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