Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Dollars and senses of flag bearers

When Pandelela Rinong won the first non-badminton Olympic medal for the country in August 2012, the NST bestowed her the honour as "the country's flag-bearer". [Read NST here]

It means her victory enable the Malaysian flag to be seen on the winners' podium. It certainly raised  the profile of Malaysia and that has brand value says advertisers.

When Monsoon Cup was under heavy criticism for wastage, the Malaysian government engage a media consultant to determine the brand value of the 2009 World Match Racing Tour. The Event Media and Brand Value to Malaysia was RM 538,833,381 (USD 164,806,049).[Read here]

The subsequent 2010 event had a media value of USD175.8 million.

Facebooker, William Cheah expressed his anger to the unpatriotic treatment by some segment of the public to a badly wounded 77-year old flagbearer of the country. He was talking out of patriotism but had he put it in dollars and sense, only then the pubic could realise the real value of MAS.

Cheah's piece in his private Facebook that got published by Malay Mail Online, below:
Since ancient times, the flag bearer has always been a position of great honour. From battlefields to sports arena, the flag was always carried by the strongest, the most special and the most deserving. And it needed to be.

The flag bearer was the one that would lead the charge. It would be the point of rally when defeat seemed imminent. The flag bearer was the one who would bear the true essence of the flag it carried.

But with that honour came the greatest danger and responsibility.

It carried a burden that was heavier. It carried the danger of being the prime target on the battlefield. The flag could not afford to waver. The regimental standards must not fall into the hands of the enemy.

And so often, the flag bearer would be the one who would bear the heaviest burden of ensuring the flag was kept flying high and proud.

For the last 77 years, MAS, its crew and staff have been the flag bearers for Malaysia around the world.

Day in day out. Countless countries and people have experienced Malaysian Hospitality. It has been and still remains the pride of our nation. Since 1937. Before many of us were born. And it never failed us for decades.

Granted it is ailing now. Part of it due to mismanagement, we can't deny that. And also part of it due to global circumstances.

But today, it is wounded badly. Shot by an unexpected enemy. An arrow that streaked from the ground and brought it crashing down on its knees. It's wings broken.

So my fellow Malaysians...What do we do?

Pardon me if I get angry when I see fellow Malaysians asking for its blood. Pardon me for getting furious when I hear Malaysians gleefully seeking it's death and enjoying it's painful throes of suffering.

You have forgotten the burden it has carried all those years on our behalf. You have forgotten that it is our pride, our Malaysian pride which you poke fun of.

But I will rally with our standard bearer even as you seek to bring it down.

I and many more true Malaysians will fight for it when it can't defend itself much. We will raise it from its knees. We will bring It back to where it belongs.

Soaring in the clouds and sky, carrying our flag, sharing our love and most of all, staking our claim of pride in the global arena.

Malaysia Airlines... I fly with you. Malaysians fly with you. And we are proud to do so. Hang in there.

That is an inspiring piece. Congratulation Cheah.

Many Malaysians have become to overly critical and took the myopic view of dollars and sen from the perspective of its profitability and the financial burden it has imposed on the nation that they fail to see the real value of MAS to the country.

Can't quite remember but Khazanah may have pumped in some RM4 billion to keep it flying. Maybe it is more. For crying out loud, lets just throw a number of RM10 billion.

Looking at merely return and additional investment by shareholders is only part of the picture. If one look at it's asset, MAS has more assets than liabilities. It means there is still a surplus.

Off course, some will question the assumptions with more specific numbers. Having been up all night clearing some of our outstanding work before getting our "night sleep", we are not going to prepare for a debate to study the latest account now.

But, quite sure there is value to Cheah's patriotism to keep the flag-bearer flying proud. If we can read the thinking of those people in Khazanah Nasional, they must be thinking of the easy way out of dumping or closing up MAS.

That is the problem of having a Managing Director with an Analyst and Fund Manger background. The new director of Khazanah is addressed as Banker these days but his real background was a stockbroker. It is the guy one of the wives insulted in the movie "Bonfire in the Vanities" as picking up the crumbs.

We are still puzzled as to why Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar was being kept as Managing Director of Khazanah when he failed to turnaround three companies he was assigned to from the first day of his appointment; namely UEM, Proton and MAS.

It is more puzzling to see him being seen with high regards when his contribution is merely as Fund Manager whose chase for return still can't beat the Bursa Index performance. From a national interest, it is of minimal strategic value. It is only indicative of the lack of quality of the person.

Azman is there and involved throughout the decline of MAS from a world leading airline to a presently struggling one. It is he who picked and recommended CEO after CEO that failed and leave. Despite his direct hands in all the failures, he is allowed to stay on.

Typical of financial man, their worldview in Khazanah is only dollar and sen and they claimed their role is to maximise shareholders value. However, to be able to value things, it is not the methodology that matters but the dollar and senses to appreciate the value.

Given to a monkey, it will not know the appreciation value of a beautiful flower and just eat it. Only an afficianado of flowers could place high value to rare flowers.

If something insignificant like the one-week Monsoon Cup can have a value of more than half a billion ringgit, what is the value for selling the name Malaysia to the world non-stop for 77 years and at one time reached about 100 countries?

Forget about how much brand value to Malaysia for the past 77 years. Just ask how much it is for only a year.

And, we did ask one corporate man. In turn, he asked us to estimate estimate. The number we threw was RM2 billion. After much discussion, he said if managed properly, MAS could bring a brand value of RM5 billion a year to Malaysia.

Yet Amokh kept grumbling over having to pump in money into MAS and has decided that he will never pump any more.

In other words, he wants Malaysia to get billions of worth in brand value without having to pay money. When he failed to think and churn some return, he is willing to forego the billion dollar worth of brand value to the country. How patriotic can heartless corporate man be?

That is just brand value from expose and free advertising. Did Azman bother to use his dollar and sense when he allowed the lack of foresight Chief Powerpoint Officer of Pemandu liquidate a property in London bought for cheap but had invaluable advertising value?

That is not taking into account as to how MAS helped to boast the country into the top 20 trading nation in the world. 16 to be exact. Try adding up the annual trade generated to the country that can be attributable to MAS presence. It will substantially increase the M5 billion brand value.

Do not forget tourism.

Supposed it is beyond the ability of any party including government to sustain MAS and it is liquidated. Think of this.

Malaysia will be the only top 20 trading nation without an airline. It will depend and be at the mercy of the airlines of other countries or the like of Tan Sri Tony Fernandez to bring in business people and tourist.

If they all gang-up to refuse to go to Langkawi, the beautiful island will be closed and the people would end up going back to the poverty stricken economic activity of padi farming within months.

Malaysia must think of a contingencies in the event the war mongering West call for sanction because we refused to allow LGBT to be freely practise.

MAS need a proper shareholder and the CEO must be one with the leadership and ability to think beyond just cost but more on generating revenue for the operations. he or she should be creative enough to translate some of the billions of value it created for the country into it's own profit.

If one can understand that strategic statement, then one should realise how foolish the moves by Azman throughout the years. Imagine, he allowed himself to be surrounded by failures and plunderers of MAS like Tan Sri Mohd Nor Yusof, Tan Sri Dr Munir Majid, Tan Sri Azman Yahya and many others.

* Edited 23/7/2014 11:45 PM


Anonymous said...

u made a statement;

'It is only indicative of the lack of quality of the person, whose been there throughout the decline of MAS from a world leading airline to a presently struggling one. It is he who pick and recommend CEO after CEO that failed and leave but despite his direct hands in the failure, he is allowed to stay.'

U answered it succinctly;

'...Imagine still surrounding himself with failures and plunderers of MAS like Tan Sri Mohd Nor Yusof, Tan Sri Dr Munir Majid, Tan Sri Azman Yahya and many others.'

Basically, it's a musical-chair choir with controlled members - identified by cartels of umno elites, blue-bloods, well-connected goons, abang-adekism morons, FLCE sycophants & lastly race & religion - in that descending others.

Meritocracy is a dirty word!!!!!

In fact, u r part of that chain! It's just that now u r packed at the bottom of the rank, u rant & hope again hope that someone WOULD notice u again.

Garrett said...

Very well-written! Great analysis! And kudos to William Cheah for his patriotism....cheers, mate!

Anonymous said...

Have a Look at MAS Annual Report latest 2013, all the figures are mambo jumbo, confusing and do not understand why Bursa or SC allowed this type of Annual Report. Some of the figures do not match up and purposely confusing.

Why blame on MAS crew and staff cost when this staff cost over revenue is about 16% whilst SIA was about 15%. Now let see the finance cost over revenue, MAS shows 3% whilst SIA was 0.24%. MAS is been put into financial management game so that it will be in distress all the time. Fuel cost over revenue is about 40% whilst SIA is about 37%. Not that far off as to compare SIA as top tier airline. (Any how MAS is a competitor to SIA)

MAS have no issue of OPEX but have issues about balance sheet management that been run by the so called elite top of the top management. All hand pick by Khazanah cronies.

Since 2009 there's supposed to be a WAU asset debt stripping putting Aircraft into PMB a subsidiary Khazanah. From there onward PMB lease back to MAS. MAS was supposed to have less debt. Yet from 2010 onward and until 2014, MAS have been borrowing 11.3 Billion Ringgit to purchase new aircraft. Since then MAS have to pay 1.5 billion ringgit for Aircraft leasing and at the same time paying about 500 million ringgit finance cost. And this keep on growing. Why buy and why not used PMB as a leasing aircraft facilitator for MAS. Could it be better this way so that MAS can focus to take care is financial cash flow and maintain OPEX. What have happen MAS is been put extra burden in running their financial management.

All this is just a numbers game played by Khazanah to kill MAS and intend to strip MAS Asset in the process. So called corporate restructuring without taking a heart to the flag bearer of MAS that is the crew and ancillary supporting staff of MAS.

MH17 tragedy will just accelerate asset stripping by Khazanah. When this happen obviously staff need to be reorganize and made redundant.

Arne Saknussem said...

How many foreign passengers are travelling to Malaysia on AirAsia?

MAS may be the nation's flag carrier.

Does that give it carte blanche to draw unlimited funds from the public purse, without any accountability?

It's like telling MAS that it has an unlimited "blank cheque" and that it is somehow magically exempted from the need to compete and pay it's way.

You need not pontificate to us about the history of MAS. We know about MSA (Malaysia-Singapore Airlines) and the breakup that created MAS and SIA.

Fast forward to 2014 and compare the respective positions and rankings of these 2 airlines.

Then tell us whether MAS has been doing a great job post-MSA?

maae said...

MAS is Malaysia's global ambassador. To liquidate it or to sell is purely business.

However to maintain the flag bearer, can it be done ? For years has been doing that without failed. The worry is to get rid of 'the red' and form it into Mas (gold) again !

Do Khazanah has the masterplan ?

kampong lad said...

'he failed to turnaround UEM, Proton and MAS'.

kalau perang (bukan pertempuran) malaysia dah 3 kali kalah. ini umpama lantik jurutera jadi jeneral. this has got nothing to do with flag bearers.

telur2 said...

How to soar like an eagle when he surrounds himself with turkeys?

Anonymous said...

We need to see MAS fly again. Soaring high and proud. I personally wrote a scathing FB message to Ng Wei Aik on his wife's uncouth comment that Msia is useless after the tragedy of MH17. Yet to get a reply from the dumb ass. Probably he is at lost that a Chinese would give him a dressing down. If I have been a Malay, my comments to urge him and his famity to migrate would be met with accusation of being racist.

Any Malaysians that can't be sympathetic to MAS plight and her troubles are lacking of patriotism. If you lack of something what do you do? Go find it. Just don't stay in Malaysia. Please migrate.

Thank you.


Anonymous said...

this amokh is just like that azlan that sold our motorcycle comp. for $1 . At last the comp. that bought it made a huge return by few hundred millions. I wish the govt. would take into trial of such accountant that fails to see the tangible value of this miss sightings. He should be ask to work for the rakyat to make return for the losses incur by his evaluation.. till date I cant forgive this guy.

Anonymous said...

I could not agree more. Khazanah and gang are just looking at short term bottom line. They do not even fathom the potential loss to Malaysia the country if MAS is no longer there.
They forgot how trade and political gains in South Africa, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar were gained because of MAS being the flag bearers there. During Tun's time MAS then followed by Renong, Maybank and the likes went there to open opportunities .... then the IJM, Berjaya, YTL and the likes follow suite to make profits. And of course they claim now their success is purely out of their smartness, zero help from anyone in the Government.

It is just frustrating how and why PM Najib sees fit to keep Amok in Khazanah. He and Pemandu have not given us the value they promised!

Anonymous said...

Compare MAS vs Air Asia.

Why not let AA buy over MAS and still retain the airline.

AA AAX can then be called MAS. No need to slowly expand their routes and aircraft purchase.

It's a win-win situation.

You get better managers, meritocracy, and MAS employees still having their jobs.

As for Langkawi, tourists can take the ferry and fly in thru Penang airport.

My Say