Friday, June 18, 2010

Con-Sultan of Swing

You check out Guitar George he knows all the chords
Mind he's strictly rhythm he doesn't want to make it cry or sing
And an old guitar is all he can afford
When he gets up under the lights to play his thing
- Sultan of Swing, Dire Straits

This blog is one blog that have been questioning the over reliance on Con-Sultans during the time of Tun Abdullah's administration. The then Tingkat 4 was filled with business Con-Sultan given position and doing works totally unrelated to their background on policy, politics, communication etc.

It turns out their interest was to menyamun for themselves through projects and fees via consultants. Khazanah, GLCs, EPU and Government Departments was the lubuk for securing Con-Sultaning jobs.

Since Con-Sultaning jobs was easily secured using the cloud of Tingkat 4 PM Department, then evolve a procurement specialist Con-Sultaning firm like Ethos Consulting.

I would have thought with the end of Abdullah, such practices would have ended. But no ... it is still rampant.

How can one end it if Omar Ong and his partner in Ethos, Rohana and Minister like Tan Sri Nor Moahamd Yakcop is still very much at large with Dato Najib's blessing?

Ethos seems to be found in every other organisation telling companies, and government on how to go about to do things differently.

Seriously, let's think for a while.

Why must in almost every other major Con-Sultaning work, the name Ethos keep cropping up?

How much expertise and experiance would so-called wunderboy Omar Ong has to have his Con-Sultaning firm be the one doing every other thing? Is he so that terer that he knows everything?

For that matter, do Mckenzie & Co. and their strategic management model applicable to advise on education? Does it make sense for Boston Consulting Group's two variable matrix applicable to determine a country's bankruptcy? I would have thought a modified Altman's z score would have been nearer. Just showing off.

How many organisation/(s) has "supergenius" Omar Ong actually managed, spearheaded and delivered successfully? From his resume, he has none. Specific project perhaps.

By the look of things, what Ethos could be doing is merely as agent for multinational Con-Sultaning firms. The knowledge is not with him but with outside firms.

Outside firm like McKenzie hire local on a private basis. So, Ethos gets a cut from McKennzie and McKenzie pay relatively peanuts to the actual people doing the research legwork. A friend of Syed Akbar is a doctorate holder who is being paid peanuts for these bogus outside Con-Sultan to overcharge local Government Departments and Companies.

Imagine them writing inside the New Economic Model on the need to stop rent-seeking practices when these motherf***ers are a big rent seeker themselves under the guise of out-sourcing.

If one is familiar with Con-Sultans, one must know what one wants and be exact in the deliverables. Otherwise, their will recommend something theoretical and general that has no specifics to put together workable solutions.

That is where they will pau more money out of the clients for more plans after plans which is all academics. That is like taking your watch and telling you the time when all the while you can read your own watch.

The problem is so widespread now that our Government is spending billions on consulting fees. If this continues, Idris Jala could be right. We will go bankrupt by 2019 from paying consultants. He himself is paying consultants in the hundred of million.

If we can recall during Tun Abdullah times, Khazanah was said to be doing the GLC Transformation Plan. It used to be on the website but no more now. They had prepared something like 10 plans, manual and studies. All done by Con-Sultan.

Itulah ... head of Khazanah, Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar pun Binafikir Con-Sultan. Somesay he is a Con-Man Manager.

Just look at the performance of Khazanah companies. Their handicap companies is no more MAS, Proton and UEM. It has expandaed to Pos Malaysia and now SIme Darby. One member of Parliament told me that they had spend some RM400 million in the past five years.

I am not too sure if this include IRDA which has been spending berbeli-yon beli-yon, to emulate the late Tun Ghaffar, on consultant fees but still nothing delivered.

It is heard that there is an endless stream of work for Con-Sultans being dished out to the point the Con-Sultan reports, manual, plan and what say you can be stack up to reach the ceiling. Give time, it will can reach the top ceiling of two floor penthouse.

Most likely, the consultant fee paid is not included in Khazanah's RM400 million fee because there were consultants hired for all other corridors and is likely absorbed by the respective companies involved.

Speaking of companies, Ethos was entering GLCs and threatening as though it is PM's instruction.

One former PLC CEO, I personally know, was hustled but he refused. In his own words, the work they offered were things that could be done by the Financial Instiutution he was the MD of. Why should he let others do the work, he asked?

Recently, Syed Akbar wrote a posting here about this.

In the nutshell, he exposed Idris Jala and his Pemandu is milking the Government out of consulting fees in the hundred of million. Each of the NKRA lab (a con-sultan terminology) cost RM6-7 million. With 6 NKRA, it totals up to the high side of RM42 million. I am mentioning this because I met an attendee yesterday and he verified few things.

It seems there will be at least 19 other labs for GTP, NKEAs, KRAs, KPIs and fill free to make your own acronyoms. This will cost something like RM91 million and adds up to RM133 million.

It is not just about getting IP from McKenczie and BCG but a Public Relation firm, Ogilvy I think was paid to the tune of RM300-400,000 for the public event they had.

The use of consultant have reached the point where even our recently announced 10MP was prepared by external Con-Sultans instead of EPU.

Just look at the report. Go here to read the brief and one can spot immediately that this is not the Malaysia Plans we are used too.

It immediately comes off as an American University textbook or consultant report which is filled with unnecessary pictures for public relation value only but lacking facts and figures that our miserly paid Government servants used to provide.

It looks as though after preparing nine Malaysia Plans, the PM Department, EPU and MOF lost the ability to prepare the Malaysia Plan. One must understand that not many countries have a 5-year Economic Plan like Malaysia but yet some Con-Sultans seemed to know better at preparing 5-year plans.

I have a feeling the Con-sultans are involved in preparing all four pillars of Najib's administration - 1Malaysia; GTP; New Economic Models; and 10 Malaysia Plans.

It has no clear deliverables that can be understood and expected by the common people which is something that is never really understood by Con-Sultans. NEM had promised the 10 year rise in per capita income but do you think the people believe such deliverables?

All it had to tell are concepts and processes. Is there enough time for concepts and processes to deliver something to convince voters for the General Election to support Barisan Nasional?

The problem with relying with Con-Sultan is this. In today's world in what is described as knowledge economy, we should be building knowledge organisation.

Organisation is not only just focused towards delivering their goods and services but develop its own inherent capability by "building" within the organisation, knowledge and system of knowledge as derived from the operation, planning, management, problem solving, technical, etc.

To be able to develop such organisation, they must do things on their own. Sometimes we can learn from outside such as consultants but not to the point of over-relying on them. We should be determining the external knowledge that we want.

Better still, develop our own knowledge. Spend la on research. So our truly brilliant doctorate friend from an esteem foreign University doing live life without consistent income and being donkeyed by foreign Con-Sultans.

Believe me, having met many of those early successful planners during the NEP era, their common remark is, "Con-Sultan tak boleh pakai. Sendiri kena bikin. Go through the mill. Be meticulous. Find ways. You learn, and understand better. You are more effective."

Think about this.

By Khazanah, Government and EPU relying on Con-Sultans, how much intrinsic knowledge and value do such organisation have eventually? If they go to Seminar and Forums, do they really have credibility to talk? If any staff leave these organisations, are they of value to be hired?

My answer are all no.

YB Dato Mahfudz Omar of PAS can spot the recent 10MP was not done by EPU and he asked whether we still need EPU if we are to rely on Con-Sultans. Maybe it's time PAS rule the country since even not-so-smart Mahfudz is beginning to make sense.

* Updated 19/6 10:23 AM


Anonymous said...

Repeat of GE12 in the making for GE13 ?

Scary ? Very !!!

Can someone up there start takling to TDM as the preferred CON-SULTAN for his vast experience and vision.

Nani Cheras

NFH said...

No wonder Roger Federer is the best player in the world and a living legend...

Has has no coach!

Anonymous said...

kalu ikut kan.. nak blame omar ong and nmy saja x fair beb.. ds najib pun patut diblame sama.. ds najib mcm ikut jejak pak lah jaa.. bile perhati balik najib ni manjang play safe.. even mase nk jatuhkn pak lah dulu pun muhyiddin yg kene bersuare.. najib play safe..

ntah2 rating ds najib pun con-sultan yg punya keje.. yela pr suma bagus.. well planned by the con-sultan.. tp hasil sbenonye same je cam paklah.. ntahla.. bak kate outsyed.. zaman pukol abis kot.. aku skang dh lost hope ngn najib.. rosmah 'first lady' mansor plak dh makin jdk liabiliti pd bn..

harapan kita skang kt muhyiddin jaa..

-tipah tertipu lagi-

Anonymous said...

beze zaman pak lah ngn zaman ds najib.. bile satu2 proposal polisi dikenselkan.. zaman pak lah kite panggil flip-flop.. zaman najib kite panggil 'terima pandangan rakyat..'


-tipah tertipu lagi-

Anonymous said...

Perhaps this joke will explain all about consultant's work (credit goes to the original author, not known)

A shepherd was herding his flock in a remote pasture when suddenly a brand-new BMW advanced out of the dust cloud towards him. The driver, a young man in a Broni suit, Gucci shoes, Ray Ban sunglasses and YSL tie, leaned out the window and asked the shepherd... "If I tell you exactly how many sheep you have in your flock, will you give me one?" The shepherd looked at the man, obviously a yuppie, then looked at his peacefully grazing flock and calmly answered "sure".

The yuppie parked his car, whipped out his IBM ThinkPad and connected it to a cell phone, then he surfed to a NASA page on the internet where he called up a GPS satellite navigation system, scanned the area, and then opened up a database and an Excel spreadsheet with complex formulas. He sent an email on his Blackberry and, after a few minutes, received a response. Finally, he prints out a 130-page report on his miniaturized printer then turns to the shepherd and says, "You have exactly 1586 sheep. "That is correct; take one of the sheep." said the shepherd. He watches the young man select one of the animals and bundle it into his car.

Then the shepherd says: "If I can tell you exactly what your business is, will you give me back my animal?", "OK, why not." answered the young man. "Clearly, you are a consultant." said the shepherd. "That's correct." says the yuppie, "but how did you guess that?" "No guessing required." answers the shepherd. "You turned up here although nobody called you. You want to get paid for an answer I already knew, to a question I never asked, and you don't know crap about my business...... Now give me back my dog."

Not (need to be) expert to figure out said...

I do not know Idris Jala...
However, i thought he had done more than decent job for shell , then MAS.
It could be probably some back stab for him to step down, as a minister in PM Department. Since the post shall be given to BN (read UMNO), and not somebody outside without political party (read non-UMNO).

antubiul said...

I'm loosing faith in Najib goverment. Why there's not demo opposing the building of the 800million palace and Naza convention centre. Nazri says PICC underutilised and yet another one is beingh built.

Anonymous said...

Just want to comment on 2 points re 10MP, after checking with EPU.I was informed that:

1. PM's speech - indeed it was drafted by EPU officers and meticulously scrutinized by DSN.

2. the Plan itself - prepared by EPU, utilising data from various sources such as DOS. The three consulting firms were engaged to conduct studies / surveys to fill up the data gap + cosmetic jobs.

Lets give credit where it is due.

However, feel free to tear EPU, the firms to pieces and 10MP, if one can prove the results were unreliable and inaccurate.

I trust the above issue of suspected crediblity will be addressed by PM in Parliament next week.

However, I would like to suggest that EPU, ministries, government agencies and GLCs should engage our IPTAs (and reputable non-tainted local firms) to conduct future studies, if need be. After all, we already have 7 reserch universities.


Anonymous said...

My man,

Hiring consultants is the PREFERRED Khazanah's way of doing thing. Everything or business decision must be supported with studies or recommendation by consultants (higher weightage for foreign consultants like BCG, McKinsey, Bain&Co, etc). So if MD/CEO tabled the proposal to the board, they have a "supporting document". How idiotic can that be?

Management's job of these wannabes in Khazanah (and its subsidiaries or related companies) is simply monitoring the recommendation of consultants, which they refered as EXECUTION (execution my arse). Why bother to pay those wannabes high salary if their job is just managing a bunch of consultants?

Can someone please come out with some simple computer softwear and proposed this "virtual BCG, McKinsey, etc" to Khazanah that can save the Malaysian Government million of taxpayers' money every year?

Anonymous said...


The Gang of Four is not only at Large but gaining in strength....

Where is Omar Ong Now?
What is Mat Nor Yakob doing Now?
What is Ethos up to Now?

Joe Black

Sir Pasha said...

Salam Bro,
I am begining to lose hope on Najib running this wonderful country of ours. Not only on this Con-Sultan thing but on many other things such as retaining useless ministers, appointing useless ex-ministers as head of govt agencies, indecisive decisions and most of all the "future leaders" in UMNO waiting to take over. Man!we're f**k up. Hopeless. I think a change of government is what is needed here if things remains as it is. Can we be worst off? NASIB RAKYAT TIDAK AKAN BERUBAH SELAGI KITA TIDAK MENGUBAHNYA SENDIRI....right bro?

George Choo said...

Voicey, TAK PAYA TUNGGU 2019,Now the govt is already BANKRUPT.This is what I SAID at the Forum at KLCC Convention Center.When I said The govt of Malaysia is Bankrupt almost all of the 2000 people in the hall was STUNNED.The Kaki Rasuah in the govt have promoted themselves to be KAKI CURI of govt property and cash.

Unknown said...

Salam Voice,
I'm VERY, VERY WORRIED when the PM & his team started outsourcing the thinking bit to con-sultans! And yes, as you've highlighted we are beginning to see evidence of this on a number of occasions already! This is the typical symptom of the "instant" and "short cut" mentality... I thought the rich Arabs are infected with this; looks like we poor M'sians are fast emulating them too!

Anonymous said...

Sime Darby is not under Khazanah. Its under PNB. PNB has another company CCM under its stable which recording huge loses in its chemical business. CCM bought Duopharma which has no products

Anonymous said...

I was not surprised 10MP was prepared by private consultant. I remembered two years ago a renounced Japanese scholars (Tokyo Uni) arqued that institution like EPU will NO longer be relevant in term of Malaysia's planning need. With Noriah Ahmed (anything foreign is good for her, especially foreign consultant) and does not take another ordinary man to say EPU is just a pain in our a#!h.

Anonymous said...

Rohana is related to DSN.
NMY...didn't he screw things up in
BNM and caused M'sia to lose a big chunk of moolah. But I guess sebab dia punya cable tebal, he ended up being a Minister. How come MACC didn't want to siasat this fella?
Azman Mokthar is a management consultant/research background. Hence all our GLCs suka sangat guna Con-Sultan. Suruh dia run University lagi bagus.
Omar Ong...Oh well, is he consider Bumi sebab bapa dia sudah convert and he is born a Muslim? Dia Melayu ke? Cina ke? But like you say, dia tak ada track record running a company.
Idris Jala - The man should just balik sektor swasta la. I think he does a better job there than kat EPU.
Off tangent sikit...why nobody identified Tan Sri Hassan Marican (aptly knighted, really deliver, and low like)to head on of these government losing concern? Si Singapura pulak yang tarik our superstar talent.
Something is really wrong in Malaysia...


Anonymous said...

Kita kena tukar cara pilih ketua dah, jangan lah dok pilih keluarga lagi, dah berzaman zaman asyik famili itu famili ini, anak anak, saudara mara, kaum itu dan kaum ini. Apa orang Asli tidak boleh jadi perdana menteri ke?

Tentu boleh kan, kalau dah dipilih, semua hutan dibuka, jadi kome semua boleh buat rumah disana, disini, rumah pun tak larat nak bayar.

Tukar tukar, jangan tidak tukar. Cakap berbillion billion, orang politik, kita nak beli gula pun tak larat.

Anonymous said...


Azman Mokhtar to run university? hihi
I totally agree.

Too much text-book and theory this-and-that, no business experience. I think he is still confused whether he is now running the investment arm of Malaysia, ie Khazanah, or he is still in BinaFikir.

Bengkraplah Negara said...

If you don't believe the writer, ask a friend who was an employee in an organization (private or otherwise) during and after con-sultation.

bodoh.pandai said...

I totally agree with the comment on Khazanah. Khazanah does not even dare to rearrange the furniture before paying McK or BCG milions for consultation fees.

And these McK an BCG guys are offering the same strategy to all the countries they consult. Once i was shocked that i saw the same advise paper given by these guys in Indonesia as it was offered in malaysia.
The worst thing is sometimes are kept in the drawer as it looks good on paper but does not make sense in real life.

The guys in Khazanah are book smart but certainly not street smart. The parkway saga is case in point . Two indian guys are kicking Kazanah's butts. As usual Khazanah is relying on bunch of advisors.

Why does Khazanah hire the best talent ( i,e book smart) but still can decide without McK , Bain , BCG telling them first on what to do!

Anonymous said...

Salam brader,

I thought that is the trend now, think-tank this, think-tank that. Remember Razak Baginda and his think tank?

The best part is this super dupa think tank will hire external consultants. A consultant is hiring another consultant. Just like a contractor is hiring another contractor. Only in Malaysia, Malaysia boleh!

A good example is Khazanah (peminat setia konsultan), Idris Jala's PEMANDU (how to become pemandu when u can't even drive or fly a kite?), EPU, and list goes on. Those that claimed they are think-tank for certain State or Agency, then you know these are the ones that have been screwing taxpayers money for nothing.

Oh btw bro, have you ever heard of IDR (not that stupid Iskandar project in JB), but Institut Darul Ridzuan (IDR). It claimed to be the think-tank for Perak State (under the current Zamry's administration). So far, not only you don't hear anything, you can't even smell a fart from this IDR. What you get in the end is just another consultant's sweet talk.


Anonymous said...

this is more like a con-setan job to takes conmanship skill and setan behaviour to be this consetan!

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