Thursday, November 19, 2009

France, Portugal, Algeria and Greece qualkified for World Cup 2010

Portugal beat Bosnia 1 -0 (Aggregate 2-0)
France beat Ireland 1-0 (Aggregate 2-0)
Algeria beat Egypt 1-0 (Aggregate 1-0)
Greece beat Ukraine 1-0 (Aggregate 1-0)

Look like we can still watch Ronaldo, Tiery Henry, Nicolas Anelka and Nani playing in World Cup, but no more Andrei Shevchenko.

New Faces in MCA Council

Wanita MCA, Datin Paduka Chew mei Fun is out of the team. Is this Dr Chua' team or Ong tee keat's team.

Looks like the President has the ultimate power compare to the members of the party. Hope the new team will spur the party with dignity and integrity (which will never happen).

Hope this people will serve the members and not their families.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Klang Pacer 12km Run - 15 Nov'09

After last week' dismal performance, I wanted to do something better this time. This is my 2nd ever race in Klang. I dont really know the place. I manage to get confirmation of the place from Ronnie and Naresh before I leave the house. When I reached Jalan Tengku Kelana, I couldn't see any stadium. Maybe they didnt switch on the lights, thus I went to the Police Station. The Idiotic policeman told me "Saya tak tahulah encik". I got pist off and luckily the BOMBA station was just beside. So I got to know the place and got there at 6.15am.

Upon flag off, I went on my own pace without bothering the rest. I slowly picked up my pace after 4km where I was pacing the Klang Pacer boys. When I reached 7km, I saw my fren Sri was infront. So I just paced him till 10km. Upon that, he got tired, so I just paced the runners in front of me and manage to overtake 3 people at final 300metres.

The road was flat except at GH slope. There were no "Uturn"s, which didnt distract our concentrations. The water station was at 2 places, 6km and 9km. They could have placed it at 4th km and 9thkm. But they really wanted us to go tru the Klang Pacer office.

I crossed the line with timing of 54:45.13 and placed 28th. This was defineetly better than what I expected, since I was lacking of training and sleep nowadays. It's time to buck up, and this the time to perform. Will start preparing for the Biathlon on 13th Dec.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Malaysian Job Seekers prefers to work in ethical firms

About 90 per cent of Malaysian job-seekers have a strong preference for organisations with sound ethical, social responsibility and environmental policies, according to a workplace survey.
Organisations with strong social responsibility practices are being viewed as "employers of choice" by Malaysian job seekers who prefer companies that focus beyond performance outcomes and promote larger social goals, said the survey by Kelly Services Inc.

It found that employees across all age generations gravitate to organisations considered ethically and environmentally responsible, with baby boomers (aged 48 to 65) generally more discerning than their younger colleagues among Gen Y (aged 18 to 29) and Gen X (aged 30 to 47).
Half of all workers are prepared to accept a pay cut or a demotion in order to work for an organisation with a sound corporate reputation, the survey said.

In fact, concern about ethical behaviour outweighed concern about the environment across all generations when deciding where to work, it added.
"Employees take pride not only in what they do while at work, but in what their organisation stands for and how it is perceived by the entire community," said vice president and country general manager of Kelly Services (M) Sdn Bhd, Melissa Norman.

"It provides a sense of fulfilment to be part of an enterprise that is focused not only on performance outcomes but also on larger social goals," she said.
Among the key findings of the survey is that 88 per cent are more likely to want to work for a company that is considered environmentally responsible.
About 74 per cent said that in deciding where to work, an organisation's reputation for ethical conduct is "very important".

About 50 per cent said they would be prepared to accept a lesser role or a lower salary to work for a firm with a strong environmental and community conscience.
Another 50 per cent said that in deciding where to work, policies aimed at addressing global warming are "very important".

Credit Card Users must fight for their rights

CONSUMERS have to be more proactive and exercise their rights when it comes to merchant surcharges on credit cards.

No longer should they passively agree to the surcharge just because they have become used to that particular merchant or are simply too disinterested to shop elsewhere.

Banks are firm when it comes to merchant surcharge. RHB Bank head of retail banking Renzo Viegas told consumers not to "accept any imposition of surcharge, report such incidents to the bank or go to other merchants that do not impose surcharge.’’

In fact, under the Bank Negara credit card guidelines, banks are required to display prominently on the credit card application forms, their fees and charge tables.
According to Association of Banks in Malaysia executive director Chuah Mei Lin, banks are also required to print on the monthly billing statements to credit card holders, information on the outstanding balances and method of computation of such charges.

So it looks like consumers have a lot to look out for or at least raise questions on when they receive their next statement!
With the recent announcement of a RM50 service tax per credit card, it has become even more urgent to decrease the usage of cards and switch to other modes of payment.

Does that also mean that those who do not use credit cards will have to foot the same bill as card users?

The usual merchant justification for charging the extra is that banks will ask for the extra on card transactions. Therefore, even items with 0% interest may still end up costing more.

How is a merchant to work out a fair rate that applies to the cash, credit card and cheque or bankdraft users? In this respect, consumers have to take time to study the prices and shop judiciously.

Intense competition will eventually drive down the prices as the same item may be found in a similar shop probably two or three doors away at a cheaper price with better terms!
By asking for a fair value to all, are we in a way robbing the person who is willing to pay cash of the opportunity to get a lower price?

With the recent budget announcement of a RM50 service tax per credit card, it has become even more urgent to decrease the usage of cards and switch to other modes of payment.
It may be worthwhile to explore personal loans even though we are supposed to be marching towards the era of electronic payments systems.

Sources in the retailing industry emphasise that it is the retailers’ responsibility to absorb the surcharge, which ranges from 1.5% to over 2%, depending on the volume of business and negotiations with banks.

In fact, some of the larger retailers are suggesting that a fine should be imposed on those merchants that impose the credit card surcharge.
They also emphasise that this surcharge should not be included as part of the merchants’ costs which should be kept competitive to attract a higher sales volume.

By Senior business editor Yap Leng Kuen reckons it is high time these card merchants realise it is dangerous for them to outrightly impose a surcharge on credit cards. The Star, 11 Nov'09

FRS 139 & Impact on Transfer Pricing

COME Jan 1, the Malaysian Accounting Standards Board’s Financial Reporting Standard 139 – Financial Instruments: Recognition and Measurement (FRS 139) will finally be implemented in Malaysia. Four years since its implementation date was set, it is still considered uncharted waters for many corporations. This is not surprising since FRS 139 is considered the "mother" of all standards by some.

Under FRS 139, many financial assets and financial liabilities are required to be carried at fair value. This will have a significant impact on loans between related parties, which generally can be interest-free or carry interest rates which are well below the market rates.

The definition of fair value under FRS 139 is "the amount for which an asset could be exchanged, or a liability settled, between knowledgeable, willing parties in an arm’s length transaction". Paragraph 48A of FRS 139 further states that "The best evidence of fair value is quoted prices in an active market ... Valuation techniques include using recent arm’s length market transactions between knowledgeable, willing parties, if available ... "

Interestingly, it loosely echoes the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development’s guide for an arm’s length interest rate:
"... an arm’s length interest rate shall be an interest rate which was charged, or would have been charged, at the time the financial assistance was granted, to uncontrolled transactions with or between independent persons under similar circumstances."

It could well imply that the measurement of related party loans initially at their respective fair values and subsequently at amortised cost using the effective interest method, may be deemed to be in line with the arm’s length principle since market interest rate is used.

Following the introduction of Section 140A of the Income Tax Act 1967 (ITA) which basically requires taxpayers to ensure that their related party transactions are carried out at arm’s length, would this then mean that an assessment of the fair value of related party loans by the auditors under FRS 139 can serve as contemporaneous documentation for transfer pricing purposes?

The corporate taxpayers do not have an option as to whether to accept the fair value accounting treatment in their financial statements – it is a requirement of FRS 139 and also the Companies Act 1965.

Further, requiring corporations to measure related-party loans initially at their respective fair value may not only affect the income statement. However, for certain, the subsequent amortisation amounts, measured at amortised costs, will represent accounting interest income or interest expense in the income statement. Book entries are generally not the actual receipts or payments, and in tax terms are not real costs or income earned.

At this point, it would be helpful to look at what other tax jurisdictions have done under similar circumstances. Hong Kong, Singapore and New Zealand tax authorities have issued departmental interpretation and practice notes on the income tax implications arising from the adoption of IAS 39 or its local equivalent.

While in general most tax authorities require the tax treatments to follow or be consistent with the accounting treatment under FRS 139 as far as possible, they also acknowledge that the revenue versus capital consideration would need to be considered in determining the tax treatment.

As an example, in Singapore, the tax adjustment is such that the discount on the interest-free loan recognised in the income statement will not be allowed as a tax deduction and the interest income recorded will not be taxed because these are merely book entries.

The auditor’s primary role is still that of expressing an opinion as to the true and fair view of the financial statements. This means that corporations would still need to provide auditors with supporting evidence of the fair value of the related-party loans to enable auditors to express an opinion.

The fair value measurement rests on the rebuttable presumption that effective interest rates used in the amortised cost method is the market interest rate and is thus, at arm’s length. While this is generally true, loan arrangements made with unrelated parties in the current business environment should be considered as arm’s length, although they may not carry the same market interest rates due to various factors such as level of credit risks, tenure, size of collaterals, etc.

So, what would corporations provide to the auditors? Section 140A of the ITA provides that the acquisition or supply of property or services with related parties be conducted at arm’s length, failing which the Director General of Inland Revenue may adjust the transfer prices.

Since 2003, transfer pricing guidelines have been issued, setting out the extent of information required in a transfer pricing report. The guidelines also stipulate that it is a pre-requisite that a comparable analysis (benchmarking) be carried out to substantiate the arm’s length pricing.

To ensure that corporations provide auditors with the correct arm’s length and market rate interest for related-party loans in the FRS 139 measurement of fair value, it is very likely that a comparable analysis would need to be carried out. This should then provide the setting not only for the auditors but for the tax authorities in support of the argument for arm’s length. Any fair value book entries put through the financial statements should then be met with minimum queries from the tax authorities.

By Janice Wong is tax partner and head of transfer pricing services at Ernst & Young Tax Consultants Sdn Bhd.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The worlds cheapest McDonalds is in Malaysia

Source : The Star, Nov 2, 2009

AS if Iceland does not have enough problems, McDonald’s has just announced the closure of its three restaurants there and said it has no plans to return.

Apparently, most of the ingredients used by McDonald’s in this crisis-hit country are imported from Germany and the franchise holder would have to raise prices by at least 20% to produce an acceptable profit.

The story was important enough to make it to the front page of the Financial Times on Oct 27.
According to the report, for McDonald’s to stay profitable in Iceland, the Big Mac there would have to be priced above US$5.75, which is what it costs in Switzerland, home to the most expensive Big Mac, according to the Big Mac index.

The Big Mac index is published by The Economist as an informal way of measuring the purchasing power parity (PPP) between two currencies and provides a test of the extent to which market exchange rates result in goods costing the same in different countries.

You can get a good exposition of how this index works, including its limitations, by referring to Tan Sri Dr Lin See Yan’s column on July 25 entitled "Burgernomics and the ringgit".
Since this column is not into heavy economic stuff, I was more interested to find out where the most expensive and cheapest Big Macs are to be found.

As of February this year, the most expensive burgers were in Norway (US$5.79), Switzerland (US$5.60), Denmark (US$5.07), Sweden (US$4.58) and Eurozone (US$4.38).
Now, here’s the interesting part. According to the same index, Malaysia (US$1.70) actually ranks No 1 among the five most affordable Big Macs, ahead of Hong Kong (US$1.71), China (US$1.83), Thailand (US$1.86) and Sri Lanka (US$1.95).

To be frank, I am not a real fan of fast food but when I am overseas and am at a loss as to what to eat, it is quite comforting to be able to step into a McDonald’s, KFC or Pizza Hut outlet, and order familiar items.

We also have to understand why some of our overseas friends do not like to be too adventurous with our wide array of Malaysian hawker fare, especially when they are on a short trip. There’s nothing worse than having to repeatedly run to the toilet because their stomachs are not accustomed to our delicious, spicy stuff.

Still on the same subject, I am trying to figure out why the fast-food joints are increasing the number of their 24-hour outlets.

In my neighbourhood, they compete with the Syeds and other 24-hour teh tarik outlets, and for the life of me, I cannot imagine anyone preferring a snack plate of original recipe chicken over a piping hot bowl of sup kambing in the hours after midnight, or a Big Mac over the Ramly burger sold at the roadside stall.

But they have obviously done their research, and I suppose my preferences are fast being overtaken by more global taste buds. That may well impact on the Burgernomics figures eventually, since prices are determined to a large extent by supply and demand.

I like to think that I’m doing my bit to keep Malaysia in the top ranking for most affordable Big Macs – by sticking to my teh tarik and roti canai during EPL matches.

By Deputy executive editor Soo Ewe Jin

Staff Evaluation can be a waste of time

Source: The Star - 6th Nov'09

The problem is not in the concept - it is in the execution

DON’T get me wrong. I think staff evaluations are a very important part of organisational management. They have the potential to provide invaluable constructive feedback to staff at all levels, acting as a platform for improvement and personal development. Clear, honest, specific feedback can help us sharpen our performance, accelerate our learning curve.

Just look at the sporting world. World-class athletes pay coaches big bucks to give them constant evaluation, relentlessly pointing out their weaknesses, skills-gaps and blind spots in their quest for perfection.

Even a seasoned pro like Tiger Woods seeks regular feedback on his game and similarly many of us have spent quite a few dollars employing the local golf pro in our club to dissect our swings and tell us why we’re not hitting 400-yard drives on a regular basis!
So the simple reality is that feedback accelerates performance growth, hence, the value of a staff evaluation system.

The problem is not in the concept. The problem is in the execution.

Many staff evaluation meetings deteriorate into a meaningless exercise simply because no useful information is being exchanged. The following are some reasons why:

1. Many bosses only evaluate performance targets
We need to distinguish between evaluating what our staff have achieved and evaluating how they went about achieving it. I would say the latter is more critical and valuable.
Going through your staff’s performance records and telling them what targets they have surpassed and what targets they have failed to meet is an important but relatively simple exercise that most leaders should be able to accomplish with a minimum of fuss. The tough part is providing staff a critique on how they are going about their work.

A good manager, like a good coach, doesn’t merely highlight the fact that you have fallen short. They are able to offer insightful and critical appraisals of why you have fallen short and then offer suggestions for how you can do better.

I don’t expect the golf pro I have hired to spend an hour telling me that I’m not hitting 400-yard drives. I can see that for myself! What I need from him is a critical analysis of what I’m doing wrong and what I can do differently.

2. Many bosses don’t really observe their staff

To be able to offer a useful analysis of someone else’s work style and system, I need to know how he’s working. If I’ve no idea what you have been doing, or how you have been doing it, I am in no position to objectively critique your work style or method.

How many bosses/managers actually observe their staff at work? Of course observations can be conducted in many different ways. It may involve taking some time to observe them in action, but this is not the only way. There are a variety of creative ways to collect information about how your staff goes about their work. This may include collating information through 360 degree evaluation and other forms of descriptive surveys. It may also include them providing more detailed analysis of their own work approach.

I know this takes time, and the way some companies are structured makes this process challenging because you have 50 or 60 staff members directly reporting to one boss.

3. Many bosses are not honest with their staff
Some bosses are scared of their staff. They are scared that if they raise criticisms their staff will challenge their positions, that it may sour their working relationships and in the worst-case scenario, may even lead to the staff leaving.

I know situations like this, where staff threaten to leave whenever someone critiques their work. This reflects weakness on the part of the boss who clearly lacks the courage to confront flaws in members of the team, but personally I think it is the staff’s loss in the end.

When you create a situation where no one dares give you feedback, you lose, not them. You are the one who has deprived yourself of valuable fuel for growth. You are the one who has voluntarily stunted yourself.

While the rest of the competitive world is out there hungrily seeking feedback and devouring any criticism that can help them get ahead in the world, they are still some staff who happily embrace their mediocrity, comfortably sitting where they are and proud of the fact that no one can move them.

A culture of honesty requires trust to be earned from both parties. On one hand, it requires a boss who not only makes the effort to observe and develop an accurate, critical and constructive evaluation of the staff, but one who also has no hidden agenda other than to help his staff develop to their full potential.

On the other hand, it requires staff who are hungry and courageous enough to swallow their pride and be open to hearing unpleasant truths about themselves, all the while realising that this is a natural part of growth and re-invention.

In conclusion, practising a meaningful system of staff evaluation is a difficult thing. It requires the commitment of resources and the development of a culture of honesty and trust. Not easy, but certainly a more desirable alternative to a meaningless and empty evaluation process that already eats up millions of dollars worth of people’s time and energy.

by: Dr Goh Chee Leong is vice-president of HELP University College and a psychologist.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

1st Malay Wedding Emcee

My Co-MC

We are in action

Take a break

My coursemate and good mate, Aimi

At Last I became Emcee for Malay Wedding. That shows my versatilaty. Really proud of it.
I learnt the flow of the Malay weeding and the beautiful words to use to cheer up the function.

I should thank to my hostelmate, Amalina for giving me such opportunity to learn. It was her brother's wedding and she wanted FREE OF CHARGE MC, so I took the chalenge to promote myself.

Whatever happened I took it as learning experience.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

KDU 1 Malaysia Charity Run

After lapse of 3 weeks I'm running in this competition. Although I was just training for 5km, this tournament was a good tournament to show whats my fitness level.

Ronnie called me and I agreed for it since it's just 5km. Then he said that there will be 4 of us in the team which will be Ronnie, Stanley, Wern Tien and myself. I taught it's going to be a relay. Then I realised it's going to be mass start, and they will calculate the average timing.

There were only four teams in our category and Pacemakers send 2 teams including my team. The flag off suppose to be at 7am but they started damn late at 8.15pm. They dragged the event by having Taekwondo show, senamrobik and speeches.

Upon flagging off, Ronnie started the pace and lead the racing pack followed by Stanley, wern Tien and myself. I paced them till the midway point.

Suddenly the drama started. I started having ache at both my calf. It's like pulling me and I was feeling that it could burst. This made me to slow but couldn't slow that much as the next team which is Pacemakers Team 2 lead by Chen Pong Pong was just meters behind me.

I just told my self that I'm not going to quit and paced behind stanley by 50M behind. Though the sun was striking but, it didn't stop us from finishing with a bang.

When I saw the finishing line, I just pushed myself and went to Red Cross straight for treatment.

During the price giving ceremony, the individual runners were getting Champagne bottle (Halal one), but we didn't receive anything since we are in the team event. Damn, I told the organising committee person, that we also worked equally hard as the other runners.

When we received the medal, It remembered me my school medal which is in plastic and ribbon strap. Damn, really cheapskate medal although I paid RM25.

No proper drinks or refreshments. Whatever, I finally received the bottle of champagne after tough argument with the organising committee.

Now I have to get prepared for the Klang 12km run on 15Nov.
Official results yet to be announced by Ronnie.

Dicipline Committee of MCA resigns

We have another bomb shell from MCA saga. The Dicipline committee resigns after MCA accepting Dr.Chua Soi Lek back as Num 2 to the party.

Looks like members of MCA has no power already. They have said that Dr.Chua should not be num 2 in the party during the last AGM but now he is back.

Does this means, the President has the ultimate power to decide on what he wants to do?

That's why the diciplinary committee has decided to resign so that there wont be another saga.

MCA really needs a change.