Sunday, 13 March 2011

A new jurisdiction

In my current role, I am given the opportunity to participate in formulating the strategy for our function globally.  Our strategy is to be in line the overall strategy of the company; and we call it “the collective agenda”.  Essentially, it aligns the focus of the whole department.

One item within our collective agenda for 2011 is geography focus.  Apart from the usual suspects, 1 particular country caught my attention.  This jurisdiction is certainly not in the same league as Hong Kong, Singapore, China, India, Dubai but is now considered as a “geography in focus”.

It is the first time this country made it on the list.  As far as I know, Malaysia has never made it on the list before.

Since the beginning of the year, I have travelled there once and foresee more business travels to this said jurisdiction.  I have had numerous meetings with business personnel about big plans for this jurisdiction and will be having another one next week to talk about more exciting plans there.

Last week, I dialled into the HR call centre of my company to clarify some queries and I can choose to continue in English, Cantonese, Mandarin and was very surprised to actually hear that I can continue in the language of this jurisdiction in focus.

The global head of the function I am in was here in Singapore yesterday for a business visit.  Today, he is in this new jurisdiction in focus.  No, he didn’t visit Malaysia.

The country that I am talking about is…
Indonesia.

The reason why I decided to break out from my blog hiatus to talk about this is because I just came out from a hot debate with someone saying that current Malaysian govt is doing a good job as Malaysia’s economy is only behind Singapore in this region. 

One can choose to ignore the fact that Indonesia has already surpassed Malaysia in foreign direct investment and continue to derive a false sense of superiority based on the notion that your maids and construction workers are from Indonesia. 

But the reality is this… Indonesia’s economy is moving at a speed much quicker than Malaysia and while huge capital is flowing out of Malaysia, it’s flowing the opposite direction in Indonesia. 

Of course, many Malaysians are not impacted by this phenomenon.  Will they be ever impacted? Is this a really bad thing to Malaysia?  As some quarters have mentioned, will Malaysians end up being maids and construction workers in Indonesia? The honest answer is that I don’t know.  My attempt to answer those questions may be rather bias.

One thing for sure… the statement of Malaysia’s economy being only behind Singapore in this region is incorrect.  Besides Indonesia, Philippines is also gaining substantial ground on the economic platform.  The Malaysian media may say otherwise but from where I work… right here on this seat... reality paints a very different picture.  




17 comments:

June said...

Sad news. The day will come when Malaysians have to be sent abroad to become maids in Indonesia, the Philippines, Dubai, India, Brunei.... Thailand..... Cambodia
I've had the chance to work with many Indonesians. Many of them are very down-to-earth eventhough they kinda own many many cars and live in expensive houses. Poor Malaysia

house-tai said...

I thought you were going to say Vietnam!

Tempus said...

Sadly, plenty of the malaysians are still living in their comfort zone and ignorant shells, unwilling to open up and see how flat the world is getting.

Anonymous said...

and on that vein, I have just read an article on Forbes magazine - http://www.forbes.com/2011/01/31/business-travel-bribery-corruption.html

It's not surprising how malaysia is now officially branded as a corrupt country by a very established magazine.

Sad reality indeed.

Yvonne Foong said...

Indonesians are generally modest people, even the chinese. In contrast, a lot of people in Malaysia like to talk big!

Crankster said...

Hell yeah! The Indonesians are quietly stealing our thunder. But we deserve every bit of thrashing we get.

HuntressMoon Darkmatter said...

Esther told me this entry was a good read and hence i stumbled upon your blog once again...well why am i not surprised with Indonesia and Philippines Economic growth. I used to liaised with a lot of Philippinos and i can say their work culture is a lot better than Malaysia in terms of services and also the constant politeness with fellow indonesians whom i always refer to their bosses as Kepala Bapak and them calling me Ibu. I digressed but I agree Malaysia has fallen back eversince the Badawi administration, though it is picking up its phase quite a bit lately with Najib colony - the housing proposal for income 3000 and below could just be the first step.

eiling lim said...

thanks for the info. as usual-lah we malaysians like to live in DENIAL...

CK said...

indonesia will go far FAST unless it didn't manage to tame its religious extremist/terrorist activities that might bring down the whole country.
vietnam used to be beaming with hope but now being bogged down by corruption issues.
malaysia? u can see it's having both the combo factor faced by both indonesia and vietnam. oh... of course... many idiots running the country is another factor.
good luck malaysia.

MKL said...

Everything is changing.

delirious jellybean said...

I realise being overseas will eventually allow us to see all the flaws that we were either too ignorant, naive, or even afraid to admit in Malaysia. The only reason that makes it home is friends and family. And maybe the food. No, wait. Definitely the food.

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

the only reason why msia appears to be only below singapore is bcos we are next door, we dont have such foresight to see beyond to any countries further.

indonesia has such big potential, mainly because their population is almost 10 times bigger than msia? that means every product you sell, you have got an audience of the size x10.

very interesting to see that you guys are heading there.

so r u eventually still coming down under? haha.

zewt said...

June - many malaysians are too high on nasi lemak to realise this.

house-tai - vietnam is a country with potential and remains so for the longest time.

Tempus - hi there... like i said... malaysians are too high on nasi lemak.

anon @ 14/3 11.31pm - not all malaysians like that though... sad indeed.

Yvonne Foong - precisely...

Crankster - all the thrashing actually... all of it.

zewt said...

HuntressMoon Darkmatter - thanks for dropping by. i personally feel that 3000 housing income is useless... but no time to comment on it.

eiling lim - but we will never deny the food is good.

CK - hahaha... well... vietnam is a sad story.

MKL - so are we :)

delirious jellybean - hahaha... DEFINITELY!!

constantly craving joe - i heard things are really expensive down under.... well, things are going well for me in singapore... so i still dunno.

lifelikethatone said...

Interesting question. Why do Malaysia import maids from Phillipines, Indonesia, Vietnam and not the other way round?

What are the factors that make Malaysia up there vis a vis its neighbours?

Strange isnt it. Vietnamese are hardworking, Indonesians, Phillipines too.

The main reason of course is economics. That Malaysian economics can afford to pay for maids. And Malays economy is blessed with oil, oil palm, tin, rubber.

But then so do the other countries. So it must be higher income shared among smaller populations.

As long as Phillipinos keep producing babies every time they fuck, as encourage by Catholic Christianity, the Filipinos going to struggle to share their wealth.

More people means more sharing as in Indonesia.

The main obvious reason is the stable parliamentary monarchy that govern Malaysia.

And the pragmatic Malay leaders with world class grasp of ruling.

And of course what are leaders without quality followers.

Peace, ZOPFAN, recognition of China, boycott of SA etc.. shows that Malays have no qualm in the quest for justice.

No other country give citizenships to Kelings and Chinese like what Malaya did.
Only the Malays gave citizanship after ww2.

Set aside an island so that the most vociferous chinese can be PM without disturbing the rest. Or the misfits like zewts can hew and haw, whining about life pretending they deserve better.

The Malays philosophy of finding solutions is unbeatable. That is why Malaysia is the safest countries in the world and its corruption index even better than Singapore.

Malaysia is also the third corruption-free country among the 19 upper-middle income countries even above Singapore!! hehehe

What do you expect. If the wife of the PM is to head Khazanah can u imagine the protest!

Shihong said...

@zewt
You forgot Thailand actually. Thailand has long surpassed Malaysia in terms of FDI. They are the 3rd largest exporter of cars in Asia, only behind Japan and Korea.

@lifelikethatone

Malaysia can now afford those maids because we have a higher income now. But those countries are growing at a much faster pace, which means that it is only a matter of time before Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam overtakes Malaysia in terms of income per capita.

The corruptions perception index of Malaysia is NOT better than Singapore. I don't know where you get your statistics, but if you go to Transparency International's report, Malaysia's corruption levels are a lot closer to Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, etc than it is to Singapore.

zewt said...

lifelikethatone - i dont know about the rest but i really struggle to understand you.... just want to comment on 1 point... no other countries give citizenships to K and C .... yeah, no other countries give to I and B too.

shihong - i think thai is a bit complicated now. they will need to ride out their political storm. then things will change.