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Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Courtesy ranking and competitiveness of service industry

The Reader Digest survey that rank Malaysia or Kuala Lumpur as the third worst city in terms of courteousness has cause much debate recently.

Some said it is restricted to Kuala Lumpur, not whole Malaysia. Obviously, life in Kuala Lumpur and other part of Malaysia are different. In Kuala Lumpur, if you unable to aggressive while driving. You will deemed uncompetitive to live in Kuala Lumpur. A lot of people who came from our own Kampung would find people in Kuala Lumpur is uncourteous. I personally also find Kuala Lumpur people uncourteous but when I go back to my home town. Those who work in my home town would find my behavior uncourteous even some people in Kuala Lumpur would feel my behavior incompetitive to live in Kuala Lumpur.

Lets look at the comparison with Singapore to see whether the poll reasonable or not.

Reader Digest conducted 3 test. We have same ranking on dropping paper test (20th) which I feel is reasonable.

We rank higher (25th) than Singapore (33rd) on Holding door test. Which I think also reasonable. Majority of Malaysia would agreed with me.

However, in purchasing test, Kuala Lumpur(32nd) ranked substantially lower than Singapore(22nd), 45% vs 70%.

If you been to Singapore before and buy something from Singapore retailer. You will always greed with "Thank You". You would really feel customer is king. But you would not feel that in Malaysia. I have such feeling long time ago. But I really in doubts, as Singapore, as a develop country should be less courteous than Malaysia. Now my feeling has been proven correct by Reader Digest survey.

Once, I even hear a person call up to a radio "Call In" show mentioning that she is a retail assistant. She said on air that the people she most dislike is her customer who spend little but act like a big boss. I think this is the attitude of majority of Malaysian. Only you able to buy the whole shop you will be entertain courteously.

I have discuss this with my boss as I am still young when I went to Singapore at that point of time. My superior told me that Singapore is a service society. Their service industry is world class standard. Their airline, port service, hotel services, retail services is good while Malaysia just transform to Manufacturing economy from agriculture economy. Thus, that is the different.

Now, Malaysia manufacturing industry has been threaten by China low cost counterpart. Malaysia has been slowly transform to service economy like Singapore. We slowly gain competitiveness in traveling and education industry. Which we attract business from China big spender. Our Port of Tanjung Pelepas has give some uneasiness to Singapore Port Authority. Our low cost carrier Air Asia slowly gain competitiveness even our Malaysia Airline (MAS) still unable to compete with Singapore SIA. Our Parkson has invaded China Market.

However, we still have a lot to do in term of customer services. Our banking services. Which is worst than civil services after Pak Lah become Prime Minister. A cosmetic company in Taiwan has engaged a human resources consultant who train SIA staff to train their beauty consultant. Would any Malaysia company do that or would our MAS do that? Malaysian really has to improve their courtesy to compete in service industry if all our factory slowly move to China. Complained on loss of money in banking industry and on loss of item while traveling via our airport cannot be left unattended. Lets correct and improve our courtesy to improve our ranking in next poll and indirectly improve our competitiveness in our service industry


Monday, June 26, 2006

Newspaper will raised their cover price on 1 July

A rumours has been in the market for quite some time is major chinese newspaper in Malaysia will raised their cover price to RM1.50 from 1 July 2006.

Sin Chew Daily together with China Press will lead the increase. It is not sure Oriental Daily and Nanyang will followed or not.

Reader unable to log in the current price unless you willing pay in advance of one year subscription to Oriental Daily in major 7-11 outlet. Monthly subscriber to Oriental Daily have to pay the increased price after 1st July 2006. Thus, reader have to pay a substantial upfront to log in the price or you are subjected to the price increase.

This is second price increase after the market has been dominated by one group.

It is not sure whether English newspaper and newspaper in Bahasa Malaysia will do the same or not.

Link: Stock Market Hot Tips
Update: Nanyang increase cover price to RM1.30 today


Friday, June 23, 2006

Malaysia's richest 40

Forbes Asia has published a list of Malaysia's richest 40. The top 10 list are as follow:

1. Tan Sri Robert Kuok US$5.6b (RM20.55b) - 83

2. Tan Sri Ananda Krishnan US$4.6b (RM16.88b) - 68

3. Tan Sri Teh Hong Piow US$2.1b (RM7.71b) - 76

4. Tan Sri Lee Shin Cheng US$2.05b (RM7.52b) - 67

5. Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan US$2b (RM7.34b) - 65

6. Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong US$1.5b (RM5.51b) - 88

7. Tan Sri Yeoh Tiong Lay US$1.1b (RM4.01b) - 76

8. Tan Sri Tiong Hiew King US$1.05b (RM3.85b) - 70

9. Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar AlBukhary US$1b (RM3.67b) - 54

10. Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay US$440m (RM1.61b) - 54


The most apparent changes of the list compare with previous year is Public Bank Berhad's Tan Sri Teh Hong Piow and IOI Group's Tan Sri Lee Shin Cheng overtake Hong Leong's Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan and Genting's Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong.

Quek Leng Chan and Lim Goh Tong used to be in the top 4 together with Robert Kuok and Maxis's Ananda Krishnan.

Tan Sri Teh Hong Piow and Tan Sri Lee Shin Cheng are first generation who create the wealth themselves and not involve in gaming industry like Lim Goh Tong and Ananda Krishnan. Robert Kuok and Quek Leng Chan are second generation. Which mean their father has earn the first million and they inherited some wealth from their father, while Ananda Krishnan and Lim Goh Tong involve in gaming industry which consider a money printing industry.


Public Bank Berhad's Teh Hong Piow is the only banker in the top 10 list. As Malaysia has a policy of no longer issue banking license to individual. Tan Sri Teh might be the last banker on the list (top 10 list, another bumiputra banker, AmBank Azman appear on top 40 list)

3 persons(2 family) are in gaming industry. Ananda Krishnan via Tanjong and Lim Goh Tong and Lim Kok Thay via Genting.

5 persons (4 family) (40-50%) are involve in power industry. Ananda Krishnan via Tanjong, Lim Goh Tong and Lim Kok Thay via Genting, Yeoh Tiong Lay via YTL Power and Syed Mokhtar AlBukhary via Malakoff. Thus it might be helpful if you involve in power generation or IPP if you want to be on the top 10 list.

That might be the reason why public and blogger are unhappy on IPP contract.

Next: IOI Group: Unilever of Malaysia?


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

A warning to Tun Dr Mahathir

The outburst harsh criticism by former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad against his successor Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has made the headline on all mainstream newspaper in earlier Jun 2006.

Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi has an upper hand so far:

1) On the day of the news of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad alleged Pak Lah cutting off major project initiated by him. On the same day, all Chinese newspaper in Malaysia carried a news report that a strategist of Bank of America praise Malaysia fiscal policy and express confident in Malaysia currency compare to its previously and with other third world country in their economic and business section.

2) Over the past week, Umno Members of Parliament, Mentris Besar and the Barisan Nasional component leaders have all pledged their support to Abdullah. The expression of support has been overwhelming and certainly his control of Umno is unshakeable. The Star's columnist Wong Chun Wai write " But even those close to Dr Mahathir acknowledge the reality that it makes no sense for ambitious Umno politicians to back this retired politician who has no plans and no hope of coming back to power. It is only politically wise to invest in the present and the future, if one wants to climb the hierarchy. "

On 14 June 2006, The Court of Appeal has quashed Sukma's conviction for allowing his adopted brother Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim to sodomise him eight years ago. Justices Gopal Sri Ram, Hashim Mohd Yusoff and James Foong unanimously allowed Sukma's appeal and set aside the conviction and six-month jail sentence. A coincident?

Sukma convicted when Tun Mathathir was in power. A retrial order clearly is an embarrassment to Tun Dr Mahathir. Is this just a coincident or a warning to Tun Dr Mahathir?

Clearly, when Pak Lah face difficulties in getting police to accept IPCMC. Whether right or wrong. Pak Lah cannot afford to lose this battle.

Influence of people with other agenda

Tun Dr Mathathir also said:

But the present government can do a good job if they want to. The means are there but if they come under the influence of people who have other agendas, then I can’t help.
Who is the influential people with other agenda?

On 14 June 2006 issue of Oriental Daily. Matthias Chang, the former political secretary of Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said Kalimullah Masheerul Hassan and Khairy Jamaluddin are the people who influence the PM, and challenge the two to debate with him.

Kalimullah is the New Straits Times Press deputy chairman and editorial adviser while Khairy is Abdullah's son-in-law of PM and Pemuda Umno deputy chief.

Both are directors of ECM Libra. Kalimullah is Executive Chairman and Co-Chief Executive Officer while Khairy is Director of Investment Banking in ECM Libra.

Clearly ECM Libra is the most influential merchant banker in Malaysia. At least it is like Phileo Allied Bank when Anwar Ibrahim was Finance Minister, if not more influential. ECM Libra is in the process of merger with Avenue Capital Resources Bhd.

The risk of investment in ECM Libra is they involve in political controversial like with Matthias Chang and a lot others. This is a great political risk you must excess before you put your money in.


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

"All In" a story on gaming and casino industry staring Song Hae-Gyo (宋慧乔)

On 13 June 2006, Malaysia free to air TV NTV7 started to broadcast a South Korea Drama "All In" on 9.30pm every night, is a story base on casino and gaming industry.

Some claim that it is base on a true story in South Korea.

From con man, gangster to casino senior executive and later tycoon

The story of Kim In-ha(Lee Byung Hun) , who follow his uncle Kim Chi-soo gambling and hustling to make a living and eventually ends up as a (partner-in-crime) with his uncle to con people via gambling. Kim In-ha grows up under such circumstances has picked up the skill of gambling.

He has a bunch of friends and they are street kids who hang out in the poor area of Yong-doo Pu, committing petty crimes and getting into fights, an act like gangster.

Kim In-ha end up in jail after a gang fight which he accidentally kill a man.

Upon release from jail. His only skill at that point of time......... Fighting let him end up as security guards in a casino in Cheju Island of Korea. Where he meet his ex-girl friend Su-yon (Song Hae Gyo(宋慧乔))who become coupler in the casino.

Kim In-ha's gambling instincts is also recognised by Director Suh, and is quickly promoted to the position of Pit Boss in the casino, a Senior Executive position and start a life in gaming and casino industry.

"All in" is a term used in poker, usually in HK movies. They call it "Showhand"", i.e. to gamble all your capital and stake everything.

The scenic Cheju Island was the main setting for the entire serial. Besides Cheju Island, part of the production was filmed in Las Vegas. It gave a fairly detailed, insightful and interesting outline of the casino and hotel business. The serial also threw some light on triad struggles, and the involvement of the triad world with the corporate world.

This is a famous South Korea drama that star by Song Hae-Gyo (宋慧乔). I never watch all movies star by Song. However, I feel she look the most prettiest in this drama on all the drama I have watched.

If you never watch this drama before, it is a drama you unable to miss.


Monday, June 12, 2006

528 anniversary and Nanyang's story

Last month 28 May 2006 was 5th anniversary of 528 incident, where Nanyang was taken over by Huaren Holdings, an investment arm control by Malaysia Chinese Association(MCA).

Oriental daily run a series articles revealing what happen during that time.

Former employee of Sin Chew Daily of Tan Sri Tiong, now advisor of Oriental Daily reveal that when he was still employed by Sin Chew Daily. Tan Sri Tiong has assigned him to negotiated with Hong Leong Tan Sri Kwek in 1990an to try to acquired Nanyang but fail.

In 8 February 2001, after meeting with Tan Sri Kwek in Hong Leong HQ in KL. Managing Director(MD) of Nanyang Mr Wong was on the way back to Nanyang building. While in KESAS highway, the MD received a call informing him that a lady who claim herself representing Sin Chew's Tan Sri Tiong call Miss Sandra has come to Hong Leong HQ without any appointment requested to meet Tan Sri Kwek Leng Chan. Sources said Miss Sandra said "they" willing to negotiate any price tag offer by Hong Leong to dispose off Nanyang.

After short meeting, Sandra was told the deal was negotiable and suggested her to contact and negotiate with Managing Director of Nanyang Mr Wong. The MD was instructed by Hong Leong to handle the negotiation. However, Sandra never show up after that.

After that incident, rumors in the market said that Hong Leong was pressure to sell.

On 14 May 2001, The Edge reported that Huaren Holding intended to acquired stake in Nanyang.

On 24 May 2001, The Board of Director of Nanyang met at Hong Leong HQ. They pass resolution of shares sales and requested 9 blacklisted employee to resigned.

At the night of 28 May 2001, employee from Sin Chew Daily come and take over the management and editorial office of Nanyang.

Even on 6 August 2002, The Edge reported that Market talks have it that Mah King Hock who control 23.8% of Nanyang is a close associate of Tiong.

On 15 March 2006, Oriental Daily reported that Madigreen become the second largest shareholders of Nanyang after Madigreen acquired stake from Mr Mah King Hock. Oriental Daily also speculated that Madigreen ultimately control by Sin Chew Tan Sri Tiong. Both Sin Chew Daily and Nanyang remain low profile on shareholders changes.

Tan Sri Tiong history

Tan Sri Tiong has a history of closed down a Sarawak base newspaper after acquired by Tan Sri Tiong. Subsciber of such newspaper was replaced by subscription to West Malaysia Sin Chew Daily.

This cause East Malaysia players such as See Hua Daily (published by Datuk Seri Lau Hui Kang's KTS group) started seeing competition from Sin Chew in 1997 and started Oriental Daily to compete with Sin Chew Daily in West Malaysia.

As Nanyang is a public listed company and the fact that Tan Sri Tiong has history of close down a newspaper it acquired and replaced by Sin Chew Daily. It is unfair to minority shareholder of Nanyang as they never told whether Tan Sri Tiong would closed down Nanyang and replaced all Nanyang subscriber by Sin Chew. Nanyang should disclose it future plan to it shareholder.

My guess : Guang Ming to merge with China Press?

As there is no disclosure from Nanyang management and the history of Tan Sri Tiong above. It would be foolish if you want to buy Nanyang shares and treated as investment in Nanyang. Anyhow Nanyang result is not good at the moment. The Crown Jewels in Nanyang is China Press. China Press, China Press is now the second largest circulated Chinese newspaper, selling an average of 223,890 copies daily, including night sales, compared to Nanyang Siang Pau's 140,493.

While Tan Sri Tiong's Guang Ming Daily has a daily circulation of 137,960 copies. It is logical Tan Sri Tiong would want to close down Guang Ming Daily and replaced by China Press circulation, This can boost China Press circulation overnight, to compensate loss of Guang Ming Daily. He might close down Nanyang and replace by Sin Chew Daily. After this merger, Tan Sri Tiong would control both the upper and lower segment of Chinese newspaper market, he able to maintain both listed company Sin Chew and Nanyang(Might change to China Press)

Nanyang's strength

Nanyang full name is Nanyang Siang Pau. Siang Pau mean Business Daily, Nanyang's strength is in it business report. I like to read Nanyang business section than Sin Chew Daily, it coverage on China market and it Monday's edition all more superior than Sin Chew Daily. Thus, journalist in Nanyang's business section are expected to be able to keep their job.


Friday, June 09, 2006

Competitiveness of South Korea Lotte Group

When talking about South Korea, people outside South Korea used to talk about Samsung, Hyundai, LG and even SK Group and Daewoo.

However, another company call Lotte is gaining competitive. Start from chewing cum and diversified to other food and beverage industry initially and later leisure and theme park industry. Now Lotte group dominated retail industry in South Korea via Lotte Shopping and Lotte Mart.

First, French retail giant Carrefour feel they unable to dominate the South Korea market. Carrefour disposed off its 32 hypermarket in South Korea to E. Land, a fashion retailer in South Korea.

Later, US retail giant WalMart also disposed off it 16 hypermaket to Sinsegae group's E-MART.

In South Korea Coke market, multinational Coca-cola only have 20% of market shares. Lotte's Lotte Chilsung have a 40% dominated market shares.

In fast food, McDonald also have difficulties competing with Lotte's Lotteria.

While Samsung and Hyundai represented organic growth manufacturing giant and Daewoo represent M&A manufacturing giant. SK and Lotte represent the new generation of giant in service industry.


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Telenor set up research centre in Malaysia despite DiGi unable to get 3G license.

Telenor has opened a research and innovation centre (R&I) in Cyberjaya on 24 May 2006 despite it subsidiary in Malaysia DiGi unable to get 3G spectrum License in Malaysia.

“The centre, Telenor's first research facility to be located outside Norway, is another step in the company's internationalisation process and global innovation activities,” senior executive vice-president/head of Asian operations, Arve Johansen, said in a statement.

The centre is headed by managing director Dr Kristin Braa.

Telenor was reputable of it high tech open concept headquarter in Norway. DiGi's has built a smaller copy of such high tech building as it corporate headquarters in Shah Alam - is in its final stage of completion. I really envy DiGi employee who has the opportunity to work in such high tech building.

DiGi shares price hit RM9.30 on April 2006. DiGi shares price hit highest at RM11.70 on 8 May 2006. It close RM10.40 yesterday.

Earlier, on 19 May 2006, DiGi.Com Bhd expects net profit to grow at least 20% for the current financial year ending Dec 31.

For the first quarter ended March 31, 2006, net profit tripled to RM184.66 million from RM57.96 million a year ago due to improved margins and lower depreciation costs. The net profit, if annualised, would be RM738 million, exceeding most analysts’ estimates of RM566.62 million for the current financial year ending Dec 31, 2006.

Previously when I state in my blog post highlighting that DiGi shares price would hit RM9.30. A reader who unable to keep a job in research house post a comment in my blog claiming that smart investor never listen to analyst recommendations.

History, however, has proved that my blog post is accurate and his comment has come back to bite him.

Today, DiGi launch a talent search competition that focuses on a younger age group-DiGi Celebriteen.


Monday, June 05, 2006

Nazri next UMNO vice-President?!

Minister in the Prime Minister Department Datuk Seri Mohd Nazri Abdul Razak has been appear high profile recently.

Whether you like him because he did a good job as a Chairman of Human Right Caucus or you dislike him because he instructed women Senator to vote for a Bill that put Islamic women in disadvantage, or you dislike him because you support ex-Backbencher Club President Shahrir Samad. Nazri is constantly on the news.

Even the other two UMNO vice-President, Melaka Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam and Agriculture Minister Tan Sri Muyiddin Yasin do not have such publicity enjoyed by Nazri. He has seen constantly liaise with Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister and party whip on Parliament issue. The other two vice-President never seen liaise with UMNO number one and number two that closely like Nazri.

Earlier, Nazri responsibility expanded in a cabinet reshuffle. Nazri has assigned to cover Datuk Seri Radzi Sheikh Ahmad's portfolio after the later transfer as Home Minister.

While another UMNO vice-President Isa has been suspended. His position are expected to be fill by UMNO Youth Chief and Education Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein in the next UMNO election by the public.

Melaka Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam who get highest nomination during last UMNO election, are expected to be able to retain his position unless some unforeseen circumtances occur.

Thus, a direct fight between Nazri and Agriculture Minister Tan Sri Muyiddin Yasin is unavoidable if Nazri intended to move up.

Whether the high-profile and publicity enjoy by Nazri would get him more enemy or make him more popular is yet to be seen.


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Mandarin demand:discriminatory or courtesy

The Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said when winding up the debate on the Ninth Malaysia Plan at Dewan Negara yesterday that the private sector should stop the practice of making it compulsory for local graduates to be proficient in Mandarin.

The next day, Human Resources Minister Datuk Dr Fong Chan Onn said the requirement for prospective employees to be fluent in Mandarin should be made optional.

Clearly, when you are in certain categories. You would feel upset when a job advertisement excluding your categories to apply for certain job.

I have a friend who is in middle age. He always feel discriminate and upset when he saw a job advertisement stating that application should not be over 35 years old. He also upset the Pak Lah government appointing young CEO to head Government Link Company (GLC). He said those young people lack the experience required for such a position.

I even see A Kadir Jasin, a veteren journalist criticize Pak Lah government appointing young people to handle the Prime Mininster's press office.

If you do not known Mandarin, you will feel discriminate and upset when you see a job advertisement stating ptoficient in Mandarin as a requirment to apply for certain position.

However, I feel it is better for a job advertisement to state clearly what is the requirement for certain job, so that I do not waste my time in applying a position that I would not get employed.
This also enable me to know what I lack of or which area or skill I have to improve.

What difficulties a large organization to ask an officer to handle "courtesy interview"?

When I was employed by a Main Board listed company(Now PN17) as an Assistant Accountant. The company place an advertisement for "walk in interview". My department head who want to employed a person who know Mandarin but never stated in the advertisement.

A lot of candidates take the trouble to come to our office for walk in interview and they spend hours to fill up the form and waiting for their turn of interview.

I was ask by my Manager to conduct courtesy interview for those who do not qualified after perusal their forms. The candidate who spend hours travelling to our office, filling up their form, and waiting long hours for their turn of interview, will send to my room for courtesy interview which last for less than 2 minutes. The candidates will ask to go back to wait for company call if successful, which usually not.

Thus, would it be better for the candidate being told earlier the requirement and they need not apply if they unable to fullfill certain requirement. This safe the company time and safe the time of candidates.

I encounter a lot of non-chinese who able to speak fluent Mandarin. They usually "bertudung". Look for Tini in Citi Bank or visit a stationery shop in Taman Desa, Off Old Klang Road if you want to see one.

Related Link: We need to be more marketable By WONG CHUN WAI


Muhibbah Engineering bidding for Penang second bridge

Mini Hyundai of Malaysia, Muhibbah Engineering, was one of the four companies tendered for the second bridge linking Penang island and the mainland. Two other companies were foreign – from China and South Korea. And another local is a subsidiary of Arab Malaysian Bank.

However, Works Minister Datuk Seri S. Samy Vellu said the Government preferred a consortium made up of several companies because the project was huge.