In business or politics, opportunities arise out of every crisis


  • Business
  • Saturday, 27 Apr 2019

- AFP file pic

Last Sunday, I dragged my wife to Old Town, Petaling Jaya to buy water containers due to the severe warnings by Public Waterworks Department of a water supply interruption for up to three days.

We managed to grab RM500 worth of containers despite the huge crowd of desperate buyers.

Having instructed my maid to fill up the containers and placed them in all bathrooms, I travelled to Singapore on business matters. The maid was instructed not to do laundry nor do any cooking. My children were asked to have their dinners before they come home and if possible, pack some food for the maid.

While in Singapore, I checked with the maid on the water supply and was surprised to be informed that water was still flowing so I assumed that there was still water in our condo’s water tank. When I got back home, I was surprised that there was a continuous supply of water from the taps so I was relieved that the Waterworks department managed to repair and service the plant efficiently in such a short period.

My current problem is what do I do with all the water stored in all the containers and my bath tub? Somehow I have this nagging feeling in my mind that this might be a conspiracy between the plastic container manufacturers and the Selangor Water Works Department.

In business, out of every crisis, opportunities arise. When Revlon USA wanted to exit Malaysia and Singapore markets after years of mounting losses, I bought Revlon Malaysia and Revlon Singapore on the cheap together with exclusive distribution rights for both countries. When we had a major dispute with another cosmetic agency, we decided to cancel that distribution agreement and launched our own brand.

Back in 2010, when my eldest son went to UK for his A level studies, I bought apartments in London on the cheap due to their property crash in 2008/2009.

Back home in Malaysia now, with the massive oversupply situation, there is an unbelievable opportunity to buy both commercial and residential properties at good locations on the cheap.

Land prices do not go down. Neither will construction costs. In property downturns, only the developer margins go down. Knowing when to buy is easy and a no-brainer. Having the money to buy and hold are the keys to successful investments.

Just like in any other business, solid financial strength allows you to pick up opportunities in any downturn or crisis. Cash flow mantra for entrepreneurs. Save for a rainy day. Save for a opportunity day.

In politics too, when crisis emerges, the opportunity to rise and grab power should be taken up immediately.

Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s becoming Prime Minister again is the perfect example. With a Pakatan Harapan leader in jail, the coalition had to offer Dr Mahathir the opportunity to be Prime Minister despite the fact that Mahathir’s Pribumi party had the fewest number of seats in the coalition.

As the sitting Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir used his powerful position to manoeuvre important Cabinet positions to his party members and with a disproportionate allocation vis a vis the other coalition members. For the voters who had voted in the Pakatan government based on the manifesto promises, most are disappointed that these promises are not kept.

In politics, crises can be created and out of these crises will emerge new opportunities to consolidate or seize power. It is the same play yesterday, today and tomorrow.

Another conspiracy theory on education – our Education Minister will not be able to reverse the number of hours spent on religious classes in schools due to the objections and roadblocks by the many religious officers and teachers in the education system.

The teaching of Math and Science in English will start in Sarawak probably as a pilot project with no road map in place for the rest of the country. It is either the school system has a massive shortage of English speaking teachers or students are able to cope with English language, or both. Your guess is as good as mine as we have not had any explanation by our dear Minister who I believe is still hanging on as the president of IIUM.

When there is a lack of transparency and clarity from the ministers, we tend to think of conspiracy theories. Either the ministers are strategically as smart as our dear Prime Minister or they are clueless as to what they should do. We will never know. We will remain as clueless as them I guess. The blind leading the deaf and the dumb. Just like the good old days.

Having fallen behind our neighbouring countries on the education and economic fronts, I am personally not optimistic that our present set of political leaders will be able to lead this country out of the mess that we are in.

The opposition parties of Umno and PAS are a worse alternative and if they ever come back in power, Malaysia will slide further back into the Stone Age.

What a pity. Having had the opportunity to replace the previous corrupted government caused mainly by the 1MDB crisis, our new political leaders have not seized the opportunity to create a better Malaysia. Voters will face a decision crisis in three-four years’ time.

In the meantime I have to solve a personal crisis. Water for sale. Anyone?

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