Article 14 – A new year’s field of wishes
by Tan Thiam Hock
Today is the last day of 2011. Congrats for having survived another business year. Hope you have stayed healthy too.
As an entrepreneur, based on a scale of one to 10, have you had a good year? Moderate year? Or just another year that you would like to forget? What are your wishes for 2012 and beyond?
What if I start an entrepreneur wish list that I will send to our dear Prime Minister? Would you support me and write to me the one wish that you think should be included in the list? But please do not send me letters or post cards as I have no intention of physically delivering the sack loads to Putrajaya. It is bad for my poor back and also my golf swing which will then go from bad to worse.
And no long messages or long winded explanations either. He is a very busy man. If possible, keep it to one word. That should catch his attention.
If you are still uncertain on how to approach the one word, perhaps, I can be of some help. For instance, we will have an acronym eWISH1M which is one Malaysian entrepreneur wish. Then, from the dictionary, just pick one word and I am sure his circle of advisors and strategists will be able to analyse it from many different angles, some of which even you are not aware of. Here is an example:
To our dearest YAB PM eWISH1M “field”
If his super smart advisors interpret field as an expanse of open or cleared land suitable for pasture or tillage or playing, then he will recognise the wishes of the people to preserve the few green lungs and playing fields left in Klang Valley. Instruct the State Economic Development Corporations and and Government-Linked Companies to forego the development and profit potential and leave open fields alone.
Maybe one of the advisors will realise that fields like Rubber Research Institute of Malaysia, Sg Buloh should have been earmarked for low cost housing. Maybe it is possible to build three bedroom high rise apartments at a cost of RM 150,000 (no land cost) to cater to the needs of the poor.
What they deemed as valuable land should be used to house a valuable workforce that will feed the needs of the commercial capital of Malaysia. No poor man can afford a minimum RM400,000 house that will be built on this rubber field.
Malaysian entrepreneurs of all races are asking for a level playing field. Where opportunities are not hijacked by the privileged few. Why should a small retailer under the Economic Transformation Plan, have to borrow RM60,000 to revamp his store so that he can survive the onslaught of foreign hypermarkets when under the Government Transformation Programme (GTP), a very successful local multi millionaire retailer be given RM40mil to open retail stores? The GTPshould be helping the needy, not the greedy.
On the field of expertise, the PM should be worried when the Employee’s Provident Fund (EPF) second their chief investment officer (CIO) to manage a bank when the CIO should be managing our RM400bil savings. Like the other sovereign funds Khazanah Nasional Berhad and Permodalan Nasional Berhad, EPF should stick to their field of expertise which is fund investment and not fun management.
Even though it is quite intoxicating to act as powerful entrepreneurs when you are not, the supreme fund managers of our sovereign wealth and pension funds should realise that they are accountable to the citizens of Malaysia who are shareholders and stakeholders in the wealth of the nation.
In addition to fielding winnable candidates for the coming elections, the PM should appoint intelligent and capable field generals as ministers. Generals who can lead the nation into international economic battlefields not shrieking racial rhetorics in local fields. Generals who can field any MACC question and know what their family is up to. INTELLIGENT1Minister should be your next mission should you agree to accept your reappointment as PM-1.
Corporate Malaysia Inc operates like magnetic fields where greedy entrepreneurs are drawn to inept politicians and corrupt officials. Either you lead the field or you leave the field. Those in power reap the fields. Losers are sent to the killing fields.
And I will end my message to our dear PM with a plea Restore HONOUR1M.
Unfortunately, this might just be one word too many for his super smart advisors to comprehend. And wishful thinking on my part. Final reality check.
On a personal note, I have written on issues outside the field of entrepreneurship and as such will leave the field to the real writers.
It had started out as a challenge from the ever gracious CEO of Star Publications (M) Bhd and thanks to him, I now have a better appreciation of responsible journalism. And how not being able to write freely on issues close to your heart can be detrimental to your golf swing and your soul.
Many thanks to friends who texted and emailed their support. To those who wrote to me for all the right reasons, you kept me going week after week. Much appreciated.
To all eWannabes, Good luck.
To all entrepreneurs, Happy New Year.