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Category Archives: Malaysia


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The government is going to great lengths to explain to Malaysians why we need to wean ourselves off subsidies which are costing us RM74billion annually. While I see the need for this, I’m more than peeved that there is a reverse subsidy happening and by this I mean Malaysian motorists subsiding national carmaker Proton via astronomical car import duties.

Almost 20 years into the business and Proton is still a jaguh kampung (village champion) that has not broken through to the global market.  Fiercely championed by former PM Tun Dr Mahathir, nobody has dared challenged its existence and because of this, Malaysians have had to live with some of the most expensive car prices in the world.

Look at these figures: Last year, our national fuel subsidy bill was about RM5.6billion whereas Malaysian motorists pay about RM6 to RM7biliion annually in car import duties – this being the effective subsidy we give Proton to help them sell their aging products in this market.

So, if the government wants me to stop adopting a subsidy mentality, they too must reciprocate and stop subsidizing a company that has leeched on taxpayers for so long without much to show.

We give up petrol subsidies, you give up Proton.

KL’s Colombian Connection…

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Spot the difference!

What comes to mind when you think of Colombia? Besides Ms Universe I mean! Cocaine I’m sure would rank among the top 5 things associated with this Latin American country.

It’s unfortunate then that whoever’s in charge, decided to adopt Colombian colours for the new Federal Territories (Wilayah Persekutuan) flag. So now everytime I think of my beloved city, I think drug cartel.

3 Banks with an Identity Crisis

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Gadget Emporium or Bank?

If you’ve read the Star recently and seen this ad, you would have been forgiven for thinking that Ambank is an electronic gadget retailer. The focus of these ads are the devices. Only when you start reading the copy do you realize that it’s a reward for the delinquent among us who need to transfer their balance credit card debts.

To me as a marketer, this is dilution of brand value.  In one fell swoop, the Ambank brand and what it stands for (not that I know what it stands for anyway!) becomes submerged under these other consumer brands. Basically the bank is telling people, look I need these gadgets to attract you to my custom since I can’t really offer much else in the form of differentiation.

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Imitation is this magazine’s form of flattery

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I did a double take the other day when I saw this rag trying to masquerade my all time favourite publication, The Edge. It was copy, copy, copy all the way down to the Edge’s pull out “Options”

Imitation is a widely practiced business strategy, no question about that. But I wonder if the owners of Malaysia SME realize they are doing nothing for their own brand with this blasé rip off job.  All it does is reinforce in readers’ minds that The Edge is at a standard which Malaysia SME can only aspire to.

What’s this hare brained idea of turning Pulau Redang into a luxury island?

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Pulau Redang is a lovely island located off the northeastern state of Terengganu and has been a popular destination for tourists and Malaysians for many years. It’s one of the few islands left in Peninsular Malaysia that are actually worth visiting for its clear waters and rich marine life.

Okay yes, as more and more tourists descend on the island, the stress and pollution has threatened to damage the ecosytem but does it warrant this idiotic proposal announced by the Terengganu state government that the island should now be turned into a luxury resort???

According to the MB, Datuk Ahmad Said, “Only hotels rated five-star and above will be allowed to be built… as it was the only way to save the surrounding rich marine life” !!!!  

Hasn’t the good menteri besar thought of alternative solutions like restricting the number of visitors to the island like they do to Sipadan? Or upgrading the facilities of the numerous chalets to stop the problem of direct dumping of sewage into the sea?

Robbing a national treasure from Malaysians and handing it over to some fat cats IS not the way to handle this. Let’s hope public opinion will get the state government to re-think their proposal. If anyone knows of any cause that’s campaigning against this, let me know – I’ll be the first to join!

Is this going to be the next playground of the rich and infamous??

Swimming Attire in Malaysia

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There must be precious few countries in the world where you have to spell out in detail what swimmers can and cannot wear in the pool. If you are a first time visitor to Malaysia, don’t be appalled to see people fully clothed in T-shirts and shorts frolicking in pools or water parks. It’s very acceptable here, to the point where some hotels have resorted to putting up signboards like this to educate their guests.


 If you do visit Sunway Lagoon, one of Kuala Lumpur’s better known water parks, it will really seem like people have just walked out of the adjoining shopping complex and gone straight into the water without bothering to change.  Have you seen this phenomenon in any other part of the world??