use the GST to perpetuate our wasteful ways, not instill financial discipline and prudence in the public sector. The GST, therefore, will not solve our fiscal unsustainability problems. It will not help stabilise and strengthen the ringgit. It will only reinforce the government’s spendthrift ways.

ii. Pemandu did not transform the government machinery.Like any bureaucracy, it only added more outfits and programmes to it and drains  our national coffers. Therefore, it will only incur more expenses but with no efficiency gained.

iii. National development is not about issuing bonds or raising debts, setting up giant corporations and listing GLCs that the earlier generations have taken decades to nurture and build. Why are we indulging in buying, investing, selling, restructuring, paying off debts, and renegotiating with “partners” endlessly? Why instead of creating value, are we moving from one protracted problem to another? This is worse than children playing the game of monopoly.

iv. Foreign workers are supposed to come here to supplement our needs, not dictate the “production function” of this country. Now we have Malaysians leaving the country in droves while foreigners are allowed indiscriminate entry. In the process, our value chain goes down the drain and our way of life turns upside down.

v. We keep saying the future of this country is in the hands of the young. But what future have we created for them – an increasing pool of unemployed and unemployable graduates?

vi. We were told to be magnanimous and live in harmony, but every day we are reminded of protests over altars here, tokongs there and the general lack of piousness everywhere. If we are so godly, why are we so filthy and depraved? Why are we experiencing mass food poisoning so often? Why are our children so prone to mass hysteria? Why are our women subjected to snatch theft, attempted rape and rape so often? I know what you are thinking – when compared to other countries, Malaysia is not so bad. Maybe that is why some say we are good in jumping on the spot.

vii. Our idea of multiculturalism is when one marries a spouse of a different race or religion. Our racial tolerance is to adopt a son or daughter from another race or foster a child of another race. Our idea of inclusiveness is to produce a video portraying groups of different racial backgrounds dancing or singing together for a GLC’s advertisement or a national event. However, in our daily life, we don’t care whether our policies are fair and just.

When push comes to shove, we just hoist our flag of race and religious supremacy. We just need to divert blame onto others – and cry out at how others have tried to sabotage and undermine our vital interests; how we must be ever vigilant to keep them in the box.

I think it is enough for now. You may add on to the list if you want.*

*There is no need to add to Mr. Chua’s list. We must take the blame because we continue to allow an incompetent UMNO-BN government led by the corrupt Prime Minister Najib Razak to operate. We are indifferent and do not have the guts to sack the Prime Minister and his cabal who are in charge of our national coffers. To make matters worse, we have  a political opposition which will do the same if they are given the opportunity, that is, they can be equally arrogant and corrupt. We are already a failed state.

Only a failed people will want the status quo. So, our voters will allow  UMNO-BN to win the forthcoming by-elections in Kuala Kangsar and Sungei Besar like they did in Sarawak recently. We deserve the government we get. –Din Merican

MARA get your priorities right


May 7, 2015

Phnom Penh by The Mekong

MARA get your priorities right

by Dato Noor Farida Ariffin@www.thestar.com.my

Dato Noor FaridaLIKE many Malaysians, I am appalled at Mara’s decision to offer a “second chance” to Nur Fitri Azmeer, the Imperial College of London student who was convicted by a British court last week for possession of child pornography.

In spite of the conviction for this heinous crime, Mara has described Nur Fitri as an “exemplary student” and offered him a place at any of its institutions of higher learning after he completes his five-year jail sentence in the United Kingdom.

Clearly, the people running Mara have a warped sense of values. Don’t they realise that education is not solely about getting excellent academic results but also about building character and instilling good moral values in the students?

This particular student has been convicted of a very serious crime, that of possession of over 30,000 hardcore porn images involving young children which shocked and repulsed even the hardened officers of the special paedophile squad of the British police.

In addition, when the Police raided his room, he was found with a life-size mannequin of a boy.Nur Fitri Azmeer is obviously a pervert and for Mara to make excuses for his actions is totally repugnant and unacceptable. Sadly, MARA seems to have lost its moral compass.

Nur Fitri AzmeerThis student has a very serious problem which needs to be treated.He should not be released into society until he has received treatment and a team of psychiatrists has certified that he has been completely cured of his condition. Otherwise, from mere possession of paedophile porn, he might graduate to physically acting out his sexual fantasies and pose a real danger to children.

MARA, instead of offering him a place to continue his studies, could help him by ensuring that he receives the treatment that he needs. Only after he has been cured should MARA offer him assistance to pursue his studies. MARA needs to get its priorities right.