CIMB Foundation launches MOZEK for students.

Her Majesty Raja Zarith Sofia Binti Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah, Permaisuri of Johor with students from various schools around Pasir Gudang at the launch of CIMB Foundation’s CIMB MOZEK at SMK Taman Scientex, Pasir Gudang Johor together with Dato’ Sri Nazir Razak, Chairman CIMB Group and Trustee of CIMB Foundation (seated third from left), Tuan Haji Shaharuddin Shariff, Director of Johor Education Department (seated first from right), Dato’ Robert Chiem, Trustee of CIMB Foundation (seated second from left), Dato’ Noor Rezan Bapoo Hashim, Trustee of Teach For Malaysia (seated first from left), and Dato’ Hamidah Naziain, CEO CIMB Foundation (seated second from right)

The CIMB Foundation today launched CIMB MOZEK, a holiday camp for students promoting integration and unity.

The project was launched in collaboration with Teach For Malaysia (TFM) and is Cimb Foundation’s flagship initiative embracing its “Diversity and Inclusion” guiding principle.

“These principles cuts across all of the Foundation’s programmes to ensure that they will benefit as many people as possible, regardless of their race, religion, age or gender,” said the Foundation in a media release.

Launched by Her Majesty Raja Zarith Sofiah Binti Almarhum Sultan Idris Shah, Permaisuri of Johor it was witnessed by Datuk Seri Nazir Razak, Chairman of CIMB Group; Tuan Haji Shaharuddin Shariff, Director of Johor Education Department; Trustees from CIMB Foundation; Datuk Noor Rezan Bapoo Hashim, Trustee of TFM; as well as Datuk Hamidah Naziadin, CEO of CIMB Foundation.

Datuk Seri Nazir Razak, who is also a trustee of CIMB Foundation, said: “CIMB is committed to nurturing diversity through the CIMB MOZEK Camp, which promotes students’ cultural awareness and their appreciation of our diversity as Malaysia’s collective strength.

“Children are our most precious assets, which makes our teachers the most important asset managers, whose crucial role is also recognized and enhanced to facilitate diversity learning at schools based on
the specially curated MOZEK syllabus.”

“The word ‘MOZEK’ was specifically chosen as it represents a beautiful combination of mosaic pieces of various sizes, shapes and colours, reflecting how each of us carries our own piece of
‘mosaic’ defined by our ethnicity, culture, racial identity and language.

The unique combination of our cultural differences is what makes up a beautiful mosaic that should be nurtured to ensure the continued harmony of our multi-cultural community,” continued Nazir.

CIMB MOZEK is currently being piloted with students from SMK Taman Scientex, from 26 November until 14 December. 543 children are undergoing this programme to gain exposure to cooperative learning and inter-ethnic appreciation, facilitated by 59 teachers.

Youth is a special target group in the Foundation’s three key pillars, be it in Sports, Education and Community development.

Under Education, the Foundation continues to develop youths
through impactful programmes like CIMB MOZEK, as well as others like Be$MART, its flagship financial literacy programme for students from higher-learning institutions.

Earlier this month, the CIMB Group had pledged 1% of the Group’s profit before tax (PBT) for its Foundation-led CSR initiatives for the period 2018 – 2020 across ASEAN.

IoT: The French Connection

An engineer explaining to journalists how Airbus is using augmented reality in the assembly of the A350 cockpit

THERE is a lot happening in Southeast Asia in the world of the internet of things (IoT), the new buzzword of today, but did you know that a lot of this internet “science” comes with French Connections?

It started with French company SigFox, the world’s leading provider of connectivity for IoT with a strategic link-up in the age of the digital economy. This is where Khazanah Nasional Bhd acquired a minority stake and this is the Malaysian connection to this “internet revolution” that will sweep through the region soon.

The amount Khazanah, the Malaysia’s strategic investment fund, invested in Sigfox remains unknown, but for the French company, it is a significant move by Khazanah as this investment allowed it to penetrate new markets.

It was clever of Khazanah altogether to invest in the French company since it tied the Malaysian strategic state investor in yet another IT based powerhouse, but this one is of particular importance for our future.

That is because Sigfox is involved in a business that has seen massive demand in the past few years — though it is new to Malaysians — and the increase in demand for IoT has helped the French entity to gain ground internationally.

Sigfox is already in Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan, and its immediate objective is to cover 60 nations with 2018 on the horizon.

What does Sigfox do?

I came to know more about this giant on a media trip to Paris, where a group of Malaysian journalists met with a host of IT-related companies including Sigfox.

One of the aims of the visit was to discover France as a “start-up nation”, a creative powerhouse and an innovation hub in the era of the digital economy.

Sigfox, founded in 2009, builds wireless networks that enable devices to connect and to talk to each other.  With its global LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) network, Sigfox has reinvented connectivity for the IoT.

But the main important element for Sigfox is that it drastically brought down cost and energy consumption required for securely connecting physical devices to the Cloud.

With its technology, 660 million people, mostly in Europe are now enjoying IoT. This covers 2.6 million km2 in 36 countries.

Its mission is to offer a consistent level of connectivity quality and service anywhere in the world. And it also has a humanitarian angle, where the company spends its expertise and money in Africa to help track endangered animals.

Sigfox executive vice president Operator Business Unit Rodolphe Baronnet-Frugès transmitted his excitement over the company’s achievements, explaining that the company is ready to jump into the Malaysian market following the deal with Khazanah.

Airbus the IoT cruncher

IoT is not only about traffic lights automatically adapting to changing traffic conditions, or air quality monitoring and smart waste disposal, and so on.

It is also used in manufacturing, as witnessed in Toulouse, where Airbus created its own IoT tech using a smartwatch connected to a smartphone and a component of the aircraft.

These IoT devices allowed engineers working on different segments involved in the process of building an aircraft to locate which wires are connected and which are not connected.

The multibillion-dollar European aircraft maker, which controls half the world’s commercial aeroplane market, is applying IoT in a wide range of processes, beginning with its assembly lines, for example.

IoT is essentially helping Airbus to not only improve on its products but also to reduce cost and improve production capability, said an expert.

The company has been using IoT for years. It started by using RFID (radio-frequency identification) to track parts (to locate where they are stored etc), but now it has moved a notch higher towards IoT devices which are aiding engineers to track tools in the factory, for example, to know where their key tools are located.

With IoT, these devices can tell engineers if the equipment they are using in the production line needs maintenance, or the tools can be telling them if the torque is correct for implementation and so on.

IoT is also helping Airbus with the tools its workers use in the manufacturing process, doing such things as driving-in thousands upon thousands of bolts and deciding which bolt to use in the various segments of an aircraft body.

With IoT wearables, data analytics and green tech as the current buzzwords in Malaysia, French-based IT companies are bound to play a bigger role in the country’s smart city vision.

And that is an interesting element for us here in Kuala Lumpur, as we are so not used to IoT, yet!

Kazi is the business editor of the Malay Mail

Suddenly, the Chagos Islands gets prominence: What is in it for Britain?

Over the summer, Britain suffered a major diplomatic blow after their attempt to block a Mauritius-led initiative for an International Court of Justice advisory on the Chagos Islands was thwarted. Members of the UN General Assembly voted 94 to 15 in favour of the motion. The Chagos Islands, referred to by Britain as a British Indian Ocean Territory, are home to the U.S. military base Diego Garcia, and were separated by Britain from Mauritius three years before it won independence. The General Assembly vote happened despite furious lobbying by Britain. Interestingly, it emerged earlier this year that the Foreign Office had requested India’s help in trying to persuade the Mauritian government to help negotiate a deal without a UN intervention.

Significantly a large number of European nations, including Germany, France, Spain and the Netherlands, abstained from the vote in June. While the development attracted limited media attention, some observers were quick to warn that it could be a sign of things to come: just at a time that Britain needed to bolster its international standing, a combination of the distraction of the Brexit negotiations, cuts to the Foreign Office budget, and changing global dynamics meant the country was losing significant international clout.

In a piece for Chatham House, Sir Simon Fraser, the top civil servant at the Foreign Office between 2010 and 2015, pointed to other signs of Britain’s declining influence since the Brexit vote such as Boris Johnson’s struggles to pursue G7 nations to implement tougher sanctions against Russia over Syria and the government’s initial reluctance to criticise U.S. President Donald Trump. “It is hard to call to mind a major foreign policy matter on which we have had decisive influence since the referendum,” he wrote in the paper. “Our political establishment commands little respect abroad, and the negative economic consequences of Brexit are beginning to show.”

ICJ vote

All these developments gain added significance following last week’s election of Judge Dalveer Bhandari to the International Court of Justice, after Britain withdrew its candidate, Christopher Greenwood. For the first time in the world court’s 71 years of history, no British judge will sit on the Bench. Following 11 rounds of voting, it became clear that Britain didn’t have the backing in the General Assembly.

Read Full Report Here 

Universal Robots: Automating SMEs to re-energise manufacturing

AS Malaysia approaches the third year of its Eleventh Malaysia Plan (2016-2020), re-energising its manufacturing sector has grown to be a priority. A key focus is enhancing productivity using Industry 4.0 technologies such as artificial intelligence and robotics.

The government has made notable attempts to encourage automation among small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the manufacturing sector as part of its push for modernisation of production processes. SMEs are a huge business segment comprising nearly 47,700 firms, but they have been slow in leveraging automation for growth.

One initiative by the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (Miti) is the Soft Loan Scheme for Automation and Modernisation — a scheme helping SMEs to finance acquisition of automation technologies by offering loans up to RM20 million at a low fixed rate. To enable more companies to automate, Miti has recently proposed increasing the funding for this scheme in the upcoming Budget 2018.

Yet these efforts by policymakers will be futile if SMEs themselves do not see the value of deploying such technologies. A shift in mindset is needed and two pertinent questions need to be addressed: What can small- and medium-sized manufacturers gain from automation? How can they transition from their legacy systems?

Benefits of automation for SMEs

Advanced technologies such as collaborative robots (cobots) — robots that work alongside people — can increase the efficiency of production processes and expand production capacity, ultimately delivering higher productivity at lower cost. It is believed that the adoption of automation is projected to increase production output per worker by as much as 30%.

Robotic automation also reduces errors and material waste, offering greater reliability in producing consistent, high quality output. By automating repetitive processes, SMEs can reallocate their employees to higher value activities that eventually allow these employees to move up the value chain.

These are important factors for businesses to remain competitive in the global landscape where multinational companies (MNCs) are looking for supply chain partners with fast, streamlined processes and quality products. Manufacturers that can fulfil their orders nimbly will get a greater share of their orders.

Conversely manufacturers unequipped to meet MNCs’ scale and quality demands will end up losing a large revenue stream. The Malaysia Economic Monitor Report (June 2014) noted that MNCs in Malaysia sourced less than 40% of their inputs from local firms, compared to 46% in Vietnam and 82% in China.

Ensuring a smooth transition

Despite recognising the benefits of automation some SMEs are unsure how to transition to more advanced systems without drastically affecting their current operations. It may seem daunting to business owners who do not have sufficient liquidity to invest in expensive equipment or programming experts to run sophisticated systems. Others worry that their existing machines will be rendered obsolete.

The transition does not have to be a shake-up. SMEs can take measured steps towards automation.

They can begin by seeking cost-effective solutions such as cobots. They come with a smaller price tag compared to most traditional robots and setting up the equipment is very affordable. Cobots’ lightweight, compact size and built-in safety mechanisms facilitate their seamless integration into existing operations, eliminating the need to overhaul the existing production infrastructure.

Cobots can also be easily integrated with other machines, allowing business owners to continue using current machinery for a new purpose. For instance an existing conveyor belt can be reconfigured to feed product parts to the cobot for automated assembly.

One may think that a smaller investment will yield smaller outcomes. Contrary to this notion, using affordable cobots can have significant impact on production cost and efficiency. The highly adaptable cobot can be efficiently deployed for varied functions across different production lines. With this flexibility SMEs can manufacture a wider range of goods, including introducing new products into the market at low volumes. They can also swiftly respond to fluctuating consumer demand without having to buy different types of machinery.

Cobots are also a viable solution for SMEs that are currently unprepared for large-scale production. As cobots can be used with other machinery or accessories to cope with varied production demands, they remain effective when production volume grows or changes.

Another way to ensure a smooth transition, especially for SMEs that lack programming experts in their hire, is adopting user-friendly technology. Equipment that can be easily programmed shortens the time employees take to deploy the equipment. This also means employees can focus on developing new skills for higher value activities such as product design or research and development.

Success needs concerted effort

For Malaysia to succeed in re-energising its manufacturing sector, there must be a concerted effort from the government and SMEs. Success hinges on how the government addresses the needs of SMEs to adopt automation through the upcoming Budget, as well as whether SMEs respond positively to government schemes in overcoming both tangible and psychological barriers to automation.

By Shermine Gotfredsen

Gotfredsen is general manager at Universal Robots, SEA & Oceania

AmBank Group Reports Net Profit of RM659.7 million for H1FY18

AmBank Group second-quarter net profit slipped 6% year-on-year (y-o-y) on higher interest expense
and other operating expenses, said the bank today in a media release.

Datuk Sulaiman Mohd Tahir (Dato’ Sulaiman), AmBank Group Chief Executive Officer said the group's 
modest 2.3% year-on-year (Y-o-Y) improvement in total income of RM1,949.1 million for the half year 
ended 30 September 2017 was encouraging.

"Our topline growth momentum was sustained in Transaction Banking, Business & SME
Banking and Retail Banking whilst markets based revenue was affected by the volatility in the market.

“The Group recorded an encouraging 9.9% growth YoY in NII supported by interest income from customer
lending and fixed income securities. Interest income from customer lending continued to benefit from the
robust growth in our targeted segments namely mortgages and the small and medium-sized enterprises
(SME) segments. Interest income from securities grew mainly from trading securities and investment in
unrated corporate bonds and sukuk,” he said.

Datuk Sulaiman said the bank's loans and financing base grew 2.2% year-to-date (YTD) since 31 March 
2017 to RM93.0 billion underpinned by an increase of RM2,187.7 million (+10.0% YTD) in mortgage 
loans and RM1.1 billion (+7.6% YTD) in SME loans.

"As a result of our targeted card usage programmes, our cards receivables contributed RM80.7 million 
to our loans base, marking an encouraging YTD growth of 4.8%.  As a testament to the effectiveness of 
our cards strategy and our strong drive to provide excellent value to our cardholders.

"We have been recognised by the industry at the regional level for our BonusLink Visa Card programme. 
We were honoured as the “Best Co-Branded Credit Card” and “Best Travel Reward Credit Card” at the 
CMO Asia Smart Card and e-Payment Awards 2017 in Singapore recently. The Awards were in recognition 
of customer service as well as excellence and innovation in the Asian card and
payments industry.”

Why Bérenger and L’Express are hitting at XLD? The answer is here!

With strong political meddling, the local media in Mauritius is as divided as the opposition parties, along clear social and political lines.

The same division is seen among the political parties, even among those in power, as they are parties born out of the social and ethnic divide in the country.

As such, it was not a surprise to see the MMM leader Paul Raymond Bérenger praising L’Express for not publishing the offensive video in which Soodhun is heard ostracising a community in the country.

While Bérenger did well in telling L’Express that it has chosen the country instead of the journalism by not publishing the video, there is a thin line here that L’Express has crossed.

Did L’Express not play into the thin line of the political game of getting former Deputy Prime Minister Shaukatally Soodhun ‘overthrown’, which was the objectivity of the Opposition Leader Xavier-Luc Duval’s (XLD) intentions when he handed the ‘tape’ over to the journalists from L’Express?

And what is the political gains Bérenger is trying to extract from his praise of the L’Express? Is it not the political gains versus the disturbingly strengthening popularity of XLD?

We are just asking the right questions that are missing in the local media in Port Louis. Is it possible that the local media practitioners are playing the not-so-journalistic-game based on the loyalty of the journalists towards the political formations they personally support?

Since when did Mauritius fall into such a trap, where the fifth most powerful institution of the country – the Media – became the lap-dog of politicians?

Yes, L’Express is said to be pro a certain community in the country, while other papers are either pro this community and there are even those that are pro-extremism from each and every other groups that are ruling unabatedly in the dark corners of this beautiful nation.

The opposition divided

L’Express has also attacked XLD for criticising the newspaper – which should actually be an accepted and respected principle – saying the latter does not waste any occasion to publicly criticise the paper (in public and on Facebook), whereas XLD is the one who gave them the scoop.

Certainly, did L’Express not use the tape in question obtained from a political ‘adversary’ to bring down another political adversary of a different ‘ethnic’ background? It sounds funny that L’Express is playing the Bérenger game instead of playing the whole thing into a rather mild journalist tone!

We have nothing against L’Express. We are just asking the right questions in view of the events that has shaken our nation and in preparation for what we are bound to see in the run-up to the No18 by-elections.

Nevertheless, the opposition is widely divided and that is one of the main reason the country is still facing the full-brunt of the very unpopular MSM-ML-OPR regime.

It is clear that some political parties – we mentioned them in previous articles – are in talks with the MSM and probably with the ML in a bid to leave their other counterparts (the other opposition parties) in the lurch.

But the attacks of Bérenger against XLD – though it is natural for political leaders from various parties to bicker- is also weird.

The MMM cannot and will not in any current circumstances take over the Leader of the Opposition mantle from the XLD and the PMSD, unless the PMSD was to falter which is not the case given the current popularity surge of the Blues.

Hence, what has motivated Bérenger to attack XLD through the L’Express newspaper, the same paper XLD had chosen to pass on the incriminating video on Soodhun?

Last Saturday, Bérenger questioned the motive of XLD to hand over the ‘tape’ to L’Express, asking the latter for to come forward to explain when did he get this tape in question?

Too many questions will spoil the broth, so let us now query the motive of the L’Express journos who are now publicly accusing XLD of attempting a political revival (C’est Duval qui tente one récupération politique comme il en a l’habitude – dixit L’Express).

And we leave it as is.

Tourism: Mauritius the irresistible

Who could resist a red telephone box from which you can call an international landline at no charge? Not me. I surprise my friend at her desk in Melbourne. “I think this is the only time in my life I’ll get a call from Mauritius,” she says, in a rare gush.

I get it. Even in the 21st century, Mauritius is as exotic as a whiff of vanilla. To me, its name is a blend of “more” and “delicious”, and when I say it out loud, it’s as soothing as the breeze jiggling palm fronds or saltwater licking the sand. There are countries further from Australia and others more difficult to reach but few emanate the romance of this multicultural Indian Ocean island nation. No wonder honeymooners flock in droves.

I can’t wait to drink it in, this unknown land, but enlightenment is delayed as darkness shrouds the outpost when my plane lands. It’s an hour’s drive to Le Morne in the island’s southwest and the headlights illuminate little, maintaining the mystique until morning. My driver says Mauritians are more about family life than nightlife; his words roll out the window and bounce down empty streets. Mauritians, I discover, are delighted to be asked about their families but they’re also interested in you. The country’s economy has long revolved around tourism and I can see why visitors would want to return for an extra helping of Mauritian warmth and charm. Upon arrival at LUX Le Morne, bug-eyed after travelling from Australia’s east coast, I’m swiftly ushered to my suite so I can recover from the journey.

The pool at LUX Le Morne, Mauritius
The pool at LUX Le Morne, Mauritius

Sunrise reveals the 149-room resort is snuggled at the foot of Le Morne mountain, a dramatic monolith that looms large in the island’s history as a refuge for runaway slaves who settled in its caves and on the summit. You can hike the 556m nub but I cycle past the World Heritage-listed landmark with Laurent Marrier d’Unienville from Electro Bike Discovery. We cruise along the south coast, admiring the acrobatics of kite-surfers taking advantage of the steady trade winds and inspecting the Matthew Flinders commemorative sculpture (Laurent’s ancestors have a Flinders connection). For lunch, we stop at a photogenic pink and aqua-painted roadside stall for roti chaud (warm Indian flatbread) wrapped around vegetable curry, a snack that costs only a few rupees. It’s such a delightful peek into village life that I vow to return for a cycling holiday one day.

There’s no shortage of things to do in this corner of the island. A five-minute stroll from the resort is the Slave Route Monument, a collection of poignant sculptures illuminating the tragic history of the mountain from which fugitive slaves leapt to their death rather than face capture. I venture up to Rhumerie de Chamarel, 14km from LUX Le Morne. As I admire the distillery’s manicured gardens and pops of pink bougainvillea, I taste-test its rums (bottles of the gold and spice varieties accompany me home).

Katrina Lobley was a guest of LUX Resorts & Hotels.

Read the full article here:

Maybank pushing for stronger regional digital agenda

PICTURE CREDIT: MAYBANK – B2B Cambodia Banking Finance Maybank

In the race to remain ahead of competition, Maybank, the leading Malaysian bank in Asean ranking (ranked fourth after three Singapore banks) is pushing for the enhancement of its regional internet infrastructure in some of its emerging markets, said Maybank Group Head community financial services head Datuk Lim Hong Tat.

He said this was part of an on-going effort to rollout the bank’s regional digital banking agenda.

Last year, Maybank took home the top spot among Malaysian banks in the Asean region as it strengthened its position in the market with the most valuable bank brand in Malaysia.

It saw its brand value grow by 24% or US$2.55 billion (RM10.58 billion) last year.

“Maybank’s strong digital banking presence in our home markets has given us a leading edge, especially in Malaysia, for internet and mobile banking.

“Having said that, we are working on enhancing the internet infrastructure for some of our emerging markets as an on-going effort to rollout our regional digital banking agenda,” said Lim in an exclusive interview on the bank’s digital presence in its retail segment.

He said despite competing on less-than-equal footing in emerging foreign markets compared to locally-owned industry peers due to regulations on licensing/incorporation of foreign banks, Maybank is still able to do more with less by increasing its overseas revenue contribution to 36%.

“Being a foreign bank in a foreign country (outside our home markets) would mean rising up to the challenge of winning over the hearts and minds of local residents amid strong competition from financial institutions which have been long established in the local scene,” said Lim.

As at June 2017, Maybank remains the largest in terms of network distribution, forming 18.8% of total bank branches across Malaysia. Its consumer loans portfolio constitutes 17.5% of total consumer (household) loans, while retail deposits (inclusive of Investment Accounts) stand at 19.1% of the nation’s individual deposits.

To date, Maybank has established its presence across all 10 Asean markets.

“We continue to look for opportunities in expanding our presence in the retail banking landscape across the region, where we could capitalise on the developing and maturing of markets within the Asean Economic Community, which gives rise to growing affluence and digital-savviness among its people,” said Lim.

On the hurdles faced by local banks in the Asean region, Lim told Malay Mail the bank’s strong digital banking presence in the home markets has given it a leading edge, especially in Malaysia, for internet and mobile banking.

With banking and financial services professionals in Malaysia facing a changing recruitment market as new demands arise amid a transformation of the country’s finance sector, Malay Mail asked Lim to extrapolate on the comment from recruiting expert firm Hays who said changes in the financial sector has led to an influx of new roles and that created demand for candidates with specific skills.

Taking into consideration that restructuring at major banks resulted in the creation of new roles that need to be filled, Lim said that regulatory requirements, technological capabilities, customer expectations and demographics are creating an imperative for many industries to adapt to these changes.

“Some of today’s jobs might not stay relevant in the future, and new jobs and new skillsets will emerge. It is critical for us to equip our talent with the relevant skills and expertise for them to be agile, change-capable, versatile and resilient, and solution impactfully for business sustainability.

“For this very reason, one of the Maybank Group Human Capital M2020 transformational goals focuses on nurturing a tech savvy workforce that is creative, nimble and agile to deliver breakthrough performance,” said Lim.

He said on this front, Maybank introduced various learning interventions for its employees to disrupt the corporation’s ways of working.

As part of this learning experience, there is learn-on-the-go that allows the workforce to quickly adapt to the new culture and learn new technologies to empower them to deliver on today’s imperatives and transform themselves for the future.

“To answer your question on the creation of the new roles and how it has impacted our retail banking business, we have redefined transactional roles into advisory roles to accelerate our digital migration initiatives and created new roles to support our digitalisation strategies.  

“Our reach for new talents is diverse to bring in new ideas to disrupt the traditional ways we have operated, thus enabling breakthroughs to improve customer experience,” he said.

Japan’s soft values useful to Malaysia

Picture Credit: de2ori | de2ori – – One captain, others follow.

IN the 60 years of Malaysia’s independence, the one country that has been consistently investing in Malaysia, not just in capital and investments but also in human capital, has been Japan.

This, perhaps, is crucial for policymakers to understand the context of Malaysia which is now catapulting itself to be a high-income nation that can only happen through human capital development.

The height of our relationship with Japan was in the 1980’s when Malaysia embarked on its “Look East Policy” aimed at emulating the miracles of Japan.

The main objective of the policy was to follow the example of Japan Inc and create Malaysia Inc, where both the government and the private sector worked together to achieve a common economic goal.

At the height of the Look East Policy, many students were sent to Japan where they were infused with the values and technological prowess that made Japan a great nation.

Our students were then exposed to the resilience and tenacity of the Japanese which allowed them to rebuild Japan into a great nation from the debris of the Second World War.

These students now hold senior positions in local corporations and impart the value systems they learned to their subordinates and fellow workers in order to make their corporations great.

While Malaysia is free to attract investors from any part of the region to help bolster its economy, Japanese values systems may be more necessary for us now in order to sustain and empower Malaysian corporations, and indirectly the Malaysian economy.

The value systems of Japanese corporations are worthy of emulation here in Malaysia as they can bolster our productivity and increase profits, which invariably mean increased contribution to the country’s coffers in the form of taxes.

In turn, this would mean the government will have more money for socio-economic development.

An important aspect of the Japanese management system is collective decision making or “Ringsei” which allows consensus decision making.

Information is allowed to flow from bottom up to the top, and collective responsibility is instilled in the organisation which provides safeguards against plans from decision makers who often go on a “frolic of their own”.

Some of the corporate failures in Malaysia could have been spared if decision makers had sought consensus in their approach, which would have invoked participation and commitment by all staff.

Another aspect of the Japanese management system that is worthy of emulation is job rotation and working in groups. It is believed that both of these allow workers to find their passion at work.

Job rotation allows them to do many things, and eventually managers will identify what a particular employee is good at and accordingly, he or she is assigned to that specific task.

In addition, job rotation allows employees to explore where their interest lays which they may not be aware of until they try their hands on specific jobs. Having found a particular passion for work and be able to do different tasks would provide the necessary motivation for them to deal with varied tasks.

Working in a team, on the other hand, allows for creativity in the workplace to blossom through interaction with team members aside from blending complementary strengths. By combining unique perspectives from each team member, teamwork creates more effective solutions.

Collaboration also creates enthusiasm for learning that solitary work usually lacks and thus, spurs increased innovation within organisations

Teamwork also reinforces a belief that an employee’s destiny is intertwined and this sense of belonging helps them solve many problems.

Japanese management style fosters close relationship among employees and this system allows their welfare to be well taken care of.

Employees are accorded complete welfare packages such as reduced priced goods, health care measures, low-rent housing and low-interest loans.

Furthermore, the Japanese system does not make any distinction between blue- and white-collar workers as the difference is looked as being irrelevant for commercial advantage. This is achieved by measures including the wearing of the same uniforms and sharing common dining areas allowing for the office workers to become more familiar with the shop-floor workers.

If workers are empowered and their welfare is taken care of, this would lead to increased employee loyalty and better productivity.

Sathish was previously the Senior Analyst at the Institute of strategic and International Studies and most recently as the Assistant Business Editor in a local newspaper.

Editorial: Labour is wrong on Bhadain

The Reform Party leader resigned in a sign of moral responsibility

The Labour Party started to play an old, lame game in trying to derail the campaign of the Reform Party’s chief Roshi Bhadain, while asking whether the latter is not playing the game in PM Pravind Jugnauth’s favour.

Well, we at WFTV believe Bhadain did one of the bravest thing by resigning and challenging the unpopular regime to a fight in the constituency where he was elected under the same MSM-ML-PMSD banner.

Not only his resignation from a ministerial post and from the Parliament has strengthened the opposition in the country, it has also given the opposition parties a chance to prove themselves against the extraordinarily poor performance from his former peers.

In the event of a Labour Party victory, they will have to thank Bhadain for their return to their old winning ways, or will they say sorry, we spent too much money to win a seat in the Parliament?

The Labour Leader former PM Navin Ramgoolam claimed Bhadain’s resignation as MP and the by-elections at the No 18 is a waste of millions of rupees forced upon the people. 

That is ridiculous. The Labour leader should thank Bhadain, who hails from a younger generation than his, but who has the courage to leave his seat to prove a point. That is what democracy is all about, Mr Ramgoolam.

And in a democracy like Mauritius, you should have quit your post as Leader of the party – a party that we at WFTV believe still has its fire in its belly thanks to the loyal supporters out there – and let the younger generation take over.

But instead of following a purely simple moral principle, you got stuck to your post as Leader despite bringing the party to shame in the 2014 elections.

And we believe that instead of ‘punishing’ Bhadain, the voters at the No 18 should grow up and face the reality of today and throw the Labour Party candidate in the dustbin of history.

The voters should choose between the only two viable candidates: That is PMSD candidate Dhanesh Maraye, Bhadain and put Nita Jaddoo in the loop. Mr Arvind Boolell has proven his mettle by failing to oust Mr Navin as PTR leader and that should suffice for the No 18 electorate to narrow their choices between the PMSD, Reform Party and the MMM.

Dhinesh Maraye, PMSD candidate is seeing a rise in his chances at the No 18

Of course, we know the Labour is powerful on the ground and has a large support base, but we are also aware that there are more at play than the simple choice of voting Labour in these by-elections.

The electorate should understand that the world HAS changed and people who are not able to bring about change in Mauritius.

Those who are playing the blame game against Bhadain, the man who has given the country an opportunity to manifest itself against the MSM-ML-OPR regime, should be the ones that has to be punished!

Nevertheless, the attack on Bhadain shows the tightening of the electoral battle at No 18, with more voters now shifting their opinion away from the Labour Party to either the Reform Party or the PMSD.

WFTV believes, through our network of informants, that both Bhadain and Maraye has good chances of causing an upset in these elections.

We explained that a split in the votes are now noted within the Hindu electorate who does not believe in both traditionally Hindu parties anymore due to the immensity of their failures in the past – for the Labour Party – and in the present situation – for the MSM.

This shift will benefit both the Reform Party and the PMSD, but the PMSD will probably have a better chance if a large number of this Hindu voters shifts towards the former party of Sir Gaetan Duval.

Given the fact that the MMM has lost much of the General Population support, which has shifted to the PMSD, there is not surprise if Maraye does well in these polls.

Note: We are not pro-any parties in Mauritius, but our members have their personal affinities for the parties they support individually. Personally, I have a lot of history with the Labour Party but I was very close to the MSM during the heydays of the SAJ-Vishnu reign. Now, I cannot say it is the same, can I?