ASEAN/APEC/CONSUMERIST LEAD DR JACOB GEORGE – NAJIB RIGHT – THE WAY FORWARD IS AUTOMATION NOT UNSKILLED LABOUR INTENSIVE!

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“Najib was right that with better use of technologies, one can reduce the need for foreign workers which is a never ending obsession in Malaysia as industry players, brokers, politically connected conduits live a life of extreme luxury from monies derived from dealing and managing foreign workers approvals and their logistics!”

“To realize this the task force should come out with a blue print that is put into play immediately and all government agencies especially the Home and Human Resources Ministries must play a supportive role in this not just lip service so that the dependence on foreign unskilled labor dependence will be stopped immediately!” – Dr Jacob George

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ASEAN/APEC/CONSUMERIST LEAD DR JACOB GEORGE – NAJIB RIGHT – THE WAY FORWARD IS AUTOMATION NOT UNSKILLED LABOUR INTENSIVE!

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I was very excited hearing Premier Najib Razak urging stakeholders and industry players in the private sector especially the Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia (ACCCIM)for greater innovation and to increase the use of technology so as to be less dependent on foreign workers.

Also present was my very dear friend, Pahang Menteri Besar Adnan Yaakob.

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The premier’s view was reflective of my advice to the Home Ministry to freeze all approvals of unskilled and skilled foreign workers unless it was in an area which was very critical to premier export orientated or critical industry!

This even if approvals already given!

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In the course of his presentation Premier Najib alluded to the implementation of the Industrialized Building System (IBS) in the construction industry, whereby the components are manufactured in a controlled environment or the use of robotic technology, which has proven to increase productivity.

And I fully agree with the Premier that what was needed was a shift in the present mindset where industry players are instead of using automation and looking at global shifts in the work place concentrating on labor intensive changing to better technologies to increase productivity, which will bring more revenue.

Najib was right that with better use of technologies, one can reduce the need for foreign workers which is a never ending obsession in Malaysia as industry players, brokers, politically connected conduits live a life of extreme luxury from monies derived from dealing and managing foreign workers approvals and their logistics!

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If Malaysia wants to be competitive it is time as Najib alluded Malaysia’s private sector must place greater emphasis on the state of the art technology to increasing productivity because we need to compete at a higher level in view leaps made by our neighbors in the ASEAN region.

It is there my view that going forward the premier must establish a new task force which reports direct to him to initiate a plan of action to make his vision of moving away from foreign labor intensive ventures to one using the state of the art technology.

To realize this the task force should come out with a blue print that is put into play immediately and all government agencies especially the Home and Human Resources Ministries must play a supportive role in this not just lip service so that the dependence on foreign unskilled labor dependence will be stopped immediately!

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Failing which Malaysia will end up at the bottom of the barrel on technology transfer, the state of the art technology in ASEAN, and instead housing unskilled foreign workers coming with all kinds of medical illness, backgrounds, issues that may be a security threat in the near future!

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ASEAN/APEC/CONSUMERIST LEAD DR JACOB GEORGE – MAS ANY WHICH WAY BUT LOSE?

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ASEAN/APEC/CONSUMERIST LEAD DR JACOB GEORGE – MAS ANY WHICH WAY BUT LOSE?

I am certain outgoing Malaysian Airlines Bhd (MAS) CEO Christoph Mueller is quite aware of my constant views on where we are as an airline in an industry that is rapidly challenged and competitive and what in my mind needs to be done!

And I am aware after his arrival he made several press statements and in them his views, direction and promises.

Even at that stage I did wonder if he was already inflicted by the same sickness the plagued Malaysian politicians and policy makers so soon in his employment or election?

The sickness of saying politically correct things and making promises that you cannot keep because the way things in Malaysia, corporate, civil and social life is engineered for such a long time!

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But I must give him credit for having the courage and insight in cutting 6,000 jobs though I felt it – the process – could have being better managed with transparency and accountability!

He has since justified that that was because many of the 20,000 employees were “doing nothing”.

He reiterated that he was not impressed with the state that MAS was in when he first took over the Malaysian flag carrier.

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And Christoph Mueller statement to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) on its web portal to each and every Malaysian was nothing new but a confirmation that is how business was initiated in Malaysia and of strong undercurrents and bindings between politics and business!

And the backlash against any who challenges this status quo which has today been entrenched in stone as a way business is initiated and carried out.

I have been the nation’s lead consumerist for over 4 decades and during that tenure had addressed and exposed enough improprieties in the public interest and suffered threats to life and limb, lost my job in the 90s, hurt personally, financially and in well being for that decision of accountability – which I do not regret!

Christoph should know nothing moves and has its being unless it is sanctioned by the large number of power brokers in the system each with their own interest in mind?

And they just did not have the “balls” to initiate draconian changes in the protocols and processes to bring an ailing airline out of the intensive care unit!

They wanted the bourgeoisie positions and decision making powers and the huge unimaginable perks that came with the office but not the dedication and commitment to do the right thing?

So the next best thing in the experiment is to bring an outsider in to do the “dirty job” and if things go wrong – crucify him/her and the old order comes back in as knights in silver armor and gullible Malaysians would be satisfied?

But that statement to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) was not expected?

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That rocked and derailed everything?

So what did Muller say:

“Despite all the announcements by the government, a turnaround wasn’t initiated by the time I became CEO.

“Many of the 20,000 employees who worked for the airline had nothing to do. In fact, when I walked through the hangars, people were sleeping. That’s why I had to radically cut 6,000 jobs,”

He said MAS was in dire straits before he took over because of poor personnel management and a bloated workforce.

Mueller said MAS also suffered from a bloated and overpriced supply chain, partly because the airline bought products from suppliers at prices 20 to 25 percent higher than the market value.

“Everything from pens to US$200-million aircraft were purchased at these rates. I am not saying that we were bad negotiators, and in any case corruption is punishable also in Malaysia,”

Mueller also pointed out that MAS had about 20,000 suppliers and, as a result, the glut made it difficult for the airline to get a volume discount from anyone.

He observed that the previous so-called turnaround plans announced for the airline were half-hearted at best.

And he also stated that actions that he initiated:

He had to slash 6,000 jobs at the airline as many were doing nothing, with some even sleeping in the hangars.

He “managed to downsize the number to about 4,000 suppliers” from an embarrassing 20,000.

And his goal “to cut it further to some 2,000.” By doing this, he hopes to “reduce our procurement costs,”

He noted that the airline has had a spate of bad luck in recent years – the disappearance of MH370 and shooting down of MH17 that gave it bad press – but expressed incredulity that the carrier could have been in the red at all.

As expected the reaction from the power brokers and political leeches to Muller’s statement was fast.

Muller was reprimanded “not knowing Malaysian culture!”

But equally fast was Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF) Executive Director Shamsuddin Bardan who brought some level of sanity into the narrative when he rightly pointed out that “investors normally consider the work ethics of the people in a country before pumping in money.”

He went on to state that any attempts to defend “the rights of workers to sleep at work may have just discouraged investors,”

What is sad was the lack of professionalism in the manner these issues were deliberated and addressed!

But perhaps, it would be rather a herculean task to change the way we do things in Malaysia.

Why should one change if political kiss ass can position one in places of power?

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Why should one change if there is always the opportunity of another bailout and no Royal Commission of Inquiry to audit comprehensively what really went on and who is liable for the decisions taken that plunged an airline once respected but today a pale shadow of what she was!

An airlines where families of employees still have no closure what really happened to MH17 or MH 370?

Where is SIA and where is MAS?

Where is the Singapore dollar and where is the ringgit?

Look at Singapore and its war against corruption and ask, beating your breast black-and-blue, where we are?

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As far as I am concerned what Mueller articulated is not surprising because it was already common knowledge regarding what ailed MAS.

These are merely symptoms.

The root cause is the culture of entitlement and subsidy that a certain demography have been repeatedly infused from birth as a right?

And God help us criminal and apathetic a total lack of accountability, good governance, transparency, ethics, adherence to international industry standards and norms!

I will say no more!

Res Ipsa Loquitur (Latin, literally ‘the matter speaks for itself’)?

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ASEAN/APEC HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER & EXPERT DR JACOB GEORGE – ORLANDO MASSACRE COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED!

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“As for CNN – they are doing what they do best, using tragedies to hit new heights in ratings, as they rerun, recycle, the so called experts who will be paraded by each and every anchor and give us their “two cents” analysis and perspectives, and bore us to bits while educating potential terrorists and lone wolfs who certainly are among the audience hearing the discourse?”

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ASEAN/APEC HUMAN RIGHTS LAWYER & EXPERT DR JACOB GEORGE – ORLANDO MASSACRE COULD HAVE BEEN AVOIDED!

An American-born man, who according to reports pledged allegiance to ISIS gunned down 50 people early Sunday at a gay nightclub in Orlando!

For now, it is termed the deadliest mass shooting in the United States and the nation’s worst terror attack since 9/11!

The “lone wolf” gunman, was Omar Mateen, 29, of Fort Pierce, Florida, who was interviewed by the FBI in 2013 and 2014 but was not found to be a threat?

Really FBI?

Am I shocked – certainly No!

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US President Barack Obama called the shooting “an “act of terror” that served as a “sobering reminder that attacks on any American, regardless of race, ethnicity, religion or sexual orientation is an attack on all of us.”

Vice President Joe Biden “offered his prayers for all those killed and injured in the shooting and sends his condolences to all the families and loved ones of the victims,”

The Republican led Congress – any comments?

Hillary Clinton campaign has responded, that she has a comprehensive plan to combat ISIS at home and abroad and will be talking to the American people in the coming days about steps she would take to keep the country safe?

Really?

Donald Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee, as expected continued his politicizing the event attacking the US President and his rival for the forthcoming US Presidential election Hilary Clinton the presumptive Democratic nominee!

So very predictable and according to the Donald Trump playbook?

As for CNN – they are doing what they do best, using tragedies to hit new heights in ratings, as they rerun, recycle, the so called experts who will be paraded by each and every anchor and give us their “two cents” analysis and perspectives, and bore us to bits while educating potential terrorists and lone wolfs who certainly are among the audience hearing the discourse?

Meanwhile the gun lobbyists and their stakeholders, are silent perhaps, awaiting their communication experts and spin masters to prepare their narrative in response to this US deadliest shootings?

As a Western trained Consumer and Human Rights Lawyer and Political Analyst, I am baffled how on God’s earth can someone who has already been on the FBI and Terrorists watch lists able to purchase the heavy weapons as he did?

And this is not the first time it has happened!

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The shooter in this incident, Omar Mateen of Port St. Lucie, Florida despite the watch was able to purchase an assault-type rifle and a handgun and these weapons he used in the carnage at the crowded club at about 2 a.m. Sunday.

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In addition to the 50 people who were killed, an additional 53 were injured!

And sadly this death toll makes the attack deadlier than the 2007 Virginia Tech shooting, in which student Seung-Hui Cho shot 32 people to death before killing himself, and the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown!

And has America learnt any lessons from all these tragedies?

I have my doubts!

Here is a list of America’s deadliest mass shootings.

50 people, June 12, 2016 After a gunman opened fire at a prominent gay club in Orlando early on Sunday morning, 50 people were killed and 53 injured. Police killed the shooter after he held some locals in the club hostage.

32 people, April 17, 2007 A 23-year-old student at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Virginia killed 32 people in shooting spree in two locations. The shooter, Seung-Hui Cho pre-recorded a video of him ranting about rich “brats” and complaining about being bullied. Cho killed himself on the scene.

27 people, December 14, 2012 20-year-0ld Adam Lanza gunned down 20 children between the ages of 6 and 7 at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, as well as six adults and school staff before killing himself. Lanza committed suicide.

23 people, October 16, 1991 George Hennard crashed his pickup truck through the walls of Luby’s Cafeteria, a packed restaurant in Killeen, Texas. The 35-year-old then shot and killed 23 people before killing himself. A former roommate said he hated “blacks, Hispanics, gays” and said women were “snakes.”

21 people, July 18, 1984 A security guard fired from his job entered a McDonald’s in San Ysidro, California with a shotgun and killed 21 employees and customers, including children. The guard, 41-year-old James Huberty, was killed by a police sniper an hour after he started shooting.

18 people, August 1, 1966 A 25-year-old former marine, Charles Joseph Whitman, went to the top of a tower at the University of Texas at Austin shortly after killing his wife and mother, and shot and killed 16 people on the campus , wounding 30. He was then killed by a police officer.

14 people, December 2, 2015 Husband-and-wife couple Syed Rizwan Farook and Tashfeen Malik opened fire at an employee gathering in San Bernardino, California, killing 14 people. Both were radicalized in the United States and discussed jihad in private messages to each other.

14 people, August 20, 1986 A part-time mail carrier in Edmond Oklahoma, Patrick Henry Sherrill, armed with three handguns, kills
14 postal workers 10 minutes before killing himself.

13 people, November 5, 2009 Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan killed 13 people and injured 32 in a shooting at Fort Hood, Texas during a shooting rampage. He was caught and sentenced to death.

13 people, April 20, 1999 Students at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colorado, Eric Harris, 18, and Dylan Klebold, 17, shot and kill 12 other students and a teacher. They committed suicide in the school’s library.

13 people, February 18, 1983 Three men robbed 14 people in a gambling club in Seattle, shooting each of them in the head and killing 13. Two of them were were convicted of murder, while the third was convicted of robbery and second-degree assault and deported to Hong Kong in 2014.

13 people, September 25, 1982 40-year-old prison guard and army veteran George Banks killed 13 people in Wilkes-Barr, Pennsylvania, including five of his own children. He was sentenced to death but the ruling was overturned by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court after finding Banks mentally unfit.

13 killed, September 5, 1949 A 28-year-old World War II veteran named Howard Unruh killed 13 people on the street of Camden, New Jersey with a German Luger pistol. He was found insane sent to a mental institution.

12 people, September 16, 2013 James Holmes, a 24-year-old recent neuroscience PhD at the University of Colorado, killed 12 people and wounded 58 in a crowded movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Holmes is serving life in prison without parole.

12 people, July 29, 1999 44-year-old Mark Barton of Atlanta killed his wife and two children at his Atlanta home, then opened fire in two separate stock brokerage houses, killing nine people and wounding 12.

12 people, September 16, 2013 Aaron Alexis, a 34-year-old former Navy officer shot and killed 12 people at the Washington Navy Yard.

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As you can see this is a long litany of mass murders and after all the sad loss of lives and families lives ruined the carnage continues because as always the Americans failed to give up their guns or at best bring comprehensive, detailed, reforms at gun purchase and control!

And most importantly, ban all assault weapons from being purchased by civilians period!

Until and unless Americans are ready to take such stringent steps – it is just a matter of time before the next tragedy strikes!

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In the meantime, my sincere prayers for those whose lives have been devastated and ruined by this tragedy!

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Consumerist: Malaysia’s Pay TV – ASTRO – Reruns and Repeats Slammed By Consumers!

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I wrote this piece April 10th 2013 – has anything changed – certainly NO!

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Consumerist: Malaysia’s Pay TV – ASTRO – Reruns and Repeats Slammed By Consumers!

It is really embarrassing when our own commissions, our own so called ‘regulatory bodies and agencies’ are impotent to address and rectify consumer grouses as ‘business and politics’ in Malaysian are “partners” – an entrenched strange bedfellow at the expense of consumers!

Two results due to this symbiotic relationship!

First consumers are royally screwed by monopolies and business predators!

Secondly, the result is a business organization can levy any costs and not provide a service which is ‘value for money’ and not be penalized at all!

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We have ‘industry untouchables’ because they do a political favors for our political boys by surging their image even when it is tainted and shred by political misdemeanors and misdeeds?

In a more level playing field, based on international laws and convention, these ‘monopolies and tie ups will not survive public interest scrutiny and vigilance as was seen recently in Australia, the US or the UK, and other global markets where in a recent case, a Malaysian big business organization was hammered into submission and their corporate spin doctors had to go on overdrive to do damage control!

In another case – the US law makers are finally getting a hand in dealing with a high powered corruption scandal involving their navy!

We have many commissions in Malaysia all presumably set up to protect the Ali, Ah Kow and Arumugam?

So what happened?

So may I ask what are our ‘boys and gals’ at various ‘COMMISSIONS” doing?

Are they in proactive mode or just acting the narrative and script, or do undertake cosmetic duties to justify their high pay and perks – whack the small fries and claim breakthroughs as if we are all pretty stupid!

Strange to this date many such business entities are untouchables here!

The same goes to other so called service providers to whom we pay monthly fees and receive substandard service, interrupted service, reruns, and basically stupidity when we ask pertinent questions on issues on customer satisfaction, complaints, quality, accountability, governance and so forth!

So I am not the least surprised that ASTRO is again in the epic-center of another consumer frustration and anger despite all their recent propaganda on air!

So what do Malaysian consumers say and herewith we submit one such statement!

“ It is time for Astro subscribers to come together and form an association and sue those who run the ‘service provider!’

They continue:

“Astro is getting complacent, its service is getting from bad to worse with repeats and reruns!

Even newly emerging markets and countries like in Cambodia where satellite TV is still new, has more than 120 channels for all subscribers for less than RM20 per month without extra charges for extra features!

But look at Malaysia Boleh’s Astro now.

They are sucking our money (the subscribers) every month, making tonnes of profit on the back of highly imposed rates, advertisements, despicable services and full of outdated sitcoms and movie reruns!’

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ASEAN/APEC LEAD DR JACOB GEORGE – CAN MORE BE DONE FOR THE WORLD GENUINE REFUGEES?

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There is a heinous and tragic crime here and there must be massive punishment meted out by UN and Global sanctions, international travel bans, the freezing of finances and assets of the regime leaders in international banks, their landed properties abroad seized, and all their families, relatives, children, relations and even their dogs and cats affected by this international action!

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ASEAN/APEC LEAD DR JACOB GEORGE – CAN MORE BE DONE FOR THE WORLD GENUINE REFUGEES?

Those of us who have a heart and conscience, must act and there can be no doubt that with ongoing destabilization caused by violence, wars, genocide, religious and racial cleansing and the crumbling of societies in West Asia, Syria and the region, the number of refugees and internally displaced people worldwide will likely reach a new record far beyond 60 million!

Gosh, that is a mind blogging figure!

This figure has already been stated by the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Geneva.

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Mathematically this would mean that one in every 122 humans is someone, who has been forced from their home.

We have not addressed these issues in our legal pursuits, national and international deliberations, and the time is here, to address them in definitive legal lines!

How can the law be applied to those who have been victims of “forced displacement?”

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How will our world react to those who have lost everything?

Will they be victims of further dehumanization and the total void of dignity or would the world with all its complexities react with tolerance, compassion and solidarity with these people who have lost everything?

And according to UNHCR estimates at least five million people around the world fled across borders or became displaced within their countries between January and June!

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In this mindless saga are several countries affected directly and indirectly and unless more concrete and pragmatic efforts rather than lip service is forthcoming these victims have gone into a tunnel and I for one, cannot see light at the end of it!

Syria has entrenched itself as the biggest source of new refugees again in 2016!

And not far off from Syria, her neighbor Turkey was the world’s biggest host, according to the refugee agency. It currently hosts 2.3 million Syrians.

They are not alone as – Lebanon, another country bordering Syria, one in five inhabitants is a refugee, making it the country with the biggest refugee population per capita.

Unless more countries, which includes the self-righteous, hypocrite laden rich Arab states, which includes, Saudi Arabia does something – there is a bleak future all around!

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Finally, how does the civilized world and the UN react to governments, nations, politicians, who spearhead violence, wars, genocide, ethnic, religious and racial cleansing of their own citizens?

There is a heinous and tragic crime here and there must be massive punishment meted out by UN and Global sanctions, international travel bans, the freezing of finances and assets of the regime leaders in international banks, their landed properties abroad seized, and all their families, relatives, children, relations and even their dogs and cats affected by this international action!

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