My apology again for not completing this article in one-go, the earlier completed part of this article is highlighted in GREEN for your ease of reading.
I am completing this Article now at the beautiful capital of Catalonia – Barcelona, the host city of the 1992 Olympic. The vision of the burning arrows that flies across the Stadium to light up the official Olympic torch was still fresh in my mind. Since then, I have always wants to visit this beautiful city for the miracle architectural of Gaudi that set the city in the most artistic possible for more than a century now; and the added incentive of visiting Nou Camp, the home of FC Barcelona, that set the stage for my team Manchester United completed its feast of the unprecedented “Treble” in 1999.
… as I continued to write again, I am back in the comfort of my own home missing the sunshine of Barcelona and the eventful FIABCI World Congress after yet another week of catching up as a professional lawyer in my practice. Well…
Here I am sitting here at the Suntec Entertainment Centre Atrium, doing my bit to promote Malaysian property in Singapore, the hub of the region, the regional window to the world; recognizing its international status and its huge variety of expatriate community. Interests in the “Malaysian My Second Home” are like flowing water while properties in Penang seem to capture the confidence of the visitors.
The property prices in Singapore have gone crazy of late, it has now caught up with Malaysia as well, judging by the encouraging responses I see here in the last few days. In all fairness, Singapore being a hotspot for international real estate destination is attributable to its liberal policy in enabling foreign ownership and transparency of its system.
I guess on the alien end of the controversial causeway, things do get clearer. 50 years of Nationhood as we are celebrating now, as an unquestionable “Anak Malaysia”, I have pondered for long the “Malaysian Advantage”…
Good news is a norm recently in Malaysia, all aim to stimulate the prosperity of Malaysia as a going concern. The Pak Lah’s administration made no secret of their collective determination in continuing these feel good sectors. It felt so good that it is almost compelling to get another celebration on the way, congratulation Pak Lah and Jeanne, may you live happily ever after! All Malaysians are happy for you!
Here is a list of my “Malaysian Advantage”:
1. “1st Class Facilities; 3rd Class Mentality”
This is the most common description of Malaysia used by our leaders since the last decade of the last century. And then a lot of “who-ha” gone into the second part of this classic. Result? We are still “talking” about it!
In my humble view, we seem to forget the first part of this classic. A classic case of jumping the gun!
Yes, it is important to look at the second part on a long run. While waiting for our effort to bear fruit, what do we do in the meantime? We should enhance and entrench our niche as the world class builder!
Within my small radar, Malaysian have undertaken many development and construction projects as far as Chile, Bahamas and South Africa, not mentioning China, Dubai, India, Pakistan etc. Let’s shout and capitalize on our very own “1st Class Facilities”, so be it! (My Barcelona mission also confirm this as four of the six internationally acclaimed Prix d’Excellence are proudly awarded to Malaysian property.)
2. When you talk about mentality, you should look at “Mindset” first. The Malaysian mindset must be right before we can progress. Here are a few illustrations that with a shift of mindset, we can easily excel:
(i) What is your first reaction when you hear that Indonesia, our unfortunate neighbor that harbor the natural disasters through out the recent years, is getting more FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) compare to us last year? Everyone in the public and private sectors are concern.
Try this. May be we have moved forward as a globalize investing nation as we own most of their oil palm plantation. Not bad, isn’t it?
3rd class mentality is because we think as a 3rd world nation thus FDI is important, where we are always in the receiving end of the bargain. Marching towards Vision 2020 as a developed nation, we must start believe in ourselves and think as a 1st world nation. We must also act and live as 1st world citizen. Creating values and not cutting corners.
(ii) There are ICT outsourcing companies from Bangalore looking at setting up part of their operation in Cyberjaya, our very own Multimedia Super Corridor for the fact that land is cheaper in Cyberjaya than Bangalore and Indian are more than happy to be working in Malaysia. So, let’s be the outsourcing for the outsourcing center in the world?
Positioning. Let’s get it clear and sell to the world. To be a bit of everything means that we are not anything at all. We end up as followers and not leaders.
My humble solution? Let’s not ignore the obvious and let us be the alternative. Kind of the like the “Alternative Rock” in the early 90’s pioneered by Nirvana, Cranberries, Red Hot Chili Pepper etc that is now the main stream rock mastered by acts like Limb Bizkit, Linkin Park, Fool Fighters, Greenday etc. If we start now, we have a chance to be main stream in time to come.
Let’s flip a few things around….
(a) No matter how determined we are for KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) to be the regional aviation hub, we remain a latecomer. Just because we built a world class airport (again 1st Class Facilities!), it does not give us the natural right to be the most popular. We are too far behind Changi and Bangkok in this regard and we are smacked in between them geographically.
Alternative? We are doing well in our flagship low cost carrier. Air Asia is hot and redefines air travel in the region. Our LCCT (Low Coast Carrier Terminal) is at optimum now serving just one airline. Let’s be the regional hub for low costs carriers and let the not so low cost to fly to our neighbors instead.
(b) We cannot be another international financial hubs like Singapore and Hong Kong or Shanghai.
Let’s be the international center for Islamic financing instead of conventional financing.
(c) Let’s face it, we have never been good at producing our own food. Not like Thailand (let them be “Kitchen to the World”), but we are good trader since day 1. Our history as a civilization is solely founded on trading; the Sultanate of Melaka by its strategic location is an international market place where the West and the Middle East meet the Far East.
The greatest lesson that history ever taught us is that we have never learned from history. So, let’s embrace such history proven formula for Malaysia and be a better trading hub.
… and this is not without a trace – here is an extract from one of our Prime Minister’s speeches:
“Malaysian foreign policy in this era of globalization must provide support to the country’s position as a very globalized economy. In fact, according to the A.T Kearney 2005 globalization index, Malaysia is now the 19th most globalized country in the world. In 2006, for the first time in Malaysia’s history, our total trade surpassed Malaysian Ringgit 1 trillion which is equal to about U.S Dollars 291.5 billion. The total trade is more than twice that of the country’s Gross Domestic Product. The openness of our economy has facilitated our growth. However, in an environment of increasingly intense global competition, we need to stay ahead of competition if we are to continue expanding. Our economic imperative is therefore to vie for and attract foreign direct investments, sustain domestic investments, and continue to be significant in the global trading environment.”
(d) We have long been announcing that we want to be an International Halal Hub targeting 5% of this more than USD40billion market per year. However, the idea seems to center around being physically here.
Instead of being passive, let’s get aggressive and export our expertise. Our Halal certification system is the best in the world, internationally trusted, acclaimed and acknowledged. Let our Halal certification process and standards be like ISO (whatever number that follows) and export to every corners of the world.
(e) Let’s capitalise on our special position in the Islamic world, let’s be the window to the Islamic world! This is the obvious advantage given that we can bridge the gap easily.
(f) The Iskandar Development Region seems to be a good move. Let’s walk the talk and make it meaningful for all.
Enough about my sudden patriotism, the fact is that I truly love my nation. Coming back to my little enterprise in CA, the lesson is to look around, seriously learned about your organization and use available resources. After the initial soul-searching, focus is the key. Less is definitely more, after all you have only 1 brain, two hands, 24 hour a day (that’s level playing field alright). You can’t do it all by yourself; get someone else, outsource (take less to gain more) or else, GIVE UP!!!!
Therefore, Chur Associates™ into its 4th year of operation shall find a niche positioning and drive it further! Watch this space for this positioning.
Lastly, for those of you that have me in your MSN messenger list shall note my latest nick – “Lesley Moore” (Less is More!).
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