Consumerist: Corporate Social Responsibility – Going Behind The Veil?

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Consumerist: Corporate Social Responsibility – Going Behind The Veil?

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Malaysian premier, Najib Tun Razak has always emphasized the need for real aggressive corporate and social responsibility by industry players and stakeholders!

Will we heed his call which is the honorable thing to do!

As Malaysia’s leading consumer advocate, with a track record of over 40 years, I cannot but sustain that if a company wants to be credible and effective it must do more than just talk!

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Yes, to be truly effective and credible, companies must adopt various versions of penetrative and real life corporate and social responsibility!

It must be the real thing and not an add-on.

I am only too aware that many stakeholders in Malaysia and industry players only give lip service to CSR!

Many use them as a component or marketing tool and these are not reflected in the company’s processes, mission statements and way of life!

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Will we see in 2016, and with the signing of the TPPA agreements and protocols, more industry playing adopting CSR principles and respecting human rights, fair play and the environment?

Will Malaysian industry players build their operations, end to end committed to the founding principles and tenets of CSR?

To do so, it would mean that a company’s leadership is committed through communication, training, audits, from the highest levels of the governance structure of the company!

It would mean a company’s day to days running is commitment by its support of the CSR benchmarks.

I fully agree that a company is not an NGO. It has it many diversions and limitations.

It cannot address an issue like an NGO!

Its staff cannot function, think, act like an NGO!

Believe me – I know!

Yes as – they have a different vision and mission!

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But to be effective and practicing what they preach, they must have the elements of commitment, framework, and capacity to work with external partners to build alliances and deliver real change which can only be brought by a real entrenched commitment to the high virtues and principles of CSR!


Consumerist: Leaving Your Job – Some Courtesies To Observe!

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Consumerist: Leaving Your Job – Some Courtesies To Observe!

I have always felt that leaving a job is a process filled with questions of professional courtesy: Should you give the one month’s notice and in some cases 3 months?

Do you give a heads up to your superior?

I have always felt if one decides to quit one should do it with dignity and decorum!

The is no need to violate professional etiquette.

I sincerely feel that by tossing aside proper protocol could cost you the respect of colleagues and remove your boss from your reference list.

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It is always better to ensure your exit is a smooth one.
This is what I will do if I am planning to quit and something I shared to 4 colleagues who told me they are quitting soon!

1. Notify your boss or department head in person. I sincerely feel if done it shows respect, self-confidence and that you have strong interpersonal skills.

2. Give plenty of notice. These days employment contract already have exit clauses one month or in very senior cases 3 months!

3. There is no necessity to explain your reason for leaving. Barring a non-compete clause in your contract or a counteroffer situation, you do not have to give the company detailed reasons for your departure.

4. Avoid emotional outbursts. Launching into a tirade against your boss or others who played politics or a Brutus may provide some momentary bliss, but it can haunt you later. Walk away with your head held high!

5. Never leave your employer in a bind. You may be eager to start your new job in say two weeks, but be fair to the company that help you put food on the table. Do the right thing – give ample notice!

6. You want everyone to be a positive reference. Satisfied that your listed reference from the company holds you in high regard!

7. Keep your work mates and colleagues in the loop. Co-workers you have known for years merit a heads up about your decision rather than the sight of an empty desk and days of speculating about what happened to their colleague.

8. Show gratitude toward the most influential. While you may have worked well with everyone, one or two individuals may have been instrumental in helping you achieve success.

Verbally thank them or write a personal note describing how the working relationship positively benefited you!

Most importantly, those who watched your back against the high and perfect storms of work! Show your appreciation!

Even if some of your superiors or others are a bunch of morons and idiots – pen a note that shows your appreciation there too!

By these actions there is no baggage, no ill feeling, no hurts you carry going forward!

Wishing all of you a Blessed Lunar New Year Celebrations 2016!


Consumerist: ASTRO ‘Service’ Sucks Big Time In Malaysia!

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It is absolutely embarrassing and despicable, that you keep a consumer, waiting for over 45 minutes, forcing them to switch off their telephones.

It is despicable, that our laws are not strong enough, to protect Malaysian consumers from companies like yours, masquerading as service providers!

I called you, to report a service interruption on Saturday Jan 30, at between 9.45pm to 10.45pm and was forced to waiting listening to an horrible voice singing away for 50 minutes!

This is what you call Wecare?

Well Done Astro!

You make all Malaysians, really proud by this benchmark and standards!



Consumerist: 5 Brave Steps To Being An Alert and Conscious Malaysian Consumer In The Wake Of Marketplace Turmoil!

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Beloved Prime Minister, Najib Tun Razak has always advised Malaysian consumers to be dedicated in making a budget and to take cognizance of marketplace escalation of prices which is a global phenomenon!

As budgeting will help Malaysian consumers to steer their way despite marketplace challenges!

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Consumerist: 5 Brave Steps To Being An Alert and Conscious Malaysian Consumer In The Wake Of Marketplace Turmoil!

My late grandfather a headmaster in Sungei Petani, Kedah and peer of the first two Malaysian premiers, always stated that the very foundation of developing good financial habits as a committed consumer especially with spiraling costs of living and services is creating solid budgeting skills.

Budgeting is not an art, it is a skill that is taught by practicing over and over again.
It is no rocket science!

You do not need a degree in finance to create and maintain a budget.

Follow these simple steps to create a solid budget.

Step 1: Gather Information.

Gather together all of your bank statements, receipts, and credit card statements for a given month. Create a number of categories for living expenses such as food, gas, rent/mortgage, utilities, clothing, loan payments, etc.

Based on the information you gathered, make an educated estimate for the amount that you spend in each category. Also, figure out your take home income (total monthly income minus taxes).

Step 2: Write it Down!

The biggest mistake that so many Malaysian consumer households make is that they skip the easiest step in the budgeting process — writing down the budget! You must write or type out your budget.

There is something powerful about seeing it on paper rather than keeping it in your head. This is a good template for those of you with Microsoft Excel. It allows you to type in the projected and actual budget amounts.

Step 3: Spend Your Money on Paper

This is a very important step. There are two methods of budgeting: looking back and looking ahead budgeting. Looking back budgeting involves spending all of your money and keeping track of where it all went at the end of the month.

Looking ahead budgeting means spending the money on paper in the beginning of the month, and then spending within the designated amount in each category.

The latter is the only method of budgeting that is effective. If you write down RM500 for food for the month of February, then you have RM500 dollars to spend at the grocery store that month. You spend only that amount for the month.

Step 4: Create a System That Works For You.

Organization is the key to a successful budget. Make sure you have a system that you stick to for setting aside certain amount of money for certain categories.

One popular method for organizing a monthly budget is the envelope system. Take an envelope for the food category and pay yourself RM500 (or whatever your amount is) by placing it into an envelope marked “Food Money”. Do the same for Gas, Entertainment, Miscellaneous Money, and Clothing.

The rest of the money in your checking account will cover bills that need to be paid with a check or debit card. If you do not like keeping envelopes full of money around the house, then check out this online envelope budgeting system at the Mvelopes website.

Step 5: Be Proactive.

This step is what keeps a budget working every month. Obviously, your first budget will not be the most accurate when it comes to setting aside money for certain categories.

At the end of the month, analyze your budget. If you spent RM50 dollars less for Gas, but you spent RM50 more for food, adjust accordingly for the next month.

It’s never this easy, but you get the point. Also, be sure to analyze any categories where you spent much more than you budgeted. If you are spending RM500 on entertainment when you budgeted RM200, then ask yourself some questions. “Why did I spend this much on entertainment this month?”

“Do I need to change my habits for going out?”

Dear Malaysian Consumers – Follow these steps for budgeting and you will start to see the rewards when you have extra money at the end of the month!

It will feel like you gave yourself a pay raise! The idea is to budget in an efficient way to end up with extra money at the end of the month. This extra money should be used for paying off debt aggressively, saving long-term, and establishing an emergency fund.

This is a first brave step to being an alert and conscious consumer in the wake of a Malaysian marketplace turmoil!


Consumerist: 8 Points To Consider As You Plan To Leave Your Job With Your Dignity & Decorum Intact!

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All of us go through a time when we may decide that enough is enough and the need to move on!

It may be that you feel betrayed, by-passed or that you are working for idiots and morons!

Never mind what!

If you have decided to leave and feel that it is for the best – my advice is that you make sure you don’t leave your dignity behind. How you leave your job who you are and how you feel about yourself.

I pray these 8 suggestions will help you leave on a good note. They won’t guarantee it, because you can’t control other people’s reactions. But even if there is negativity, if you leave with what cultural anthropologist Angeles Arrien calls Honorable Closure, you will be able to feel good about yourself.

1. Do your homework. Before you make the decision to quit, be clear about what your motivation is. Is it because: Career opportunities are limited? There something more attractive elsewhere? This is not the work you want to be doing after all? There is a lack of support from from boss or co-workers, or too much conflict? Some of these reason are because you are moving forward to what you desire. Whatever your assumptions are, have you tested them and are sure they are correct?

2. Never make the decision to leave while you are caught in emotions. If you are really angry, take the time for your rational brain to kick back in. You might still decide to leave, but you can make a rational decision on the best way to proceed.

3. Don’t feel guilty. Your attitude makes a huge difference in how you come across when you tell your boss you’re leaving. You don’t need to feel guilty or defensive about leaving a job. According to statistics, the median number of years in a job is around four years. Some people realize immediately that they have landed in the wrong place. If that’s the case, the honorable thing to do is to move on before it gets worse.

4. If you are asked why you are leaving, be clear, be straight, be descriptive. You are more credible when you share information and facts. Don’t dump a lot of emotional baggage, accusations, or generalities that can’t be verified.

5. Tell your boss before you tell your co-workers so he or she doesn’t hear it first through the rumor mill.

6. Consider discussing your concerns with your boss before you make the final decision to leave. It might be there are options you are not aware of that would affect your decision.

7. Give enough warning so they are not hanging in the lurch.

8. Give it your all to the end. There can be a temptation to slack off when you know you’re leaving. Seeing it through to the finish will help you feel good about your contribution and yourself as you walk out the door the last time.