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Sakmongkol ak 47

Sunday 19 April 2009

Economic empowerment and grassroots democracy.

Posted from Kuala Terengganu.

The germ of an idea to write this article comes from my initial reading of a book written by Ludwig von Mises. He was a leading exponent of the Austrian School of economics. He has had tremendous influence over economists who can generally be regarded as proponents of free market. The particular book I am referring to is titled Economic Freedom and Intervention. I find the ideas resonate well with the PM's declaration that the age of big government is over. I am hoping that declaration also signals the coming of an age of greater economic freedom and decreasing intervention.

Suppose the masses of people still lived in hovels. Let us further suppose in the many economic and social indicators, the masses of people are found wanting. The average per capita income is low; the share of the national income going to the majority of people is smaller than one that goes to the minority. We discover for example, that 20% of the population gets 60% of the national income while 80% must share the remaining 40%. This means on average, the income of the 80% is perhaps 1/8 of the income of the minority. We see levels of education; housing they lived in, access to facilities and access to means of producing wealth are limited.

How is it possible the 20% gets to own what they do, while the sea of masses, Chinese, Indians and most noticeably Malays have to eke out a living from the measly 40% of the nations income?

The next question we need to ask is who is to blame for this sad state of affairs? The almost universal response would be, is to blame the sea of masses. We can blame the inherent inferiority of the masses for their inability to overcome their inferiority. It is also almost universally accepted nowadays, that this inferiority that we speak about, is a product of the social system. Only a small portion of the inferiority is ascribable to natural inferiority.

As matters are, we then proceed to look at the structure of the social system. We quickly come to the conclusion that, the present state of affairs in which we find ourselves pitying, arose because of uneven distribution of power.

Now, when we speak of power we are of course referring to political/governmental power and economic power. It is the uneven distribution of these two types of powers which has created the sad state of affairs. The two powers are concentrated in the minority. The minority is known by many names, but thus far, in my articles, I know and speak of them as the elite.

So we come back again and again to the declaration by the PM that the age of government knows best is over. Like so many others, I want this to work. It is a revolutionary idea. It can lead to the redistribution  of  power from the minority to the people/majority.

But is also an idea fraught with dangers and many hurdles. The masses of people must 'qualify' themselves to achieve what has been declared. First they must not compromise on quality leadership. We need good leadership at all levels. Second, the level of consciousness through education, through socialised action must be achieved.

When the PM made that statement, that the age of an omniscient government is over, we must provide flesh to the skeleton of the idea. We must take it to mean, the divestiture of concentrated power must be made, from the minority to the majority.

The statement by the PM brings with it far reaching implications. Perhaps, the PM acknowledges the bigger portion of blame for the state of affairs rest with the elite/leadership.

The leadership has governmental power. The essential nature of political and government power is this. The government alone and with it those who hold the levers of power, have the coercive powers of the state. They alone have the instruments to oppress and pummel the people into submission. They have the powers to ram policies onto our social setting.

Take for example, the NEP and successive policies that follow it. The NEP is essentially a set of policies that seek out to correct economic imbalances through non-economic measures. They are in the form of legislative powers. They are substitute policies that seek to correct things which could not be achieved through purely market forces. Since they are also governmental powers, they bring with them, the essential nature of the powers. The essential nature is that they are coercive powers.

Perhaps, that is why Tun Razak when formulating the NEP imposed on it a finite timetable. He knew and understood the involuntariness and forceful nature of governmental power. Those who do not understand the nature of such power become intoxicated and addicted to power. They wish to prolong it because it confers a sense of superiority on them.

There is a more serious objection to the continuance of NEP that transcends racial settings. It is just an extension of potentially coercive purely governmental powers into the realm of economics. It is on this principle, we can object to the continuance of NEP.

Coming back to the PM's declaration about devolution of governmental powers, it makes sense only if it's spoken to free people. And by free I mean the economically independent people. The more advanced sections of our society, the economically stronger will find the declaration attractive. They are relatively freer than those who depend on the government for economic succour.

If it is spoken to Malays in general who look up to government for protection and help in a host of ways; it is useless unless they are economically empowered. Hence, the PM's wish to have the powers of big government reduced must be followed through by concrete actions. It has to begin with the economic empowerment of the majority Malays.



Anonymous,  19 April 2009 at 23:37  

the govt will continue with the affirmative policies..but there will be targets and time frames set as to when the policies are to be reviewed rather then keep it in perpetuity.

The reality is that the downstream or supply chain opportunities are even bigger in the private sector then in government...and more often then not most of such opportunities are not even open to bumiputras.

And becos the private sector hv a more focused procurement preferring to deal direct with specialists rather then the generalists or traders ( to get the best deal) this provides continuity of work for specialists in niche areas and maintain leadership positions.

Thus,if the intent is to create a level playing field..the govt needs a rethink of their procurement policies...for instance,there is the current practise of giving huge contracts>>wouldn't it more beneficial to break up the packages?it would also be cheaper as there will be more direct procurement from the specialists..and a step towards creating competitive bumi companies rather then the current crop of rent seekers and management companies.

..thats the way the wind is blowing.

de minimis 20 April 2009 at 09:17  

Bro Sak

Another well-thought out piece. The governance function is to act as catalyst and, to channel economic resources to foster a long-term acquisition of viable economic activities and, even more importantly, skills.

It is the job of the government to engender TRUST in the people. This is a TRUST that economic policies and economic values are based on a PROSPER THY NEIGHBOUR principle.

The goal is simple and straightforward. it is the creation of value for all Malaysians so that each Malaysian can share in the economic wealth of this country. The process of achieving that goal, well, that is the reason why some of us spend so much time researching and doing blog posts on the political economy of Malaysia.

Ree,  20 April 2009 at 09:47  

Dato Sak,

Govt must disabuse the notion that the special position of Bumis equals the NEP. This turns the matter into an emotional issue and makes it impossible for us to rationally review the NEP.

True, the constitution provides that the govt can take certain economic measures to safeguard the special position of Bumis.

However, this doesnt mean that the measures MUST be the NEP in its present form. Article 153 is broad and doesn't specify exactly what must be done. It does not preclude us from reviewing the effectiveness of any policy or changing policies in light of prevailing circumstances.

msleepyhead,  20 April 2009 at 12:46  


As the world progresses and as we have seen with it how the American styled free market has failed, we must also ask if economic development is truly what some of the people want.

The core issue post independence has been the economic imbalance amongst the races, but material wealth versus a 'decent' standard of living have not been clearly differentiated.

As previously commented, while we seek to put money in people's hands or find ways for them to dip their fingers in the economic cake, we have to consider if having cash actually does improve their lives.

Would an Iban living in the longhouse need minimum wage and pay taxes when they might enjoy the benefits that come with taxes such as roads and other infrastructure development. Wouldn't it be better if the government strive to provide equal opportunities like education, health care and independent funding after consulting to what they need, instead of giving them what the government think they need.

The goal may be to empower everyone economically but we must also ensure that the cash then is able to buy us a utopian country - not having to worry about excessive toll rates, crime free, peaceful society, the government is able to self regulate and function with the people being suspicious of their every move, and on top of my wish list, a gossip and scandal free team of capable leaders to uplift the people.

Anonymous,  20 April 2009 at 12:58  

Yes Dato', it has to be begin with the economic empowerment of Malays. And this should start with education as the pre-catalyst. Education is a good start to provide a trajectory route to generally poor malays leaving their endless poverty orbit.

On the ground the government should reinstate the scholarship programme like in 70s and 80s to all qualified Bumi students who wish to pursue tertiary studies abroad. While JPA shall offer to all students purely on merit, MARA shall do purely on the privaleges of Bumi as guaranted in the Federal Constitution. Do a mass offer of scholarship to all Bumis.

Some may come back with great ideas and become enteprising. Living abroad may open up their mind. The multiplier effect is there.

Anonymous,  20 April 2009 at 13:19  

I don't understand economics, can only ask questions and hope will not be sneered at.

Is there such a thing as guided economy? If so, is it a bad thing to have it to correct imbalances?

The legislative powers invoked for the introduction and implementation of NEP - why must they be seen as "coercive"? When there was, provided in the Constitution, the special position of the disadvantaged community? It was agreed by all, otherwise it would not have been adopted by Parliament and became the Constitution of the country, was it not?

I wish I can understand the statement "an extension of politically coercive purely governmental powers into the realm of economics". But state my disagreement I must - to those who say that on that "principle" they can object to the continuance of the NEP.

I think I can speak for so many others who, like me, was hesitant to make a comment here for lack of understanding of arguments on economics but nevertheless have to state our objection to those who speak about discontinuance of NEP even at this stage of having only 18% of corporate wealth.

Anonymous,  20 April 2009 at 13:21  

The adage 'there is no free lunch' is universal and applicable anywhere you go. When money is freely given without any caveat, it is bound to go down the drain. Who in their right mind would not want free money ? How do you ensure you get the best bang for your buck ? Surely not on privileges alone ? ROI ?

Buck has to stop somewhere.

Anonymous,  20 April 2009 at 13:35  

What "free lunch" are you talking about 13:21?

If you talk about corruption, cronyism, no competitive bids, I will agree with you. If so, why not say so. Are you implying that all or most Malays have been given free lunches? Absolutely not. Only "the elite" that Sakmongkol was talking about.

I completely agree with him on "the economic empowerment of the majority Malays".

Anonymous,  20 April 2009 at 13:39  

Anon 20 April 2009 13:19

Many go into a frenzy at the mention of NEP. The question you should ask is not on the continuation of the NEP but of the effectiveness of the NEP. Why is it still at 18% if the NEP has being in existence since 1970 ? Will it still be 18% 10 years down the road ? What are the obstacles in achieving that 30% ?

If you hold political power since 1957 and still cannot achieve even 30% corporate wealth then what gives ?
What has been done that has still not been done ? You will be surprise that many non-Malays do not envy you on the NEP. It is the abuse that they are fed-up with. Nobody would envy the poor and deserving who needs help, whatever their race.

Anonymous,  20 April 2009 at 13:50  

Anon 20 April 2009 13:35

Siapa makan chilli, dia lah yang rasa pedas. If you did not have any free lunches, then you should not feel hurt. No where did I mention that the Malays have been given free lunches. Again I mention that if anything is given due to privilege alone, it would be a free lunch. Did I forget to mention ROI ?

walla 20 April 2009 at 13:54  

M: 'We can always trust this blogger to set us thinking, can't we?'

C: 'Yes, he has latched onto something important.'

M: 'What do you think is the real issue at hand?'

I: 'For me, i think the policy-framers must have missed the fact that the final determinant of everything is human nature.'

C: 'Let me add to that. It's like doing a project. You start a project based on a plan. It has everything lined up. X is to do A, Y is to do B, and so on. But as with most projects, things go wrong down the line because situations will surface to make a mess of human relations. In this case, they forgot about human motivation.'

M: 'Then it's about building good team relationship, isn't it?'

C: 'But how do you build good team relationship when principles are loaded to one side that flies in the face of human nature as relates fairness and motivation, especially when sacrifices by others are not blessed onto the very targets they are intended but onto their elites who then propagate the scheme even more strongly?'

I: 'And, if i may add, that will only lead to a vicious cycle. In the beginning, all had come together and decided it's good to help the deprived and needy. Then some are helped more than others by sheer transposition of the word privilege to right. In fact, the attempt was even more insidious - the institutionalization of prejudice. Furthermore, the mechanism has embedded faults. It works only in situations of economic growth that will at the same time create opportunities for the others and it works only when the demand-supply targets are fixed. Otherwise it will go on, not as the politicians excuse as not-yet-ready, but forever, a situation which is reinforced for every one year we fall back on our national competitiveness, whatever the economic cycle.

When you see it like that, of course the others from the communities of those who are receiving less help will go running to their reps to try and re-equilibrate the situation. But what if the reps themselves cannot do anything because the legislation and implementation of the non-economic measures to solve the economic inequality are vested in the hands of those whose own positions depend on their helping only those of their own community? And what if even the representation for fair legislation is blocked. Surely this will raise tension, create friction, deepen division and propagate inequality, doesn't it? Admit it, it's just moving inequality from one place to another, doesn't it?'

M: 'In other words, you're saying asymmetry is weakening the foundation of this country?'

C: 'Something like that. There are at least two asymmetries we all face, and that includes those who are needy regardless of race. Inside the government, all the major portfolios are configured to one party; i don't have to name them. Then outside the government, there is an asymmetry which has been going around for a long time. It might have been inadvertent but it subsists. You see, private sector cannot legislate and govern but government can do business and police. Now the reasons might be to extend affirmative policies and also to partake of private sector efficiencies in government-run businesses but the trace-back outcome is casting the government decision-making process in a dark light. It diminishes trust of affirmative policies. And when the ugly sides of porous governance comes into play, the situation really gets out of hand.

M: 'You mean cronyism, corruption, racism and money politics, don't you?'

D: 'M, if you think C and I feel bad about that, what about us? The D's, the K's, the Ib's, and so on?'

M: 'But the government is starting to recognize that which is why the cabinet this time has a bigger representation from the forgotten states.'

D: 'You can't be serious to think that just putting people onboard in some committee will enhance the flavour of food our rakyat have not been having for a long time, can you? And i am not talking about our reps who are well-fed and exceptionally well-taken care of.

The poverty line over here is even lower than the lowest by whatever measure you care to bring up. Let me ask you a simple question. How does the government operate? Does it say that it puts in a rep from some place and the rep will be helping more in that place than elsewhere? Even if the rep now wears a federal hat which last i checked is meant to be national?

And also wouldn't you feel injured if it takes forever to get your ID but those who look like you can get them hot from the machine?

And since i am at it now, how can going to Disneyland to study water canal management help lift all of us out of the poverty line?'

M: 'That's not fair. The money came from specific sources and were used in a specific organization for an attempt to do a specific project in view.'

I: 'Crikes, shouldn't we be realizing by now the rakyat don't see things like that? They don't see this government or that agency, this cabinet or that ministry. They don't care about the government's internal problems, whether it's federal or state, constituency or district. Those are not their problems. They only want to see what the government will do for them, and when. They see one massive body to which the money from different sources go in and then it comes out to be used in different places. If it is used badly and suspiciously wrong in one place, they will look at opportunity cost. That's after they have thrown the bathtub, kitchen sink and grand piano at the massive body.

So now can i ask whether the findings of that study will be revealed in case the replacement government want to do the same project - for the rakyat, as you say? No answer? why not?

You see, that's another revolutionary change. The rakyat have wised up to political blackmail. You know the old usual - vote for me, get the goodies. Do you know what's the real implication of that? The implication is that the rakyat are deliberately made to suffer and be in need of things which are held back from being given to them until they give the giver the support he needs to go on doing the same thing on them. That's telling the rakyat to masochize themselves, innit? Where are we, atop Brokeback Mountain kah?

It's particularly painful in my case because it was my congress which had helped formulate the citizen rights aspects of the very constitution by which the government presumes itself to refer to.'

M: 'Wah, ambush-ke?'

C: 'No, we are all trying to find that platform from which we can discuss the blogger's thesis that unless there is a new equilibrium of economic performance at the grassroot level, whatever the race, it will be difficult to wean the presence and authority of government from the economic landscape of this land.'

M: 'And are we there? Do we have a platform to stand on at this moment?

Let me put it to all of you, if you were standing right now with me, for instance, what will you do? What can you do that is fair to all from the word go when there was so much inequality from day one?'

C: 'Let's not get one another wrong. There was a wellspring of understanding, cooperation, goodwill, and mutual respect in our hearts, when we all started together hand-in-hand to lay the first bricks of this mansion called Malaysia. However because of different motivations, skills grew at different rates one from the other. And since wealth is built on skills, those with more of one will acquire more of the other. Yes, the Mises free market is blind to race. It runs on the engine oil of skills and performance. Wealth lubricates it to perform even better with each efficient firing of the cylinder. That's how the locomotive of progress runs anywhere in the world.

And those who had done better did and still do recognize that one part can't be left behind while the others move ahead.

But it is a generic recognition independent of race. Don't tell me you don't know how many C's, I's, D's and so on are exactly in the same boat as the M's. Just because you see some in mercs doesn't mean you can close your eyes to the M's in beemers.

Poverty and wealth afflict all. It's nicer to be afflicted by wealth, of course, but let's get one thing straight, what our affirmative policies are trying to do is to apply socialist ideals to a globally trading, multiracial, free market democracy. Right or wrong?'

M: 'Ah, i was waiting for that. What took you so long?'

C: 'Got lost in the wilderness of our fertile discussion, M. Maaf lah.'

M: 'It didn't feel like a fertile discussion. More like aerial bombardment, i must say.'

I: 'No malice intended. The old goodwill hasn't left. It's all inside us the older generations. And it's a budding flower in the hearts of all our young who can't be blamed for wondering what's all the fuss and hullabaloo.'

F: 'Coming from my part of the world where free markets reign and politicians get blasted because there's no feudal wall to hide them, i can't help but feel a bit worried for all of you.'

M: 'Oh, why do you say that, F?'

F: 'While there's a healthy debate going on between globalization and tribalism, it has always been market forces which hit all bottomlines. I am sure the load of any government will be lightened if the economy is humming because then the people, or rakyat as you call them, will be busy making dough to feed their families and save for their future.

The old saying that is 'from each according to his means to each according to his needs' removes the human motivation factor that you all had mentioned earlier.

I think there has to be a balance. You can't continue giving and giving until the muscles of those who need atrophy from lack of exercise just as you can't militate by retrogressive policies against those who pay their taxes by dint of their hard-work, earning power and economic performance.'

M: 'That's not entirely true, F. If for instance there are such policies, then they wouldn't have been able to sustain their edge today.'

F: 'They could have gone further - not in your country, but pitted against the others in the world. See the big picture, M. It's not about your M versus the C versus the I and so on. That's just weak competing against weak against weak. From what we have done over here, you're all weaklings. Sure you think you can go global, but show me where so far.'

M: 'But yours don't have things like culture. We don't have much but we still do and we would like to think we should be defending them.'

F: 'You're wrong to think we don't have a culture. It's called technology. That's our culture. You talk about locomotives. We only maglev. You talk about arts and language. We lingo technical english. Sure, we borrow the poetry and literature and paintings from others as they come in. And they write in our language because our language is the one used everywhere else. It's commercial. That means making more money for them to continue their affectionate hobbies of defending their culture. It's also about time. If you have to start from square one to go to a hundred, it's only fortuitous if your competitors hit the wrong squares to slide down the snakes. As in ladders. In real life, it's not a game of snakes-and-ladders; that's for kids. Instead, do the real thing. Do your costings properly, for instance.

I thought you would have seen as much from the financial meltdown we are all facing today. Without money, or wang as you say, all stand still.'

C: 'I have to defend my friend M here, F. You may have your culture if technology can be so called. But because i have my five thousand year culture, and my other friend I has his five thousand culture, we can readily appreciate the heartfelt pang inside M if he thinks his may one day disappear. It's identity, tribal affinity, remembrance of one's folks past, and anchor for the future of the young. We don't have that cut-and-dry retrenching sentiment because we see human faces when we do things. You only see statistical data.'

F: 'But how long can you sustain that? How many industries in your country have hollowed out? How many more jobless will even feign to read this post? And what new ideas will your new cabinet have to make sure food gets on the table, money in the pocket and hope in the heart so that all of you can continue to hark back to the halcyon days of your cultures? It's economics, first. Your communal hobbies can come later. You may even be able to afford bufioris and model aeroplanes, holidays at Dhara Devi's and lunches at Tiffany's. But get the priorities right first and last. And as someone has said, do the right things and do things right. That's effectiveness coated on efficiency.'

D: 'So how do you think we can reduce the presence and importance of government in our country so that the free market as you say can move forward without anyone feeling left behind?'

F: 'I see you all have been using the word thrust a lot. Well, thrust more. Practise clean government from beginning to end, top to bottom. No exceptions. Practise clear communication that carries really powerful mindset changing agents. I think for too long your governments have neglected changing the mindsets of the people because it so happens the people concerned are also their constituents. It's a catch-22 situation. The government thinks it is alright to pander to some so that they can stay in power. The some think that they can rake mud on others so that their type of government can stay in power. But if the government wants to change itself in order to lift all up, then there is no question of not changing the group that's cheering it on to continue the mess. Isn't that reasonable?'

C: 'But they are also part of the people. Shouldn't something be done for them too?'

F: 'Aye, there. There should be programs that engage their minds and pockets so that they will find it hard to think out new excuses to vociferate for status quo. Especially when most see status quo as extinction calling. And one more thing, the line between proposition and opposition is not that clear, just as republicans and democrats are not that dissonant on common matters. At the end of the day, it's all about technique and finesse.'

D: 'And of course, sensitivity.'

F: 'Yeah, that too.'

M: 'So, what's the bottomline going forward?'

F: 'Just confidently proceed. If you're wrong, the people will react. But people are not of just one voice. The more moderate, reasonable and progressive majority should prevail. Look, if you all go back to status quo, your country may continue, but at a lower level. Compared to those who have climbed up, that's not just shameful. But downright stupid. What sort of quality existence, if you can even call it that, should the people then console themselves with?'

M: 'Let me see, what you're saying is that the government should trust the time has come not only for it to change by relinquishing its paternalistic and patronizing position but also for it to believe that the citizens common will rally behind it for doing that because they too have realized they need to change along in order for this country to save itself and take advantage of new opportunities for change from the present crisis? Is that it?'

F: 'What was that again, you were saying??'

C,I,D,K, Ib: 'Hehe. M does have a way with words.'

F: 'Just go ahead. If one past PM can be confident that he is right, so too the entire nation under your leadership can be confident they are right. But do try to be right not like him. Come to think of it, doing the opposite may just help. Don't divide yourselves anymore. It's so philistine.'

D: 'For that, allow me to invite all of you to my longhouse. It's cool and the food's great.'

M: 'Thanks! My merc can take some but not all. Who can manage on his own?'

C: 'I'll go on my R.'

M: 'Wow, Rolls or Rover?'

C: 'Raleigh.'

Anonymous,  20 April 2009 at 13:58  

Oh no, it's this gwlnet fellow or kind of fellow again. His "What gives?" is the give away.

I refuse to have anything to do with this fellow.

Sorry folks, I wasted my time addressing that Anon.

Anonymous,  20 April 2009 at 15:02  

ala, ini blog dan penyokong yg suka nak tengok melayu hapus, kalau ini negeri dia, korang sendiri taula cemana, tengok ajala perak nun, genggam tak lepas beb.

Ini macam punya orang mau kasi chance ke. Melayu yg ada pun samdol. Dia ingat dia dah teror sangat le, takat lepas diri sendiri apa klas nya pemimpin, org mau tengok ramai yg lepas boleh berdikari. Takat baru jalan2 jatuh dan nak suruh berlari. Pikir sikit la.

Org lain2 tu bagi2 alasan yg tak konkrit saja. macam loyar. loyar buruk. Korang yg ada pelajaran yg cakap konon beradab beralas..kalau tak reti nak pikir.. takda makna beb. Kau aja yg bersopan santun, kau tengok sipolan a/l sipolan tu, ada sopan santun ngan kau.

Sopan santun pun ada tempat beb. Org nak lanyak kita, mana boleh sopan santun lagi. Pastu sikit punya kurang hajau nak lanyak kita dalam rumah kita sendiri.Wa panas beb!

Lagi tambah panas bila ada Melayu yg sokong polan a/l polan lanyak kita semua dirumah kita sendiri.Kemdian ini melayu mau cakap pasal budi bahasa.

Ini la dinamakan Melayu bodoh!
Siapa suka makan cili sila rasa pedasnya.

Anonymous,  20 April 2009 at 16:32  

2 questions Dato':

1) What does economic empowerment mean & what would it look like in practice? What type of initiatives would you propose? I am not in economics, pls forgive my ignorance & use simple words.

2) Would you include underprivileged & disadvantaged non-malays in the last sentence of your post?

Thank you

Unknown 20 April 2009 at 17:37  

as a bumiputras we need to know our priority in our country.. remember non bumi..this is malaysian... majority????

Anonymous,  20 April 2009 at 18:28  


Really confused about this NEP thing>>What do you need to do to qualify for the benefits?Is there a list of benefits that I can choose from?Which department do I have to apply from?Is there a website or any forms to fill?Whats the qualifications required?


Anonymous,  20 April 2009 at 19:28  

Stop the Presses!

Mahaguru has uncovered something of primeval importance here, and am sending this to all patriotic blog sites. This latest posting either constitutes a crime of the highest degree as far as parliamentary sessions go, or just an insight as to who actually pulls the strings in the Dewan Undangan Negri Perak. Perhaps the Sultan knows about this for a long time, and he has acted according to knowledges that he had.

I am ashamed to read this. Ashamed at the people (especially malay PKRs and PAS supporters) who have put these people up there in the first place. Ashamed at how balless we have all become, how balless Sivakumar has become.

I would like to ask the legal experts in here: can there be some sort of police report made onto the YBs involved due to their influencing the actions and decisions of the speaker AT ALMOST EVERY MINUTE OF THE PROCEEDINGS?? I mean, he even instructed the speaker from the comforts of his own cellphone when to shut off the microphone, when not to give the BN representatives to talk, what to say next, when not to say it, etc etc etc. I mean, reading all these…. makes one so … embrassed at even being a Malaysian. If I feel embarassed, just imagine how much more Sivakumar should!

And there you have it gentlemen: one who dares so much to defy the Sultan, cannot dare to even decide to do or say anything right without the remote-controlled consent or approval of Ngeh or Nga or whatever. And this is all happening just because YOU, PKR malays and PAS members, allow it to happen.

Read, and be embarassed.

Marking Bagpie

Anonymous,  20 April 2009 at 20:23  


i just hope that TDM and DS Najib is not heading for a collision...they seem to hv differing views on the crooked bridge and the penanti elections.

its a dicey situation

Anonymous,  20 April 2009 at 20:42  

Dear Dato',

Though not an economist by training, I can understand a little bit about your proposition for a more equitable distribution of the national wealth. As usual, you have been very forthcoming and the ideas you put forward deserve the attention of the powers that be if they are to embark on such affirmative policies in earnest.

Many have asked, and will continue to ask, about the policies that have been in place ostensibly to achieve the said objectives but have come short of expectations and, if I may add, aspirations of the target population. I have thought quite a bit about these and find that it is not the policies themselves that are incorrigibly flawed but rather their interpretation and implementation at the lower levels of the implementing mechanisms. And by this I mean the people at the lower level of decision-making.

As with most government agencies, the people put in charge and are entrusted with proper implementation are usually not the best to do so. Thus you come across narrow interpretations that will have the tendency to be loaded with bias and prejudice. There is no racial element involved; a Malay decison-maker can be biased and prejudiced towards his own people but can be more welcoming of people of other races. I speak from experience of my almost 30 years in government service, most of them spent dealing with all kinds of people.

To cut it short, I am suggeswting that for such a poicy of empowerment to be successful, the right people must be put in the right places. If you cannot find people so naturally inclined to be objective and professional in their decision-making, by all means educate them. There are many factors that contribute towards successful implementation of policies and initiatives but the human element is most important.


Anonymous,  20 April 2009 at 22:30  

almost all distributorships of products for consumer items,electronics,IT,communications,construction materials..inclusive of the logistics,retail outlets etc are controlled by non bumis...

almost all the PRIME undeveloped properties are owned by non Bumis..purchased and held within the families for more than 6 decades...

there's more non bumis educated in private colleges,overseas i.e. superior education compared to the local institutions due to emphasis on english,communications,liberal thinking and latest education syllabus and tools...

there's more employment opportunities created by the non bumi controlled entities compared to govt or GLCs...

the programmes to develop a bumi economic base hv failed due to the get rich quick mentality and consequences of changing umno leadership..

GLCs hv failed to create and nurture bumi businesses..

how do u resolve all this?


Anonymous,  20 April 2009 at 22:52  

Wow Sak, your commentators are slowly turning your blog into the Ask Aunt Abby section (or in your case Ask Pak Sak section) of cyberspace with a notable increase in the number of questions coming through. :)

Good of Walla to answer his/her own Qs.

I will let you take a breather today and post a Q in your next instalment of Ask Pak Sak instead.

Anonymous,  20 April 2009 at 23:46  

Concerned @ 22:30

I am as concerned as you are.

Yet the so-called liberals, the high IQ and the wealthy among us Malays suggest ending the NEP. The most pathetic reason given is feeling shameful of being protected like Red Indians. What utter rubbish. What damned arrogance. And the non-Malays of course clap their hands, cheer and applaud them all the way.

These people will say get your facts, data, research results etc to prove what you have said. But data, assumptions etc can always be doctored or manipulated. I have not seen any figures of wealth ownership distribution other than for corporate wealth. Even that, remember the Asian Research Institute or something, so-called think tank, said Malays already own 45% corporate wealth when the Government said only 18%. Imagine that! They used all sorts of assumptions and figures to produce the said 45%. Ridiculous.

The economists are not agreed on so many things. They are not even agreed on the causes of the Great Depression that happened 70 years ago. Neither are they agreed on the causes of the current economic disorder in the West. They may have all the economic theories and arguments to forecast bloom or doom in this country but I wish more of them will come out in support of the NEP, less only the bloody corruption, cronyism and nepotism associated with it. Less talk about NEP dampening competition blah blah and for goodness sake talk about helping the less fortunate ones. Talk about ending bloody corruption, cronyism, nepotism and increasing transparency. As much as possible until the political will to do it emerges. We know the blokes who have ridiculed their own race by joking on the word crutches and tongkat in the past. Thank goodness the prominent one is no longer in power.

Yes, empower the majority Malays! Long live those in support of NEP and down with those who side-tracked it to enrich only the warlords and themselves, causing so many ills associated with it in the past.

I am not sloganeering. Only to express perhaps as much concern and frustration as you have expressed at 22:30.

walla 20 April 2009 at 23:46  

Actually i felt bad after posting. I must admit that.

It's because i remember a face. In 1967. Old Cikgu in small apartment lot of that flat now gone. Demolished. Near the customs complex in Johor Baru. When you looked out from his door, you can see the HM Sultan's palace. In the evening, just before sun set completely, there was a nice hue in the sky. He made teh o for us when we visited him (my CikGu, not HM!) A very nice man. Spritely and full of interest in his students.

I am now older than him in my memory. But i still remember him.

After posting, the heart was restless. The mind jumping here and there. After reading concerned 22.30 and anonymous 22.52, and of course ayah 20.42, felt even more like cat on hot tin roof.

Mind turned from one idea to another. All rejected. One idea was to change the KPI completely for helping the Malays. All along, help was by project. Do this project, do that project. Give to them. Hope they will do well. Then now think maybe another way. Instead of cause to hopeful result, set the objective as target result first, then fit in the ways to achieve it. So, say Malay household in identified area makes two thousand ringgit a month. The KPI is now four thousand ringgit a month to be achieved by november. Otherwise resign. (hahaha).

But how to double in six months? Judi not allowed, sell vcd not allowed.. still thinking.

So next idea bigger. Set aside ten billion ringgit. Invest in a trust fund for Malays only. They don't take out their allocation (ten billion divide by x Malays, even infants). The money stays in the investment. They draw the interest as dividends.

Not different from amanah saham, people will say.

Then next idea relax the affirmative policy when tenders go open but tell nonMalays to stay away if they can help it. Let the Malay contractors get a crack at the jobs first. If they need additional technical help, they should first go to their association or guild, then if cannot find, ask the nonMalays for technical assistance. Who shall not over-quote on pains of something (don't know what yet).

Then scratch head what to do for the Malay brokers who open doors to get contracts. They also in need of help, no? Good thing still have enough hair on head. Otherwise, all gone by now. Must be the alicafe drinking day and night.

My thinking is simple. Don't take away something the Malays depend on without substituting with something better. Give more efficient method. Realise the original objectives of helping them.

You see, i remember the face (faces) including my uni student lab partner from KT. He was taller but thinner and very shy. I was only interested to see the extremely striking lab assistant that time (so did many other male undergrads); always looking for excuse. very popular experiment class.

Because i remember face, policies take on human dimension. Then after all the going and coming trying to balance the scale, the challenge still remains. How to help in a way that lifts the Malays up without making the others feel down?

So what to do?

Find the inspiration somewhere else.

On Fraser's Hill, there is a bungalow with rooms to let. It is the kitchen on the ground floor which is interesting.

No, it is what is outside the kitchen that is interesting. I forget the address. I forget many things these days. But i remember that place outside the kitchen of that bungalow whose rooms are for let. When you stand outside that door, you face the jungle. If there for first time, stand still and look at the jungle. Just keep open mind. Don't bother about science or what you can see so much. Just stand still and look. The physical eye did not see anything. The mind received something later.

This land, maybe other lands too, has something in the earth which reflects in the heart of those who call it their home. I don't know how else to say it. But you and you and they and us, we all know there's something that binds those who have sacrificed for the land to the something that lives on in this land after each of us is gone.

Weird so far? Never mind, just continue.

Now i forget what i was going to write.

I don't think we fuss too much in reality. When you see some of the housing estates, there are few Malay households. So don't bother about the seven percent discount privilege. Let them keep it if it helps to have more Malay neighbours. They make best neighbours. Everyone knows that. And when the Malay defends his faith, also understand that if a scientist can open his mind and look at the jungle, and the jungle responded, what more the Almighty above? So help them to find their path to Him. Then if we see the Malays down and out, in need of the job, make way too if we can take another day on our own. So that he can have some means to build his life and to support his family. And if we take a cab and the Malay taxi man asks for a bit more, give if we can afford because we know the system isn't fair to him. He has to pay some funny tribute to someone. Then get off and walk so that he can get onto a route which has more passengers down the road. To help him earn more. And when we see a Malay doing well, also celebrate someone making it. And if we see young Malays wanting to learn something, we should just go ahead and share what we know.

No counting or squaring or calculating or measuring or trying to justify this and that. Don't think about the past. Think how much good can be done for each other in the future.

Sigh! just jump in and use the heart-lah. All should not expect anything in return. Just DO.

Ok, now i remember what i wanted to say. I wanted to ask all of you to help me with one experiment. No, it has nothing to do with 1,2-dicarbanidododecahydroundecaborate (just remembered from 1978; organoborane with bird's nest molecular structure).

The experiment is this: what is your first thought when you click on the following?

Thanks, Sak. I must try harder to be milder. Forgiven?

Anonymous,  21 April 2009 at 01:25  

Reading Anonymous 20:42 & 23:46, I think we must have a mechanism to prevent the well off (of any race) from enjoying the benefits meant for the less fortunate.

Anonymous,  21 April 2009 at 09:55  

U can give all the direct nego contracts in the world...billions and billions...but if u give them to bumi companies or persons that have no intention to build their companies into genuine,competitive construction specialist it will be just more money down the Naza,Paris,London,Prada,LVs drain.
And 93 % of the contract sum will be subbed out to the non-bumis anyway..and sadly genuine bumis who are contractors or suppliers hv to go beg and compete for the crumbs ...from a non bumi firm.

its not wrong to hv direct nego...only wrong cos its given to the wrong person.

Check much work is MMC doing on the 12 b double tracking JV with Gamuda? honor walla..the new JB nego with a Bumi too...chk out who did the bulk of the work?

Actually,not many ppl wanna be contractors...but there are sure lots who wants contracts.
DS Najib hv to find those who really wanna be contractors and go out and help them...

Btw..its the same in other trades too >>cars,aquaculture,retailing...


Anonymous,  21 April 2009 at 11:35  


I am so happy you speak up the way you do. Do go on as often as possible until they correct the situation.

I can talk only generally because I do not go out or socialise much, do not have the latest information like the extent of sub-conning. One reason is I want to avoid meeting or seeing the corrupt fellows. You and your friends see the many examples of bad practices out there every day. I want to thank you for speaking up and urge you to keep at it.

Also concerned.

walla 21 April 2009 at 12:30  

It's human motivation.

If one is motivated to make it as a construction specialist, for example, then there needs to be know-how, skills, will, honesty, and professionalism.

However if the motivation is to make fast money on easy street, then the whole system of creating means will break down. Who suffers in the end?

How to overcome the situation? I am sure all this has been thought of before. Maybe even applied.

Open the electronic directory to all malay contractors. They have to know who is good in what. Past jobs done and how long they took and any ranking of how satisfactory has been the work, and things like anything special that was done outstandingly.

So that when bidding for jobs, the malay maincon can tap into that directory to get the right people for the right subcons.

Secondly, finetune the progress payment. The last payment to be held back should be about the size of the estimated profit to be made. The govt too has quantity surveyors so they can estimate how much that would be. This last payment equal to project profit for the maincon will be released after the principal is satisfied the work has been completed according to all terms, material and workmanship are as specified, certificate of fitness has been given and remedial works done to the satisfaction of occupant. Plus one more requirement. Proof shown by maincon that the subcons meet the requirement of malay participation in the project.

That comes down to the question of how to establish that proof. The electronic directory so mentioned should be connected to the treasury registration of all malay maincon and subcon companies; the registration will have the staff list and epf details; close off everything except name and title. At each stage of the project, surprise visits will be made to audit that the subcon people there are actually from the subcon companies declared to be used. The onus should also be on the maincon to furnish proof that this is so.

Another method but a bit tricky. Offer two contracts instead of just one. The first contract is small; the second is bigger but conditional upon the above requirements being satisfactorily met in the first job done. The second contract is a promissory note since it is not likely to be known which project will be available when the first contract is offered.

In other words, use human motivation to motivate improvement.

Of course this second method depends on one thing - that there are more projects. And it must be applied with another thing - a stringent exercise to weed out those who take the opportunity to just register as maincon or subcon in order to try their luck. Now more projects means economy doing well means investments coming in means perception is right means national competitiveness.

Even short term targets to uplift the poor and needy must face long term objectives that spread to all, no?

Someone will ask - what about after the second contract? What do next? Do you batch in another two-contracts? Can the maincon now become bigger and the subcon now become a maincon?

It all depends how successful this thing will be.

The issue is what decision goes into making the offer. If it's just political decision, then it won't be fair to those who have the skills but not the politics.

So you need integrity there. Which also throws in the thing about direct nego. Direct nego is risky. Prices get inflated. Or worse, materials get subparred. The dangers of both are obvious. One, it breeds corrupt practices. Two, it reduces funds for other projects. Three, it opens injury risks to public. Four, it increases principal's liability in case of damages. Five, the project may get washed out, delayed, cost overrun and opportunity cost overflowed.

Two other things. After each project, the maincon must debrief the malay construction industry in his area. Say JB. Then malay JB contractors. The problems faced. Who and why selected. Any achievements. How cost overruns tackled. What doing with money earned.

The last one is especially important because it forces one to think about the objective of the whole process. It's personal but also national.

Now, the architecture bit. It's outdated. Imagine what funny thing has gone into the head of the architect for having a stairs lead nowhere. Never think of things from occupants' point of view. Also go visit Tabung Haji building; bring your own panadol.

If a malay maincon wants to bid for jobs overseas sometime in the future, then make sure the architecture is as desired in the rest of the world. Especially those parts which can pay better and can give more projects. Now, only the middle east and some more not sure if payments will be defaulted.

Meanwhile after job is finished, should research use of new techniques and more advanced materials. Even for roads. So just sitting back and patting back no good for future. It's continuous improvement.

Since started, continue a bit more. When you look at the communication by the government over the last few months, a bit disjointed. If say OneMalaysia, what does that translate into as something you can physically see?

How for instance to help the Malays at the grassroot level while it is going on to change mindsets in preparation for a more challenging future?

Step one, brand a program. Say for the malay subsection. What are projects you can do there which fulfills the objectives of (a) change mindset, (b) high impact, (c) increase income, (d) bridge harmony, (e) improve competitiveness, and (f) help economy?

(i am just writing without thinking).

Why need to brand a program? Learn from history. Last time you have big projects like Proton, MSC, KLIA and Cyberjaya. Day and night, non-stop promotion. I wrote a piece on MSC that would have scared even the old man. Even the red dot shrunk on reading it. So strong and manly.

But big projects are hard to come by these days so must be smarter. Make small projects appear big. That's why brand a program. Containing many small projects, each of which has an identity and a unique thrust to a specific kpi-able target.

Step two, geographically identify the priority places. Urban poverty? So start with places where there are concentrations of urban poor. Sometimes the poor spread out urban and rural. So the project should flavour itself to put each setting.

I remember the face of the artist in the old railway station. How he gonna sell his paintings if no one goes there? So one possible program is to enable all the artists and painters to sell their paintings at furniture malls. For instance. Can also be at housing launches, hotel lobbies, airport terminals. You can think of more. I am almost kaput. When people go to furniture mall, they buy furniture. Why not entice them to buy painting for the main hall as well?

But the paintings must be good. Not amateurish. Which means more training sessions. Free sessions. By experts. Do that well. Also create an electronic forum for artists to exchange ideas, tips and leads. Then if there are exhibitions, combine them. Get some millionaires to sponsor-lah. Also portalize their works like ebay. Add facebooks for them. Friendsters even. Whatever. Just don't let them languish at empty old railway stations.

I remember the faces of the rock group artistes. Macam mana can hear what they're singing when they're just screaming like banshees? And long hair doesn't mean rock these days. So, free sessions to teach them how to compose songs that sell. These days stratofenders cost a bomb. Maybe a leasing service as well for the equipment they need. And there's a computer program you can input when cutting the disks. Anyone tries to copy from the disk the attempt will fail. Maybe hard disk also crash. What they earn all should go to them. The other ideas for the artist can also apply here. Just do previews on youtube. You may also want to think how to fusion some of the tunes (but keep the lyrics in original bahasa: i mean original not anglocized).

The malay restaurant. If the tourist looks at that green or pink drink, faint-lah. Revamp everything from outside to inside. Signboard? modernize and keep in proportion. And no more table with lace on top and plastic sheet on top of lace. Or cheap ashtray. Brighten the place, not like something from the fifties. Mindset change. There are so many other things to improve. Can add, like donuts, buns etc? Even special brew coffee served in special mugs. Sometimes they don't know cashflow and simply hentam on the size of the outlet. Then they price themselves out. Which means less customers. And when people see less customers in big restaurant, get scared and dare not go in ..because thinking food not fresh.

Also they can be made into franchise-like even if not so. Many ideas because can generate new business from bigger volume suppliers. Someone knows more about how to help the malay restauranteurs so i keep quiet.

Retail. Fresh, well-stocked and cheap. All needed, all available. What is the model to use? Mini tesco. Really mini but packed and with daily attractors. Cooking oil today at 8.99. Tamin soy sauce tomorrow at 1.99. Gudang garam day after. Repeat customers get loyalty points which go into special draws sponsored by yet another millionaire.

Car sales. So the old raleigh was parked at the bicycle shed and you walk in and the cars are there. The young malay man espies a customer. Already wrong. Must learn how to prequalify the prospect. Instead of being friendly and just smile, started by appealing to buy one because he stayed far away. Sigh. The supervisor never taught how to sell so how can he make a sale without tripping over mistake made in earnest?

And yes, the local auto industry should amalgamate. For volume synergies. Silo the foreign partner requirements into nonporous walls to overcome their sensitivities against each other. Altho delphi model kaput, can still think for malay parts makers how to do it. And please share what the germans had taught Proton on quality assurance. Get that knowledge down the parts supply chain.

See, already some ideas for the program's projects' thrusts.

i surrender now.

Anonymous,  21 April 2009 at 13:15  

interesting thots walla...

on construction,its not the "bigness"of the contracts that matter..its the value add,the precision that requires more skill,knowledge >>lets not ask bumis to compete in commodoties..give them the chance to take leadership positions in the premium niche of the industry >> thus build up fabrication and rigging capability in IBS and other related heavy engineering,integration works on intelligent building systems and green building technologies,life cycle building maintenance technologies,upgrades and rehabs,slopes and soil improvement,remediation etc...lets be a master in the few key growth areas rather than a non competitive jack of all trades..thus,keyword is "capability building"...and opportunities given to bumis with the know how,perseverance,humility and the will to succeed by blood,sweat and a little tears.

And that should be the theme for other industries too.

How to monitor?Its easy actually...First its a catalyst programme..the kickstart and then no more coming back for seconds.Secondly..its not a get rich scheme but a long term investment so u can't sell out and buy a Cayenne and get a new wife.Thirdly..hv an independent Board member in the recipients BOD to cajole and remind the entrepreneur of the objectives if he goes astray..and the independent director serves as a conduit for feedback n analysis too..

U know...our successful non Bumis worked really hard..suffered and never enjoyed the luxuries to build up their businesses...we hv to do same too if not ten times more


Anonymous,  21 April 2009 at 14:06  

Government looks east with intention of transfer of tecnologies/expetise , but did it happen? Must look as micro level where other race tranfers the tecnologies/expetise on small scale such as auto accessory shop, tyre shop, motorcycle shop. But what Malay can offer? nasi lemak

Anonymous,  21 April 2009 at 14:48  


I have not dared to address you in the past because my complex stricken, low IQ Melayu me often could not understand your long dissertations or drama dialogues that left me agape, open-mouthed and grinning. But I must say I am very happy now that you have written something I and the average Melayu think we can understand.

True, many of the measures spoken may have been done before, the ideas may have been periodically spelt out. If the Malay businessmen and entrepreneurs are not motivated, maybe it's because of the mindset, the culture, the Malays not known to be the exploitative kind, not in business as long as others have been. Also the "culture" of easy money, commissions on contracts, bribery and corruption growing from the "If they can, why can't I?" attitude, and the non-action by the authorities. So the ideas and suggestions need to be drummed into their minds. Sometimes I think we are dealing with stubborn mules, or overly vested interested parties, or hugely compromised corrupt politicians, decision makers and policy (where any was discernable) implementors. We therefore need to harp upon the the need to do what has been suggested, requested even shouted about in the past.

So, please, don't be disheartened, don't give up. We need intelligent and thinking Melayu like you and Mr Concerned to periodically say things out in a language the authorities and other Malays can understand, that they have no excuse not to understand, so that the stubborn mule would perhaps grudgingly move, an inch, a foot, a yard. So that "the political will" emerges. The extent of the mess we are in now, after years of auto-piloting and eye closing to all sorts of irregularities being practised, requires no less than a huge political will to get things back on track.

Thank you and hope to hear more from you like your comment at 12:30above.

mekyam 21 April 2009 at 15:02  

walla said... The experiment is this: what is your first thought when you click on the following? we look in the same direction, we cease seeing differences. is as much human sustenance as is food.

i'm afraid the above aren't my first thoughts, walla.

my first thoughts were actually "huh?" and "waaa?". it's abt 3am, you see, and my thinking part has been dimmed prior to shutdown. :D

Anonymous,  21 April 2009 at 16:15  

if i am a chemist..presumably i may hv the necessary skills n knowledge to conjure inks for printer refills, for instance.

If the govt is nice enough to give me a contract of say 3 years to supply on exclusive basis all govt's printer ink requirements...that opportunity will kickstart a manufacturing facility..chain of retail networks..and some R&D stuff>> I would be able to not only supply to the govt but compete to get sizeable market share in the normal markets..thus,three years down the line,i will be competitive n hv the resources to further grow into an ink specialist..

if the 3 year contract is just to act as a trading house i.e. buy from supplier,markup 15% n sell to govt,then u hv to keep on going back for help..forever.

is that too much of a dream?


Anonymous,  23 April 2009 at 09:57  

Sak dear,,

When i came to terengganu 20yrs ago, am all alone,,i got a job wth bumi ccontractor shared wth Chinese,,well in reality the chinese who are in power,,the malay partner bcome very big boss,, no need to work,,all the malay bos son and daughters work wth the family in name only but they actually do nothing but drive big cars..from there i learn lesson on reality,,we the malay profeesional there work hard as our chinese counterpart,,we try to emulate their working habit and attitude,,but there seems to be a hidden line, separating us from the chinese professional,,they would go lunch in group,,always in group discussion wth the big chinese bos,but we the malay professional get only instruction, never actually invited for group meeting,,eventhough we seem to be holding important job,we are not important,,we get everything less,, less pay,, less attention,, less bonus of course,we get all the left over company cars to drive,, from then onward i vowed to be my own boss.many from the company left to built their own,most are successful.

i open my own company, strive very hard, knock every governmnt and semi governmnt office,,wait hours to meet pengarah and all the related pegawai,,get the job and work very hard to deliver..employed mostly malay workers and staff,, well we are quite successful,, but can we get project from private company or individual,,malay company and individual yes,,chinese company and individual,hardly..

Yes, we still the NEP,,all the government machineries to help and assist in getting capital and training,,maybe these machineries like smidec,mtib,mara,mecd,ypu,and the rest could be improved but not dissolved,,mungkin pendekatan kena lebih terurus dan direct to usahawan, kurangkan majlis tapi pengisian.

But what i want to emphasise is that we the malays have to work hard.Never lose focus.Overcome whatever obstacles with sheer determination.Sought help where you need.Always put forward positive energy,be truthful,honest and truthworthy..these quality are must have in business.maintain high integrity.Always remember Allah Taala.Jangan Tinggal sembahyang,bayar zakat, sentiasa bersedekah,terutama anak yatim,, insyaalah god willing we will be blessed with success.Kejayaan yang berkat.

Anonymous,  23 April 2009 at 12:20  

Anon 23 April 2009 09:57

I applaud the comments..a very good lesson for all.

Btw..were you a wibawa contractor?and do u drive a mercedes or bmw ?

walla 23 April 2009 at 17:49  

I didn't want to comment anymore after my last post because i didn't have new ideas on how to help the Malays come up. I guess if i have new ideas, they would not be different from those in other countries for the same problem of income and means inequality.

But from all the posts written after mine, i sense's that the Malays want to do well on their own...just need a break in order to earn and do improve themselves so that they can hold their heads higher and not feel dispirited or lacking of confidence. I also sense energy and will and other good qualities.

First, let me take up concerned's idea. Actually not long ago i had visited exactly such an operation. It was a factory overseas. There were simple mixing machines and other machines to fabricate parts of the printer heads. They too didn't make the ink powder. Got from Japan and Korea. Some of the machines made a lot of noise and i was concerned for the young workers.

One thing about this project is you have to be careful about the product technology. If it's a cartridge, that's simple because there's no embedded circuit board. But if it's one of those small ink or bubble jet printers, you will find the refills fitted with a small circuit. What the printer manufacturer has done is to make sure the refill heads work with maximum only one (or maybe two to three) refill(s). After that, the whole thing seems to break down and you can't refill again. So you will have to throw it away and buy a new one.

The pricing is of course the cause of the market potential. It's a mega-billion dollar industry, this printer refill/replacement business. Here the original replacement can cost one hundred and thirty ringgit and it gives you maybe a few reams of paper print. If refill is used, it's ten ringgit of refill ink and that refill comes from overseas so that means the ex-factory cost/price is only a few ringgit. That seems to be good business to do but as said the technology the manufacturer uses can stop it, depending on the printer model.

Second, cornering the buyer market by a single umbrella contract may work if you're looking to get enough revenue to set up a plant. But based on above description, it will be full of risk. The consummable market some can do, but only if they have jalan to sell their manufactured product later.

Third, if you corner a supply market, what will happen to those who supplied before? There will be many who will be thrown out of their existing jobs. That's short term losses by many individuals and their companies and families for one yet-to-be-seen future long-term gain from national viewpoint by one company. Sure, they can come over to work in that big company but not sure because by then you will have your own obligations to meet with other people who have helped you to break into the market.

It's a difficult decision to make. Your call then.

Mekyam - thanks for the response. Exceptionally good. I wouldn't have been able to finesse such sublime conclusions. I never misjudge people. Especially those in this virtual world... If more people think like you, the world will be a better place.

Anonymous 14.48 - i can't thank you enough for your kind and generous encouragement. Actually i am not deserving...

Secondly, please don't feel bad about yourself. Take this example. Susan Boyle. Just in one week, over 100 million people have seen her on youtube. You can see for yourself how unprepossessing she looked when she walked on stage. People wore sneers on their faces. The judges looked with faces that said she sucked. Yet in just the first five bars of the song she sang, everybody broke up and stood up to applaud her. The judges were stunned. She had that kind of voice which resonated. Like an ugly duckling that turned into a swan.

The message is clear. Each of us is special in our own way. Even if most of us are on first look similar in too many regards. Yet, there is in each of us something special. He hides it for us to find it so that we can pick up His message.

Our mission, should we choose to accept it, is to find out for ourselves what that message is for each of us.

High IQ, low IQ and so on, matter not. What is important is how we use what we have.

And i think you have something inside you which shows if you believe in yourself and not look down on yourself, you will shine in something in your life and make Him, inasmuch your family, friends and community, proud of you as a human being...

Anonymous 0.957: although your post was to Sak, i would just comment a bit, if i may.

When one faces difficulties in life, it is important not to add new loads on the mind and spirit. Both are needed to overcome hurdles. One load is to compare and contrast. "Why me?" or "why not me?". And "see they are unfair to me so i blame them for my failure.." and so on. If we all know the answer to these questions, life wouldn't be the mystery that it is which has befuddled the sages even to this day. Yet, you have identified the personal qualities needed to get on. I say 'get on' because those are just the basics. There are other things you need. One, be alert to what's going on. Every minute. The successful are always sharp. Even their movements are sharp and energetic. Two, invest in education. Learn to do things better. Three, pay attention to manual dexterity. If i can do something in five or ten strokes, i prefer to do it in five. This is a simple thing no one pays attention to. Yet it is more than being efficient in anything you do. It's also about disciplining the mind to be efficient. That doesn't really require much IQ. Just concern plus determination plus focus.

I can write a lot for all of you but someone had called me a 'thamby' and another person had hinted i was a chinese, and so on.


this is the end here.

Anonymous,  23 April 2009 at 20:54  

Mr is about risks and rewards.Knowledge,experience n hard work moderates but never can remove risk.Myb cos we (bumis)are too risk adverse..thats why we prefer to be brokers/commision agents if we hv opportunity or just make lots of noise when we don't get the chance.Myb the nonbumis take chances..and we only see the success stories but never the numerous failures.THUS my conclusion is NEP must start with conditioning of the bumi mindset for risk n failures.

walla 23 April 2009 at 21:21  

anonymous 20.54

this is the first time i read someone saying that.

'conditioning the bumi mindset for risk n failures.'

Anonymous,  23 April 2009 at 21:43  

Mr walla..
is that an illogical statement?Or is it pure cuckoo nest stuff?i am a bumi btw..made n lost a few dollars n now finely poised between success n failure n loving it.

walla 23 April 2009 at 22:42  

The bumi's seem to have been conditioned for dependency. That's only in this country. Once they step out across the border and enter any other country, who can they depend on? Even if the word 'bumi' for example is embossed in gold on the best conqueror bond paper and laminated, no one anywhere else in the world will be able to evaluate it. That's the reality.

Even in the last crisis of '97, we were not spared. That goes to show how porous borders are and how integrated the world has become.

So what's a country? And which country can the dependency be moved to? None. Instead of being a stepping stone, this country has become a mind trap.

So self-dependency should come first. With that, risks will come. It's the norm of life.

Even the alley cat doesn't know whether there will be some food the next day.

So be prepared, save whatever can be saved, be not lured by the unnecessary, stay focused on what must be done, and do them well. Be serious, not flippant. Go the positive path, not destructive route. Network with all, not by prejudice. Empower all, not by selection. Give more than take.

Most importantly, safeguard what are the good qualities that should endure.

For without them, one has no anchor to provide the bridging guidance to overcome difficulties.

Good begets good; bad begets bad. Something bad done long ago comes back in most imaginative new form when least expected and it will strike hard where it hurts most. Something good done without self-thought comes back one day and inserts itself where most needed, only to reveal a result that carries another message that builds the inner wisdom to walk the next step with greater nobleness of heart.

Even in business or career, these things happen. Business, job, vocation, hobby...all these are subsets of life. A journey, a lesson, a connection to somewhere. If the line is broken, patch it. If the route is wrong, get back. If the action is bad, redeem.

It is not from sitting at the knife edge between risk and reward that presents the ultimate challenge. The challenge is not to lose all identified good in the process of trying to live better.

The greatest journey for any person is not to the furthest corner of this earth, not to climb the highest, dive the deepest, probe the furthest.

It is the journey inwards.

I have seen seven generations of alley cats come and go - from kittens to adults to old cats. I have wondered when they grew old what happened to them? How did they know where to go when the time was up...

Likewise success and failure. For every ten who invest, seven fail, two succeed and the remaining i forget what happen.

What happen to the old cats happen to people too. Where do they go? How do they repay debts? They must have started all over again. Do people know their hardships and painful stories? Whoever can care when everyone is facing his or her own set of problems?

This is reality. So if young, work hard. And when middle-aged, do not fall prey to bad habits. And when old, remember it was all to be just a journey with a message.

Now this post would really qualify as cuckold's nest talk, wouldn't it?

Anonymous,  23 April 2009 at 23:37  

thanks mr walla..
but the issue remains unanswered>>is one of the reasons for failure of NEP is becos we do not have the necessary fortitude of risking failure?

lets say that one gets a 3 year contract to supply printer ink to the govt...with enough value build into the pricing to justify setting up a factory.And one have enuff knowledge,network,skills to manage the business of manufacturing the ink..

the choice is whether to set up the factory as a kickstart towards being the premier ink supplier in malaysia (i.e. RISKY but long term recurring business) OR to just buy it off existing manufacturers and markup 15% (short term but no risk business..)>>wat would be the preferred?

Our non bumi brothers would definitely go for the higher risk with longterm rewards...
Our Bumi brothers would probably (and in most cases in the past) go for the low risk..immediate gratification option.

Thus ,my comment that we have to be conditioned to take more risk..and to be conditioned for failure too..if the rewards is justifiable.

That to me is the root of Ali Babaism...and believe me the GLCs are managed with the same risk adverse short term rewards (thanks to KPIs).


Anonymous,  23 April 2009 at 23:46  

Just an aside...taking construction as an example >>
WCT,Bina Puri,DKLS,Road Builders,Gamuda..and even IJM were pretty small when PLUS hiways gave them the opportunities (as subcons/JV partners).They invested in equipment,got the right team..trained and developed them.

UEM was the main con..did top level project real investment in resources.

Today ,those small subcons are huge COMPETITIVE companies and on a global arena...UEM (thanks to the current weak leadership as a GLC) is completely screwed resources..not competitive and still 100% reliant on direct nego jobs from the govt.

Ok..wish a University somewhere can do some research on this..

Lets be cuckoo as long as we retain our senses.

walla 24 April 2009 at 09:00  

Most equipment come with warranties voided by substitute refills.

I don't know how people in a company can take more risks but put out their hands for monopolistic support. Isn't that being risk-averse in the biggest way at the beginning?

kuldeep 24 April 2009 at 09:24  

"I don't know how people in a company can take more risks but put out their hands for monopolistic support. Isn't that being risk-averse in the biggest way at the beginning?"

I think mr walla have distilled the flaw of the NEP mechanism.

walla 24 April 2009 at 09:37  

And another thing.

There is a difference between government spending and private sector spending. When govt spends to support specific companies with view to reaching out to some socio-economic objectives, it is spending money collected from the land and the people.

If it is from the land, it theoretically should be spent for the good of all. Now in the past good of all has been interpreted by meaning good for those who are behind so that they can come up. I have no argument with that provided the others are also recognized for the difficulties some of them face, and provided the people who hold power do not use their power to deliberately neglect or overlook the needs of those people, whether it be in education, faith, financial support, services in their living areas, and judicial practice.

But so far as you will have seen it hasn't been so for too many cases. In other words, the NEP and the governance of this land have been hijacked by those in power in too many ways to favor exclusivities.

And the results on the objectives, the other communities and the national and state economies you already know so there's no need to repeat.

As a matter of fact, everybody knows the manufacturing sector has hollowed out. Some will say one can be encouraged by the growth of the services sector. The graph for manufacturing goes down. The graph for services go up (see hishamh's blog). But let me ask you, when the services graph goes up, where has it grown in that sector? We will not be able to find real revenue-generating sources in that sector. Some say financial sector. Really?

To continue, if it is from the private sector, then who pays taxes that enable government to spend? You can construct your own argument from there. I also will not intrude.

Now if you are to ask me what to do for the bumi's in order to come up, i will agree this special support mechanism should be continued but the way to do it is not going to go down well with the community being supported because the minds of many in this community have been washed until they have become bigoted and racial.

If you cannot agree to that, this argument stops here. But if you are curious, let's continue.

If you're going to ask me something again, why not you think from my perspective and derive the conclusions that you think i will also arrive at. Then we have something to discuss.

As i had said before in a post long ago, ali-baba-ism carried to its finale is actually a multi-racial malaysian company. Except the ab company will cost the government, and therefore the land and the people, more, for the same work. Sometimes less work.

Looking at making the bumi's less risk-averse is only one aspect of making companies successful. And it is also dangerous if the bumi's take that as license to spend more in order to feel that they can now take more risks. In the past they have taken more risks. But in ways i don't wish to elaborate.

What we must not have from now on - and that's in the longterm interest of everyone, particularly the bumi's - is a repeat of all the 'mistakes' of the past.

And the first step is to always be responsible-minded and honorable. Trace the money trail, and see where it came from, who decides how it is to be used, how it is being used, and where it has gone. Then measure the result to see if the spending has been justified, and whether other less whitey elephants could have been attempted.

So much of the country's money has been blown. Someone even said after the money spent on tolls, the highways will be given back to the country. At what cost? he forgot to ask.

No, it's not just risk-taking. It's the ability and will to see everything candidly from a-to-z first before deciding what to do and how to do it.

Of course, kuldeep/concerned/anonymous, some will say if that be done, nothing will be started.

Then change the paradigm. Change the framework of cooperation. Change the operational metrics and benchmarks. Change the backbone of how to make progress.

These you can elaborate.

Anonymous,  24 April 2009 at 20:54  

Sudah berapa tahun ada NEP...still cannot achieve it the the methodology or is it because Bumis not ready to make it work..

Reading the article/comments just confirms it >>Bumis just want to make big theories without the sweat to make it work..

Anyway,middle class Bumis with decent careers and with intellectual sophiscation is a big % of the population..thats the success of NEP.

leave the commerce,dirty hands on work to the non bumis..


Anonymous,  25 April 2009 at 09:03  

Interesting..very enlightening.

Given the very hypothetical but not unlikely monopoly of printer inks for the government , the response touched on ;

1.Risk issues on technology
2.Existing suppliers
3.Ethics of a monopoly

Whereas non Bumi entrepreneurs are in the market even without any support,a bumi sophisticate chooses to pontificate on irrelevancies.

Reality check >> answer is simply if given the chance,one should take it and use it as a kick start to build a competitive business through capacity building,R&D with the mission to bring down cost for all Malaysians.

Philosophizing have and will continue to stagnate NEP success.And,those few Bumis who grabbed their chances are seen as evil proxies and demonized for their courage and proactive ambitions.

Clear Mind

walla 25 April 2009 at 12:29  

Since it's going to be the rakyats' money, show all the assumptions made in the business case to start such a project.

Also list your understanding of the real market conditions prevailing for the products in view.

Lastly, delve into how the project will fail and what are you going to do about it to navigate around that in the first three months of realizing that you've missed some of the factors.

Go ahead, this will be really enlightening.

Anonymous,  25 April 2009 at 12:35  

"Lastly, delve into how the project will fail..."
says it all...

and we are not even on the starting blocks of the hypothetical stage or to put in business parlance "conceptualization/scenario planning"..

kuldeep 25 April 2009 at 13:03  

Lets at the same time propose a monopoly on goreng pisang supply to government...make that RM 20 million per annum 5 year contract.

I got this wonderful technology of freeze drying goreng pisang that can be zapped in a microwave to the sizzling crunchy original texture in seconds.

Its revolutionary but I need the 5 year contract to set up my freeze drying plant.

Imagine,the export potential of the product...the whole world be eating Malaysian goreng pisang.If I can perfect this usb zapper that replicates the microwave..everyone can google and eat goreng pisang from their laptops.

walla 25 April 2009 at 13:25  


that's why it's called thinking from A to Zeeeee.

Or would you think A to Biiiiiii's will be enough to bring in Biiiiiiiilliooooooons?


solve the problem first of why freeze-dried things take away the real taste.

c'mon people, you can do BETTER.

show ME.

Anonymous,  25 April 2009 at 13:39  

Its too difficult..we are just not good enuff...even with NEP,monopoly,contract...we can't compete with the chinaman at lowyat.I think i just concentrate on my career..lg ada pensiun.

walla 25 April 2009 at 13:44  


don't say that.

every human being is the same; just some focus more on those parts which are important for achieving success; the others who don't achieve success, well it's not because they can't.

i always believe that.

why don't you?

kuldeep 25 April 2009 at 14:00  


solve the problem first of why freeze-dried things take away the real taste.

Don't worry too much..McDonald Burgers don't taste of beef or chicken yet they're selling millions of patties a day.

We're creating new horizons..molecular cuisine whereby an orange taste like an apple.

Btw..u seem to agree that the Chinaman in Lowyat is smarter than the poor Anon 25 April 2009 13:39?He must have applied your focused A to Z critical thinking approach..

walla 25 April 2009 at 14:04  


are you awake? what did you think i meant when i wrote 'don't say that'?

if i can also say 'every human being is the same' would i have meant the chinaman in lowyat is smarter?

of course not, isn't it?

so i ask ..are you awake?

kuldeep 25 April 2009 at 14:22  

"just some focus more on those parts which are important for achieving success;..."

Thus,the Chinaman in LowYat (and the Chinaman supply chain of printer inks..) must have focussed on the important bits whereas our poor Anon did not.

I presume we are talking about the mythical contract to supply printer ink to the Government on an exclusive basis for 3 years..apart from thinking through of how many golf balls are in the floating in the air world wide RIGHT now.

walla 25 April 2009 at 14:26  

i thot the supply of consummables to the govt is still the province of many small bumi how come it's now the chinaman supply chain?

stay focused; if you're now seeing golf balls in the sky, i have only ONE question for you.

what you smokin'?

cos i may need some of that too to be in the same wavelength.


kuldeep 25 April 2009 at 14:38  

walla sir...

unfortunately ..the small bumi companies supplying consumables to the government are buying from the non bumi distributors..who in turn are buying from the non bumi manufacturers.

Can you use your wisdom to tell me how many golf balls are in the air right now ( i.e. making the journey off a golfclub to the ground)..all over the world?

walla 25 April 2009 at 14:49  

As many as you can see.

Create your own blue ocean. It doesn't have to be printer ink, does it?

The answer to that, i am still waiting for that guy to spell out those assumptions. Do you know whether he's also joining you at the golf course?

Everyone in the world, not just bumi's, wants to break into the hamburger market, the printer ink market, the golf balls market.

To be the first in something, one must research. That itself is also risky. One can spend years trying something only to find someone else coming out with something which completely overthrows the importance of that thing being researched even before it can go commercial.

Even in the academic world, that happens. Whitehead and Russell spent mind-wracking years writing out principia mathematica - the formalisation of all mathematics to a foundation of logic. After they finished their work, Godel came out and in just a 20-page paper, demolished it completely. A lifework..gone.

So too in product world. It's called risk.

And from all the white elephants we see, there hasn't been risk management for the projects. Because peoples money was thought to be government's money was thought to be politicians' money.

If someone wants to break into a market, he or she must already have a clear idea of what are involved. But most importantly, what new value his or her product will bring to the customers.

So study that first. If you are late, find out. Everybody does that. chinoman, indoman, malayman, black, white, brown, yellow, capucino... go on, make my day.

Now, where are those friggin' assumptions?


kuldeep 25 April 2009 at 15:36  

Well mr walla...if ur the prime minister and in a position to award the 3 year contract I am sure our anon will do a complete presentation..and will address all aspects as u so rightly highlighted.

I am seeing this mythical ink supply contract from a different perspective though..affirmative action is about giving an opportunity...and from that once off helping hand,the recipient is expected to grow it into a long term,dynamic and competitive business.

Thus,I don't see printer ink perse but rather the concept of the NEP.

Similarly the golf balls...there's no answer really...its the iteration,the method and assumptions made to attempt a quantification that matters.

I hope Anon will not be discouraged nor wait for Mr walla to be our PM.If it works for the Chinaman at Lowyat :then to me,its a non brainer.

walla 25 April 2009 at 16:15  

Of course i knew it was all about being metaphorical and iterative.

My advice to everyone is simple. Don't color anything by racial tint.

It's not a good emotion to use to prod oneself. Just kiss. Keep it sweet and simple. Stay focused on the working parameters. How to make something work without thinking about the whole thing tainted by anything to do with race.

And by work, nowadays i mean work in the world. Not just here.

If we all want to do well here, we must start by a frame of mind to go straight for the big hukanna.

Make something good enough for the world. Malaysia is just a stopover, a pitstop to the great beyond....In any case, you know the market size here is just a pindrop. It's nothing. If your fallback position is just the local market, then the project will be finished, won't it? Things will cost more with time and assets will be depreciating to zero but prices can't always be going up for just one or two customers in order to pay for wage and material cost increases, can it? The customers will find alternatives if it does, monopoly or rolypoly.

So to start a project that's into capability-building, think first what would make it a global success in its own right. That means all the standards and requirements every step of the way. Including the art of thinking about planning, production, costing, pricing, inventory, branding, marketing, distribution and so on.

If these parameters are not in place, then you may just be doing something that will work for three years in the local market only to find after that the competitors have moved ahead in the world market.

Also think if in the case of the printer ink locked market, what the principals of the equipment manufacturers will be doing to the local market? Will they jack up prices of the primary equipment because, like gillette, they cannot make enough based on their original business model of making the equipment cheap but the consummable sufficiently pricey? And what has happened to the shaver market (a) locally, and (b) globally, today? Go to say Tesco and have a look. Compare prices and functionalities.

It's not about do because desperate. If like that, everyone will hurry to be desperate in order to do.

Read my lips, all. Jomheboh's over. Time to wake up.

...and with that...

Anonymous,  25 April 2009 at 17:31  

walla..aku tak tau kamu ni siapa tapi aku agak kamu kerja kat university..asyik2 mau lecture dengan theory2 panjang lebar yang langsung tak ada kaitan realiti..

kalau kamu keluar dari ivory tower sekejap dan coba niaga baru kamu tau makna apa itu racialism...

coba dapat kredit...coba lihat diskount kamu...coba dapat jadi agent..jadi distributor...hah..tersentak bro.

kalau kau nak ajar biar lah yang praktical,,,sampai nak ke hujung dunia buat apa?kat hujung malaysia pun tak sanggup lg?

aduh ..gini lah orang kita..cakap besor besor..kita buat lah yang kecil2 dulu.

Anonymous,  25 April 2009 at 18:04  

Kalau si anon ni dapat kontrek,bolih dia guna kepakaran kamu buat research ink yang kaw kaw.Ink untuk kerajaan ni yang bagus...kalau kome tak process dokumen lama2 ink jadi busuk macam kentot..baru kita tau siapa efisyen.

Maaf walla...bergurau2 aja sambil minum kopi.

walla 25 April 2009 at 21:33  

oi, saya pernah menyelaraskan program pembangunan industri komputer kami pada tahap negara dan swasta; tanyalah menteri-menteri pulak dilapan buah kementerian; cuba teka sampai hidung kering.

apa u buat ketika itu? buat buih-kah?

lihat, dik-din, jangan mansuh diri didepan saya lagi; amat malu dan kesian budaya jua.

Anonymous,  25 April 2009 at 22:53  

Bagus bro..memang hebat.Bukan kerja senang..sampai seleras 8 kementerian.Habis bro gunapakai teori A to Z?Sudah sampai peringkat global ke?Kita pun mau share sukses orang2 kita yang berjaya..bolih dijadikan role model.Syabas...

walla 26 April 2009 at 10:01  

Malangnya teori a2z tu tergendala akibat kelakuan minda separuh kaum masyarakat kami.

Faham tak?

Anonymous,  26 April 2009 at 10:32  

memang saya selalu dengar tu.Banyak program bagus tapi tak hasil result optimal sebab tahap penerimaan lain dari jangkaan.
Mungkin weakness cara penyampaian,mungkin terlampau ahead of its time,myb global standard shift too fast (proton,PC keluaran Mimos).
Saya fikir agak berbaloi kalau kita dapat bincang experience ni dgn lebih mendalam menerusi blog2...because,it comes from horses mouth...kita perlu dapat real story not the sanitised versions dari ahli korporat or politikus yang tak hands on terus.
Saya harap dato sak akan terus develop the " walla project" platform of the people economic empowerment process.
Failure is also a success if one learns from it.

walla 26 April 2009 at 12:18  


Bang walla sini akan cuba bantu sedaya upaya.

Salam, semua.

Anonymous,  26 April 2009 at 12:36  

Dato Sak dato dapat penerimaan yang positif dari mereka yang sincere dan ingin contribute tanpa apa2 ganjaran...kami semua harap dato dgn kepakaran dan intelligence dapat struktur sesuatu perbincangan yang dapat mengubah persepsi dan fokus kami semua ke arah pemikiran dinamis to be ready to accept change and membina minda baru ...dan untuk memajukan proposal2 realistik dan praktis untuk memajukan bangsa kita..negara kita..
Syabas walla bro...thanks dato.Kalau cha cha cha kira lagi no problem.

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