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NOVEMBER 2008, KUALA LUMPUR. Proton car sales may drop instead of increase with the downward revision in the Bank’s lending and base financing rates” said Armin Baniaz Pahamin, Deputy President, Proton Edar Dealers Association Malaysia. The current downward revision in interest rate is negligible and unless the interest rate cut is substantial, the revision may signal more possible interest rate cut in the near future and only trigger a ‘wait-and-see’ reaction from the public for further interest rate cut. This will affect our car sales. Bank Negara should study carefully the quantum of reduction and regulate to reduce the effective interest rate once but substantially rather than progressively over a period. This will eliminate the wait-and-see factor and promote immediate spending.

Proton car sale is not interest rate dependant and neither does Perodua car sales. Perodua car has always been sold at a slightly higher interest rate compared to other models and it is not a mitigating factor for the customer. A cheaper loan is an attraction but what is more important is the approval for the customer’s hire purchase loan. The approval of customer’s hire purchase loan depends on the Bank risk scoring. Proton customer risk profile are set by the Bank and is higher compare to other car distributors making it harder for Proton customer loan to be approved. For example, there have been various instances that our customers loan were rejected or reduced but the same customer were able to secure a higher loan to buy example, a Toyota. Currently, customers who do not fulfil or satisfy the Banks risk profile are given an option for a higher interest and lower margin of finance or risk the loan being rejected. Unless the risk profile issue is addressed, even with the cut in interest rate, Proton car sales will be quite stagnant if not lower.

An ‘Easier’ loan approval will promote a healthier car sales rather than a ‘cheaper loan’. A cheaper loan will not create additional sales but is a bonus for potential customers as hire-purchase loan is fixed throughout the tenure of the loan. The cheaper loan should not be at the expense of an easier loan approval. In addition to the cheaper loan, Banks should also provide a more flexible package for hire purchase financing.

A cheaper source of financing will however cushion Proton Dealers from the rising cost of operation. Almost 90% of Proton dealers operate on bank facilities and a cut in banking facilities rate of interest will enable the dealers to offset the saving against the increased in overhead expenses such as utility bills as well as petrol. On the average, every dealer is holding at least 20-30 cars for immediate deliveries. These cars have to be transported from proton stockyard, to our stockyard and deliver to customers with at least half petrol tank filled. All these extra cost is at the expense of individual dealers.

The Edge Weekly- PEDA view on Inflation & Global Financial Crisis

I receive an email from Racheal, a reporter from the Edge weekly for PEDA's comments on the Inflation and Global Financial Crisis. the followings are my comments.

I'm Racheal from The Edge. I'm doing a story for The Edge Weekly to address the impact of inflation on the men on the street as well as corporates during this global financial crisis.

Armin: Inflation will have an adverse impact on Proton Car sales.
1) The lower and middle income earners entails the majority portion of Proton customers profile. These are the people (proton customer base) that is most affected by the inflation. The bank view proton customers profiling based on their capabilities to pay and hence the existing mortage and credit card repayments historical records. The public are more incline to fulfilled their mortgage repayment and their daily essential expenses such as petrol, food and medical first before fulfilling their obligation for car hire purchase loan repayment.
2) In facing inflation, banks will see an increase in thier NPL (non-performing-loan) in the existing car financing when the people’s disposable income deteriorates. A drastic effect will see more cars being repossessed and more cars being auction which will affect the value of second hand cars. When the valuation of second hand cars are affected, the public will not be able to replace their existing cars (to buy a new proton cars) without having to pay the bank for the balance loan (of the existing cars) or simply because the value is too cheap to be disposed off. This will effect the sales of Proton new cars.
3) When the NPL increases, banks will be more stringent to approve car hire purchase financing which will also lead to a drastic drop in new car sales. In 1997 recession, the margin of finance were reduced before the hire purchase loan was completely frozen. Similarly, the bank facilities for proton dealers were also suspended. Currently, the margin of finance for car loan is still at 90% and banking facilities are still intact.

In relation to this I have some questions, in which I hope PEDA would be able to help me with.
Q: Before and after the high inflation in July and August, does PEDA see its business being affected? If do, how much was it?

Before the high inflation earlier this year, PEDA and Proton Edar had both worked well in capturing the market shares from Perodua. Amongt the measures taken are the sign of confidence in proton cars through the 5 years total warranty in proton cars, as well as the proton i-care program. The launching of the saga had also boost public confident in proton’s quality and products. We have only felt the inflationary effect recently with the increase in our customers hire purchase rejection rate and the slow down in new bookings. Until recently, our monthly deliveries were not drastically affected as we are still fulfilling the back orders.

Inflation do have an immediate negative impact on both inquiries of Proton cars as well as our cost of operation.

1) Inquiries for Proton cars had dropped when customers are more concerned with meeting ends. Notably, the 3rd quarter and last quarter of this year saw dealers fulfilling and delivering back orders more than new bookings. The inflation was felt more now when many of the bookings were either cancelled or refunded when customers’ loan were NOT approved.
2) The inflationary effect had led to Banks revising Proton customers risk profile making it harder for dealers to secure loan financing for the customers; evidently with the increase number of refunds to customers (when customers cannot secure loan approval)
3) Proton dealers cost of operation too had increased with higher cost of petrol and transport claims. On the average, every dealers are holding at least 20-30 cars for immediate deliveries. These cars have to be started daily and transport from proton stockyard, to our stockyard and deliver to customers with at least half petrol tank filled. All these extra cost is at the expense of individual dealers.
4) The effect will be more felt during the first and second quarter next year, when the current outstanding bookings have been fulfilled and lower new bookings (with successful loan approval).

Q: What was the price for Proton Saga in 1994 and 2007?

Proton saga was first launched in 1987 for the price from RM17,300
In 1994, the Saga was priced from RM30,900
Now, saga cost from RM31,500


I woke up to the aroma of Nescafe. Nothing beats a good morning coffee. It is 4:30am and the hot Nescafe is my wake up call. My maid is punctual to prepare my morning coffee. I crawled to my study room with my eye half open, and sipped my hot Nescafe while picking up today newspaper.

The usual caffeine did not wake up me but instead the headlines of most papers today that read YOGA is haram according to the National Fatwa Council. According to the fatwa, Yoga can deviate the muslims belief or aqidah.

i am a strong believer in my religion, Islam. I have even performed my pilgrim in 2006 but I am flabbergasted by the Fatwa issued by the Malaysian National Fatwa Council. I am an active gym-goer and have taken part in most yoga, tai chi, qi qong, silat, muay thai etc…. My belief in Islam is as strong if not stronger, in fact, my aqidah or belief was never tainted by hinduism in yoga or Buddhism in moay thai or tai chi, whatever or whichever exercise practiced is purely for health benefits.

Fatwa is issued as a clarification on issues that is unclear. Being ‘unclear’ means there is no definite answer except for the answers interpreted by the ‘the expert and intellect’ which makes up the so called ‘council’. The pronouncement by this council will be gazetted as the law and should not be question or it is said as questioning Gods ruling.

It puzzles me how can an interpretation by ‘expert’ be deemed as God’s rule HARAM. Even the process of passing a Fatwa is unknown and is not transparent or maybe it is done by democratic voting process but HARAM….? I could not understand the process and how thorough and detail a research the ‘expert’ did before issuing a Fatwa but Haram is a strong ruling to be issued by anybody. Islam is not just a religion but it is also a way of living. We live in the name of Allah swt and we do everything, from work to even exercise in the name of Allah swt. Certainly the ‘Nawaitu’ or NIAT or Intention for practicing Yoga for health benefits means something…. But Haram?

Partaking in Yoga is purely for exercise purpose, even if there is any hindu chanting (which I never notice when I was in the many Yoga classes for years), how many Muslims actually understand any hindu words (chanting) for their aqidah to be affected. Nonetheless, nobody that I know actually partake Yoga for religious activity nor belief. Unless, Muslim yoga practitioner began chanting and worshipping hindu (which no muslim did), then I do not see how a Muslim faith, belief or aqidah can be affected.

Are we Muslims are so weak and vulnerable that partaking in a Yoga exercise class can deviated our religious belief? Why didn’t the christians, catholic, buddhist or other religion felt threatens too with Yoga?

The Haram fatwa against Yoga for Muslim is an insult to Muslims. It is an insult because Muslims are a strong believer in our Quran, faith and Allah swt. It is despicable to think that our faith and belief can be easily affected and deviated by Yoga the least. Issuing a Fatwa against Yoga for Muslims is akin of saying Muslims faith and belief are so fragile and vulnerable and needed constant ruling or risk having lesser good Muslims soon if the fatwa is not issued. I felt sorry for the ‘expert’ that they are so vulnerable and fragile to Yoga as a threat for Muslims faith and belief. Although I am not the expert, I know and my conscience is clear that Yoga or no other source can affect my belief in my religion, Islam.

Perhaps, the ‘expert’ needed to have more 'confident' in their faith. This is how Islam is taught in Malaysia, that everything we do, is a fear-journey to hell. We need to change this methodology. Islam is indeed a beautiful religion…. ALLAH HUAKBAR.


The Penang Bridge International Marathon was earlier cancelled to much of our despair. We looked forward every year to the Penang Bridge run. We enjoyed the run last year and had vowed to be a permanent participant of the event.

We left for Penang on Saturday after work. Abu drove my car and cruised comfortably at 120km per hour. We stopped by for lunch @ Tapah to carbo-load with a chicken rice. My sister, Emi and friends had left a day earlier. We reached Penang at 5pm and had an early carbo-load dinner before retiring at 9pm. The race starts at 4:30am and the registration starts at 3:15am but we must reach the starting point @ the Queensbay Mall by 2am at the latest since all access road to the Queensbay Mall will be closed thenafter. We woke up at 11pm to get ready for the race and left home at 1am with barely 2 hours of good sleep.

The event had attracted thousands of local, international and school student participants. Although it is a new organiser that organises this year’s Penang Bridge International Marathon event, I recognised the same race marshals and many coordinators from last year and other race-events.

I have participated in more than 20 running events since I adopted running as a hobby and I must say that this year’s Penang Bridge International Marathon event was poorly manage. Although the event organiser is new, I am certain the organiser has the experience in organising running events. Hydration is very important while and after running or athlete may experience hyperthermia or dehydration which is hazardous and can even lead to death. Thus, water station and water availability is a basic necessity in all running event. During the event, almost ALL water station either run out of water or paper cups. The organisers of the Penang Bridge International Marathon FAILED to observe the basic necessity of a race event similar to the Adidas King of the Road race in Shah Alam. I saw many school children and athletes suffered from thirst and could not continue the race.

While the road is packed and congested with thousands of runners, the marshals and volunteers were happily cruising slowly with their motorcycles ala VIP, choking and polluting the runners with their motorcycle exhaust fume. Some runners were coughing endlessly everytime the white shirt marshal on motorcycle passes by.

Running events are organised to promote healthy lifestyle as an encouragement to everybody. It is a good paradigm shift to see Malaysian from all walk of race and age participating in running events. The authority should make it a default requirement for all organisers to ensure sufficient water at all water stations and to FORBID all vehicles from entering the race route (including the marshals and volunteer vehicles).

Adding salt to injury, participants who completed the race with insufficient water and pollution from the marshals exhaust fume had to ‘cool-down’ under the hot sun with no shades or camp. The Queensbay Mall was guarded army-styled by the securities prohibiting ALL participants from entering the Mall. There were NO CAMPS or SHADES provided for the finishers and supporters to shelter away from the heat and hot sun. Camps were only provided for the sponsors and volunteers. Even if the budget was tight (if not wanting to maximise profit from the event), the organiser should at least speak to the Queensbay Mall to allow participants into the mall. Being dehydrated from lack of water supply and exposed to UVA/B or possible skin cancer from the sun, i gave Penang Bridge International Marathon organiser a thumb down.

Despite the many flaws of the organiser, I had a funtabulous time simply because of my love for running. Will I be back for next year’s Penang bridge run? Maybe..........…….



We walked to the nearest Mamak restaurant from the commissioner of oath office at Desa Pandan. We sat as we ordered Nescafe tarik. This was at least my 7th glass of Nescafe tarik today. I lit my cigarette, lean against the white pillar next to our table as I listen to Jay. Jay, an indian lawyer, began by voicing his distress at how members of parliament, politicizes racial sentiment. It is despicable to hear the non-bumiputra questioning the NEP and the bumiputra themselves claiming they will not survive without the NEP. The political party had successfully created racial distress from the non-affected Malaysia citizens.

The concept of NEP never took place in the appointment of Proton Edar (or formerly known as USPD) dealers. The appointments of Proton Edar dealers were never for the Malays nor were there any percentage of Malay dealers being maintained at all time. Proton Edar dealers is probably the true picture of the Malaysia economy without any racial sentiment being politicized. I was in Corporate Finance with the Commerce International Merchant Banker back in 1997, when I first applied and appointed a Proton Edar dealer. Though I would like to believe that my appointment as Proton Edar dealer was on my own merit, having been with the team that was responsible for the corporate acquisition and restructuring of DRB-HICOM, I am sure there were many other qualified Malays. Despite my credibility being in Corporate Finance, Student Union President in a British University and being actively involved in NGOs, the truth is, I was appointed a Proton Edar dealer in 1997 because my dad was the Director General of the Road Transport Department or JPJ, I was 23 years old. The youngest dealer ever appointed.

This reiterates the economics of who-you-know or chronyism rather than the ‘what-you-know’. Whilst the economics of Chronyism may be instrumental to secure a proton dealership in the past, the ‘who-you-know’ or ‘what-race-you-are’ does not have any impact to any preferential treatment on the business well-being of a Proton dealer, irrespective whether you are a Malay, Chinese or Indian. There are many successful Bumiputra dealers and there were also many failed Chinese dealers. Prominent dealers under the late Tan Sri Megat Junid or even Dato Seri Chua Jui Meng irrespective of race ceased to be a dealer when they were still in power, when their business failed. The ‘who-you-are’, ‘who-you-know’ or the NEP does not guarantee the success of a Proton dealer. There was a healthy mix of Chinese, Malay and Indian proton dealers in the network.

The Malays were not appointed a Proton dealer because there were Malay under the NEP, nor were they successful because of any additional assistant rendered by Proton or the government (NEP). The non-bumiputra dealers did not fail because of extra assistant or facility granted to the malay. Even with the existence of the NEP, the rise and failure of a business lies in the COMMITMENT of each individual dealer irrespective of ‘who-you-are’, ‘what-you-are’ race and ‘who-you-know’ chronysim.

The current political outcry politicizes racial disharmony akin of saying the Chinese dealers has been marginalise because of bumiputra benefits that they (Chinese) were deprived. On the other hand, UMNO’s outburst on the Malay needs to be salvage with NEP or bumiputra rights is also unwarranted and unbecoming. These are all old political tricks to gain support.

Do not get conned into believing the political outcry in racial disharmony. Malaysia has progressed well without racial disharmony. To move forward, we must all be COLOUR BLIND and see Malaysia as Malaysian instead of Malay, Chinese or Indian.


So excited were the men every time this topic is spoken and very agitated were the women. Let us not bring religion into polygamy or infidelity as a lot of people will suddenly become the master in this topic… interpreting what the Quran says to their benefit! For that reason let us just define any other relationship with other partner besides the spouse as being engaged in infidelity.

I sipped my 3rd cup of coffee for the day and decided to blog this thought principally because it is a topic of general interest. Infidelity exists in both men and women. But Man is generalised as a bastard because generally infidelity relates more to MEN simply because Men are egoistic, emotional and less sensitive.. and stupid.. dating their girlfriends in the public without any concern of being spotted. Women are equally similar but they are more careful in hiding their activities away from the public (even away from their best friend’s knowledge). Hence, there are more known cases of men’s infidelity than women.

I was lost in thought as I ponder the fate of my friend whom arrived home a day earlier from his outstation meeting to discover his wife in bed with another man. My previous contractor, whom converted and is still a good muslim, went through similar heart breaking predicament to personally witness his wife in bed naked with another man. Vice-versa, recently, another friend discovered her husband playing truant.

But what leads to infidels….? Men cheat for various reasons, the norm being for ‘varieties’… which many men actually PAY akin of going to supermarket to buy the milk rather than buying a cow to get the milk sort of speak. This is a different breed of men and usually does not harm or cause any distress to the spouse or friends… of course the spouse should never find out ;-). It’s the men or women with the cow(s) for the milk that usually drives through the signboard that reads ‘destruction’… or does it? I was privileged to be invited to a Raya open house recently, where the spouse of the host, introduced the second wife to the guests. It is indeed a rare occasion. The wife chose the second wife for the husband after 3 miscarriages to bear the husband more children.

A child can be a noble reason to exercise polygamy for men but men who were or are engaged in infidels usually discounted the possibility of their women too can be unfaithful. It is almost without condition that women must accept and forgive their spouse polygamy or infidels or risk spending the rest of her life in court battle when their man refuse to divorce her (for not accepting his polygamy or infidel affairs) or fighting for child’s custody. On the adverse… if the woman was unfaithful, it is almost pre-requisite that NO man will ever forgive and accepted her…. or risk being labelled as ‘DAYUS’… So funny how life is.

Pondering from the surroundings, without interpreting what the religion says or without any reference to gender, we should just be guided by the old saying.. “Do unto others what we want others to do unto you”. Be unfaithful if we can accept our partner to be unfaithful too.. otherewise, be good! ;-)
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