Saturday, February 06, 2010

Kopi-O Satu ... Let's Tembak Angin

Sometimes when you have your local coffee at the kopi tiams (or as we now know them as Old Town, Pappa Rich ... hmmm ... there should be a new chain call Very Old Town or even Ancient Town soon, or how about Mommie Dearest, Who's Your Real Daddy Kopi-tiam..). But I digress. Sometimes even you try to engage in coffee shop talk, the topics aren't interesting enough. Here are my views on a couple of business issues which should be sufficient fodder for those lazy afternoons:

- Petronas Bashing:
What were their motives? Its already proven to be one of the best run international companies with Malaysian management. Keeping in mind that the many frivolous projects they threw money at, were not really management's decision to make in the first place. Most were basically stuffed down their throats.

The one quibble some had about Petronas was the philharmonic concert hall - some thinking its frivolous as well. Let me tell you that that was much needed. No major city or capital can do without a world class concert hall. Those who say that it was a snooty thing do not see the bigger picture. Its not just esteem or pride, its how we place the importance of having great/grand concerts with world class acoustics and a brilliant setting. Its not a high brow thing, thats like saying people who send their children to study the piano or violin are wasting their time. Its not a matter of trying to distill the local culture with Western culture, its bringing great artistes to our shores. You try to aspire to global best standards.

Children see, they think its an option. Imagine kids in Medan, there are probably no such concert halls, hence none of the top classical acts get to perform there. The kids are not exposed, they will never aspire to further their boundaries. They are limiting their imagination because they did not see. Kids who saw know its a reality, and they may do something like that if they like it enough or are talented enough. That's why the concert hall is a must.

The other bashing involves asking Petronas to open their accounts. Why is that necessary? Why wasn't Khazanah also asked to the same? Although I agree that Petronas can show more figures, but why were they singled out. Khazanah is a prime example as well. This led me to believe the attacks were more to discredit management and do a "management change of guard".
Seriously folks, don't think of tampering with Petronas or try to have ideas on how to "milk or divert" funds to pet projects. Don't do that. Petronas has to remain as "independently and professionally managed" as possible as their annual dividends to the government is what is keeping many things afloat. Don't play with things that cannot afford to go wrong.

- Listing FELDA:
NO! Think of why Felda was set up in the first lace. You cannot be thinking of selling Felda shares to the public now, its reprehensible. Its like the Malay reserve plots of land in Kampung Baru, what do you think about gathering them as one, corporatising them and selling shares to the public and foreign institutions??? It defeats the very essence of the asset and why they were set up in the first place.

Unless you are thinking of disbanding Felda altogether, then SELL 100%, and NEVER set up another Felda thing again. Then you can list. Anything else is just greed over substance.

p/s photos: Linda Onn

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