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Press Release


KUALA LUMPUR. “Terengganu State Government expenditure in excess of RM1million for 16 units of Proton Perdana car maintenance between 2004 and 2008 was unjustified” Said Armin Baniaz Pahamin, Deputy President Proton Edar Dealers Association Malaysia.

A new Proton Perdana bought in 2004 was manufacturer’s warranted for 2 years. A new Proton Perdana that is purchased now is with an extended warranty for a total of 5 years. With a 5 years extended warranty, it is not possible for the maintenance of a new Mercedes E200 compressor to be cheaper than a new Proton Perdana.

Proton service dealer network had been servicing Proton Perdana since inception and had never charged any Proton Perdana more than RM500 average for a regular maintenance per annum depending on the mileage of the car.

To maintain the manufacturer’s warranty, Proton Perdana must be regularly serviced at a service frequency of every 5,000-10,000km. The cost for each servicing, as per Proton RECOMMENDED SERVICE ITEMS are only RM250 average per minor service. The average mileage for a car owner per annum is less than 10,000km and the cost to maintain the car of that mileage is less than RM500 per annum.

For high user with an average mileage of 30,000km per annum, the average cost of regular maintenance will be approximately RM1,500 per annum with an additional RM1,500 per annum for other wear and tear items such as tyres, brake pads, wiper blade, battery etc.

The replacement of the gearbox can be avoided with regular service maintenance. The cost of a new original Proton Perdana gearbox is approximately RM20,000 but the gearbox is under manufacturer’s warranty of up to 2 years or 50,000km mileage if the Perdana was purchased in 2004. Our new Perdana now is with an option of an Extended Warranty for a total of 5 years or 175,000km whichever is first.

Armin said, the Chief Minister, YB Datuk Ahmad Said should have validated, authenticated and investigated the exorbitant expenditure rather than concluding that the expenses is the real cost to maintain a Proton Perdana. It is naïve to even think that the maintenance for a Proton Perdana will be that costly.

We have sold more than 60,000 units of Proton Perdana since it was launched and is still selling an approximate 10,000 units of Perdana per annum. If the cost of maintenance is as exorbitant as what the Chief Minister claimed, nobody will buy the car. The car is saleable because of the competitive pricing as well as the reasonable cost of maintenance.

“We laud and welcome the ACA probe and investigation into the exorbitant cost of repair to clear the claim made against our Proton Perdana. The Chief Minister’s remark was naive, unbecoming and an insult as well as damaging to Proton especially when the real cost or the authenticity of the repair job was never ascertained. The chief Minister’s credibility is worse than the alleged poor quality of Perdana. His remark reflects his professionalism as a leader”, said Armin.

We urged the federal, state government and the public to also refer to the Proton owner’s manual booklet that is provided with every purchase of new Proton car for the replacement of recommended items for warranty purpose and to avoid being over-charged for replacement of unnecessary items.


1. Proton acquire Lotus technologies in 1996 from ACBN Holdings (a company owned by the owner of Bugatti), Proton has gained an additional source of engineering and automotive expertise.

2. Most of Proton customers and the public are aware of the branding LOTUS and have heard about the Lotus car. However from Proton network first-hand experience, less than 10% of Proton customers really understand the LOTUS DNA in proton cars except for the RM5 logo bearing “handling by Lotus” on Proton Cars which is the main selling point. Once you have driven a Lotus, then you will understand the meaning of Lotus handling but how many of Proton customer had ever driven a Lotus?

3. With the acquisition of Lotus, the public were told that the Lotus cars will be available at selected dealer showroom. Proton dealers were then told to upgrade their showroom and the dealers will be allowed to sell the Lotus as part of Proton varieties. There were no dealer that were allowed to displayed and sell the Lotus although some dealers had invested to upgrade their showrooms in anticipation of displaying and selling the Lotus.

4. Pursuant to the Lotus acquisition, Proton embarked in Proton bicycles and all the dealers were forced to sell Proton Bicycles. Proton Bicycle was a failure and many dealers bought the bicycle stocks for own use instead, to comply to Proton requirements.

5. In December 2004, Proton purchased a majority share in MV Agusta of Italy at 70 million Euro. MV Agusta is the manufacturer of MV Agusta, Husqvarna, and Cagiva motorcycles.

6. The Lotus cars were never displayed and sold at the Dealers showroom although some dealers had renovated and upgraded their showroom to sell the cars and the Proton Bicycle which ended up being a liability to dealers, it is safe to assume that Proton dealers will be selling the Proton Superbike with the MV AUGUSTA acquisition in 2004. Thank god it never materialised.

7. There are still a lot of complain on the quality of Proton Cars, even on the 20 years old saga before it was phased out and replaced. Rather than venturing and diversifying into supercars, superbikes and superbicycles that all have a very niche market, Proton resources should be channel towards meeting the need of the mass public such as quality, affordable range of cars without subsidy, grant or tax/custom excise waiver from the government.

8. However, buying the technologies in the Supercar Lotus, Superbike MV AUGUSTA and Superbicycle T-bikes is a business decision and I am sure the Advisor, Chairman and Board of Directors, the Managing Director of Proton (at the time the deal were signed) are aware of the business opportunities from these super-technologies. But once the Super-dealings have been concluded, to dispose-off the superdealings such as MV AUGUSTA for RM5 (or 1 EURO dollar) is insane and out of the mind.

9. Even if the new shareholder of Proton and its new Board and management are streamlining their products and services, selling their RM350m investment in MV Augusta for 1 Euro is absurd and ridiculous. The sales of MV Augusta for 1 EURO can only be agreed upon by either an incompetent advisor (CSFB or Proton Chairman & its board) or by some ‘interested party’.

10. The MV Augusta had proven to be a wise investment when part of MV Augusta, were sold for RM1.06 billion.

11. I support TDM’s and call for the Securities Commission, the ACA or any MPs to raise in Parliament, to investigate the transaction.

12. The public are concern with the quality of the cars as well as the future of Proton. These internal issues if not resolved, will affect the people working at the proton and its value chain. Their motivation will be affected by the alleged corruptions that will eventually affect Proton's quality, healthy production and sales.

The East Wing

It is amazing how a short stint with a group of friends can be developed into such a close family-hood. I performed my pilgrimage in 2006 almost two years ago. I went there with a good friend Abdul (not his real name) and did not know anybody else. There were 120 of us in the Zamrud Package organised by tabung haji. Now, almost two years later, we are as intact a friendship as if we had known each other all our life.

About 20 of us from the group gathered today at the East Wing, Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club. Whilst in Mekah, all of us dressed in ‘ihram’, a mere two piece towel-like cloth covering our body without any Louis Vuitton shirt or Gianfranco Ferre jeans, or Hugo Boss underwear.. kinky as it may sound but we were there for religious purpose!.. there were no Cayenne, Porshe, Ferrari or Masseratti. It was relationship built entirely on friendship-chemistry which is almost non-existence nowadays. Today friendship is built on ‘xx Bin VIP’ or ‘Dato/Tan Sri VIP” or whose crony or who you are connected to. As naïve as I could be, little did I realize almost everybody in our group are all VIPs and master in their industry. But these are the true friendship which I would trade all my friends for, at anytime. They are humble, religious, intellect and especially sincere.

Whilst the ladies were entertained by datin pot (not real name), the men were discussing topics of national interest. Yes we were all worried of what is becoming of Malaysia. Our economy is already downward sloping but we were more concern with our country’s political instability. It is unknown in Malaysia politics such a political conspiracy, espionage and greed for power until now. Even a political scientist would not be able to read and forecast the outcome of Malaysia conspiracy. What puzzles me, is who the real Mastermind behind the conspiracy. I doubt Abdullah Badawi or his 4th floor boys are capable of orchestrating the whole conspiracy but from the look of it, he has both his deputy Najib and Anwar Ibrahim check-mate!

Whilst all the politic ploy is currently in favour to Abdullah given his deputy’s credibility at stake when he admitted to attending Saiful at his own house a day after he denies it to the press and the Statutory Declaration implicating his wife in the Altantuya case still hanging over him. Anwar on the other hand, is only all talk in politicising all the weaknesses of Barisan Nasional without any real agenda to what he can do that Barisan component cannot do. His only agenda is to become the Prime Minister.

But we don’t care.. or rather I do not care whatever the political conspiracy, espionage and play and whomever are behind it (though I am puzzled and disgusted), what I care is what we can or the public can benefit from Abdullah, Najib or even Anwar. The alleged corruptions, judicial malpractice are practices that affected only some people from getting projects and the few ex-judges (that was paid millions in total compensation) but these are only the minority. What about the millions of other people? The millions who are not hungry for any concessions and mega projects but merely looking for jobs and opportunity to feed their family. The minority, the ex-judges and the special limited cronies were awarded and compensated in millions but the millions of other people are only compensated in Hundreds (RM625 to be exact- from road tax subsidy). These millions are the people that suffers from the current state of economic conditions but how are they compensated? By the increase of petrol, electricity, chicken, rice, toll prices.. to name a few. We need a fasfik solution for the current state our country economy and not political games.

Our Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi had disappointed us in many aspects (especially when he fell asleep in the world-known Earth,Wind & Fire concert.. imagine his snore when he attempt to understand the nation’s problem), had failed us in the last general election and has not done enough in managing our economy. If he increases the interest rate (which I was told very soon), that will be the start of a very bad period ahead and should be the end of our trust in him especially when all other essential expenses too has been increased.

A plan for a brief 930am breakfast gathering ended after lunch at 2pm. We all agree for a new PM but is inconclusive on who should be the new PM. The political and economic issues were all inconclusive too but Datin Pot and the ladies had concluded their morning breakfast dicussion. Apparently, ladies issues were easier to conclude. The ladies conclude to participate in the 10km run @ Adidas King of the Road on 10 August in Shah Alam. They even conclude for their man to run as well. Nawal will register the ladies and their spouse and organise the first training next weekend at the KLCC jogging track. This is a pure display of women power! We left home to enjoy whatever that is left of the weekend….. have a good weekend.

The one & only...

I was privileged to grow up having my both my mum and dad at home most of my childhood. Although my dad was always busy, but he never failed to be home by 6pm, have family dinner and be the imam (with my siblings) for the maghrib prayer at home and me (hihii.. yes believe it) as the bilal. That was the upbringing during childhood, a sort of family protocol.

Now, what was taken for granted was that moment of quality family time that our parent invested in our childhood. Current lifestyle is more demanding with hectic work schedules and endless meetings daily, that makes it impossible to be home as early as 6pm. My whole 14 years of working life, never ended before 10pm. The saddest part, we neglect both our children that hunger for attention (unlike how our parent raised us) as well as our parent who are getting older every day. Yes, i am guilty as charge.

I celebrated my mum’s 60th birthday yesterday and could not help but to ponder those younger days when I was a child or just a boy. The undivided love and commitment without any complain of a mother is never forgotten especially in raising a sick child like me.

We gathered at home with about 100 relatives for prayer and dinner. After the maghrib prayer, we read the Yasin and tahlil for all relatives that had passed away and prayed for the birthday mum’s better health and for her longer blissful life. We surprised her with my cousin lisz, playing the violin with all of us singing the birthday song.

It was a simple gathering of all relatives. If any of my relatives reading this, thank you for making the night memorable. It is hard to buy anything for a mother because all her life, there is nothing that she want except for the happiness in all her children.

I am blessed to have a mother that is also a good friend and a good shoulder to cry on. i am happiest to see through her 60th birthday. I pray endlessly for my good health to see through her old age and be there beside her until her last day… insyaallah.

Much ado about nothing...

I rushed out of office at 1145am yesterday to Bangsar Village 2 for a lunch appointment at the 'Delicious'. Azlan (not his real name), had already arrived for our 12noon appointment. I had to circle Bangsar a few times but could not get a parking. The recent increase in petrol price did not deter or reduced the traffic congestion. For the first 2 weeks pursuant to the petrol price announcement, there was an ease in the trafficcongestion but now it is almost back to normal. I seldom allow my car to be parked by the car jockey knowing for sure, through past experiences how irresponsible the jockey can be.

I did not want Azlan to wait and unwillingly left my car to the jockey and rushed into the restaurant to see him seated in his elegant banker dressing. He was having his appetizer when I arrived. Azlan, is a banker for more than half his life. He helped me during the last recession. We met today to update each other after more than a year of ‘minding own business’. We both had been busy with work and there is so much to talk especially on current state of our country’s affair.

I greeted Azlan and immediately ordered my favourite Spaghetti Aglio algio and Azlan had the salmon. We lit a cigarette while waiting for our food and poised our first topic of conversation. “What is becoming of Malaysia?”, said the veteran Banker. We have the most prominent ex-banker Tan Sri Amirsham being made a Senator to advice the Prime Minister and the biggest tycoon banker Datuk Nazir Tun Razak supposedly advicing his brother the Deputy Prime Minister but our country is being driven straight into a depression. With 2 of Malaysia best banker advising the No 1 and No 2, we should have the necessary brain to steer us out of the current economic condition.

And so we think….. in the last recession, the currency turmoil further dampens the country's economic downturn but the fix-capital control policy steered us out of the recession instead of Anwar’s conventional fiscal policy instrument, the interest rate. Most of the commodity, petrol and essential items prices had been adjusted to market condition. Our currency, determined by the market forces are also affected but the only fiscal instrument that has not been adjusted or regulated accordingly is the interest rate.

My own cousin, Arman (not his real name) who is a Manager at an establish car distributor said that ALL the management staff had returned the company car (that was extended to them as management perk) in return for a cash allowance. The Managers, with a Volvo as their company car, are only given RM500 as petrol allowance which was barely enough before the petrol price increase. Now, the petrol usage had burst the fix petrol allowance unless they use a smaller car instead of the Volvo. My colleague said, his RM350 monthly grocery shopping at tesco now cost him RM500 for the same items. There is also the electiricty and water rates that had been revised upwards on the same disposable income. The Central Bank Governor's remark that inflation is only 6% is just a grandmother bedtime story.

“I expect the interest rate to go up very soon unless we have an extreme measure to counter the conventional fiscal instrument”, I said to Azlan revealing the hidden agenda of the lunch appointment. I need to know what the banker think of the economy to prepare my company for future planning. Hiding behind his gold spectacle, Azlan smiled and revealed that the interest rate will go up on the 24 July 2008!!! The first phase! The interest rate will continue to increase throughout the year, said Azlan holding his cutleries whilst the waiter served his salmon. Azlan added that all the neighbouring countries had revised their interest rate upwards.

In the 1998 recession, the interest rate was revised upward too, in phases before the whole loan portfolios were frozen. Can we expect similar instances soon? I stared my spaghetti without any appetite. We should expect the worse but hope and pray for the best.

At the moment, it is not only Malaysia economy that is being affected. The whole world is also struggling with the shortages in commodity and the petrol price increase. But none of the world issues were publicised and exposed by our media. It is also possible that the espionage by Abdullah Badawi or Najib were purposely done to distract the attention away from the real problem especially our poorly managed economy. It is hard to digest the government can be so incompetent especially with Tan Sri Amirsham and Datuk Nazir Tun Razak behind the scene. But without a far sighted Prime Minister, even with the whole Harvard, Oxford and Cambridge University deans, lecturers or graduates teamed together as a think tank, the government will not be able to implement any good policies. It is also possible, Anwar Ibrahim escalating the domestic issues over and above worldwide problem to portray Barisan Nasional being so weak for him to capitalise and profiteer.

Obviously, the Prime Minister has the most qualified advisors over and above the oxford graduate SIL especially with the proven successful banker such Tan Sri Amirsham as a senator and tycoon Datuk Nazir Razak being the brother to the Deputy Prime Minister. With the best advisors behind the Prime Minister, the lack of positive implementation in favourable policies can only be caused by the one and only….. the PM himself.

The majority of the innocent civilian who favourably voted for Barisan National will have to digest and swallow the unfavorable policies like how i had to swallow my favourite spaghetti and had to finished it even without any appetite. We have to survive one way or the other. The best way forward is to be prepared for the worst in anticipation of political instability, high inflation and depression.

Ipoh international 21km run

I had never been to Ipoh but the 2 hours drive last Saturday was really worth the trip. I was cruising at 220km per hour on the north south expressway and there was no road block but I had to slow down a few times when I got conned by the poster of the police photographing speedy car that was displayed under the overhead bridge ala real policeman in action.

I left home at 3pm on Saturday afternoon after a good carbo lunch. Nowadays, most restaurant practice ‘no-frill’ menu, mostly bearing no fat, no cholesterol and no sugar added. But my lunch was definitely with free fat, cholesterol and added sugar... for the same price!

My journey was assisted by a pretty and sexy-voiced Sarah.. my loyal navigator…GPS! She navigates me all the way to my destination and I did not get lost! hah.. cheap thrill.. I know but really.. my sense of bearing and direction sucks.. Nawal would know. We arrived in Ipoh at 5pm but headed straight to Sports complex to view tomorrow race starting and finishing point. We went to collect my race number from Suhaimi, my Personal Trainer and the person responsible to drag me for the Ipoh run at the Heritage hotel. Suhaimi was so excited to run the race that he brought along his wife, daughter and both mum and dad… goodness.. I would freak out if everybody were present. As usual, my second sparring partner Abu, conveniently went on sick leave although he had registered for the run.

Impiana Casuarina hotel where we checked in for an overnight stay was only 10 minutes drive from the sports complex. After a hot shower, my good friend Sidik brought us for a tour at his new house before dinner. Sidik’s house still smell new and I had conveniently declare one of the 4 bedroom house as my room!!!

We came back to the hotel and slept early after a very good meal, compliment from Sidik. Unlike the last MBK 10km klang run (last weekend) when I did not have enough sleep, I was all prepared for this Ipoh 21km run. Everything from my vest all ready with the race number, my ipod, shoe, polar watch, cap, water bottle, power gel and shorts were all nicely displayed on the vanity table. I woke up early at 4am but had a stomach upset!!! And went to toilet every 10 minutes, the whole morning…. goodness. At 6am.. I ignored the stomach ache and rushed to the race venue. We were gathered in a field and was made to wore a band to mark the registration.

The event was officiated by the Prince of Perak witnessed by the new Chief Minister. Yes, the new Chief Minster from the opposition party. Perak was one of the 5 states that falls to the opposition. We waited for the Prince to blow the gun and shortly later, the race began. We were disappointed with the organiser when the whole participants for all distant categories, 5km, 7km, 10km and 21km started the same time. It was too crowded and the shorter distance runner sprinted from start whilst the 21km runners were slower causing major traffic chaos and almost accident amongst the runner. Considering the opposition was from a religious fanatic PAS, I was waiting for the Chief Minister to ban the race because all runners were too sexy (for fanatics) exposing their legs, shoulder and arm but thank god, the Chief Minister was civilised and accepted the runner’s ‘uniform’ in good spirit.

The running route was mostly flat road and there wasn’t much hilly terrain. My run did not went too well when I had to cruise the whole 21km at 165 heart beat per minute or 90% of my maximum heart rate… on an average speed of 7.7km/per hour only (thanks to Polar heart rate and speed monitor). The abnormal high heart rate was probably due to the lack of rest the whole of last week. The weather was also good without unbearable heat or rain. I had the best view of Ipoh town through the running route and I was impressed at the town’s cleanliness and friendliness. I completed the run in 2 hours and 37 minutes and was satisfied especially when I had to cruise at 90% max HR on 7.7km per hour speed only. I was praying that my heart or lung wont burst but imagine if i can run & cruise at the same average 220km/hr speed i drove my car on my way to Ipoh....

We left back for KL immediately after the run and stopped by ‘Touches de Siam’ @ Centrepoint, Bandar Utama, for another ‘heavenly’ massage. I will definitely be back for next year’s Ipoh race. Now, I am browsing the internet for the next running event. I have registered for the Adidas King of the Road 22km run on 10 August 2008 but that is in another 1 month!!! I need another run before that or I will be craving like an addict! Oh god……..

Race & races...

I was in a daze when my alarm went off sharp at 5am last Sunday. I usually wake up at 530am daily without any alarm for my morning runs at the kiara hill. I was dazzled for a moment thinking why did the alarm screamed so early and jumped out of bed immediately when I remembered I had the MBK Klang 10km run that morning. That was the first race since the Singapore Ultra marathon about a month back.

I grabbed my spec, rushed to find my race number and in a flash, I was sipping my first coffee in my study room all geared up ready to run. It felt awkward going for a race without my two sparing partners Nawal and Abu. Both had other prior engagement and cancelled their participation at the race day eve.

Klang was a stranger to me but I was fortunate to have the GPS built-in my car and arrived at the race event by 6am. I parked my car and walked to the stadium to warm up and submit my registration number at counter A to start the race. I took note of other participants and notice a good mixture of all races. There were equally as many Malays and Indians as the Chinese. I have run various quarter, half and full marathons in Malaysia and this is the first race with the best mixture of races. It was a truly Malaysian event.

Being a regular at the most popular jogging track in klang valley such as the Kiara hill and the park, Lake Gardens, Kelana Jaya and KLCC, I cant help but to notice the Chinese are the dominant occupant of the jogging tracks. In fact, in all other running event (save as the MBK Klang event), we can find very few Malays and Indians. Similarly at boutique gyms such as the Truefitness which I am currently a member and previously at the fitness First gym, majority of the club members are also Chinese dominated. Sadly, running or exercising has not become a Malaysian culture.

What has not become a Malaysian culture too is the mindset of some ‘races’ in Malaysia. Race is a very sensitive and much debated hot topic with Tun Dr Mahathir being accused of playing the racist card in Johor recently as the last straw to gain the public support. The opposition PKR wanted to abolish the NEP for equal rights in all races. Not to forget the HINDRAF went all the way to the Queen of England to appeal for their race rights. What really are the rights that the Malay is protecting and the opposition wanted to abolish? And what was so important that the Hindraf went all the way to the British Queen bypassing our government, our king and our constitution?

At random, whenever I met my Malay colleagues and friends, I always ask that one simple question. Do you know your rights as a Bumiputra? The Malay were furious and another word by any other races questioning the special privileges for bumiputra as provided by the federal constitution, would have triggered another 13 May with Dato Seri Hishamuddin probably fronting with his Keris. The truth is, a random sampling of 10 out of 10 malay (my fellow colleagues and friends) does not know what are their Bumiputra rights but will not hesitate to draw their Keris if the privileges are threatened. Similarly, I asked my Chinese and Indian friends if they are being suppressed being a Malaysian (but non-bumiputra) and on a similar sampling of 10 different friends and colleagues (non-bumiputra), none of them understood what the big fuss was about but both the Chinese and Indian in their own right will protect whatever they deemed theirs. In other words, every malay, Chinese and Indian will bleed blindly to protect their rights… even without knowing what they are protecting!!!! So here we are, Abdullah Badawi, Anwar Ibrahim and Hindraf provoking the innocent Malaysia politicising issues that none of their supporters truly really understand.

The best pleasure of participating in running races is the real harmony of being Malaysian. It is the best display of unity and solidarity irrespective of race and religion. Everybody run with one objective… to complete the race! Imagine all Malaysian irrespective of race and religion, work together bearing one similar objective (whatever that objective may be), I believe that will be the real spirit of Malaysia Boleh!


I was sipping my regular Nescafe tarik with some friends at a cosy air-conditioned kopitiam bitching about the current state of our country’s affair when a black SUV with a fully black tinted windscreen drove and parked adjacent to us with the music so loud we could party by the roadside.

Jason (not his real name), whilst happily digging my favourite chicken pie and with his mouth full, mumbles at how JPJ was suppose to engaged in a nationwide crackdown on cars with tinted windscreen. It was headline news many months back in almost all media exclaimed Jason pointing his fork sword-like forward expressing his disappointment at how easy it is for the government to say something today and simply reverse their directive which is now becoming a joke rather than a distress.

We laughed while our banana fritters were served. It was really a joke, said Azhar (also not the real name). He reminded us of other jokes without hesitatingly munching the hot banana fritter. The media once asked our Prime Minister if he and Jeanne Abdullah, before their actual announcement, were married but to be denied at. PM rebutted then said that he was still mourning but a few days if not weeks later, announced his marriage. Azhar, whom shared similar interest in running with me, giggled thinking perhaps our PM was being careful as if it is polygamy.

The Cafe proprietor or so it seems, overheard our laughter and conversation interrupted us and said our PM was funnier when he rebutted the election date when asked by the media. I notice his attire is different from other waiter and even the Manager. We did not know the café proprietor but his friendliness to built a good PR with the customers do not augurs well especially when speaking of politics but I suppose other people share our sentiment too. In his chinese dialect English, he said we were all convince that the election will not be held on the date that was speculated when PM dismissed it although the speculated date was similar to his favourite number. Instead of disgruntling on our PM, we laughed.

Even the recent insurgence of the oil price, the government reacted hastily and banned all foreign vehicles from re-fuelling at our border petrol station and again reversed the directive. John, whom had the last piece of our favourite banana fritters wiped his mouth and quickly said don’t forget the announcement by yours truly PM that there will be no fuel price increased before august and soon thereafter our petrol price were increased by 41%!! Everybody on our table were in silent with only the sound used plates being piled up and utensils thrown into used trays. Somehow, petrol price is still an issue and cannot be joke upon.

This ‘flip flop’ is something that is gifted in some people but what is harder to comprehend is the tinted windscreen. On the one hand our Ministry of International trade and Industry issued thousands of AP (authorised permits) that is pre-condition on various types and models of the car as well as used or new imported cars. Some cars such as the Honda SUVs and Alphard were installed with OEM fitted dark tinted windscreen and were allowed to enter our country although our Road Transport Department enforced the Road Transport Act that forbids any vehicles with excessive tinted windscreen. Certainly there is no communication between MITI and RTD or perhaps our Minister did not communicate with each other? Or maybe the Ministers were awarded with the AP or a dark tinted windscreen permit?

I am also puzzled, said Jason, the fact that all imported cars have to obtained a certificate from Puspakom before registration. Most car owners with heavily tinted windscreen had to remove the tint first before they can obtained the Puspakom certificate for the transfer of ownership but these imported cars can passed the Puspakom and RTD inspection and be registered although it failed the windscreen light penetration test! is there a misinterpretation of our Road Transport statutory act? Jason said he was given a choice once by Puspakom official to either tear the tint or come back again without the tint. To avoid another long queue for inspection, Jason tore the tint on all windscreens infront of the Puspakom official.

It is a mystery how imported cars with heavy tint and tinted films were allowed to be imported and freely installed on any cars by any retailers to the public when it is a pure breach of the Road Transport Act.

In other words, any import vehicles would have to pass through the MITI (for AP) before getting clearance from the Custom Department and subjected to Puspakom and RTD inspection before registration. Tinted films (which is now 100% imported) after passing the Custom department clearance will be sold by retailers (to the public) whom obtained license from the local municipal council and under the purview of the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumers Affair.

This mystery was never resolved but the consumer or the public will be prosecuted due to the incompetent coordination by the government.

It was agreed by empirical evident (on a sampling of size of 3.. 4 including the Proprietor of the Café) that the public do not understand how Government Ministries and departments communicate with each other to enforce the law. Before any nationwide crackdown on tinted windscreen, the government via MITI should ban (as a pre-condition in issuing the AP for imported cars) and the custom department should enforce the ban by prohibiting both the entry of imported cars with tinted windscreen and the tinted film into the country. RTD and Puspakom should never passed and register any cars that is in breach. Both the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer affair and the Local council should enforce the inspection of automotive accessories shop and confiscate, and prosecute any retailers in possession of the banned items.

The public (on the same sampling) agree that until the lack of coordination were resolve, all car owners in possession of any heavily tinted windscreen should be left alone. Our initial laughter and joke ended-up in a serious discussions but our meal were on the house when the proprietor (I cant remember his name) signed for it (if he is reading this.. thanks again for the meal).

The famous Anus and LIWAT

I have to admit that learning is a lifetime process. I learn new language and new terms daily. Whilst I would understand LIWAT is sodomy in Malay languange, L.I.W.A.T. is also an abbreviation for Liberation of International Working Group for Anwar in Turkey. Recently I also learn that the opposition abbreviation P.K.R. also stands for Parti Khinzir Raksasa.

Whilst the allegation of Anwar Ibrahim’s liking for young men are of national interest (considering sodomy is an offense by Malaysia law) can he really be the alternative to Abdullah Badawi as the Prime Minister of Malaysia?

The people had conveyed their dissatisfaction on Abdullah Badawi government by depriving Barisan National of not only from a landslide victory but also from its 2/3 majority in the last general election but all the component party executives seems to be fully supporting Abdullah. Can Abdullah given a chance, drive Malaysia to achieve the Barisan National Vision 2020 and stabilise the economy from the drastic increase in fuel price and the price of essential items?

Since all Barisan National component party rallied behind Abdullah and agreeing to whatever and everything that Abdullah or the 4th floor boys submit, what will happen to Malaysia if Tun Dr Mahathir stop issuing statements?

Given the failure in the people’s move to awake our Prime Minister from sleep in the last general election and the failure in Tun Dr Mahathir endless call for Abdullah to step down, Anwar Ibrahim became an important instrument in the public’s effort to ‘humble-lise’ BN.

Tun Dr Mahathir had brought us out from both the late 80s and the 1998 recessions which Anwar Ibrahim failed when he was the Deputy Prime Minister cum Finance Minister in the last recession. Anwar almost sold Malaysia to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and most businesses were almost bankrupted when he increased the interest rate for his political gain in the last recession which was reversed by Tun Dr Mahathir when Tun resumed the post of Finance Minister when Anwar was sacked.

What has the public benefitted from Abdullah’s government? The current infrastructure developments were all of Mahathirism. There is currently no such thing as Abdullah’ism except for the Islam Badawii.. eh.. hadhari.. which even I do not understand. Now, even the islam Hadhari concept had disappeared from the public. What is perceived and felt under Abdullah’ism is the toll price increase (for highway that was completed even before the construction material prices increased), the petrol price increase, electricity bill increase and all other essential items price increases. What is also pronounced under Abdullah’ism is the announcement of the National Automotive Policy (NAP) by only his special officer. Certainly a policy of national interest should be announced by at least a cabinet minister or the Prime Minister himself raising doubt on Abdullah’s credibility or Abdullah’s trust in his Ministers. This again proves the significant of the 4th floor compared to other cabinet Ministers. Typical of Abdullah, once the announcement went sour, his deputy Najib Razak was appointed Chairman of the automotive policy and typical of Najib to accept and become a yes man. As a consequence of the NAP, majority of the public were not able to sell and dispose of their car due to the revision in the used car prices or risk having to pay the bank extra payment to settle the balance car loan. Many used car dealers were bankrupted holding stocks of cars that now fetches below their cost price and new car dealers sales plummeted as buyer were not able to trade in their cars (to buy a new car), to say the least.

Businessmen had to absorb all the increase in operating cost without much assistant from the government. Abdullah’s indecisiveness in the future of Proton too raises further doubt on his long term vision and his commitment to BN’s vision 2020. The vision 2020 is a BN’s future direction which Abdullah as the Chairman of BN should see through its success. Without the vision 2020, there is no other long term vision of Barisan National. Proton and the automotive sector contribute significantly to the national GDP growth and a constant annual GDP growth of at least 8% is imperative to ensure the Vision 2020 is realised. Where is Malaysia future direction now and it is doubtful Abdullah is able to drive Malaysia with his indecisiveness. It is even doubtful that the 9th Malaysia plan can even materialise fully.

Previously, with the mega-projects under Tun Dr Mahathir government (or at least those that was not scrapped), we could at least see our money spend on tangible outlook that benefited the public rather than under Abdullah’s 'corridors' that was launched and awarded as a carrot for the last general election cum the year end UMNO assembly but nothing has started whilst our country's money are depleting, petrol subsidy reduced and the public's disposable income are deteriorating.

It is also a fact that our crime rate had multi fold since Abdullah took the premiership. These are issues that affected our daily life and however positive the statistics that the government portrayed are all immaterial as we felt the negativity in our daily life when we refuel our petrol, shop for groceries, replace our existing car and walk down the street fearing the mat rempik, thugs and snatch thieves.

What can Anwar & his PKR offer that BN cannot? An opportunist by nature, whatever weaknesses in BN is Anwar’s marketing strategy but what is Anwar’s long term vision? True and it is also a known fact that Anwar and PKR long term vision is to make Anwar Ibrahim as the new Prime Minister but that is Anwar & PKR vision, mission and objective! How can Anwar becoming the Prime Minister benefits the public? What about Malaysia’s long term plan and strategy that is probably better than the 9th Malaysia Plan and better than the Vision 2020?

There is no future plan and direction with Anwar and PKR but we do need Anwar to ‘humble-lise’ BN. But Anwar is only important as an opposition and NOT as a government. There is no glory felt in Abdullah’s government given his indecisiveness in everything and if Abdullah resign, Najib will be the next Prime Minister. A man whom half his life was spend as a cabinet minister and never took a stand or so we see. What and how can Najib drives Malaysia further being a yes man all his life in cabinet… if he ever become the Prime Minister! I am speculating that Abdullah is strategising the removal of Najib by planting a reverse psychology that suggested Najib was involved in framing Anwar with the sodomy charges (over and above the Altantuya tragedy to discredit him). When Anwar accused the government of conspiring with Saiful to lodge a police report against him, Abdullah was quick to deny his involvement but went on to say that he did not think Najib had anything to do with it too, indirectly suggesting that Najib is in fact was the culprit for the alleged conspiracy. Najib had to deny, when neither Anwar nor anybody had ever accused Najib.. except indirectly by Abdullah whom triggered with the drop of hint. Najib's denial became a headline frontpage news in all medias (hence government-own media). Wan Azizah (Anwar’s wife) then met with Abdullah for assurance on Anwar' safety further suggested a conspiracy at the highest level. Having announced Najib as his successor, Abdullah and his 4th floor boys had to orchestrate other means to remove Najib and take the highlight away from the public on the Malaysia poorly managed country and economy. It is believed (Abdullah's greatest fear) that Najib is repeating and adopting Anwar previous strategy in removing Tun Ghaffar as the Deputy PM. Even before the election, Anwar’s boys were able to gather enough nomination that left Ghafar Baba with no other choice but to concede defeat. A season politician and always fronting a ‘Yes man’, Najib should be able to gather enough nominations for the President’s post this incoming branch and division meetings in July. This make Najib as Abdullah’s greatest threat after Anwar.

Given the long term Vision 2020 of BN, there is no doubt we need BN as the government but what we needed more now is a strategist and a driver for Barisan National and Malaysia as how Matthias Chang viewed Tun Dr. Mahathir as the Prime Minister. Tun was the sun and the Cabinet was the moon. The moon’s glow is the reflected shine of the sun. Hence, the ministers were perceived to have been effective. Sadly, today, we are experiencing a total eclipse! There is no shine coming from the Prime Minister, Abdullah Badawi and as such how can we expect any reflected glow in the Cabinet? ... and the glory of Malaysia.

Good luck to us Malaysian…

Proton, Gas and the Government

The fuel price increased had attracted various opportunists for cheap publicity but it did not attract any effort by our Prime Minister or its cabinet Ministers to find means of overcoming the public’s burden in absorbing the price increase of most essential items except for the RM625 one-off subsidy for road tax rebate which cannot even pay for the increase in chicken price annually let alone the petrol price hike.

Amongst the many opportunists is our very own Proton whom made headline for its plan to fit the Waja, Saga and Persona with NGV (Natural Gas for Vehicles) kits by year-end. These NGV kits will be installed at the production level and will come with a warranty.

For the warranty to be extended with the NGV fitment, Proton Edar authorised workshops must be sanction to undertake the NGV service and repair. The mechanics and technician has to obtain special licence and the workshop must apply for special permit to service gas engine. The workshop also requires special tools for the service. Currently, none of Proton Edar service dealer network is authorised for NGV servicing or even aware of any administrative requirements to obtain the mechanic licensing or permit for the workshop. The process and procedures for the application may take longer than the expected year end for launching of Proton vehicles with the NGV kit installed. If these are not resolved, how do we expect the customers to be able to claim any warranty or servicing associated with the NGV vehicles.

But assuming the licensing and permit administrative procedures are complied with and in the absence of great thinkers in the Government or the ‘4th floor’, does Malaysia infrastructure is ready for gas? With Proton and other car manufacturer following Proton's moves for gas, soon there will be an influx of NGV vehicles.

To keep the electricity price low, the government during Tun Mahathir era did not allow gas price to be increased. The government decide the price of gas to be sold to power stations. Petronas sustained losses from the low gas price but not as much under Tun’s Government given the crude prices were only around US30 dollar per barrel then. Today, it is US139 dollars per barrel. The cost of gas, likewise had increased and the losses suffered by Petronas is much higher but then this is again for the Abdullah’s Government and Petronas to resolve. Hints.. gas price may increase soon too…

Petronas also supplies NGV for motor vehicles but the amount is limited because the sale of NGV incurs a big loss in profit to Petronas as there is no reimbursement by the Government. Other oil company refuse to sell gas as they would also lose money given the low gas price that was fix during Tun Dr Mahathir’s government, hence, if all car manufacturer start producing vehicles with NGV, the price of gas may be increased to make it attractive for Petronas and other oil company to provide gas at all the petrol stations.

Currently there are very limited petrol stations providing gas for vehicles which is mostly used by taxis. Once Proton began selling cars with NGV kits, consumers will be burden with limited source for petrol stations with gas supplies and may have to queue a few kilometres long with all the taxis to refuel their gas. Notice the queue at all petrol kiosk (such as the one near KLCC and kelana jaya) with gas supplies.

So really, does the NGV kit by Proton and other car manufacturer the answer for the public outcry due to petrol price hike? A proper planning preparing the authorised workshop dealers network for NGV vehicles service licensing, permits and training and an affordable price for the NGV kit alone will not ease the public burden. The Ministry of Domestic Trade & Consumers Affair has to ensure that all petrol stations are able to supply gas and more importantly, can Petronas sustain the loss in profit from the increase in sales of gas to the public, or will there be a gas price revision to attract other oil company to supply gas at their petrol stations for the convenient of the public. With the possible price revision, what will happen to proton vehicles with NGV fitment?

Unless the Government spearhead the gas as an alternative to cheaper fuel for cars, Proton and various other automotive manufacturers move towards NGV will just be another failure. But thumbs up to Syed Zainal and Proton as well as other car manufacturer for the effort to ease the public outcry.

The corridors of power and our power within..

What would be more ironic than to have our fate determined by those in the Corridors of power? We know that the Petrol price has increased and we cannot stop bitching about it. Similarly, we know the price of electricity, water and most essential items will be increased (if not already increased).

We know (though some maybe doubtful) that Anwar Ibrahim is probably gay and is homosexual and we bitch about his sex life as if his sex life is more important than the price of petrol. We know that we as the citizen do not benefit from any policies of Abdullah Badawi (except Abdullah’s family members that we learn from fellow bloggers like Raja Petra- RPK). We know that Najib Tun Razak having spend almost half his life as a cabinet Minister had never made any stand on his own beside yes sir yes sir and we know that his decision is probably the decision of his wife Rosmah which is doubtful if it is any better than Abdullah whom allow the 4th floor to decide for him on almost all Malaysia matters.

But what would be more ironic than that fate that was determined by those in power is to let the power that you have to be out of control. Yes we don’t agree with all the price increases but hey vote against our MPs that passed and did not debate against the price increase in the next general election. That is your power and your right and what is also within your power and control is your survivability which is more important for now. Even if we bitch every second and every hour and every day about the government’s policies, we still have to refuel our car petrol, pay the toll, pay our utility bills and even have to buy chicken when the price doubled up soon. We cannot stop using the car (or use the bicycle like the stupid display of disagreement by the opposition MPs) especially with the lousy public transportation and we cannot stop eating chicken or use candles instead of switching on the light to avoid paying the electricity bill. The next general election to channel our grouses is in another 4 years. What we need now is to survive more than bitching about everything which does not and will not solve anything. Even Anwar is probably busy with boys when he is not debating. Everybody has to survive.

Let us forget for a moment everything that is not in our control and take control of everything that is in our power? Yes, our disposable income! That is what we can control. True our disposable income is much less now with all the price increase whatever the amount is. Soon the government may use the interest rate to manage the economy and that will further decrease our disposable income. Generally, almost 90% of the working population has either a mortgage or a hire purchase loan or perhaps both. More often, 30% of our income per month is spend on the mortgage or house rental, another 30% on hire purchase car loan and another 10% for income tax, EPF and SOCSO leaving only 30% as our disposable income or the percentage that makes up our lifestyle. The 30% disposable income is usually spend on the following categories:

1) Petrol, car maintenance and toll
2) Utility bills (electric, water, astro)
3) Household expenses (Groceries, toiletries and gardening)
4) Healthcare, doctors, medicines, vitamins
5) Shopping and entertainment
6) Savings.

To be able to sustain our current standard of living or disposable income, we either need to (1) increased our salary or (2) have a higher disposable income. The recent price increased in the essentials also affected the cost of operation of our employer and the likelihood of getting a pay revision is highly unlikely. So we are left with only the latter option, to increase our disposable income.

Generally a total of 60% of our income is spent on mortgage or house rental and car hire purchase loan. We can dispose of the house and/or the car or the second house or second car and buy a cheaper one to have more disposable income but this is too tedious. If we want to maintain the same house and car but would like to have a higher disposable income, we can try to refinanced both the car and the housing loan to a longer period. Housing loan can be extended to a maximum of 30 years and car hire purchase loan (depending on year of manufacture) can be extended to 9 years. Most of the Banks now have various package of refinancing housing loans. This is imperative to ensure that the fix percentage of our spending on fix loans is reduced. A car is a necessity and is inevitable given the current state of our public transportation in Malaysia. Refinancing the car loan will ensure that you can service your hire purchase car loan regularly given further increase in the essential items prices.

With all price increases and soon the interest rate too (hopefully not), if we do not refinance our existing loans and fix the interest rate at the current rate which is still low, we may not only have a lower disposable income but we may not be able to even afford the monthly loan repayment. Thus, take action now before it is too late. In 1998 recession, all new loans we frozen and any refinancing of loans (once we are in recessions) will be impossible.

This reduction in fix loan payment per month can ensure we are ready for any inevitable price increase or interest rate variation (given our indecisive government) but it is also best to avoid any other inevitable expenses such as exorbitant car maintenance and health care.

With smaller disposable income given all price increased, any inevitable cost such as car repair or healthcare will further deplete our negligible disposable income and savings. For a start, our driving behaviour can save petrol consumption by more than 30% if we drive slow and do not step and accelerate above 2500 rpm. Driving behaviour is a start but regular car maintenance will warrant any inevitable damage to the car engine which will cost you a bomb. A normal engine lubrication service starts from only RM80 but will ensure the engine is well maintained and this regular engine lubrication service will also save your petrol consumption further which is a great savings in the long term. Proper wheel alignment and balancing will promote greater fuel savings as well as prolonging the wear and tear of any tyres which otherwise will also cost you a minimum of RM200 per tyre change. With a proper wheel alignment, balancing and driving behaviour, a tyre can last more than 20,000km. Unfortunately, the tyre and engine oil lubrication price will also increase as a chain effect of the fuel price increase… it would be good if we, the public, can hedge the tyre and lubrication oil price at the current price to avoid any further increase in the future as lubrication oil and tyres are essential expenditure for car owner. If we can hedge similar to how Airasia hedge their fuel price, then even the public can enjoy the savings by not paying more when the price increase. Yes, I will make sure Fasfik has this package extended to the public so that car owners can hedge their engine lubrication oil price as well as their tyre price fix on the current price. This is important so that you will not have to further reduce your disposable income unnecessarily.

Medical and healthcare is also a pinch in the pocket. It does not cost you much to be healthy but every time you are sick and have to visit the clinic or hospital, there will definitely be an additional cost for the travelling petrol, time and clinical bills. To avoid unexpected sickness, we have to ensure we are always healthy. All that it takes to be healthy is just a regular daily 30minutes exercise. Perhaps 30 minutes run or a walk in your neighbourhood. These 30 minutes run can improve your stamina, increase your body antibody, reduce your cholesterol or sugar level and keeps the doctors away.

Historically, the economic recession is a 10 years cycle with the last recession being in 1998. Since our country is still recording growth, theoretically we are not in recession.. or rather that is what the Government are misleading us to think. Even the CPI is said to be 5% lower than the inflation rate but we know that we are spending more than 30% our regular spending in bill payment (pertrol, electricity etc) and groceries.

Therefore and needless to say, let us not get conned by whatever the government is saying and let us not bitch too much on whatever the government is doing, let us take control and do something with our ownself before it is too late. Afterall, we need to survive..!

International school, private school or sekolah kebangsaan

The toughest choice as a parent (okay.. one of the toughest choice) is to choose the best school for the children. Aaraf will be 6 years old this December and i have to choose a primary school for him really soon. But before choosing the school, I must first decide if I want the Malaysian education syllabus or the international syllabus perhaps British or Australian syllabus but not American.

I went to 3 primary schools from Sekolah Rendah Sultan Ismail 1, in Kelantan to Sekolah Rendah Sultan Iskandar in Kedah and then Sekolah Rendah Kampung Tunku in Petaling Jaya. Primary school very much affected my upbringings. Though these were all Sekolah Kebangsaan and teaches similar syllabus, the environments and cultures (in three different states) shaped up my thought and mind. The quality as well as the approach of teaching differs too. So my first consideration will be the teacher’s attention (perhaps the teacher and student ratio) and the school environment hence, cleanliness especially toilets and canteen or cafeteria. During my time at school, some students shit and pee in class because the toilets were too stinky and unbearable to enter.

But I have to decide first to choose either a Malaysian or international syllabus. In choosing the syllabus, my main criteria is the time factor. Malaysia education system wasted too much time. Primary school starts at the age of 7 years old and ends at the age of 12 (standard 6). Secondary school starts at the age of 13 and finish with the Secondary Education Certificate (SPM) exam at the age of 17 but have to wait for the following year to begin their form 6 or A’levels. They will complete their A’ levels (or form 6 exam) at 20 years and start their undergraduate degree course for three years to graduate at the age of 23 years old.

British education system starts their primary school at the age of 6 and sits for their General Certificate of Secondary Education (GCSE) (Malaysia SPM equivalent) at the age of 15 (or 16 years old the most). They began the A’levels the same year in September as the GSCE exam is in June. Students will complete their A’ levels at the age of 17, to start their normal 3 years undergraduate degree course and graduate at 20 years old.

That is a saving of 3 years in studies. If the A’ levels is expedited to 1 year (instead of the normal 2 years) then there will be a total savings of 4 years in studies. There are other factors to consider but these years of saving in studies is important and should be a major factor to consider.

However, there are a long requirements and wait list to get into an International school. An assessment (with a high standard of passing) will be conducted and priorities are given to the expatriates and the Ministry of Education approval must be obtained. Aaraf is now on a wait list for the Garden International School which Aaraf is supposed to start in September this year (even before his 6th birthday). ELC international school is the second option given the logistic nearest to my house but both can only consider Aaraf for next year's intake.

Since Aaraf cannot start at the International school this year, I have to enrol him in a Malaysia education syllabus. Now I have to decide if I want to send Aaraf to a government school or a private school. What would be the criteria that I need to consider in deciding the choice between a government school and a private school?

Yes, the school environment especially the canteen and toilets are of utmost importance as well as the teacher and students ratio. Given the teacher and student ratio that would pleased my level of acceptance, I would think Sekolah kebangsaan will not be an option. With a teacher to 40-50 students per class, it will be difficult for even a good teacher to ensure all students received sufficient attention in details. It is even more ironic when most of our cabinet Ministers especially our Education Minister Dato Seri Hishamudin Tun Hiussein sends their children to either private schools or an international school signalling mistrust in our school and education system.

Since our Education Minister as well as other cabinet Ministers disbelief in our government schools, I shall not make government school an option and will consider private school instead. Since the nearest private school to my house is the Sri KDU with a teacher to only less than 30 students per class ratio, Sri KDU seems to be my best choice for now until Aaraf is accepted into Sri Garden International School or ELC.


The new millennium has seen a drastic change in Men’s behaviour which confuses many. Gone were the days of the Macho rugged look or the weary rocker style but the birth of what is called the metrosexual men (sorry Razak, Rhiza.. get updated! You too Suso…!).

I was inspired to write about metrosexual men having overheard some arguments between a bunch of friends at the Hilton hotel. Metrosexual man was made popular by David Beckham as a metrosexual posterboy. There are various definitions of Metrosexual by Simpson 2002 etc and there were various debates on the terms used but many seem to misunderstood the meaning and relate metrosexual man as gay or homosexual. Some men were embarrassed and some took offense (like the bunch at the Hilton Hotel) when being called metrosexual without even knowing its real meaning. Wikipedia defines metrosexual man as a neologism generally applied to heterosexual men with a strong concern for their appearance, or whose lifestyles display attributes stereotypically seen among gay men.

The traditional old fashioned men, simply makes and earns money for the wife to spend. Metrosexual man simply makes and earns money for himself (and perhaps his wife) to shop, be fashionable and spend in grooming to be well polished.

So what typically does metrosexual man do? They walk fashionably in the latest collections of designers wear, the latest collections of shoes, watches, ties or even designer jeans and t shirts. Metrosexual man grooms themselves well and regularly with facial and spa, manicure and pedicure, hair treatments as well as a gym members keeping themselves lean and maintaining the model physiques.

Vanity works similar between man and women of the new millennium irregardess of age. My buddy Abu is 51 years old and is as metro as those in their 20s. Whilst many men are more conscious about their wear, look and care, there are still many men whom still hesitate to groom themselves in fear of being associated with fag. The truth is, every men wants to groom themselves but doesn’t know where to go. Most ladies (definitely mine) prefers their man to groom with most had to nag to their man endlessly but there are some ladies that refuse to allow or accept their man turning metro probably in fear of losing their man to a younger girls...

So for a start, for a trendy and fashionable designer clothing, try the Louis Vuitton sports, Polo Ralph Lauren, Zegna and Hugo Boss. A good facial care for man definitely the Valmont and there is no better place for a good manicure and pedicure than the Nails retreat. Watches are very much personal to the person but the In now is the big watches like Panerai and Audimars Piguet. Diamond ring too is a default accessory for man.

So guys, since we are the family’s breadwinner, we have to work double hard to ensure we have enough to spend over and above the spouse’s needs.

Local or Foreign labour?

The number of foreign worker in Malaysia now is alarming with many foreign workers with an expired visa and permit continued to stay and work illegally in Malaysia. I will not bore you with all the statistics but it’s a fact. I was even offered by many agents to take illegal maids and illegal foreign worker for my company without having to pay for permits, levy or insurance etc…

The truth is, there is a lot of demand for either legal or even illegal foreign workers and many employers could not care less about the legality of the foreign worker as long as they are hard working which is subjective but if they are not, they can easily be disposed of as there was no money paid for permits, air fare, levy etc.

It is arguable that foreign workers are cheaper and more discipline and hard working. Having interviewed more than 1,000 potential local fresh candidates (from school and colleges) for recruitment and shortlisted more than half of the candidates to finally recruited 200 of them on the first intake, there is less than 10 employee that can really performs the job description that was required. Thus, intensive training was provided for most freshies or those with no experience (fresh graduate) only to have them leave the soonest they get other job offering an extra RM50 per month from their current employment. The cycle continues and we end up having to re-train more freshies and they keep leaving for an extra RM50 salary p/mth or when pressured or when given extra responsibility. The next best option is to take those with relevant experience that requires less training. We then advertised daily since January this year and managed to recruit less than 5 employees of the total 200 that is required.

Illegal immigrant or illegal foreign worker is a big NO. I will not risk any unnecessary problems with the authority. No matter how easy and cheap illegal foreign worker is and how easy it is to dispose them if they don’t perform, the risk of being caught will jeopardise the company.

Foreign workers on the other hand, travelled to our country to make a living. What our locals deemed as low pay (and leave the soonest they get RM50 extra offer) are a good remuneration to foreign workers. Foreign workers from Myanmar and Thailand as an example, can even converse in Malay language in the shortest period to quickly adapt and make a living. Most foreign workers even work extra hours without being asked and works harder to have their contract renewed. The contract they signed will ensure their commitment for at least the duration of the contract which will be worth the training that we will be investing in.

These are both extreme scenarios as I am sure they are many employers with bad experience employing foreign workers and there are also many employers with good experience employing local labour but in the absent of quality local employees, the next option is to recruit foreign workers.

Being patriotic, I would like to maintain 100% Malaysian workforce but with at least 200 employees urgently required, do i have to resort to employing foreign worker?

The Mosque and other religion...

When I first arrived in the United Kingdom in 1990 I was so excited to see all the tourist attractions available. Amongst the many tourist attractions that I visited were the many churches and cathedrals. I was treated with respect whilst the churches and cathedrals officials explain its history. My visits were merely appreciating the architectural designs and history whilst respecting and understanding other races and religions. The place was packed with people of various races and religions. I received similar treatment when i visited buddhist temples in Thailand.

I visited various mosques too around the world and was as impressed of the architectural design as well the multi races of muslims that prayed at various mosques but there were less people of other religion who visited the mosques.

I graduated from a University that won the Queens award for biggest foreign students from various countries, the University of Buckingham. When I returned to Malaysia I had many friends from various other countries (whom graduated from the same university) who came to visit me in Malaysia and as always, being proud of Malaysian, I brought them to our Mosques (even though they are not muslims) as our Mosque too have an impressive architectural designs but was not amused when my friends were not allowed to enter the mosque for wearing dress and some with shorts. We were there during late morning and a few hours before Zohor or noon prayer. Since they could not enter, I asked the Mosque officials to give some history of Islam, the Islamic symbols and also the meaning behind the beautiful architectural design but to my disappointment, none knew anything at all. We left with no stories or history to tell except for how beautiful the mosque is.

When I brought them to a few churches, temples in Malaysia, we were sincerely welcomed and brought around to see the interior and was briefed the whole history and background information of the place, its origins and the population of those that prayed there.

Whilst I am proud to be a Muslim and is a strong believer in my religion having also performed my Haj but I believe something is not right in the way we restrict other people (non-muslims) from understanding our religion and culture. Islam is a beautiful religion but had been misunderstood by many. Islam is not just a religion. It is also a belief and way of living which we are not portraying in our daily life by being sensitive and angered by stupid remark from non-muslims. If our belief is strong and we belief in our god and religion, then we should not be easily affected by remarks made by others as we know what is right and what our religion says but if cannot even attend (without the sharp stare of the muslims) to non-muslim visitors (at our mosque) and wait for them to make the wrong move to chase them away than how do we want to preach our religion and make non-mulsims understand the mis-understood or portray how strong is our belief.

Our mosques are only used for praying (and some for learning to read the quran) whilst the churches or temple even provide medical care such as haemodialysis, free house maintenance care and even free food as well as other charitable event such as blood donation to all races irrespective of their religions.

Our religious departments should educate their officials (instead of their fanatical idealism that is scaring even the muslims away), and make use our of mosques for the benefits of the community rather than just for the muslim. This is a better way to open our religion to be understood in a multi-religion community and especially in preaching our good Quran.

Xtreme Heaven

One of the best pleasure after a good run is a well deserving good body massage or a reflexology. I did a good 10km run this morning at my regular training venue, Kiara Hill and i believed i deserve a good massage.

The golden question to ask is the location of the best place for a massage? My regular massage centre is either at Just Relax @ damansara perdana, Touches De Siam @ the Centrepoint, Bandar Utama or the Sanwa massage @ desa Sri hartamas (next to Soul'ed out).

The Just Relax is really relaxing and the masseur are from indonesia. Touches de Siam masseur are all from Thailand and Sanwa Massage are from china. At all the 3 centres, all guests are required to change and wear a pyjamas type clothing that they provides, so for the shy people (like me..) you dont have to go naked when being massage.

The masseur @ Touches De Siam and Sanwa Massage can neither speak English nor Malay... So i have to use the sign language. For a body massage, i prefers the Touches De Siam but will die for a reflexology @ Sanwa. I have not tried the body massage at Sanwa but i can sleep well while being pampered with relaxing massage at the Just Relax...

So depending on your preference, you should check each of the centre and judge for yourself. The telephone number of Just relax @ Damansara Perdana is 0123710829 (speak to Theresa) and Touches de Siam @ Bandar Utama Centrepoint 0377107866. i lost the number for Sanwa massage but if you are familiar with Souled Out @ desa sri hartamas, it is along the same building.

What does it take to run..?

When most of my friends heard that I took up running, some were very surprised (Armin Baniaz running??!!!), some never believed but those that were indifferent, will tell me how much they admire the fact that I am so fit to run (yaya.. this being polite thingy does not work here…). Really and honestly, I am not fit nor was I ever an athlete. Infact, I have never played any sports, exercise and never thought of running. As many would know, half my teenage life … was spend in hospitals and all my working life.. in meetings and office! Of all the people… if I can run marathon.. anybody can run.. yes, if they wanted to.

A good friend of mine, who is also my IT advisor, Sayf, once told me that he runs after women.. and runs after money… and definitely runs away from problems.. but will never run for nothing.. ie marathon.

I woke up late this morning and could not go to my usual running place at the Kiara Hills (next to Taman Tun Dr Ismail) so I ran surrounding my neighbourhood at Penchala where I stayed. I planned a slow jog to sweat, considering I did not have enough sleep last night reading and Raja Petra till morning. My slow jog did not start well when I did an almost at 100% max Heart Rate intensive running being chased by 6 stray dogs. There were only a puppy and its mother at the corner 10 minutes away from my house. I jog slowly minding my own business. I have never been a great fan of dogs and choose to ignore them until the tiniest puppy start barking endlessly. Suddenly, the whole family of stray dogs, 6 of them, appeared out of nowhere and started barking. I did not want to wait till the whole bunch chased me and immediately pace-up my jog speed to sprinting mode. The stupid dogs chased me! Obviously the dogs ran faster than me and my heart pumped like a V12 turbo engine. I ran for at least 8 minutes with the dogs continued to chase me. I think they were really laughing rather than barking having fun looking at me freaking out. When they were tired chasing me (hah.. looks like I have better stamina after all..), they stopped and turned back. Dogs…..

Getting a good running track to train is difficult. I used to run from my old house in Kelana Jaya all the way to work at Damansara Perdana. I started my run daily at 6:30am along the roadside in SS3 to SS2 and across Damansara Jaya before having to take the LDP highway to the Curve. The distance is slightly more than 10km. My driver will wait for me at the Fitness First gym @ the Curve with my working attire where I would shower and change to be at work by 9am. This works well although my bro Simon (Singapore) called me stupid having to run to work whilst my driver enjoy the luxury car but I had fun until I moved house to Penchala. My new house in Penchala is only 5 minutes away from my office and running to my office is too short a distant. Kiara Hill became my training track. Kiara Hill is a tough running track given the hilly terrain but the track in the jungle makes it a perfect place for a peaceful jog. Peace with the morning breeze, trees, birds and away from the pollution but hey… Monkeys are the permanent residents there. Goodness, similar to the stray dogs, they seem harmless but yes, once I got chased by the monkeys too.

Having to wake up in the morning daily at least at 6am to start running before going for work is another story. What is more important than the actual training, exercise schedule or discipline, commitment and time to run is to have the right spirit and willpower. When you have the right spirit, being chased by dogs and monkeys became a routine way to make your run faster. With strong willpower, you will find the time to run and to withstand the rain, hot sun and the hectic work schedule. When you can self aspire yourself to be in the right spirit and build a strong willpower, then you will find any training schedule to be helpful. The commitment and discipline is a default result from the spirit and willpower to run but HOW to get the right spirit and willpower? For a start, running increases cardiovascular strength. If anybody should have a reason to run.. it should be for better health (once you lost it, then you will regret it) but if it is not good enough a reason, then running is the best way to burn fat and lost weight… hence beauty!

If good look and health cannot be a good justification, then equate running with sex.. if you can complete marathon in 5-6 hours.. imagine how many hours you can have sex!!

But if even sex cannot justify for you to start running…. Then you will be better off NOT living!!!! :-p
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