Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Malaysia's Third World maintenance culture

Recently I have been attending meetings at buildings owned and largely occupied by some of Malaysia's largest institutional investment and pension funds.

The first thing that struck me was the poor state of the buildings that house these billion-ringgit funds.

It may be that the people managing these funds want to project the image that they are thrifty, even parsimonious, because they are handling funds belonging to large sections of the Malaysian public.

But, that is a silly mindset.

I'll tell you why.

My impression was that the management of these funds are inept and identifying true value.

It felt like they were locked away in a time-warp created one or two decades ago.

The ambience was that of staleness and decay.

It reflected an overly defensive state of mind that did not dare to engage change.

If the management of these funds cannot understand the need to maintain their Headquarters, how can they understand and be alert to changes in the nano second pace of the world of investments?

How can their staff be proud to go to work when their workplace is filled with signs that the urinal is not functioning or that the lifts are under maintenance.

For good measure, my point is that there is a serious need for awareness in thinking and a serious need for mindset change in many of our institutions.

The starting point is the awareness of the importance of proper maintenance and regular renovations and upgrades to buildings and amenities.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

URGENT! Malaysia needs leadership

It is easy to be negative. It is easy to criticise.

The difficult task is to be constructive.

To be constructive, one has to be sincere. And, one has to think harder.

Now, more so than ever, Malaysia needs leadership.

We need political leaders who can challenge us to be better.

Racial polemics in the wake of the 2008 General Elections and the 2011 Sarawak Elections are destructive to Malaysia.

It is frustrating to experience the erosion of support. But creating Chinese Malaysian bogeymen will not help our country.

In the 1999 General Elections the Malay vote was split right in the middle. Objective political analysis of the 1999 General Elections showed that it was the Chinese Malaysians who stuck with BN.

Bogeymen would not have done that.

So, what was the reason for Chinese Malaysian support for the BN in the 1999 General Elections?

My own view is that the reason was Dr M and the clarity and certainty of his leadership and vision.

In the preceding years leading to the 1999 General Elections, Dr M had challenged all Malaysians to be better.

He told us that we could be world-beaters if we tried hard enough. This is the type of leadership and challenge that Chinese Malaysians crave for. And, not just Chinese Malaysians, I'm sure.

It is this manner and substance of leadership that Malaysia is missing at the moment.

We need a leader who will challenge us to be better Malaysians, not leaders who make us feel lousy about ourselves.

We need a leader who dares to rise above the partisanship and irrationality of racial politics, not leaders who can only tell us that the colour of our skin  is different.