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I Love Malaysia

Pandemic Update #3 – Conditional MCO, my thoughts?

First of all, thank you to ALL THE FRONT LINERS for all the hard work. I really appreciate the sacrifices that all of you have made. Nothing will be able to repay all your sacrifices.

After almost 6 weeks of MCO – the Prime Minister of Malaysia announced on 1st May that the MCO measures will be relaxed and nearly all economic sectors can resume operations on 4th May 2020 (Source: [The Star]).

My Thoughts

Abrupt
I think the reopening is too abrupt and too risky given the state that we are in. I prefer a softer landing to open the business gradually, and not let the flock out of the cage. I do understand the concept of sharing the responsibility where everybody has to follow a strict SOP. But, hand to heart, do we think Malaysians can do this?

The Economic Dilemma_
The challenge I have in my head, how long? The economy is not able to sustain a prolonged MCO. According to the Prime Minister in the same announcement – the economy is losing RM2.4 billion a day, and to date (I assume 1st May), the total losses have amounted to RM63 billion. Based on the survey made by the Department of Statistics released on 9th April – 46.6% of self-employed worker has lost their jobs, and this is mostly from Agriculture sector. In fact, 94.8% of self-employed worker reported reduced income due to the Covid-19.

Lives and Livelihood
According to the Director-General of Health in his 1st May daily briefing, there must be a balance between “Lives and Livelihood”. The way I interpret this is that the MCO cannot last forever. The Livelihood of the citizens is impacted. This is true for those who are not able to get any income during the lockdown. As much as we want to eradicate Covid-19, there won’t be a permanent solution until a vaccine is available.

Community Responsibility
I guess the Government is taking a leap of faith to share the responsibility to the community as we transition to a “new norm”. New norm being, social distancing, mask, hand sanitizers, temperature check etc. Strict SOP has been issued by the Ministry of Health to the sectors. I do hope that each of and every one of us will abide by the SOP.

Summary
I agree that we must strike a balance between Lives and Livelihood. Where possible, we must adapt to the new norm as we venture into this new era. I will continue to “MCO” myself with a little bit of flexibility to exercise outdoors where possible.

What do you think?

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I Love Malaysia

Pandemic Update #2

It has been 39 days since the start of the Movement Control Order. The number of positive cases has dropped to double-digit for the last couple of days. Definitely a good sign but it is not the time for Malaysia to relax their rule. Despite the economy moving at the lowest level ever, it is something that we have to go thru for us to save ourselves from the virus.

The best way to contain the virus is for everybody to isolate themselves. Movement Control Order – being enforced, there are still so many that’s flouting the rule. We cannot afford to get into another wave. The economy has been halted for a very long time, and every day we in MCO, so much money is lost and many more jobs are gone. Let us all work together to recover from this pandemic.

If anything, the pandemic has made Malaysia stronger than ever. Despite those Covidiots, Malaysians have grown to be much more united than ever. Rising to a level where we have not experienced before. And all these behaviours will shape the “new normal”. In addition to the digital transformation that is happening everywhere, the new humanly behaviour will transform the Malaysian into a more caring society.
On top of that, we all now realise how important are the front liners, especially in the medical field. I remember a couple of months ago, there was a drama about us limiting the housemen and contracts for the hospitals (I think..). And now, more than ever – they are the seeds for one of the many battles that will emerge in the future.

I am confident that we will survive this, and we will emerge stronger!

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Fun Posts I Love Malaysia

Taman Tugu

Yesterday morning I woke up and felt that I needed some exercise. It’s not a golf weekend as I had to do something in the afternoon, therefore I either have to go for a run, hike or gym. Since I have not gone for a hike in a long time, when I opened my eyes yesterday – boom, its time for a hike!

First port of call, of course, is to find where should I hike. The first place came to mind is Taman Tugu. Taman Tugu is a new park that was opened earlier this year (I think!). It is located right smack in the middle of town. Somewhere near to Tugu Negara (National Monument), and not far away from Lake Gardens.

Drove to Taman Tugu, parked the car at the nursery entrance and quickly did a bit of stretch, and there I go! The first thing to do was to look at the map of the trails. The trails are properly documented, and by looking at it, I am confident that it is something that I can quickly conquer without much effort.

Map of the trails

The main trail itself is about 3km long, and I took approximately about 50 mins to complete. Not that difficult at all. Even the climbs were easy, but with my weak knees – I brought along a walking stick to help me ascend and descend.

The entrance to the main trail

The photo above shows the entrance to the main trails. Well placed signed to ensure that you won’t get lost. In fact, when I got there – I was a bit lost because I could not find where the entrance was. I asked the general workers and they pointed me to the entrance. Stupid me because I didn’t look properly while walking to the park.

The trails, very clean!

The trail itself is very clean and well maintained. Despite its the rainy season, the tracks were dry enough and my boots were sufficient to get traction.

Every few checkpoints, there were places where you can hang out on the swings and benches. Very good indeed. The trail was very easy, thus I didn’t have to hang around for a rest.

Gazebo

In addition to the swings, there were at least two gazebos that I saw along the way. Pretty cool indeed. If I do have all the time in the world, I would probably just chill here.

After completing the trails, I then exited and enjoyed a cup of joe from the food truck outside the trails.

The food truck also sells breakfast – so you won’t get hungry! I typically don’t eat breakfast, hence a cup of americano is more than sufficient for me!

Note – the toilet is very clean and well lit. It also comes with a shower with decent water pressure. No hot water though. Now the thinking in my mind is whether I should consider coming here before going to work. Perhaps can start by once a week then move into 2-3 times a week. A combination of circuit and trail walk/run will be good for my 2020 fitness goals!

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I Love Malaysia Whinings

My thoughts on Malaysia

nature sunset clouds space
Photo by Zukiman Mohamad on Pexels.com

This is probably the first time that I am writing about my feeling on Malaysia. I have about 8 mins before I need to prepare for work. Its time to work!

In the last General Election – we have seen that the opposition(then) has won the election. It is a surprise to a lot of people. To be honest. A lot of people has a lot of hope for the Pakatan Harapan to win, but never thought that they would. I would say who I support as voting is secret. When the news that they have won came out, it took many hours before the official declaration was made. I remember staying up so late for this. I guess – deep inside myself – I am hoping for a better Malaysia.

Couple of weeks has passed, so many press conferences, so many news, so many appointments, and have we seen any changes. Well there were some. The one that really impacted the Rakyat was GST. GST was set to zero rate and practically giving all of Malaysians a tax holiday. 3 months from now, SST will be reintroduced again. It definitely spurred a lot of spending. Can see from the shopping malls all – a lot of people are out shopping. Perhaps to buy stuffs for Raya that is next week.

I feel that the country has a lot of potential. Perhaps in the previous ruling party, people were allegedly greedy and siphoned off a considerable amount of money. Despite strong economic fundamentals, there were a lot of alleged misuse of public funds for personal gains. All they way from the top. This is of course are just allegation and not yet proven.

Days after the election, the previous Prime Minister was barred from leaving the country, police was called in to do searches in his houses and offices. Stash of cash and luxury items were seized. Amazingly – this is something that very interesting indeed. Basic common sense will say that this is definitely comes from bribes and commissions from major projects (we are talking about few hundred millions here).

Well – as a Prime Minister, you probably make about approximately MYR100k per month, no way you would be able to save even 10M. Is it greed? I don’t know. These are unproved allegations that we will need to wait for the police to continue to investigate and determined whether its true or not. The previous prime minister has lawyered up, getting some of the best lawyers in the world (coming from US!). I guess based on the rule of law, he needs to be given the right to defend himself.

We need to remember that its never a one person act. Being in power for more than 60 years, it is an ecosystem that has been broken. Some of my acquaintance that has strong ties to then government of the day are living in luxury. I am not talking about businessmen but politically aligned individuals. Well – that is a career for them and let it be. I just hope that what ever the outcome is, the more important part is for the greater good of the rakyat is taken care off.

As what I’ve been telling people, witch hunt is not something that we want to see. People should stop politicking and start governing. I know it is difficult for the current government to do that because they have been trying very hard to get to Putrajaya, and finally the hard earned effort materialized. And now is the harder part of the work which is to make it work.

I have strong believe that this will work. 100 days may be to short to determined how successful is the current government. Some quick wins are possible (like GST) – but there are more work that needs to be done to make it work. Remember, happy people does not equate to a successful country. We do have a very strong economic fundamentals – and with the new government, I strongly believe it’ll give a much needed boost to bring us to the next level.

I think I wrote enough for now. Its time to go to work. Perhaps another day I can continue whining 🙂

 

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Fun Posts I Love Malaysia

Its a brand new Malaysia

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May 9th was Malaysia 14th General Election. Out of all the election that I have experienced in my lifetime, this seems to be the most important election ever. I have never seen such a strong showing from both opposing parties (coalition).

For the past 6 decades, Malaysia has been ruled by Barisan Nasional, and in recent years there have been plagued by various issues from GST, 1MDB to corruption and all sorts. The Rakyat is disgusted by some of the actions and events that had happened in the past few years and as any other democratic process, they have made their voices heard. I know that in the last General Election (2013) – they did try to unseat to switch over but that failed. And finally now it happened. In fact – I should not use the word they but should use the word we because I am myself a Rakyat.

I took upon myself to think about who I am going to vote – and of course my vote is a secret. I am not politically aligned to any party but I do vote based on what I think is right. I know a lot of people express their political affiliation in public, but I don’t. I do love the country and I will do what I can in my capacity to help. I may not have done much but I will try to do more.

I am very happy with the outcome of the election because I see the Rakyat’s voice has finally been heard. And to be honest – for once I see people becoming a lot more patriotic that ever. I have heard people saying that the national anthem “NegaraKu” being sung at odd places like pub and bars. Amazing. Felt like theres a renewed confidence in the country and this is good. Very good indeed. In fact – there’s so many things that I have not seen is happening now like – people reading newspaper! watching mainstream news like TV1 and TV3. I think things are moving to a the greater good now 🙂

We are moving into a healthy direction. People voices are now heard, the question now is whether the ruling government will make the best of their time up there. It is not easy to rule a country – what more fix what is wrong. The ruling government has less than 5 years to show and demonstrate that they can do the job. Otherwise the Rakyat will speak again and may even switch them out. Though its counter productive but this is how democracy works. I do hope that the ruling government will bring the best out of all Malaysians. I am looking forward for a renewed Malaysia.

There will be knee jerk reaction from the market – given that this is the first time that the government actually change! There will be a lot of new faces running the government. Most of them will be their first time. I believe that we can do this, for a better Malaysia.

 

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I Love Malaysia Photography

Pulau Indah

Second shoot of the day. Pulau Indah.

The location of the shoot is as follows. Its pretty far, about 70 kilometers from KL. Initially I wanted to go hunt for Pokemon – but too bad the place itself barely had any pokemon. The pokestop is also off limits. Was looking for Pokegym 🙁

It’s not so straightforward to get here. After driving behind large container yards, I reach thru a dirt. Not knowing where it heading I continue to push on. Driving alone in a these situation is pretty scary (and exciting)

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I Love Malaysia Photography

Behrang Stesen

This morning I did a quick visit to Slim River. Again in search of Kilang Roti Mokhtar. I did find the location and saw the factory, but as this is a Raya Weekend – the factory is closed. So much of driving up at 6am in order to get there by 7am. As I was going back, I was just making detour as and when needed. Found this small little town called Behrang Stesen. Located somewhere not far from Slim River.

I was expecting an old train station, but what appeared was a town that is called Behrang Stesen! Confusing. Spent some time over there. Town is quite quaint and extremely laid back. Here are some collection of my photos.

 

 

Here are is 360 degree view of the photo.

 

Post from RICOH THETA. #theta360 – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA

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I Love Malaysia

Zika Virus – Are we ready

Zika virus is a virus that has been classified as a “Pandemic in Progress” by World Health Organization. It is a global public health emergency. Scary to the fact that Zika is now spread all over the world. I am not sure whether we are prepared for this.

History

Based on the chart from BBC – Zika virus started in Uganda and then later expanded to the different continents and latest to Brazil, and now it goes worldwide. Singapore are now on full alert with 242 cases as of 4th September 2016.

What is Zika

This is a good infographics from WHO. Click here. To me this is the interesting fact:

Zika is carried by the same mosquito that causes dengue! We in Malaysia already struggle to curb dengue and now Zika, it is going to be interesting yet scary journey for us. Dengue outbreak is something that can be curb by human. We need to take preventive steps to stop mosquito breeding. Post outbreak measures are useless. We need to start now!

This video is a good introduction to Zika

 

 

What should I do now?

Go and check to see you are breeding Aedes!

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I Love Malaysia Photography

Foreign Workers

It’s amusing to see the fact that the workers that we see all over the place are foreign workers. To me it’s not bad, but it does show either two things:

  1. We have progressed to a point that labor work can be outsourced to foreign worker
  2. We just just being lazy ass and let the foreign worker do the work. 

To be honest, I seriously think that it is the latter. I do see a lot of people complaint about not having jobs but when we see the work that’s out there, it does seem like the labor work is done by foreigners. 

The more serious case was the crane incident in Raja Chulan where a crane hook fell down on a kelisa, and killed instantly a 24-year old lady. Apparently the crane operator is a foreigner, and to my knowledge this would be impossible as only locals can be certified. Let’s see what happen next.

As I said earlier, I do not think the infusion of foreign labor into the workforce is a bad thing. But if it’s done with the wrong intent – this might be detrimental to the future of this country. 

Yes – we are built on a society of immigrants. Back then – the Malay, India, Arabs, Chinese etc came to this land in view of trade and exploration. And as we grew, different people worked on different things like plantation and mining. And now things would have been different – so would bringing immigrants be different. I don’t know. 

Anyway – I do have a few friends who are foreign workers. One thing I have to give it them, they are definitely hardworking and focus on having a better life for themselves and the family. I remember one Bangladeshi guy told me – “I invest my life in Malaysia for my children and their children”. Which is true, if they can lift their family out of poverty – their children will reap the benefit and seek a better life thru better education etc. 

Enough of ranting. Time to work!!!

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I Love Malaysia

Proton Not Sustainable

Interesting article that I read from paultan.org. The article shows a statement by our minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamad.

Here is my point of view:

  1. Proton had opportunity to grow back then, but it was plagued with the disease that causing them to continuously to rely on government for assistance.
  2. Proton is now owned by DRB Hicom, as such they should be managed like any other corporation. Asking for assistance from government is not something that they should do.
  3. Malaysians themselves are part of the problem – when Proton came out with the infamous Accordana – we complained and made fun of them.
  4. If Proton wants to survive in the market place, they should push for better R&D and leverage partnerships with bigger players. If they can’t do this – please shut it down.
  5. There are 30,000 employees at stake over here. But what’s more important, 30,000 employees or the rest of Malaysians. If they are skillful as what it has been portrayed, moving to another automotive company should not be a problem.
  6. We need to remove the whole protection economy for Proton so that we can attract manufacturers to come here and build their factories here.

 

The full statement here:

1. The decision made by the government to go into heavy industries, including the automotive sector, in the mid-1980s was a bold and courageous one. However, the government cannot continuously protect these industries.

2. Other countries such as Japan and South Korea have protected their automotive industry, but these measures were short- and medium term in nature and were eventually abolished.

3. Proton, which is our national car project, needs to graduate from this protection.

4. Since I became the MITI minister in 2009, I have been briefed by the senior management of Proton of the issues and challenges faced by the company on a regular basis. I have met with both the previous and current management teams and shareholders of the company.

5. In 2009, the company presented to me its restructuring plan which aimed to improve the quality of its cars, to boost exports and to make Malaysia a hub for the automotive industry in the region.

6. In 2012, following the takeover of Proton by DRB Hicom, the new owners came to see me and they presented another restructuring plan to make Proton more competitive. They also highlighted a number of ambitious plans to boost exports.

7. The National Automotive Policy in 2009 clearly stated the need for Proton to team up with strategic foreign partners. In this extremely competitive line of business, there is a need to set aside high capital resources for Research & Development (R&D). Scale is also crucial. Proton currently has neither of them.

8. The problems faced by Proton are very challenging. The company’s share of the domestic automotive market hit a peak of 74% in 1993, but currently hovers at 15%.

9. Since its establishment in 1983, the government has provided grants, various forms of assistance as well as taxes forgone to Proton to the tune of about RM13.9 billion in total. There has been intense discussion between MITI and the senior management of Proton on the future of this company in the past six months. Proton’s management has also made a number of presentations to the Economic Council chaired by the Prime Minister.

10. Our observations on the current state of Proton are as follows:

i. The company is a relatively small player in the global context and thus not able to compete with other foreign companies unless it can substantially increase its exports.

ii. Proton is suffering a problem of underutilisation – about 35% of the available capacity in each of its two production plants is being utilised. The decision to have two plants is probably one of the mistakes made in the past by Proton.

iii. About three years ago, Proton almost struck a deal with a renowned foreign player but at the last minute decided not to proceed with the proposal. Had this collaboration been realised, we may have seen an improved performance by Proton in the subsequent years.

11. Malaysia currently has two national car projects, namely Proton and Perodua. The latter turns out to be a more sustainable model. Perodua Manufacturing, which is 49% owned by Malaysian shareholders including PNB, has a joint-venture with Daihatsu and Toyota, and is a profitable company.

12. Last year, a number of Proton vendors came to see me on a few occasions and shared their problems. Following that, MITI injected RM100 million to provide soft loans to alleviate their burden. Even then, it has come to my attention that some of the vendors may face serious challenges if Proton continues to operate at the current level of production and sales. A few of them might be out of business in the next three to four months.

13. In view of the very serious nature of the problem, the government believes that the current business model adopted by Proton is not sustainable. The government has been seriously deliberating Proton’s request for assistance for grants and soft loans. It is a major request and the government needs to be thorough with its evaluation as a lot of public money is involved. We need to be particularly prudent in allocation of resources at this time when our national revenues have been seriously impacted by falling oil and commodity prices.

14. Having said that, I would like to assure Proton employees, vendors and the Proton ecosystem that their interests will be taken into consideration before we make any decision on its request for assistance.

15. If the Government decides to assist Proton, this would be made subject to several conditions including:

i. Proton needs to immediately identify a strategic foreign partner.

ii. The company must be professionally managed.

iii. There must not be any interference in its business.

iv. Some tough but necessary measures must be put in place for the long-term sustainability of Proton.

16. I have been informed that there were instances when Proton appeared to be unprofessional in its decision-making process. In order for the government to consider providing financial assistance to Proton, it is important that a competent leadership team be appointed in the company.

17. We note the decision made by Tun Mahathir to relinquish his position as the chairman of Proton. While we recognise the contributions made by Tun Mahathir throughout his chairmanship of Proton, we must not turn a blind eye to challenges faced by Proton and its inability to establish a solid financial footing.

18. In this regard, we hope that the new chairman and senior management of Proton will help towards enhancing the true potential of Proton and pave the way towards a better future for the company.

19. The government remains committed to ensure the continuous growth and development of the domestic automotive industry which would include the transformation of Proton and its ecosystem.

Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed

1 April 2016

Back then – I was helping a friend to get Proton started on electric car initiative. I guess it was way too early for its time. At that time the whole Tesla was still pretty new, but if it were to take off, I am quite sure that it will transform Proton into a completely different beast altogether. Yes – it may be using the same chassis, but given the availability and ownership of Lotus, they could have been on the same stage as Tesla. But its all gone, the window of opportunity is no longer there.

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Fun Posts I Love Malaysia

High Speed Rail … Reality soon?

I read this news paper report today The Star. Following is the excerpts:

 
To be honest, I seriously think that we need High Speed Rail link to Singapore. It’s not necessarily be for the fact that everybody wants to go Singapore, but more importantly is for us to have high speed connectivity to major cities along the way. Muar, Batu Pahat, Seremban and all would be able to get a catalyst that enable them to develop faster. 

I myself would not mine to stay in Muar nor Batu Pahat if I am able to get my butt to KL in an hour. It’s just awesome. In fact I could do a 5 days in KL while weekend in Batu Pahat. Awesome indeed. Will I be able to see this in my lifetime, I sure hope so. In fact it’s perfect as I am preparing for my retirement hood!

If you want to find more, please click this link myHSR overview  

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I Love Malaysia Photography

[Flashback] Dancing

Another flashback posting. Back in those days – I was so active in photography. The weekends are spent mostly doing photography. Day and night. Saturday and Sunday!

This particular event was in Universiti Malaysia. Remember going there after a street shoot. I am pretty sure I was so smelly as we were in hot sun the whole evening.

dance 4-1-Edit.jpg

Back then – obviously I did not have that much hobby apart from taking photos. My days was either fill up with taking photos or doing work. As I was doing mostly technical work, the work hardly goes to the weekend! Impressive.

Back then – shooting was done on JPEG, as the focus of any shoots was to shoot as much as possible, hoping that I’ll get one or two good images. Thank god for this, I managed to get pretty good shots (to my standard).

Now – I am probably going to skip all these shoot. Lazy…