Friday, July 03, 2020

Post-Pandemic: Important leaders still not get it yet

Yesterday Health Ministry's Director General, Dato Noor Hisham Abdullah informed media that the latest positive infection is 3.

The day earlier the press was elated when he mentioned one. For few weeks, local cases of Corona Covid 19 virus infection have been on the minimal, and most are imported and involved foreigners.

The Sultan of Selangor announced masjid can conduct Aidil Adha prayers. These developments are indicating the worse is over.

Many felt the aftermath of the pandemic within weeks of the MCO but generally most will only come to term with it now.

It is time to face the task of handling the economic fallout that is being felt globally and restart the economy devastated by the sudden shrinkage in economic activity.

Malaysia have faced many economic crisis before, but the experience of the past may not be relevant today. Methodology need to change with the transformed social, economic and political senario.

6 months? 

The Star dated March 30th quoted 70 year old Dato Mustapha Mohamed, newly appointed Minister in the Prime Minister's Department in charge of economic planning claimed at least six months is needed for economy to recover and it is on condition of right strategy.       

He said in a TV interview that tourism will be severely affected and effort is needed to intensify promotional effort.

SME is beyond government affordability to help all.

To claim six months is needed, it means 70 year old Mustapha doesn't get it.

Within two weeks of MCO, an informed and knowledgeable person expressed financial concern on the possibility government machinery could begin to fall apart.

70 year old Mustapha view was a predictable template. More so, he returned to a position he once held.


FMT reported MIER Chairman, Prof Dr Kamal Salih describing Mustapha, Tengku Zafrul and Azmin Ali as a formidable team.

Kamal was being diplomatic and doing PR to safeguard his business interest. He was a partner to the controversial former Economic Adviser to former PM Tun Dr Mahathir, Dr Muhammad Khalid.

Tengku Zafrol's experiance was as banker. A job hopper from one corporate job to another need familiarisation with public policies. Now his new job require him to be critical of bankers and their lackadaisical attitude towards public interest and welfare.

As MB of Selangor, Azmin was merely spending money saved by the stingy Tan Sri Khalid Ibrahim.

If Kamal Salid bother to do background search, Azmin's degree is in Economics, but his Masters was education. His first and only job experience was several months as MRSM Terendak teacher. His real experience is politics and skillset is only political manovering.

As for 70 year-old Mustapha, his March 30th statement indicate he is out of touch with the times. He seemed unable to understand and gauge the impact of the pandemic Corona Covid 19.

Like most playsafe civil servants, he need a directive for him to "saya yang menurut perintah" instead of preempting measures.

Heath concern not over

The virus is still not well understood yet.

Contrary to claims by POTUS Donald Trump or other reports that certain countries found a vaccine, the testing may require few more years, and it is often for new vaccine to fail outside lab condition during testing.

In short, vaccine is still not available or other word, cure is not found.

Malaysians are elated and proud that our frontliner have address the pandemic well and with worldly acclaim.

A comforting high percentage part of the infected ones recovered. However, the recovery is still a trial-and-error effort and it was sheer luck.   

As told by one frontliner involved, the recovery does not mean the virus have been eliminated from the body.

Few weeks back, Beijing had a second resurgence scare. That led to a Monday 50 point drop on Bursa Malaysia.

The risk will always be there. It means life will not the same anymore. Human behaviour will be completely transformed by the change in daily human activity.

It means the already drastically changed economic activity at the micro level will structurally change at macro level.

When 70-year old Mustapha recently said to The Star that tourism sector will receive the much-needed boost once Malaysia and Singapore open borders, many commentators privately texted to say Tok Pa still does not get it.

He lacks imagination and missed the time tunnel or Delorean car trip "back to future" (i.e. the present and future).

Tourism is dead

There will be hardly any unpurposeful, unnecessary and leisure travel any more for many years to come.

Travelling will be only limited to domestic and nearby destination. No promotion can make people do long flights to see places for Puan Sris and Mak Datins to gloat to their gawking friends and underlings.

By the way, Singapore tourism is not sufficient and considered tourism. What is considered tourism will only be limited to local and regional travel.

There must be genuine need for travelling because health risk of the destination will be high on the consideration to travel.

On the other side, there is also the risk of destined country may not accept traveler from certain origin as happen to Americans wishing to crossover to the Canadian side of Niagara Falls.

Travel bubble still has health risk attached and will not work.

The usual tourism activities for rich and famous to shop for Louis Vuitton at Rodeo Drive and the not so affluent could be there to gawk will be a thing of the past.

Activities of low priority will not attract the interest it once enjoyed.


The excesses of the past will not be as exciting anymore.

The pandemic have suddenly forced people to do self reflection and become more spiritual.

The moral dilemma in the seemingly inhumane actions taken during the stress of making decisions during the crisis are being discussed and reflected on.

John Authers, a business writer on financial markets, wrote an opinion piece in Bloomberg exploring morality and ethics with profound questions below:
What is right and what is wrong? What can individuals expect from society, and what can society expect of them? Should others make sacrifices for me, and vice versa? Is it just to set economic limits to fighting a deadly disease?
Deep questions are being asked on human existence. The pandemic made significant Muslims in Malaysia come to the realisation that God could merely send air and the world could be in absolute disarray.

There are realisation that Covid 19 came about due to neglect and disrespect of mankind to god's order and the nature god bestowed on mankind

Undeniable change

For the benefit of 70-year old Mustapha, this is not a new normal situation but abnormal and unprecedented.

It require deeper thoughts and not merely relying on doing copycat work from the effort and experience of others. The way of travelling abroad and selective copycat of business ideas are over.

In the past, such development approach failed over time because it is not wholesome adoption of the positive attributes in work ethics, culture and the yearning for knowledge.

It was Mahathir's money-in-a-hurry culture and be done with what to happen in the future.

Economic planning will not be the way 70-year old Mustapha is comfortable with and as the world is not as he believe. He cannot plan and impose on the lesser ones to carryout and do.

The time could be over for top down planning. One has to listen to the people on the ground to identify problems and solution, opportunities and reduce wasted efforts.

Putrajaya will think it is necessary to save the hotels and low cost hotels. It is half bake and not thought through. Low cost hotels have never been of economic value creation, but mostly money laundering centres.

Bureacrats at the state capital may think reopening the duty free centre up north will help local traders. Without the Thai to sell cheap quality goods, it will only be a centre free from visitors.

Brainpower, the answer

The way forward need us to ask questions, think, and plan seriously. The country's interest must not be deviated away by politics, self serving businessmen, and glory seekers. 

The strategic way forward for the country does not lies in the politically advantageous positions in finance, trade, home security, rural development and education, but higher education.

The role of higher education is to harness the genuine brain power to identify needs, create opportunity, anticipate problems, envision trends, and train, train, train... the people!

We must think and do ourself. Stop looking abroad but within us. Copycat is only simplistic way out.

By genuine brain power, it may not be in the manner most male Professors and Phd doctorates pursuing positions to be VCs, Deans, Professors, and Head of Departments.

Such position are not meritorious, but attained by political alignment with activist groups like IKRAM or organisational politics to bodek and ampu politicians.

Tourism is only a small area, but it highlights the message that 70 year old Mustapha conventional ways of thinking is not the way forward.

The already 40 year old Gen Y too may now fell to stereotyped thinking.

Other countries of lesser being than Malaysia in the past are fast grabbing opportunities, but people upstairs are too slow, too old and too late to react.

* Edited 7.30 AM Fourth of July


abdhfz1973 said...

What do you expect from Mustapha who is a well known Mahathir disciple..

Anonymous said...

Why the need to reference the Minister's age as a prelude to his name everytime?

Why is Malaysia's relative success as a direct result of superb management by the PN government referred to as "lucky"?

Just give credit to the government where credit is due.

Stop sounding so vindictive and spiteful towards this government and it's Ministers.

Anonymous said...

1. Victoria's Secret declared bankruptcy.
2. Zara closed 1,200 stores.
3. La Chapelle withdraws 4391 stores.
4. Chanel was discontinued.
5.Hermes is discontinued.
6. Patek Philippe discontinued production.
7. Rolex discontinued production.
8. The world's luxury industry has ceased production.
9. Nike has a total of $23 billion US dollars preparing for the second stage of layoffs.
10. Needless to say about the travel.
11. The founder of AirBnb said that because of pandemic, 12 years of efforts were destroyed in 6 weeks.
12. Even the Starbucks also announced to permanently close their 400 stores.

Under the weight of the new crown pandemic, many giants are facing the crisis of failure. Five months of pandemic were in debt, and tens of thousands of companies went bankrupt, so the company was seriously replaced.

If your company is still there, and there are no pay cuts or layoffs, please treat your company well. Because they still insist on carrying all the tests that you can't see. And humans are facing the pandemic that cannot be controlled. The second half of 2020, is the challenge of corporate strength.

Marc of Paranaque said...

Partially fake news! See translated article that follows...

CHECK THE FACTS: Dozens of giant companies in the world go bankrupt due to Covid-19, these are the facts

Wednesday, October 21 2020 14:51
Reporter: Fellyanda Suci Agiesta, Syifa Hanifah - Information about dozens of world giant companies went bankrupt on social media. The company went bankrupt due to the Covid-19 pandemic. A number of companies were mentioned, such as Zara, Rolex, Nike and Starbucks.

"If you have a job & your company is still operating, be very grateful


1. Victoria's Secret declared bankruptcy.
2. Zara closed 1,200 stores.
3. La Chapelle withdrew 4391 stores.
4. Chanel is discontinued.
5. Hermes is discontinued.
6. Patek Philippe discontinued production.
7. Rolex discontinued production.
8. The world's luxury industry has crumpled.
9. Nike has a total of $ 23 billion US dollars preparing for the second stage of layoffs.
10. Gold's gym filed for bankruptcy
11. The founder of AirBnb said that because of the pandemic, 12 years of efforts were destroyed in 6 weeks.
12. Event Starbucks also announced to permanently close their 400 stores.
13. WeWork isn't in a great spot either "

The team traces the facts of the chain message. The results are as follows:

- Victoria's Secret

Victoria's Secret announced in May that it would permanently close 250 of its stores in the United States and Canada. The closure was the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Reported by Forbes, Victoria's Secret, will close 235 US Victoria's Secret outlets and three Pink outlets. The other 12 closed were in Canada. Then Victoria's Secret net sales fell 46 percent to USD 821.5 million.

In addition to closing 250 Victoria's Secret outlets, L Brands, which also owns Bath & Body Works, closed 50 of its outlets. Bath & Body Works during the first quarter of 2020 decreased 37 percent to USD 1.65 billion, compared to the same period last year. In total, sales at Bath & Body Works fell 18 percent to USD 712.7 million.

Conclusion: Right.

- Zara

The fashion company that houses Zara's fashion label, Inditex, will close 1,200 outlets worldwide. The closure of these retail stores due to decreased sales due to the Covid-19 pandemic is true.

Reporting from ANTARA on June 15, 2020, in March, the company announced that it intends to close 3,785 stores globally as sales in retail stores have decreased. Three months later, the company released a statement explaining its plans to increase sales online, but in the process hundreds of retail stores will be closed as part of this plan.

However, during the first quarter of 2020 between February 1 and April 30, Inditex sales fell by 44 percent, while 88 percent of its stores remained closed. During the first quarter, the company recorded a net loss of up to 409 million euros, or approximately IDR 6.5 trillion. However, online sales are said to have increased by up to 50 percent.

The company also stated that retail store sales have recovered gradually, since reopening in the second quarter with certain prominent markets such as China, South Korea and Germany. Apart from Zara, Inditex also houses other brands such as Zara Home, Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Pull and Bear, and Oysho.

Conclusion: Right.

- LaChapelle

According to the 2019 annual report the company Xinjiang LaChapelle Fashion, a Shanghai-based clothing company, has reduced the number of domestic retail outlets from 9,269 to 4,878 between the end of 2018 and December 2019. This marks the closure of 4,391 outlets.

However, the closure in 2019 occurred before the coronavirus pandemic. The first outbreak of Covid-19 was detected in the Chinese city of Wuhan on December 31, 2019.

Conclusion: Right.

[Continues to second part...]

Marc of Paranaque said...

[Second part continues...]

- Patek Philippe

The Swiss watchmaker Patek Philippe reportedly "closed its production site and headquarters" from March 18 to March 27 2020. However, the report said the date was "subject to re-evaluation".

In a statement emailed to AFP, the company announced on 27 April 2020, that Patek Philippe will reopen its production facilities and all other departments on Monday 27 April 2020, with a reduction in daily working hours and staff attendance on site, following a recommendation by the Swiss Government. All employees who are already working remotely will continue until further notice.

Conclusion: Wrong. Patek Philippewas reopened its production facilities and all other departments on Monday 27 April 2020.

- Chanel and Harmes cut production

French fashion house Chanel has decided to progressively close its factories in France, Italy and Switzerland for two weeks starting from March 18, 2020.

According to a report on March 18, 2020, "Chanel made the decision, in accordance with the latest government guidelines, to completely shut down its production sites." However, some distribution locations maintain minimal employee attendance, following protective measures.

Reported by thejakartapost entitled "Birkin maker Hermes to close production sites in France: Report" on March 18, 2020. Hermes closed almost all of its production sites in France until March 30, 2020 amid a lockdown to fight the corona virus outbreak.

The closure of the Hermes plant will affect most of the 42 locations in France except for a factory that produces perfume and which can be used to produce hand sanitizing gel, AFP said, citing internal memos sent to employees.

Conclusion: Disinformation. Chanel has only partially closed its production, and the rest remains open with health protocols.

- Rolex

An explanation of the discontinuation of production at the watch company, Rolex, is explained in a South China Morning Post article entitled "Why Rolex and Patek Philippe are halting watch production in Switzerland during the coronavirus outbreak" on March 18, 2020.

Rolex has just announced that it will suspend production at its manufacturers in Geneva, Bienne and Crissier, Switzerland, for 10 days starting March 17, 2020. The watchmaker is taking precautions to protect its employees as the number of confirmed Covid-19 cases in Switzerland continues to increase.

Conclusion: Right

[Continues to third part...]

Marc of Paranaque said...

[Third part continues...]

- NIKE layoffs of employees

The explanation regarding NIKE preparing to fund USD 23 billion ahead of layoffs is described in a CNBC article entitled "Nike CEO John Donahoe tells employees that layoffs are coming" on June 26, 2020.

In the CNBC article, it was explained that NIKE had experienced a 38 percent decline in sales and a loss of USD 790 million since Covid-19 hit almost all countries in the world. Then Nike shares fell 6 percent in Friday afternoon trading. The stock has a market value of nearly USD 150 billion.

NIKE CEO, John Donahoe, emailed employees to warn them that layoffs would be coming. "We were forced to make some difficult choices that might result in job cuts," John Donahoe wrote in an email, according to Complex Magazine.

Even so, several shops began to open. And it looks like it will continue through online sales. One bright spot for the Nike quarter was digital sales, which jumped 75 percent. Online sales are about 30 percent of its total business which reached USD 5.5 billion in sales in fiscal 2019.

"We are building a flatter, more agile company and transforming Nike more quickly to define future markets. We are diverting resources and creating capacity to reinvest in areas of our highest potential, and we anticipate our realignment will likely result in job losses. , "Nike said in a statement to CNBC.

Conclusion: Disinformation. NIKE will indeed lay off its employees. But that has not happened and has not set up a USD 23 billion fund to lay off employees. NIKE actually benefits when selling online.

- Gold's Gym is bankrupt

The explanation regarding Gold's Gym filing for bankruptcy is described in a BBC article entitled "Gold's Gym files for bankruptcy protection" on May 5, 2020.

Gold's Gym filed for protection from bankruptcy due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic. According to the gym company, the move means the permanent closure of 30 company-owned gyms.

More than 700 gyms operate worldwide under the Gold brand, most of which are franchises. And it is not yet known how many employees will be dismissed.

Adam also assured his customers and employees that the company plans to step out of bankruptcy protection in August.

Conclusion: Wrong

- Airbnb

The explanation regarding the closure of Airbnb, which was built 12 years ago, then collapsed in just 6 weeks, was explained in a BBC article entitled "Coronavirus collapses Airbnb business in weeks, business built in 12 years" on July 3, 2020.

In the BBC article, it was explained that Airbnb's Director and Founder, Brian Chesky, has been building the business for 12 years. Then Chesky exposed the problems facing Airbnb and predicted the future of his business, which he said would be "very different" from what we know today.

The crisis due to Covid-19 hit Airbnb early March, when tourism came to a halt amid lockdown rules around the world.

The practical quarantine left the travel industry nearly paralyzed.

So it's "no surprise" that Airbnb lost their business in a matter of weeks, said Chesky.

The coronavirus has caused Airbnb to reduce their costs by laying 1,900 employees, about 25% of the total, and cutting budgets such as marketing.

Conclusion: Right

[Continues to fourth part...]

Marc of Paranaque said...

[Fourth and final part continues...]

- Starbucks Closes 400 Stores

The explanation regarding Starbucks closing its 400 stores is explained in a Business Insider article entitled "Starbucks plans to close up to 400 stores, as the coffee giant attempts to prepare for a post-pandemic America" ​​on June 11, 2020.

Starbucks plans to close 400 stores across the United States. In addition to the closure, Starbucks is also slowing down its plans to open new stores this year. The company plans to open stores in around 300 new locations this year, initially planning to open 600 locations.

Even so, Starbucks continues to open purchase services through the app, drive-thru, delivery of drinks on the side of the road, and other ready-to-deliver orders that customers can place via the mobile app.

The company announced on Wednesday that it expects revenue in the third quarter to fall by around USD 3 to USD 3.2 billion, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Conclusion: Yes, Starbucks did close 400 outlets in the United States.

- WeWork

An explanation regarding the US startup company, WeWork, was explained in a cnnindonesia article entitled "WeWork is Confident of Recovering Performance in 2021" on July 13, 2020.

A US startup offering workspace, WeWork believes their performance will soon recover and be positive again. The company's chief executive, Marcelo Claure, believes that this performance will be achieved next year.

Performance will be supported by efficiency measures undertaken by cutting around 8,000 workers and re-negotiating leases and selling company assets.

He also stated that performance improvements could be felt since the start of the corona virus pandemic. The pandemic has seen the demand for flexible co-working spaces on the rise.

Companies, he continued, are looking for relatively small offices with satellites close to where their employees live.

WeWork was once praised as a stunning unicorn valued at US $ 47 billion, equivalent to Rp.658 trillion (exchange rate Rp.14 thousand per US dollar). However, these conditions reversed direction.

In a statement to shareholders in early November 2019, We Work stated a loss of nearly US $ 1.3 billion in the third quarter. This loss has more than doubled over the same period the previous year.

This problem has prompted SoftBank to decide to cancel the proposed US $ 3 billion WeWork stock offering. In addition to this problem, WeWork is also haunted by threats from several tenants who refuse to pay rent during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Conclusion: Wrong. WeWork has suffered losses since 2019, or before Covid-19. [noe]

[Untranslated source:; translated by Google Translate app]

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