Thinking Malaysia with Biden as US President

U.S. President Joe Biden  rose above the fray and addressed his nation as a statesman seeking to bring his country together again to find its inner strength for the greater good. - AFP file pic
U.S. President Joe Biden rose above the fray and addressed his nation as a statesman seeking to bring his country together again to find its inner strength for the greater good. – AFP file pic

THE rush is to think about impact on U.S.-Malaysia relations, but the more important thing is to reflect on relevance to Malaysia of what President Biden has to deal with in America.

Deep and bitter division in his country leading to assault on U.S. democracy led Biden to concentrate on American unity in his passionate and moving inaugural address last week. He rose above the fray and addressed his nation as a statesman seeking to bring his country together again to find its inner strength for the greater good.

In Malaysia, starting with Tun Dr. Mahathir from 1981, there has not been a statesman among Malaysian political leaders who has offered and worked towards national unity with honesty and care evident in Biden’s “liberating” ascendancy after almost half a decade of public service.

The Tunku, Malaysia’s founding statesman, brought the races together to achieve independence, but was felled by those in Umno who felt he did not bring the Malays enough economic benefit. From then on, in 1969, the “ultras” had to be placated by the institutionalization of a policy, the NEP, to eradicate poverty (irrespective of race, so very conveniently forgotten by all subsequent leaders), and to erase the identification of race with economic function.

Tun Razak, and his deputy Tun Dr. Ismail, the last two statesmen this country has had in power, conceived the audacious social engineering policy, which was intended to last for 20 years until 1990, to achieve national unity. Tun Hussein Onn, Prime Minister on the hoof after Tun Razak’s untimely death in 1976, was an honorable leader who did not have the time to make an imprint on the country because of his health and short tenure.

If he had continued longer, corruption surely would not have become rampant as it has today. When Tun Hussein resigned in July 1981, it marked a watershed, between Malaysian leaders of the past who were moved by the idea of nationhood and unity and honorable service, and those driven primarily by holding power through the politics of race and religion.

They used the NEP by prolonging it, emasculating it, and exploiting it for narrow Malay sectional interests, dosed with religious inroads to determine conduct and circumscribe discussion already throttled by strict laws.

There were three major moments since 1981 which gave hope but turned out to be a false dawn in Malaysian political history. Malaysia’s Vision 2020 (1990-2020) was informed by pretty words which gave great hope without honest political commitment, except in wanting the country to be fully developed economically.

The social and political side of being a fully developed nation “in all aspects of life”, was never a serious objective despite uplifting references to terms like “liberal” (now a word used to condemn everyone and everything not liked) and “Bangsa Malaysia” (again now a dirty word, a no go DAP threat).

When it was introduced with the Sixth Malaysia Plan in 1991, it was all so exciting, complete with the 7 per cent economic growth for the next 30 years to achieve developed nation status. I knew intimately all those involved in minting the wonderful words, and they may even have believed in them, but after operation lalang in 1987 and the emasculation of the judiciary in 1988, it was hard not to look at it as just another platform to secure a long reign, not a statesman’s honest target of achieving national unity.

Many events, including major economic and political ones in 1998, too involved to get into here, had already disfigured Vision 2020 before it ended largely forgotten last year.

Malaysia’s New Economic Model (NEM), which then Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib unveiled in 2010, was the second moment of hope. A high income, inclusive and sustainable Malaysia, which will reduce the disparity between the wealthiest and poorest, to replace the NEP that had continued beyond its sell-by date, which Najib had criticized for its skewered implementation, was now on offer. It crashed against the hard rocks of Umno-Malay opposition and died with the 1MDB scandal.

This was a tragedy as Najib had the makings of someone who could have led Malaysia forward, if not to the ideal state of national unity, at least away from narrow sectarian thinking. Like his father, he was an able administrator, intelligent and quick to see economic benefit. Perhaps too quick for his own good, but a loss to Malaysia nevertheless of an opportunity to move ahead with a leader who has a vision and can work towards it.

Then, of course, there was May 2018. The biggest moment of all for review, reform and reset for a multi-racial and united Malaysia. Pakatan Harapan (PH) was the best and briefest hope that Malaysia ever had. I never saw or heard non-Malays sing the national anthem with such gusto as after PH came to power. Their country included them! Like everybody else who believed it was going to be the dawn of a new Malaysia they were to be betrayed.

Tun Dr. Mahathir could not rise above the politics of getting rid of Najib, which moved him to join the coalition in the first place, and obsession with making sure Datuk Seri Anwar did not succeed him, which finally caused the PH government to fall apart less than two years after it came to power. Most importantly the politics of race became the leitmotif of conduct which drove a wedge in the coalition with Mahathir ultimately falling on his sword as there were others now who knew better how to use race to cause his downfall.

Mahathir could not become, as so many had hoped despite his past, a statesman to lead the country towards unity and sustainable development, words I am taking from Vision 2020 in 1991. He is the best politician the country has ever had. But, alas, not a statesman Malaysia needed, and now still needs.

So when I am asked by the media to comment on how President Biden would affect U.S.-Malaysia relations, the thought that comes to me first is how much we need a leader like him to put my country together again. Someone who can rise above the politics of division.

Unfortunately there is not anyone in Malaysian politics today. We need first to find common ground from which a new politics not based on race can emerge and, with it, new leaders. How to achieve it should be the stuff of politics, rather than how to stay in power, how to get into power, and how to use the easiest and often basest appeals to stay in or get to power.

And in all this time a political plutocracy has formed which suspects different views, considers many of them as a threat, and rules by the low common denominator, on the foundation of the system and on the details of policy, that only yes-men can provide.

When I saw the attack on the Capitol, the assault on American democracy which Biden seeks to restore and reinvigorate, I also wonder who we have to restore and strengthen the institutions of democratic government in our country. If both the objective of unity and the constitutional governance are not the concern of Malaysian political leaders today, we are in for a dark and retarded period in national history, already blighted by the heavy cost of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Of course U.S.-Malaysia relations are not unimportant, although less important to America than it is to Malaysia. Saying this will upset people who have an interest in presuming how important Malaysia is, whether ambassadors assigned to the task or those whose task it is to elevate those relations.

This is another problem in Malaysia. Not recognizing where we are, not admitting to reality. Always ready to blame the messenger and not look at the news he brings.

We become mediocre that way. What happens to U.S.-Malaysia relations now depends most of all on what we make of it, what we want from it, how we position ourselves to identify and engage and develop those relations. Biden will be engrossed within trying to unite his country once again, although he cannot avoid giving attention to global issues.

Malaysia has to identify which of the global issues are in Malaysian interest and engage the Americans actively in the bilateral relationship as well as in multilateral forums. We must bring activity and quality to the table.

For example if the issue of climate change and sustainable development is of common concern, we should determine exactly how we would like to work with the U.S. on it. Whether at international or regional policy level, whether in economic investment and business or technology activities, which sectors, public healthcare, human capital development, clean energy and so on. We should prioritise and go for it with specifics. We cannot be jejune and driven just by issues which are the flavour of the month.

On the issue of trade, going bilateral is insufficient, as we operate in a multilateral context. That multilateral context is not served just by making generalized statements of belief in a rules-based free trade system. We have to work at it. Do we work in Asean to provide leadership to take a common stand in RCEP, on FTAs, in international forums?

Asean has been dismal at this. It is, for instance, represented at G-20 meetings: Indonesia in its own right, Singapore as leader of the Global Governance Group, and the Asean chair as observer ever since the London Summit in 2009. Have they ever got together to present a common front on the most pressing issues of trade? Would Malaysia want to get this going in Asean, provide leadership in Asean, or are we preoccupied with domestic politics?

Similarly, on the more difficult issue of the South China Sea, we cannot duck having clarity by simply saying we do not want to have to choose between China and the U.S. Biden is likely to reiterate the American position on freedom of navigation and the “global commons”, a stand made clear by the Obama administration since 2010. Does Malaysia support this? Do we stand by the principle that international law must be observed to provide security for smaller states.

Further, we cannot countenance Chinese incursions into our exclusive economic zone, and not prevaricate, as we have done in the past, by saying it is no big deal for us that China does so.

We have to make the point about principles we uphold and actions we do not accept. Singapore, and this is a point which galls many in Malaysia, has been able to be clear on its position, sometimes at cost, from which it has been able to recover through adroit diplomacy.

Even so, there are diametrically opposed views in Singapore on whether Singapore should take a stand. But they are discussed vigorously and resolved in dynamic fashion and then determined policy is executed effectively, with nobody considered negative for having a different view.

In Malaysia there is fear and disdain, if not worse, for those who have a different view. This way policy decisions and conduct do not pass muster.

The basis of our nationhood is severely fractured. Unless this is addressed we will continue to operate as a maimed country. For one, the conduct of foreign policy will be sub-optimal. So, if you ask me how U.S.-Malaysia relations will be affected by President Biden, my answer is, by his example, we should be thinking Malaysia, reflect more deeply than superficial enumeration of this and that.

The writer is former NST group editor and Visiting Senior Fellow and Member of the Advisory Board LSE IDEAS (Centre for International Affairs, Strategy and Diplomacy)

Getting through tough times together

HOW time was 10 years ago that I started this column. How things have changed. I would have never thought that my personal freedom would be restricted, that I would be forced to stay at home and not allowed to travel freely.

Corruption, though, has not changed much. Politics all over the world has become uglier, moving more right, more nationalistic and more confrontational. Political systems in many countries are showing cracks and fractures and in need of a reset in beliefs and values.

We have learnt many new words over the last two years. Trumpism, back-door government, lives vs livelihood and K Recovery. These are topics/phrases that I had never heard of in my university days nor read about in any books on business and economics.

For those not familiar with K recovery, it just means that the economy is still in recession, the rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer. Some industries are doing well and surviving, some businesses are still suffering while some have died. Overall, it is still negative but recovering quarter-on-quarter from the global March 2020 meltdown.

Due to massive quantitative easing (QE) by central banks all over the world, we now have a disconnect between stock markets and the real economy, which will eventually lead into an asset bubble in the financial markets. But this QE will not solve mass unemployment. Direct cash put in citizens’ pockets will support domestic consumption temporarily. Only reinvestment in the real economy will bring back jobs. Only when international travel resumes will pilots and cabin crew be re-employed.

Despite the availability of vaccinations, our economy this year will be the same as last year in what I call the on-off economy. For restaurants and retailers, today they “got business”, tomorrow “no business”. For airlines, hotels and tourist guides, “no business last year and no business this year”.

Many business owners are crying “how to survive like this?”…I have no answer.

Domestic consumption has fallen because consumer confidence has fallen drastically. The fear of being infected and the fear of losing jobs have taken hold. Most families have reduced combined income (politicians and civil servants are not affected though) and government subsidies are too little too late. The latest budget mainly covers health and government operating expenses (which is not reduced).

The declaration of an Emergency makes no business sense to me. It does not promote consumer confidence. It does not promote foreign direct investment. And worst of all, it does not encourage domestic investment.

Politicians should be mindful that the interest of the people comes first and they are in power to serve the interest of the nation. If there were no Sabah election, we would not have the current crisis. This power grab play by all parties must stop now.

If Malaysia were to join the world in a V-shaped recovery in 2022, we would require the following forces to act in concert. There needs to be mass vaccination of 80% of the population by the end of the year.

It’s the only way to restore consumer confidence. International travel will require vaccination passports and a negative Covid-19 test. Then our airlines can start flying international routes again and allow foreign tourists with the V passports to come to Malaysia.

It will still be compulsory for everyone to wear masks and sanitise their hands, plus the normal social distancing guidelines.

Political stability with the right thinking leadership is important. Practice what you preach and lead by example. Plan thoroughly before implementing new rules and regulations.

Reduce the operating budget and spend only on necessities. Invest in beneficial infrastructure projects. Promote unity. Control religious extremism. And most important of all, help the poor and the unemployed of all races.

Bank Negara and banks continue to support SMEs through the moratorium and extension of bank loans through 2021. Compassion not numbers should be the main criteria in extending assistance to the struggling SMEs now that recovery has been pushed to next year.

Similar moratorium assistance should be given to unemployed home owners who are not able to keep up with their monthly installment payments. It is more crucial that they be allowed to put food on the table for their families. Help them survive so that you survive too. Never lose a profitable and loyal customer.

SME owners must fight to survive over the next 12 months. Those that are surviving should stay prudent, save and prepare to expand when the economy recovers next year. Those still struggling will need to reduce cost further if they have not reduced their operating expenses according to the sales decline last year. They have to assume that this year will not be better than last year. This MCO lockdown will continue to be extended till the Covid-19 numbers decline by a lot. And that means potentially by up to two months.

Employees in the private sector must be appreciative that they still have a job. Do not give a reason to your bosses to render you unemployed. Jobs and opportunities are scarce. There are already sufficient grab drivers and online delivery workers. Forget about opening a stall or a restaurant as current hawkers and F&B operators are suffering like you have never seen before.

Consumers are advised to support their local hawkers and small business operators. For those who can afford it, don’t ask for discounts but instead leave some change or tips. We should help these small businesses who have received little help from the government.

Forecasting sales is no more an art nor based on previous track records. You have a much better chance at predicting four-digit draws which by the way have been completely banned across the nation during the MCO.

Thank goodness, the beer factories have been allowed to operate unlike the last MCO. Even if you cannot drink in the pubs, you can still enjoy a can or two at home. If you are lonely, just toast to yourself facing a mirror and count your blessings that you have survived 2020. Wish yourself Happy Chinese New Year.

Follow our Health DG’s advice – stay at home, wash your hands and stay away from the virus. Be safe.

I am Jan Wong and This is How I Invest

I am Jan Wong, I am…  

An online strategist, entrepreneur and youth advocate that started at the age of 17. Since then, I’ve started 8 businesses in various industries and now am the founder and CEO of OpenMinds, helping hundreds of brands make sense of marketing technology. I made the Forbes 30 Under 30 list in 2017, spoke twice at TEDx, became a keynote speaker at multiple conferences globally, a part-time lecturer, mentored startups and corporate innovation teams within the region. Recently I have also published my first book for students and entrepreneurs entitled, Building Your Digital Net Worth.

1. What is your best investment and worst investment? 

My best investment has always been towards myself. I believe that if you fail to invest in yourself, it doesn’t make sense in investing in anything else; and that means investing in your own wellbeing, growth and mindset. After all, investing is all about having the right mindset and more often than not, “getting rich” is not the right one to have. In relation to that, my best investment has been with my company OpenMinds that I’ve bootstrapped since the beginning, investing and reinvesting not just money but also time. As with any investment, it has risks, its fair share of ups and downs, takes time and knowledge to maintain it… it has been 8 years since! On the flip side, my worst investment has to be in a startup company that I misplaced my trust in the founder where he demonstrated initial passion and drive that quickly fizzled, followed by him disappearing into thin air (completely unreachable even with his parents). 

2. What was your first-ever investment (and how did that go)?

My first investment was in an investment-linked insurance product that was offered by a bank. I went into it without fully understanding what it entailed and what it was for and regretted right after and went to have it cancelled. 

3. Your investment no-nos (why not and what happened)  

Don’t invest in something that you have no idea about, or something with an objective that does not align with what you are looking for. For example, a startup or company if you’re looking for a quick return, a high risk unit trust profile if your best interest is in increasing your savings, or an investment-linked insurance product that has a fixed cash out term if you require fluidity in your cash. Jumping unto the investment bandwagon blindly could cost you hefty losses or benefits that are not aligned to your goals. So do your research, know the product you’re about to invest in, evaluate your goals, seek clarification, consider the possibility of losing your investment, and then decide if it’s a risk you are willing to take.

4. What are you investing for?

As an entrepreneur I’m often torn from 3 angles when it comes to investment: investing into my own business for control, investing into other businesses because of potential, and investing into something that is more grounded and has better stability. These are primarily motivated by me wanting to build a sustainable line of income that is not dependent on the hours I clock daily, and that I can have access to funds immediately should I need them for emergencies or that holiday. 

5. Jan’s investment philosophy and approach

Be clear with why you are investing in the first place and what level of risk can you bear. Is it for business scale? Career growth? Health? Lifestyle? What will happen if you would lose everything that you’ve invested, can you deal with that? I only invest what I can afford to lose, and while that isn’t much, I have a clear understanding that investments are meant to help and not to cripple me, and it is not a gamble where you go ‘all in’ only to put yourself in a volatile state. Don’t be charmed by big ‘promised’ returns or investment trends! 

Follow Jan Wong – 
Website, LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Email

About “This is How I Invest” – As Fi Life’s motto is “Buy Term (Term Life Insurance) & Invest the Rest”, this series features how different personalities “Invest the Rest.”

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Original article here

Rider’s leg gets stuck under a truck after coming together

As reported by: Chin Ka Yee
Incident Date: 1:45 PM, Monday, 18 January 2021
Location: Malim Jaya, Melaka

A collision between a truck and a motorcyclist ended in excruciating pain for a rider.

As seen in the picture above, the collision happened along a road in Malim Jaya, Melaka. Unfortunately for the rider, after crashing with the truck, he ended up on the road with the truck still moving towards him.

The truck then came to a halt over the rider’s leg, trapping and crushing it, with the rider shrieking in pain throughout the ordeal.

Once the truck driver noticed what had happened, and with no other alternative solutions, the truck driver had to put it in reverse in order to free the rider’s leg.

As seen in the video below, after moving the truck, both the truck driver and another fellow samaritan went to assist the rider on the ground.



今天的“企动人心”故事主角是美国Kodiak Cakes的创办人祖尔克拉克(Joel Clark),他花了超过15年的时间,在经营妈妈独创的健康配方煎饼粉(Pancake mix),途中都充满挫折,数度徘徊倒闭边缘,无计可施之下,他被迫哽咽着向老爸开口借钱渡难关……



Kodiak Cakes是现今全美国最火红的煎饼粉品牌之一,2020年更因为疫情促使更多人宅在家自制煎饼而销量暴增。从濒临破产,到创下2亿美元销售额,祖尔的人生才从谷底回升。

随便去超市逛一下都会看到许多不同的煎饼粉品牌,为何Kodiak Cakes会爆红?祖尔妈妈秘传的煎饼食谱到底有多好吃?祖尔翻身成功的元素又是什么?


关于Kodiak Cakes的故事,要从一辆红色手推车讲起……







利用念大学课余时间,祖尔就像小时候一样去逐户推销煎饼粉。有一天意外走进一间礼品店,店员被Kodiak Cakes的名字、商标及包装所吸引,觉得这样的产品会吸引游客购买来当手信。



于是,没有资金、没有团队、没有专才,Kodiak Cakes煎饼粉靠的就是质朴的包装及美味又健康的煎饼来吸引客户及打开通路。


事实上,Kodiak Cakes在两兄弟以业余方式来经营,每年营业额才2万9000美元,这样玩票性质的经营,严格来说也还算不上是一门生意。

后来乔恩因为有了小孩及加上要深造,于是以1美元的象征性价格,把Kodiak Cakes转手给祖尔。

就这样,完全没有业务经验的祖尔,在23岁那年接手了Kodiak Cakes。但是满腔热诚与自信,使年轻就是无畏的祖尔认为,自己可以在兼顾学业之际还是可以把生意搞好,完全没有意识到前方等待着他的就是阻碍与挫折。


1999年,祖尔把Kodiak Cakes从独资拥有转换为私人有限公司,也把部份股份拨给乔恩。这段期间,祖尔也获得1万3000美元小额注资,这批资金是源自于一位邻居,而这位邻居纯粹很爱吃Kodiak Cakes煎饼,觉得应该支持乔恩。


2004年,祖尔的爸爸65岁退休后也加入公司,与祖尔一同经营Kodiak Cakes。同一年,祖尔也成功在美国著名超市Safeway打开新通路,让产品在Safeway旗下1200间超市上架。

有了爸爸的加入及Safeway的分销,公司营业额也有所突破,年度营业额从接手时不到3万美元,稳步增加至80万美元。而他自己也辞去顾问公司的全职工作,全身投入Kodiak Cakes。


由于全球原油价格扬升,带动麦价也上升,Kodiak Cakes的赚幅大幅收紧。此时生产商也要求涨价11%,使公司盈利受影响。

经过该事后,祖尔本想找买家把业务脱售,但因为找不到买家,却找到一间小公司合作,把Kodiak Cakes业务交由该公司管理,而祖尔则将收取权利金。

撑不住 去打工

此时祖尔也接获一间保健服务机构总执行长职位的献议,为了获得 稳定的生活费,他接受该职位,同时把Kodiak Cakes交给他人管理,自己仅收取权利金当额外收入。

但是这个如意算盘并不顺利,过了一段时日,祖尔发现代管理Kodiak Cakes的公司并不是很专注糕饼的业务,因为尚有其他业务要管理,而且也因为不够专注而做错一些决定,使Kodiak Cakes流失了一些客源及盈利受损。

于是在2008年,祖尔的人生又来到了十字路口……到底应该继续高薪优职当保健服务机构总执行长?还是又重新投入Kodiak Cakes自己的事业?


但是深入一点想,要是重新投入Kodiak Cakes,他最坏的情况也只不过是失败破产而已,如果承受得起这些状况,那为何要继续打工?


但是最令祖尔措手不及的危机,是发生在他重返Kodiak Cakes的第2年。

2009年,Kodiak Cakes产品获得Safeway加入圣诞促销商品内,折扣1 美元。原本是美事一椿,怎知系统却出错,把1 美元折扣变成2美元,因为价格太优惠,吸引了许多消费者购买。




从1995年到 2009年,祖尔坚守着Kodiak Cakes14年,但还是没有起色,自己还是落得穷光蛋一名,不禁感到心酸、唏嘘。当时父亲还给了他一个鼓励的拥抱,让他倍感温暖。

此时,祖尔想起一位企业家曾说过,“一家企业会死亡,不是因为公司失败了,而是因为企业家放弃了”,他也借此鼓励自己不要放弃 。他相信这个家传食谱煎饼生意一定可以做!


由于祖尔的父亲年事已高,要退出Kodiak Cakes,而公司也没有能力高薪聘员,于是他到母校犹他大学张贴招聘启事,没想到竟然让他捡到宝!

某天,一位西装毕挺的年轻人卡麦隆史密斯(Cameron Smith)因为看到犹他大学招聘启事,而来到祖尔办公室应征,两人十分投契。卡麦隆看起来也很有热情,跟当年年轻无畏的祖尔个性也很相似,机缘就此把两人拉在一起。


果然,年轻人就是充满干劲,成功联系上Target采购部负责人后,卡麦隆于2011年11月单刀赴会,并再次因为Kodiak Cakes轻易烹调及美味健康的特质,马上获得Target答应试卖煎饼粉,并在之后几个月正式在全美千多间分店全线销售。



Target的采购订单无疑是Kodiak Cakes的重大转机,但是在2013年,公司又迎来了第二个重大转捩点,那就是在卡麦隆建议下去参加了美国当红节目“鲨鱼坦克”(Shark Tank),该节目的评审皆是创业投资公司的代表。


“鲨鱼坦克”的评审对Kodiak Cakes十分有兴趣,但祖尔希望以10%股份换取50万美元的投资,因为他有信心于2013年已有350万美元年度营业额的Kodiak Cakes,在未来4年营业额将暴增至2000万美元!

唯评审都只愿以50万美元换取更多的股份,于是双方无法达成共识而告失败。但正如卡麦隆分析,Kodiak Cakes在节目于2014年播出后爆红!摆放在Target的产品都被抢购,销量在6周后暴升至100万美元。

此时,祖尔也开始将产品多元化,有一次偶然机会下把蛋白质成份加入煎饼粉内,搭上这股健康、健身热潮,Kodiak Cakes新产品“Power Cakes”深受年轻消费者青睐。



直至2016年,祖尔接受美国美国创业加速器日升策略伙伴(Sunrise Strategic Partners)注资,Kodiak Cakes也开始多元化产品种类,包括燕麦片、布朗尼蛋糕预拌粉,及水果糖浆等。


到了2018年,Kodiak Cakes成为美国四大煎饼粉品牌之一。2020年的疫情年也使更多人宅在家自制煎饼的几率反而更多,带动年度营业额冲上2亿美元!

不放弃 坚守至放晴



Make use of state of emergency

The number of new and active cases — and their geographic spread — as well as of deaths, is a good guide which can be refined further, such as by looking at the levels of severity and need or not of hospitalisation, efficacy of home treatment and so on, which health experts will know about. - NSTP file pic, for illustration purposes only
The number of new and active cases — and their geographic spread — as well as of deaths, is a good guide which can be refined further, such as by looking at the levels of severity and need or not of hospitalisation, efficacy of home treatment and so on, which health experts will know about. – NSTP file pic, for illustration purposes only

WHERE the country is right now, it is best to concentrate on fighting Covid-19 in the next six months.

While there are the MCOs and SOP in place, and the vaccines coming, the virus is nowhere under control, in Malaysia and around the world.

We all have access to the numbers and challenges: the deaths, total cases, choked hospitals, exhausted frontliners, distribution and efficacy o f vaccines, economies on their knees. The dichotomy between health and economy is a false one.

If the virus is not brought under control, the economy will continue to falter. The British example of holding out for the sake of the economy has resulted in full lockdown, excruciating number of deaths and infections — and seizure of the economy.

We must take care we do not fall between two stools like that, and break the back of our economy. The mix between lives and the economy in this crisis must always favour public health, which is a backbone of sustainable development.

Having said that, the measure of Covid-19 risk and the extent to which economic activity is allowed, are devilishly difficult to determine.

This is a task the country should be concentrating on, to come up within the next six months or less with a pandemic criteria to measure the key performance indicators of the virus spread and the consequent severity of measures to be put in place.

The special committee the prime minister has proposed to advise the king on whether the Covid-19 situation has eased or improved enough to end the state of emergency, is a good idea.

Its advice, however, has to be based on a set of pandemic criteria which has to be developed. A group of healthcare and economic experts from the public and private sectors should be established to achieve this. I know members of the medical profession are an opinionated—and divided — lot, as are the economists.

But, they must get together in the interest of the country to come up with refined and strategic real time indicators of where we are on the pandemic curve and what concomitant measures we should take. The number of new and active cases — and their geographic spread — as well as of deaths, is a good guide which can be refined further, such as by looking at the levels of severity and need or not of hospitalisation, efficacy of home treatment and so on, which health experts will know about.

Similarly the R0, the “R naught”, which reflects how contagious an infectious disease is, in this case Covid-19, can be explained and developed further in terms, for example, of the time series used and why, and in a situation soon of positive impact of the vaccines as they roll out.

The expert group should also look into a clear plan of action on incorporating testing and tracing in the overall pandemic strategy.

This has not been evident to the general public, who only pick up bits and pieces of what is happening in other countries.

The people have placed so much hope in the vaccines, but the jury is still out on their efficacy, with enough scary outcomes to dent confidence in them.

Yet the government has to place the orders and be positive, although we might end up with vaccines the populace may not favour — and unfairly blame the government for it! This virus is in all senses a moving target.

The expert group, therefore, can put some understandable sense and guideposts to available vaccines, and raise the alert that they are not a panacea as well as identify clearly the SOP that must continue to be observed.

Based on all this science, the economists in the group should work with the health experts to determine what economic sectors can operate under what circumstances with what health safety measures.

The debate, I’m sure will be robust, which no doubt already occurs now, but we must develop better defined parameters, which would trigger the required policy mix between lives and livelihoods driven by the science.

It would be remiss of them if the economists did not also look into mandatory inclusive and responsible business practices, the absence of which has caused suffering and spread of the disease.

If these next six months are used to communicate better with the public and have greater transparency about what is being done, what needs to be done, and where we are at in the battle against Covid-19, the country would be better placed than where we are now — gripped by fear of the virus and by uncertainty of government.

The expert group, through the Health director-general, can feed into the special committee which advises the king on the state of the pandemic and provide vital input into whether there is need to continue with the state of emergency.

Alternatively, we can use all of this time to continue with the politicking which has led us to a lack of clear strategy on the Covid-19 crisis and unending political intrigue to topple the government. Many people believe having a general election now is a death trap, pointing to the tidal wave of infections from last September’s Sabah state election as evidence.

On the other hand, some argue if other countries, like the United State s, can hold a massive election in the midst of the pandemic, why cannot Malaysia manage it ? America is not a good example. It has the worst record in managing the Covid-19 crisis, with the highest number of deaths and cases in the world.

To get out of the deep hole it is in, President elect Joe Biden is proposing a huge US$1.9 trillion package.

We do not want and cannot afford to go the American way. Let’s forget about America and just look at the behavioural pattern of our politicians at the best of times.

In a general election where the stakes will be the highest ever, we can expect the worst behaviour, whatever the SOP, and still end up with a hung Parliament!

And thence back to the ceaseless political deal-making we now see happening. Let’s next look at a change of government assuming the Muhyiddin administration is replaced.

How stable will the new government be, with all the leapfrogging that is going on and the fractured opposition — and divided political parties within the opposition?

Just imagine a changing of the guard right now. New personnel coming in. No continuity. Changing direction of negotiations such as on the vaccines. Learning the ropes while the crisis is on.

In the last Pakatan Harapan government they were still learning the ropes with NO CRISIS on. And, most of all, uncertainty of stable government with so many chameleon MPs.

How long would that next government last? Are the people of Malaysia ever going to be served? I am non-partisan, but we are between a rock and a hard place.

If there was trust, it should be acceptable that the powers inherent in the prime minister during the state of emergency will be used to address the Covid-19 crisis exclusively, as he has openly stated, despite whatever is contained in the Emergency Ordinance, which hopefully reflects excess to reserve powers that will not be abused.

Whatever, the Malaysian people should hold the prime minister to his word, as Allah is his witness.

That we need the time to address the crisis, not to make use of the emergency to prolong his tenure in office.

Therefore, it would be good if the expert group was set up to support the special committee to advise the king. Let us put some trust in him knowing, in addition, there is the wisdom in the proclamation of a state of emergency for a limited time, which is to end on Aug 1.

With care not to drag the king and the Malay rulers into uncharted territory, which could have unintended consequences, we must also have faith in our king discharging his prerogative in the interest of the people of the country in accordance with the Constitution.

We should not give cause for the emergency to be extended even as the government must not abuse it.

Most of all, the next six months should be dedicated to coming out with a comprehensive Covid-19 strategy to contain the virus and allow the people of our beloved country to get on with life as much as possible.

The writer, a former NST group editor, returns to write on local and international political issues

5 Signs That It’s Time To Ditch Your Old Bed

One of the many things that a lot of people fail to realize is that their daily life and health are affected by the mattress that they sleep on. Taking your 8 hours of rest after a long day on a bad bed will give you back problems, neck stiffness, joint pain, and even rashes and eczema from dust mites. Even though low stress levels and a well-balanced lifestyle is important to keep your health in check, a good mattress also plays an important role in making sure you have sufficient rest and comfort to feel fresh and motivated for the day. So, how do you know if it’s time to change your mattress?

1. Having The Occasional Numbness

Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night to sudden numbness in the arm or even muscle spasms at certain parts of your body? That is because your blood is not circulating to all parts of the body while you are asleep. Now, you must be wondering, how does a good bed help improve blood circulation? Slumberland’s latest Far Infrared Ray (FIR) series of Vitalize mattresses uses high tech bioceramic yarn, containing minerals that absorb and reflect heat from the human body and recycles it into FIR. The FIR not only boosts your blood flow but also elevates your metabolism and promotes a better immunity system in your body. With a better circulatory system, muscles will relax while efficient absorption of nutrients and oxygen will take place.

2. Mood Swings & Anxiety

At this age and time, we face our laptops, phones, and television for many hours a day without realizing that these electronic devices emit positive ions. Do not be fooled by the “positive” term as these ions will cause you to have mood swings, anxiety, and even depression. These positive ions affect city dwellers the most as humans can only absorb the beneficial negative ions at the rate of 15-20% every day due to the lack of a natural environment. Instead of booking a road trip to the nearest waterfall or mountains for the abundance of negative ions, you can have a Slumberland Vitalize mattress at home. Its FIR technology works wonders in eliminating positive ions while you have a restful sleep, which will in return improve your mood in the morning and for the rest of the day!

3. Sore Muscle & Joint Pains 

Rising up in the morning with a sore muscle or pain in the joint really kills the mood for a fresh start to the day. While it’s important that we warm up during exercises or maintain good posture while sitting in the office, a good bed can alleviate pain and relieve stiffness. The FIR component supports our body’s natural healing process, encouraging joint and muscle recovery by improving the blood circulatory system that will facilitate healing – especially after a workout or exercise routine. 

4. Rashes On Legs and Arms

If you’ve woken up with rashes on your arms or legs, that’s most probably the doing of the dust mites. This skin irritation can disrupt your daytime activities and make you uncomfortable during your sleep at night. Dust mites are mostly found in beds due to the presence of humidity from our perspiration and skin flakes. To prevent dust mites, fungus, and bacteria from harming you during your precious sleep, Slumberland Vitalize mattress combats all of the above with the Hycare Ⓡ treatment that protects you from skin irritation and breathing difficulties for people with Asthma. It also prevents unpleasant odor from forming on your bed to ensure you have a good night’s sleep.

5. Restless & Sleepless Nights

Waking up after an 8-hour sleep should give you ample energy to start your morning. However, the same duration of a sleepless and restless night has an opposite outcome where you will be tired and stressed out throughout the day. The lack of quality sleep is most probably affected by the bed you sleep on. With a mattress equipped with FIR technology, you will be able to reduce insomnia, enhance your sleeping quality, and wake up feeling well-rested from a deep and comfortable sleep. You can now wake up feeling revitalized and fresh without worrying about your productivity and performance in school or work!

Consuming a well-balanced diet and exercising regularly are some of the important elements for a healthier life. Having a good and restful sleep is also crucial too in working towards a better you. This is where Slumberland Vitalize mattress comes into the picture with its high-end FIR technology that has been proven to be beneficial to your health and sleep quality.

You can now get a set of two free Comfort Rest Plus Pillow* and Anti-Dust Mite Mattress Protector** worth RM708 when you purchase a standard package for any one of the 3 variants available. Slumberland is also giving away a complimentary set of Vitalize Essential Oil and Nano Mist Spray worth RM188 for the first 500 customers. For more amazing deals, check out Slumberland’s Super Deals with free gifts worth up to RM3,248.

Shop the Slumberland Vitalize mattress now for a comfortable and restful night at Lazada, Shopee, or visit Slumberland stores here.

*Quantity of free pillows is based on the mattress size.
**Free mattress protector is only applicable to Queen & King size mattresses.

MUST WATCH! Large explosion goes off at Salak South, massive fire follows after

As reported by: Nicholas Cheong
Incident Date: 12:46 AM, Saturday, 16 January 2021
Location: Salak South, Kuala Lumpur

A warehouse stored with household gas barrels caught on fire and caused an explosion last night. The incident took place around 1:00 AM where explosive sounds were initially heard during the period before a massive fire broke out.

The fire completely engulfed two warehouses, one dedicated to storing gas barrels before the fire spread to another hardware store adjacent to it.

The fire completely engulfed two warehouses, one dedicated to storing gas barrels. The fire then spread to another hardware store adjacent to it.

Upon receiving the report, the Fire and Rescue department (JBPM) shortly arrived at the scene where more than 10 fire trucks were dispatched along with a rescue team to carry out the fire fighting operations.

As many as 62 members from the Sri Petaling Fire and Rescue Station (BBP), BBP Sungai Besi, BBP Jalan Hang Tuah, BBP Bukit Jalil, BBP Bandar Tun Razak, BBP Cheras and BBS Desa Petaling were dispatched to the location.

During the fire, there were several explosions at the scene, and even residents living several kilometres away were able to hear it. 

The fire was eventually extinguished and brought under control by 2:53 AM in the morning. The cause of the incident is still being investigated. 

See anything interesting? Send us video clips or images of it and get paid up to RM500! Visit to find out more.

I am Ong Joo Parn and This is How I Invest

I am Ong Joo Parn, I am…

Currently a Malaysian working in Singapore. Like most people, I am working in the corporate world, having a 9 to 6 job. Putting this aside, I am a passionate investor. I spend a huge chunk of my time self-learning and reading stuff related to science, technology, gadgets, food technology and many other subjects. I also spend time going through annual reports of (both listed and unlisted) companies from around the world. 

Sometime during the month of August in 2019, my partner and I decided to start an investing-centric website called Kaya Plus. We want to share our thesis, rationale and knowledge with the public since we feel that there is a major lack of appreciation when it comes to investing and investment literacy. 

I guess I am also a writer now. I write for Kaya Plus and as a paid content contributor to other investing websites as well!

1. What is your best investment and worst investment?

I was thinking whether to answer this figuratively or literally. But I think it is best to approach this figuratively haha! My best investment would be my time. Time is an asset that all of us have in equal amounts. Whether we choose to waste it, capitalise on it is our own personal choice.

But that does not mean I am the most efficient and time conscious person out there. I just think that relatively, I put in more time to self learn and read, which gives me an edge when looking at potential investment opportunities out there. 

To sum it up, my best investment is in myself, investing my time to obtain more knowledge and information so that I can invest better! 

My worst investment would probably be the first few stocks I bought when I was very new in the market. I knew nuts about investing and put a chunk of my hard-earned money into the stock market thinking that what I learned during a course was all I needed to succeed. Things did not end well. A portion of it still sits in my portfolio as a key reminder to never, ever buy something that you have not put in time to study.

2. What was your first-ever investment (and how did that go)?

My first investment was a shares trading course around RM 3,000. Took me a few lessons to realise that trading is not all about patterns and charts. There is more than what meets the eye. Judging from the vigor and principles behind trading, I knew it did not suit my personal preference.

I always picture myself being free from checking screens and all sorts of charts when I am an old man. I value the skills and keen eye to be able to look at a company’s business and have an eureka moment. So, my first investment in a trading course showed me that trading is not my cup of tea. And that’s where I started my never-ending journey into the world of learning and investing.

3. Your investment no-nos (why not and what happened)

Thinking that investing is just for financial freedom is a no-no! Too many people are engrossed with getting rich through investing, they value the end results too much and sometimes want to cut corners.

There is no such thing as low risk high return. Even if there is, chances are that someone providing you this opportunity might be getting a LOWER risk and HIGHER return by selling you that idea. 

Building wealth is just like learning how to run when we are still a kid. You go through the stages of crawling, standing up, walking and then only you will learn how to run. Yearning to run when you haven’t even learned to crawl, or pushing yourself to run too soon can be disastrous.  

It is good to stay focused on the end results. However the general sentiment I get is that, while people know what they want for their financial freedom, they are not willing to sacrifice time and effort to learn what is needed to help them achieve their goals. 

Guess this could be the reason why unscrupulous get rich quick schemes will always resurface and some of us will somehow get snared by their lucrative return promises.

4. What are you investing for?

I believe investing in literacy and spreading knowledge as the key for everyone to further improve themselves. Whether we like it or not, we are living in a world where capitalism rules. You do not need to be the boss of a listed company to bring your wealth to the next level. You just need to ride on it even with a small step at a time and grow with the current pace of inflation and expansion.

I invest because I know that savings alone will never be enough for me to enjoy the life I want. I invest because I know I can always put my knowledge, patience, and tenacity into good use to compound my wealth and savings to bring me closer to who I want to be. 

My dad told me, in life there are only 3 things you need to do to be happy. Being able to take care of yourself, being able to take care of your family, and being able to contribute to society. As of now, investing is my calling. And I want to make investing the center of my strategy to first fulfill myself, my loved ones, and the people around me.

5. Joo Parn’s investment philosophy and approach

Invest globally for sustainability. When we talk about going for a vacation, we always like to look beyond our own country, opting for a getaway outside of Malaysia. But when it comes to investing, we cower and stay put within our motherland. 

Investing globally is just like picking out nice destinations to visit, or to try the best cuisine from a particular country. Going on an overseas vacation gives me the same thrill as investing globally. I get to learn and see everything from a much bigger perspective, rather than staying within my comfort zone. 

Another key aspect is sustainability. Your game plan when it comes to investing should be a strategy that will bear fruits when you eventually retire. It must be something that is foolproof, ever growing, preserving and compounding. 

In simple words, your investments should be nurtured and tended well. If you take good care of it during your prime, it will take care of you when the time comes. So, it has to be a sustainable game plan!

Follow Joo Parn (Kaya Plus) – 
Website, Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, LinkedIn

About “This is How I Invest” – As Fi Life’s motto is “Buy Term (Term Life Insurance) & Invest the Rest”, this series features how different personalities “Invest the Rest.”

If you are inspired to Buy Term & Invest the Rest, we have a 10% rebate just for you to get started. Key in “NEWSWAV10” to enjoy this promo for your first-year insurance premiums.

Learn more about Fi Life here
Original article here

戴森:当你感到疲惫 你更要加速



5000次失败 + 家财散尽

戴森:当你感到疲惫 你更要加速

如果说“失败乃是成功之母”,那么对戴森集团创始人詹姆斯戴森(James Dyson)来说,“不满”乃为“发明之母”。













当时的戴森财务遇到很大问题,但还是不愿放弃创业,因为他认为他的发明被拒绝并不是产品不好,加上之前自己一些发明的成功经验告诉他,这个点子一定行得通, 有朝一日会成功。


经营这间公司没赚钱,但却让他学了许多东西,结果这个“ 有朝一日会成功”的确在10年后发生。








但是,吸尘机终归是家庭用品,戴森的“融资贵人”是一位银行家的太太。当时负责戴森融资申请的一位莱斯银行(Lloyd’s Bank)总经理,问他太太:“如果有一部吸尘机是不必清理集尘袋的,你觉得如何?”,他太太马上答到:“太好了!这就是我想要的。”







戴森于2016年获英女王授勋为爵士(Sir),也于《星期日泰晤士报》(The Sunday Times)2020年富豪榜排行中排在榜首,以162亿英镑个人净资产成为英国首。





  1.  鼓励尽情发挥创意:戴森花了2亿美元在公司设立秘密实验室,让工程师尽情发挥想像空间,同时也尽量去尝试及失败。
  2. 产品定位高价高品质:戴森首次创业手的推车公司占50 %市占率,但公司却未能赚大钱,让他明白商业需要衡量市场大小,如果对产品有信心要敢于定高价。不论是吸尘器、吹风机或烘手机,戴森出产的都是领域中的高档货,消费者愿意买单是因为产品耐久度和效能比同业更好。
  3. 拥有公司最多或全部股份:也是因为被手推车公司董事炒鱿鱼自己一手创造的公司及点子都化为乌有,所以戴森需要全盘操控公司拥有最多股份,这才能保证自己的创意不会最后沦为为他人做嫁衣
  4. 卖得好靠研发部门,非广告宣传:戴森花在研发的开销是多于广告宣传的数倍之多,因为他坚信销售额应该是靠研发部门提升,而不是靠广告。