Sunday, March 23, 2014

You think your integrity is high? hmmm think again..hehehe

Certified Integrity Officers Group 6 and The Executive Group, photo with
YB Senator Datuk Paul Low, Minister in the Prime Minister's Dept

Wow, time flies. Little did I realize I have been resource person for the CeiO program now running into the 6th, 7th (April) and 8th (June) cohorts. It is conducted at the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Academy at Jalan Duta, Kuala Lumpur. My slot is a two hour 'internal management control' sharing of industry experience and some stuff on auditing and risk management and a review of corporate scandals and malfeasance in the likes of Enron et al. This certified program is under the supervision of the Centre for Corporate Integrity Development of MACA and most participants are from the public service, GLCs and some PLCs.

When I was first invited to speak at this program, I was under the banner of the Malaysian Institute of Corporate Governance (MICG). They have now invited me in my personal capacity hehehe. The Malaysian Institute of Integrity or IIM was set up during Ex-Premier Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi or Pak Lah as he is fondly known. 

I was a bit apprehensive when it was first introduced. My initial reaction was....why do we need an institute for integrity? Would it not be interpreted or perceived by the world at large that Malaysia is a nation of people with no integrity? haha. We are now seeing the fruits of that initiative. Kudos to Pak Lah as we now see a growing seriousness at the way we look ethics, integrity, fraud and corruption at both the public and private sectors. 

The present government is serious at ensuring that Malaysia moves down the scale in the global corruption index. ok ok..I will leave at that. No heavy stuff on a sunday afternoon..hehe. Enjoy the rest of the weekend folks...ciao...

Saturday, March 22, 2014

of celebrity ceos and death by powerpoint...

Sorry folks! I have not been blogging, almost a month. It has also been 3 months now since I called it a day as adviser and board member of MRC Malaysia in partnership with THATCHAM UK. The first quarter of 2014 seems unusually crazy for me as ALL weekends in March up to 12th April, are taken up. MBA classes..OMG! (the usual Gen Y expression for oh my gawd! hehehe). Lecturing Strategic Management  cohort 5 at UUMKL and facilitating and tutorials at Asia e University  (Strategic Management, Multinational Corporations (MNC), Corporate Governance & Best Practice and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).

Its a nice feeling when after retirement people still remember you and invite you to speak and/or chair conferences hehehe. Last thursday, Comfori, winner of PMSB's best training provider award 2011, invited me to speak and chair the second day (March 20) the 5th Annual Conference on Human Capital Management Excellence (whatever that means..hehehe) at Hotel Seri Pacific, Kuala Lumpur. I didn't realize that the conference proceedings was going to be in Malay...erkk..I told them I am more comfortable if it was in Bahasa Indonesia  (oh  no!...hehehe). And I realized most speakers were doing it ad-lib. With quite a few marching on shamelessly in Oxbridge or Harvard English hohoho. The audience were mostly public sector with a few from the universities.

Among a few favorite presentations, one was from the 'celebrity' CEO of the LHDN or the Inland Revenue Board. Yes, the prodigal phenomena in anyone's life hahaha. In life, there only two certainties - Death and Taxes!  hohoho. Tan Sri was fun, flamboyant  and I wish alot more CEOs both in public and private sectors are like him, fun and engaging, inspiring, motivational yet no nonsense. He seems to engage the Gen Ys quite well. That, my friends, those in HCM..managing and engaging them, are the greatest challenge now and in the future.  I told Tan Sri that he is like Jack Welch..he laughed. Which reminds me what Jack Welch (The celebrity GE former CEO) said: 'When the rate of change outside an organization is greater that the rate of change inside, the end is near...'

The topic given to me was 'Penyediaan persekitaran yang komprehensif ke arah memaksimumkan jana tenaga dan ide serta membentuk motivasi dan sifat kepimpinan dalam organisasi' Wow! that was a mouthful and translated it simply means 'Preparing or providing an environment that can maximize generation of energy and ideas as well as motivating and developing leadership qualities in organizations'. Since my presentation was the last one for the day and since there was going to be another function at the hotel and we were told to finish earlier haha and to spare the poor delegates further torture or death by powerpoint hahaha, I didn't have any slides on (although i did prepare one hehehe). I just told fellas, all that I wanted to say, had already been said by others the last two days...erkkk...hehehe. I also said, there was a book that read 'leaders don't need powerpoint' hehehe.  Have a nice weekend ya all...

Monday, February 24, 2014


WIKIPEDIA says that in academia, a FESTCHRIFT is a book honoring a person, especially an academic, and presented during his or her lifetime. The term borrowed from German, could be translated as  celebration publication or celebratory (piece of) writing. A comparable book presented posthumously is called Gedenschrift (memorial publication). Sometimes the Latin term "liber amicorum" (literally : "Book of friends") is used for a festschrift. The German word Festschrift has been incorporated into the English Language.

Last Friday, February 21, 2014, I had the privilege of attending such a function at the Senate Room, Chancellory, National University of Malaysia or UKM, on the kind invitation of the Chairman of UKM University Board Emeritus Professor Dato' Ir Dr Mohamad  Zawawi Ismail. 

The festschrift was for Emeritus Professor Abdul Rahman Embong. I once had the privilege of moderating a seminar at the MACC Academy where he was panelist. This festschrift was organized by IKMAS and the Social Science Association of Malaysia. (I was seated beside the founding director of IKMAS Datuk Professor Yusof who is now KUIN Rector, Kedah). Spotted at the do was Dato' Mohd Fadzli, Tan Sri Nordin Kardi and some other friends from Institut Integriti Malaysia.

I thought the bicara sains sosial and the book appreciation discourse was quite good. Profesor Ulung  Datuk Dr Shamsul Amri Baharuddin, despite his usual academic epistemological approach hehe,  cracked a few jokes here and there and I particularly like his mention of timun, tahu and tauge...(hehehe).

Off the cuff remarks by the brand-new UKM Vice-Chancellor Datuk Professor Noor Azlan Ghazali was very illuminating and game-changing too I would think. I like the bit where he said that academic disciplines must break their protective boundaries. The thinking should shift, and he gave the example of education. The old paradigm would think in terms of education per se and would be about pre-school, primary, secondary, university education and teacher training...he goes on to say why not think of education in different contexts? The economics of education for example. The technology of education..etcetera etcetera...

I was humbled, when he mention about business schools not going out meeting real business people from an article I emailed him. Thank you Datuk Prof read my emails...hehehe

Thursday, February 06, 2014

The Merdeka Awards 2013...

I was at the Merdeka Awards 2013 a few hours ago. Again, privileged, honored and humbled indeed by YBhg Tan Sri Datuk Seri Arshad Ayub's invitation to be in his guest list. It was graced by the Honourable Prime Minister of Malaysia  YAB Dato Sri Mohd Naib Tun Razak and the Regent of Perak His Royal Highness Tuanku Raja Dr Nazrin.

The Merdeka Award aims to promote thought leadership and innovation, foster a culture of excellence, encourage a worldview, thereby enhancing Malaysia's standing as a dynamic, competitive 21st Century Global Player in all key sectors from Science and technology to the arts. The idea of a Merdeka Award was conceived by the major global O&G and energy  multinationals namely ExxonMobil, Petronas and Shell.

This year's recipients are: Tan Sri Datuk Seri Arshad Ayub (for outstanding contribution in shaping Malaysi'as education landscape through the development of professional education, education reforms, and innovation that have resulted in education becoming more accessible to Malaysians) and Raja Tan Sri Datuk Seri Muhammad Alias (joint recipient in the Education and Community Category , for outstanding contribution to rural development and rural reform through organizing successful land settlement projects (FELDA) for the many landless, rural population in Malaysia); Dr Lim Boo Liat in the Environment Category for outstanding contribution to the conservation of Malaysia's biological diversity ; Tan Sri Dato' Dr Yahya Awang in the health, Science and Technology Category  for outstanding contribution to pioneering the development of clinical research and cardiac surgery in Malaysia and for his instrumental role in the establishment of the National Heart Institute (IJN) and Emeritus Professor Dato' Dr Lam Sai Kit for an Outstanding Scholastic Achievement (scholarly research and development in medical virology and emerging infectious diseases including dengue).

Tan Sri Datuk Seri Arshad's acceptance speech was as always, a constant reminder of his no-nonsense disposition, discipline, commitment and passion for whatever he has chosen to do the past 85 years. A role model and inspiration to his 7 children and 28 grandchildren and to me too.

I think everyone who were at the awards ceremony will never forget, in his acceptance speech, Tan Sri  Dato' Dr Yahya Awang said " ... and finally I like to thank my wife for allowing me to mend all the broken hearts in Malaysia" gagagagagaga. hahahaha. i thought that was really cute, cleverly thought out punchline.. humorous indeed. You wouldn't expect anything less from someone who graduated from Monash University would you? hehehe. 

Which reminds me..of this tale I used to share at collision repair industry conferences : once upon a time, a mechanic was removing the cylinder heads from the motor of a car when he spotted  the famous heart surgeon in his shop, who was standing off to the side, waiting for the service manager to come to take a look at his car. The mechanic shouted across the garage, "Hello Doctor! Please come over here for a minute." The famous surgeon,a bit surprised, walked over to the mechanic. The mechanic straightened up, wiped his hands on a rag and asked argumentatively. "So Doctor, look at this. I also open hearts, take valves out, grind them, put in new parts, and when I finish, this will work as a new one. So how come you get the big money, when you and me is doing basically the same work? The Doctor leaned over and whispered to the mechanic "Eh hello taikor...try to do it when the engine is running leg?"   

Hmmm... could that famous heart surgeon be Tan Sri Dato' Dr Yahya Awang? I'll have to ask him when we do meet the next time. hehehe. Good night folks...     

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

The Global Journey of An Asian...

Ralph Waldo Emerson couldn't have said it better when he said "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us". My good ole fren Datuk Palan PhD has proven what R W Emerson meant. Palan has unleashed what lies within him.

I have known Dr Palan many years now, long before his Datukship from the Sultan of Perak. I was delighted yet humbled to have been in his guest list for the launch of his "The Global Journey of An Asian" book at Dewan Sivik MBPJ recently. Met many old frens and colleagues too. Many HR hotshots past and present. Ishak Hashim, Ramley, Nordin Ahmad, Prof Azizi Dean of OYA, Datuk Prof Ibrahim Ahmad Bajunid  DVC of INTI Baccalaureate International University et al... just to name a few.

The Mentri Besar (Chief Minister) of Perak was also present. He smiled when he saw me because he remembered passing me a cup of hot tea under the tent we were staying in Mina while performing our Haj in 2010. It was sweet of him to call his photographer to snap a picture of us. The photographer emailed me the shot immediately the next day..haha.

I was saying? Yes, I knew Palan way back when I was at KTMB. During the early days of the HRD Congress that he organizes every year, there was one year where he asked me to speak. The topic was 'Change your Shoes, not your Feet' very much about personal and organizational change management. I have been with him many times after that either as a participant, moderator or panelist. Of course I like it when its abroad hahaha. I was panelist at one of his congress held in Jakarta and one in Malacca.

What I like about the book is that it give a true and sincere account of the trials, trepidations, tribulations, challenges, opportunities, the sweet and sour experiences of a journey of an entrepreneur. Not too heavy, written in simple language and with parables and stories and fun..yes fun..which is Palan's hallmark. Not too thick but yes thicker than Tengku Farith's 'Sekali lagi' when he chronicled his experiences and the not -so-smooth route of building up and sustaining his company.

Congratulations Datuk Dr Palan. You have inspired me to write about my own journey too..both corporate and personal. Nanti lah..bila senang2 sikit...I'll probably start with a pictorial one hahaha. Plenty already archived in my iPhoto hahaha..

Monday, February 03, 2014

Noordin Sopiee - A Man & his Ideas...

I promised to write something about Noordin Sopiee, the late Tan Sri. here it is. Sometime last year, I was invited by the Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS) to attend their  'Dialogue on Diversity, Diplomacy and Peace' at Putrajaya Marriott. Quite a large gathering of scholars, academics, senior high ranking Foreign Service officials past and present and some from our other ASEAN neighbours notably from Thailand and Indonesia. I was given Tan Sri's book 'A Man and his Ideas -selected writings and speeches'. A vey thick book indeed 708 pages inclusive of bibliography, abbreviations and index..hehe

His writings and speeches covers Malaysia nation building, economy, politics and diplomacy, South East Asia, East Asia, East Asia Cooperation, China, Asia in general, regional and international community- Asia Pacific Community, Commonwealth, WTO, Globalisation and others...

I particularly like the first page of his writing 'Quantum Leap' that was reprinted from 'Malaysiana : News Straits Times Annual, Kuala Lumpur: Berita Publishing, 1992 pp 172-175. Here goes:

"there are nations which are stuck in the past, with little to look forward to and whose accomplishments are long gone. There are nations that are grappling with so much of the present that they have little time for the future. Malaysia fortunately, is a country which can look back with reasonable satisfaction, which can live in the present with reasonable relish, and which can look forward to the future with substantial anticipation. Of course Malaysians must always guard against letting things go to their heads. Humility is always necessary. Arrogance is never ever justified. God punishes pride pride by guaranteeing a fall. 

It has often been said that a pessimist is merely a well-informed optimist. This is unfortunately true in the case of many parts of the world. In the case of Malaysia, it would seem that the optimist is merely a well-informed pessimist."

if only the late YBhg Tan Sri Noordin Sopiee is still alive today and notice that our neighbours have overtaken us in many respects like even Vietnam is in 17th rating in a recent education poll...I wonder what Tan Sri's rantings would be like... hehehe. I rest my case. If you get a chance to read about the thinking behind this illustrious son of the soil, you would agree with me that Malaysia is not short of smart intelligent and global Malays...we don't seem to reproduce many people like him anymore. even if there are, they seem to be under-ulitised or marginalized.. (a well informed pessimist remark hehehe)...

Menyuburkan Kembali Jiwa Akademia?...

Sometime last year I was appointed a member of the Board of Studies, MBA programs at the International Business School, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (IBS/UTM) at the Kuala Lumpur Campus. We were each given the book authored by former VC Datuk Professor Ir Dr Zaini Ujang who is now KSU2 at the Ministry of Education, Malaysia. It is in malay which meant something like 'Reenergizing the spirit or soul, if you may, of Academia'.

Essentially, the book is a collection of his 2013 new year speeches and some details of UTM's 2013-2020 strategic directions. He began with, and I quote in malay "Saya menjangkakan warga akademia akan terkejut sekali gus tersedar bahawa mereka tidak lagi seharusnya hanyut dengan idealisme   sendiri sehingga membataskan disiplin ilmu masing-masing kepada aspek yang terlalu metodologikal  sehingga sukar dihargai oleh masyarakat umum." 

The first chapter discussess the direction of academia and he begins by asking the ancient 3 big questions. I like it better in malay hehe 'saya ingin memulakan ucapan tahun baru 2013 Masihi ini dengan melontarkan tiga persoalan besar yang sentiasa menjadi mauduk pemikiran para ilmuan sejak zaman berzaman, sejak ribuan tahun dahulu:

(i) Apakah makna 'Pendidikan' dan 'Ilmu' sehingga ramai kita yang sanggup menghabiskan seluruh usia, wang ringgit, jerih keringat dan kudrat untuk mendapatkannya?

(ii) Apakah makna 'pengajian tinggi' 'universiti' dan 'akademia' sehingga tumbuh dan terbina jutaan institusi ilmu, kolej, dan akademi di serata pelusuk dunia ketika ini?

(iii) Apakah 'hasil utama' sebenar sesuatu proses keilmuan, sistem pendidikan, pengajian tinggi, universiti dan akademia?

Then he says "Marilah kita kembali memahami hakikat bahawa universiti adalah gedung ilmu peringkat pengajian tinggi yang seharusnya menjadi wadah budaya ilmu. Universiti sarat dengan idealisme untuk membangunkan modal insan berasaskan kemajuan dan penghayatan ilmu setulusnya."

He then, in chapter 3, propagates the notion of a new academia and introduces the concept of institutional DNA. haha favorite subject:

"Akademia baru merupakan gagasan yang lebih menyeluruh tentang pengajian tinggi yang ketika ni memerlukan suntikan dan idealisme baharu untuk terus relevan dan bersaing dengan sektor lain. Akademia baru juga merupakan jawapan kepada pelbagai cabaran berkaitan pengajian tinggi yang seringkali didakwa bersifat terlalu inward looking, teoritikal dan kadangkala tidak berpijak di bumi nyata."

naaah itu dia...haha... I think that's heavy enough for now..hehehe. If you'd like to have a copy of the book you may like to ask from IBS/UTM. Who knows you might get a gratis copy? or you can read mine, if you like hehehe.  Enjoy the long CNY & Federal Territory day) break folks...

Royal Professor Ungku Aziz - a tribute on his 92nd Birthday...

January 28, 2014 recently, was Royal Professor Ungku A Aziz's 92nd birthday. Happy birthday Pak Ungku (as he is fondly known to most Malaysians). Many have made remarks or commented about him in the mainstream media. Including from Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz former Minister  (who was once a lecturer at Universiti Malaya) and from his daughter, Tan Sri Zeti (the current Central Bank of Malaysia Governor).

I had the privilege of working with him from 1986-1988, when I was general manager of the University of Malaya Cooperative Limited. He was chairman then, my boss.  The late Datuk Professor Mohd Yunus Noor was Deputy Chairman and  Associate Professor Mohd Said Kadis was Secretary.

I remember the first day I reported for work and Pak Ungku said 'Encik Khaeruddin, welcome to the University. You are one of the 10 most important people at this University' (which I later soon found out what he meant..hahaha). I know my boss quite well, so when during his birthday and the comments he made in the papers haha why am I not surprised at all. He is very Japanese in many ways, despite being born in London. Much like a Shogun, his management style hehe. So, if you are a Samurai, and if you make a mistake or defy the sacred creed, you know laaa what Samurais need to do... hehehe. I am quite familiar with his diet and how he takes care of his wellbeing. He jogs and swims regularly. I think the whole nation knows that haha. He eats often when we have guests, at Rumah Universiti. Rumah Universiti (or the University House, was then managed by us, UMCoop).  So we know what he likes to eat, the do's and dont's. 

He is the longest reigning Vice Chancellor of the University of Malaya and knows every tree that is planted all around the campus. The Pejabat Hartanah  then, better check with the Shogun first, before cutting down any tree ok. 

I still remember when in 1988 I was summoned by Aishah (his PA) to his office and had to wait no less than 3 hours before I could get an audience with him. I have to to take my turn as there were already plenty of professors queuing up for their turn haha. Then, when I finally got to see him, he said to me 'I just came back from seeing Anwar. Don't believe what you hear or read. In two weeks time, I will have to leave this wonderful job.' Pak Ungku loved his job, the university and the cooperative movement. It was his passion. 

One of the things I had the opportunity of doing, when I served him, was preparing the by-laws of the  Federation of University Coops based on the Japanese Federation of University Coops model. The by-laws, I believe, are still being used in the Federation of Malaysian University Coops. Happy Birthday Pak Ungku. May you live way past beyond a hundred...

Saturday, February 01, 2014

much ado about...hmm many many things...hahaha

I am behind in my blogposts. Sorry haha. Plenty to write, to share to be critical, intellectual, cynical or political. Now that I am  free agent sort off.. I am tempted to get political haha. But for now I think I shall remain apolitical until such times as is absolutely necessary. 

What I would like to do is give tribute to one of my former bosses Royal Professor Ungku A Aziz or fondly known in Malaysia as Pak Ungku. Then comment on two books I got. One is in malay written by former UTM VC Datuk Professor Zaini Ujang and the other one is the late Tan Sri Nordin Sophiee former ISIS Director-General and CEO. I'll do it later..soon. hehehe

In Kuantan now, enjoying the great cool weather, strange actually. I grew up, my early years in Kuantan and being by the seaside it is humid and can be so hot that it makes one become dark hahaha. It's the chinese new year holidays. Will drive back to Kuala Lumpur sunday. Yes, tomorrow is sunday.

Wishing all my Han friends wherever you are all over the world, happy Chinese New Year or Gong Xi Fa the year of the Horse, 2014... 

I have plenty to write, but I thought I should learn some more new tricks like updating videos etc etc hahaha.  Oh oh the call for prayer is already heard.. we blog again later later.. cheers fellas..