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‘Fighting PAS is a jihad’

Posted: 06 Dec 2013 04:58 PM PST

(Fz) - Kelantan Umno declared that their quarrel with PAS for all these years was not due to reasons such as hate, revenge or over colours but it was all in the name of jihad, a religious duty of Muslims.

This declaration was made by Ketereh delegate, Ahmad Termizi Musa during his speech on the closing day of the Umno General Assembly today.

"Umno is fighting PAS not due to the name. Umno is not fighting PAS because of the colours. Umno fights PAS not because of hate. Umno fights PAS not due to revenge.

"Believe me my dear Muslims, we fight PAS because it is a jihad," said Ahmad Termizi.

Ahmad Termizi was speaking in the context of the situation in Kelantan where he said that the state government has been using its religious schools as platforms to mould the youth towards their own political beliefs.

He said that parents were keen to send their children to religious schools that cater to both religious and academic syllabi.

"A majority of parents are interested to send their children to religious schools that integrate religious studies with academic studies," he said.

However, according to Ahmad Termizi, the Kelantan education department receives a lot of applications from parents to send their children to National Religious Secondary Schools (SMKA).  More than 5,000 applications are received, but there are insufficient places available as Kelantan only has six SMKAs.

This means it could only provide about 1,200 places, so the balance of 4,000 applicants do not get places in SMKAs. So parents who wish to send their children to religious schools resort to sending them to state government schools which are often Arabic-centric religious schools.

"Kelantan is a very different state when compared to others. It is not the same with other states.

"What is happening that makes us worry is that children who are sent to learn at Arabic religious schools of the state government are moulded to meet their (PAS state government) needs and benefit their political struggle.

"That is how they have maintained their governance for more than 23 years," he told delegates.

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It's Buyer Beware in the Malaysian Franchise Industry

Posted: 06 Dec 2013 11:11 AM PST 

There has also been criticism of the Malaysian Franchise Association's lack of effort in promoting ethics within the industry by its membership. Part of the problem may appear to be in the way the Perbadanan Nasional Bhd (PNS) is promoting grants and start-up loan packages to businesses. The question is whether this is encouraging predator consulting practices within the industry.  

Murray Hunter & David Teoh

The possibility of becoming a successful entrepreneur in Malaysia is a dream shared by many. This avenue was widened through encouraging the formation of franchises where potential entrepreneurs could easily purchase a 'proven' business model and benefit from that successful business concept. 

In the mid 1990s the Malaysian Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs was given the responsibility under the Franchise Act 1998 to develop and regulate the industry.

Singer was the first company to introduce franchising to Malaysia in the 1940s. The first F&B successful franchise in Malaysia was the US A&W, which opened its first outlet in Petaling Jaya in 1963. Very soon afterwards many other successful outlets were opened all around Klang Valley. In the following decades, McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut, and Kenny Rogers were established in Malaysia. 

The concept of franchising was soon seen as a means of creating new Bumiputera entrepreneurs. Under the then Mahathir Government, retired public servants were encouraged to become entrepreneurs through buying into a franchise. The then deputy domestic trade minister Abdul Kadir bin Sheikh Fadzir became the public proponent of franchising, organizing seminars and workshops on the concept all over the country. 

Franchising in Malaysia became a massive growth industry with the setting up of the Malaysian Franchise Association in 1994, attracting a number of consultants and brokers into the action. A screening and selection system, as well as a number of bureaucratic requirements were enacted, making the procedure to become either a franchisor or franchisee very cumbersome. Consequently, after a very hopeful beginning, the combination of bureaucracy, regulation, procedure, and plain dishonesty among some franchisors has brought misery and suffering to many unsuspecting franchisees. Franchising was seen by some as a means to make quick money. 

The Franchise Development Program (FDP) requires franchisors to undertake a number of steps and procedures before they can be registered under Section 6 of the Franchise Act. Registration enables a company to be eligible for a grant, RM 100% for Bumiputera companies, and RM50% for non-Bumiputera companies. The catch here is ministry officials require franchisors to employ a consultant, usually of their choosing to aid the process, where fees may be as high as 40% of the total grant available. Many unhappy franchisors have suggested to the authors that some collusion exists in this process between consultants and officials.

Most consultants are not registered with the US based and internationally recognized International Franchise Association (IFA). These consultants commonly approach potential franchise businesses promising to expand their businesses through franchising. They arrange for grants without much scrutiny over the franchising viability of the businesses they have been engaged to develop franchise models. Consequently the market is full of many dubious business models. 

This results in franchises that have little real potential for franchisees to make a go of it. Successful SMEs that go down this track are poorly advised and often fall into financial difficulties. Franchisees who sign up with them don't last long in business. The only group who has profited out of this process is the consultant. 

The problem today is there are so many franchises up for sale, some bona fide and some non-bona fide, the quality on offer varies widely. Nascent entrepreneurs with little or no experience make the assumption that regulated franchises have been screened for business model viability. What more, some franchises like or Pusat Bahasa Titian Jaya imply that the company has a connection with Cambridge, when this is not the case. 

The Malaysia franchise Association vetting system lets down unsuspecting potential franchisees. It's really buyer beware in the franchise market. 

A number of franchisors see franchising as a means to extract money from franchisees, rather than a means to develop a brand and business. For example two Kuala Lumpur entrepreneurs signed a franchising agreement with an F&B franchisor based in Johor. The franchisor encouraged the franchisee to install a music box and have a band at the venue for extra franchisee costs outside the royalty agreement based on sales turnover. As a result the franchisee business became commercially unviable and the franchisor insisted on a legal remedy which cost the two entrepreneurs their full investment of over RM600K. This appears totally irresponsible for any franchisor who is interested in nurturing its brand and business, but rather only interested in extracting as much as it can through franchise fees without concern for long term viability. 

Most franchise agreements have been drawn up in favor of franchisors and when a business becomes unviable, franchisor requirements put the business into financial trouble. 

A litigation lawyer disclosed to the authors that due to the unfairness of the Franchise Act in its favoritism towards franchisors, very few franchisees have been successful in gaining any legal remedy from unscrupulous franchisors. Most court decisions have been made in favor of franchisors. 

The franchise industry has made many successful consultants like Abdul Malik Abdullah of D'Tandoori fame, but unfortunately there are a large number of local franchise failures, that tend to be hidden with all the hype about the success of the industry. Even though the industry can point to the success of many local franchises like Nelson's and Marrybrown, the vulnerability of any successful branded franchise can be seen in Secret Recipe going into receivership in Australia. 

There has also been criticism of the Malaysian Franchise Association's lack of effort in promoting ethics within the industry by its membership. Part of the problem may appear to be in the way the Perbadanan Nasional Bhd (PNS) is promoting grants and start-up loan packages to businesses. The question is whether this is encouraging predator consulting practices within the industry. 

The industry is full of consultants and brokers, who conduct courses and workshops which may encourage the vulnerable into inappropriate products and businesses. Many franchisors are reckless and over sell their ideas to gullible people who lack any sense about doing due diligence on a business concept. Some consultants are charging up to RM160K to secure company registration as an approved franchisor. 

The onus is on the Malaysian Franchise Association, as many within its membership desire, to do its part in cleaning up the industry. One of the franchise traps that is bringing many small franchisees undone, are the extra charges over and above royalties that crafty franchisors are demanding from franchisees. 

Potential franchisees need to look very closely at any franchise they may consider signing up to. This will require a review of how the business model works and scrutiny about both how much the business would cost to operate on a monthly basis, the potential revenue, and total payments required to be paid to the franchisor through the agreement. Is the planned location suitable for this franchise? Potential franchisees should go and look at the operations of other franchisees and talk to them about the franchise business, focusing particularly on the relationship between franchisor and franchisee. 

Potential franchisees should look at what they are getting for the fees they pay. How much is the franchisor putting back into brand support and promotion? They should ask who is the franchisor and do they really have the affiliations they claim to have? Is the franchisee entitled to new products? If so, are there any extra, one up fees besides royalty payments? In the event of financial difficulties or the need to close down for any reason, can the franchise agreement be easily terminated? Does the franchisee have the necessary skills and knowledge to run the business and what sort and duration of training is offered by the franchisor? Most importantly, does the franchisee have sufficient financial backing to undergo this venture? Surprisingly, these types of questions are rarely asked by new entrepreneurs. 

Finally what should also be considered from the national perspective, is the affect on national creativity and innovation from the franchising phenomenon. Although, the thinking behind franchising is that those who engage in franchising are less likely to fail in a new business, the framework of franchising itself frowns upon franchisees who themselves innovate. Thus franchising on a wide scale may have the effect of suppressing entrepreneurial creativity. Franchising kills creativity.

History not on the side of MCA’s peace plan

Posted: 06 Dec 2013 09:01 AM PST 

The MCA will hold its party poll on Dec 21. Liow, former president Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat and Vice-president Gan Ping Sieu are expected to engage in a three-cornered fight. 

Chen Shaua Fui,

Some might think a "peace plan" would stop the internal sword-fighting after the party poll, but the history of MCA politics has shown that this is not going to work.

Furthermore, this will strengthen the perception that MCA leaders are after party posts and personal political interest, and this is exactly why the voters deserted them in the 2008 and 2013 general elections.

Ng Nyen Fah, Director of the Centre for Malaysian Chinese Studies said that the unity plan or peace plan had been forged at least twice before, but it did not stop the party infighting that has brought MCA to its lowest point now.

Ng was referring to the unity plan forged by the former BN president Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to get Tun Dr Ling Liong Sik and Tan Sri Lim Ah Lek - who had engaged in a fierce internal battle - to retire together in 2005.

The other plan, Ng recalled, was in 2008 in which Datuk Seri Ong Ka Ting and Datuk Seri Chan Kong Choy retired together after the poor showing of the party in the 2008 general election.

He pointed out that these plans only managed to stop the bleeding of the party for a while after the new leadership took over, and after the honeymoon period, the infighting continued.

"This is because the plan was forged by those who were in the top posts who belonged to different factions - but MCA does not belong to these two factions. Many MCA grassroots members do not belong to any faction. They merely go for any faction that serves their best interests," Ng said.

He stressed that this is exactly how MCA continues to work. The leaders and grassroots are focused on their own interests, and do not have an ideology.

MCA has always been a service-based party, and it claimed that it represents the voice of the Chinese community. However, the political landscape has changed. The party had suffered its worst showing in the May 5th general election, in which the party only managed to retain seven parliamentary seats and 11 state seats.

Senior MCA leader Datuk Yap Pian Hon also reacted strongly to the peace plan in the making.

"This plan will kill democracy in the party as the new leadership will be arranged after negotiations," Yap told in a phone interview.

He said this will not make MCA look good to the voters when it should be talking about reform, transformation and democratisation.

Yap, who is also a former vice-president, said the plan may work in the short term but the infighting will happen again because the team that was put in place was not chosen by the grassroots according to their assessment of the candidates.

"The central delegates must be given the opportunity to assess these leaders' performance and goals and then make their choice. Then the new team that is born will not be monopolised by certain factions," he said.

Yap said a free and fair party poll will ensure that the party can retain quality leaders and be respected.

Read more at:


Anwar, the Lone Ranger?

Posted: 06 Dec 2013 08:57 AM PST 

If the Malays from PAS and Umno coalesce via the Islamic binding factor, why then should the Malays in Pakatan be left out to suffer and not enjoy the various sweetened pies? 

Narinder Singh, FMT 

Is Pakatan Rakyat shrivelling away to the point that they may lose the momentum before the next general election?

With the recent moves made by their affiliate PAS in opening possibilities to Umno to form a united Malay stand in the country with Islam as the foundation and binding factor, Pakatan may well be losing their Malay support.

After all how many Malays have benefited under the Pakatan umbrella, and Anwar has definitely lost significant magnetism in keeping his loyal supporters.

Just take Khalid Ibrahim, the Selangor Menteri Besar for an example. Despite projecting a calm image on the front, it is obvious that he has broken ranks with his party boss, Anwar.

If there was one party that took on the tide and piggy-backed Pakatan in the last general election, it is the DAP. DAP knew that with the Malays backing Pakatan, it will be a golden opportunity to get their votes, especially in grey constituencies.

And that is what exactly happened. The so-called ultra-modern Malays, in particular young urbanites, were too carried away and bit the bait with all the various promises made by Pakatan for them.

It was crystal clear that the Chinese tsunami did turn the tables on Barisan Nasional. And it will be foolish to dream on that they will have a change of hearts come the next general election.

BN can kick MCA and Gerakan out for all you care as they will never in the next millennium be able to harness Chinese support back, no matter how much more money they throw to them.

Umno and the rest of their partners may well keep their voters happy in Sabah and Sarawak. Forget about the Chinese here. They are gone for good to the DAP, not even Pakatan.

As mentioned, Pakatan was just the initial catalyst that has outrun its own function by providing DAP the Chinese support.

Now, that brings us to ponder what will Pakatan do when they are basically left with only non-Umno Malay support?

The Malays in Pakatan will be compass-less and will eventually get steered out of the Umno- Bumiputera masterplan agenda radar if they hold on to their association with Pakatan for too long.

For one, Pakatan cannot sustain them on mere rhetoric and shallow agenda. Pakatan just does not have the financial means or they are just to stupidly and arrogantly stingy.

With PAS making in-roads and courting Umno, Pakatan will be left in a limbo because on one hand they do not want to be perceived as being too Islamist, hence their silence on the muzakarah between Umno and PAS; while on the other they are trying their level best to keep friendship with DAP.



Pakatan looks jaded and tired

Posted: 06 Dec 2013 08:52 AM PST 

Selena Tay, FMT 

At this point in time, Barisan Nasional seems to be gaining momentum while Pakatan Rakyat seems to be pushed into a corner. One thing for sure is that Pakatan must put some semblance of order in its house in due course so as to avoid floundering during the Sarawak state polls which must be held by 2016 the latest.

Recently though, Pakatan leaders have been finding themselves on the receiving end in the Selangor state assemblymen salary hike issue.

A salary hike is okay but an increase of over 100% is difficult to be explained although it may be justified as the PKR-led Selangor state government can afford it.

Still, this state government which has always boasted about its financial prudence as one of the hallmarks of its administration is now finding itself in a tough spot due to this salary hike move.

What more when Pakatan has always touted that Selangor is a model of cost-conscious management and wise administration.

This being the case, a too-substantial salary hike will certainly be frowned upon by some members of the public at times like this. Yes, the timing is way out indeed.

Of course BN leaders are also having a field day attacking Pakatan over this issue but if the MPs' salary is also hiked up tremendously, then it is a case of pot calling the kettle black.

Back to the Selangor matter, doing damage control after the pay rise is announced shows that Pakatan leaders did not act in cohesion nor was there much discussion before this move was implemented.

In future any major change in policy involving administration and finance should be discussed and a general consensus be reached before implementation because blunders like this can cause fence-sitters to swing their vote towards BN.

In addition to proper discussion before execution, Pakatan's plans must also be clearly explained to the citizens.

For example, this columnist's Christian friends are worried that if Pakatan comes into power, hudud will be implemented immediately.

Many Christians are ignorant of the fact that PAS intends to first file a motion in Parliament to amend the federal constitution before implementing hudud.

From here we can see that due to a lack of information, many voters can still be confused about Pakatan's stand on certain issues and if the confusion is not cleared up, it can be detrimental to Pakatan and cause people to doubt Pakatan's ability to govern the nation well.

Pakatan leaders must now focus on being a strong opposition. It is good that a roadshow called 'Faham GST, Tolak GST' will be launched in KL in two weeks time on Dec 20 to educate the public about GST (Goods & Services Tax) so that the citizens can know more about GST.

Right now there are still many people who do not really comprehend what GST really is simply because of skewed information from the media.

Fresh approach

Pakatan leaders must be at the forefront on all issues facing the public and the current main issue is the rise in the cost of living due to the hike in petrol prices, electricity tariff, etc.

Therefore Pakatan MPs leading a protest in front of KL City Hall on Monday, Dec 16 at 11am to protest the assessment hike is certainly a good idea as we have elected these Pakatan MPs to be our voice.

Also kudos to KL's Pakatan lawmakers for opening counters in night and morning markets to collect petition signatures from the citizens who are against the hike, the sum of which is ridiculous.

Moreover KL City Hall has billions in revenue.

It is time too for Pakatan leaders to go for a retreat in order to re-draw their roadmap. This is a necessity due to the GE13 loss. Pakatan leaders cannot be carrying on in the same manner as before because improvements need to be made in administration and the mechanics of operation.

Pakatan should now re-focus and set its goals a little differently. There needs to be some re-alignment and re-adjustment. In short, Pakatan needs to re-strategise.

There must be renewal and rejuvenation as Pakatan now seems jaded and tired. There must be a fresh approach and fresh impetus in the way of doing things.

This is so that Pakatan can come back with renewed vigour to champion for the people's welfare and wellbeing.

Pakatan must avoid blunders and fluff-ups that is happening now. There is no better time for Pakatan to re-invent itself as the present time as the next general election is still a long time in coming.



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