Tuesday 22 March 2011

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…

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.