Friday, May 29, 2015

MAS- I am beginning to like this Mueller fella

When I graduated back in 1988, I joined a multi-national. My job involved travelling regularly and I stayed in hotels frequently. While the company allowed us to claim in full, I found it ridiculous to pay RM1 or RM2 a piece for laundry. So I pack extra clothes and brought the dirty ones back and sent them to the typical launderette which charged only RM4 per kilo. Yes, I had to use my own money, but it was better than to waste the company money – the organisation that provides me a living and a great avenue to learn and better my skills.

When I was stationed at Mentakab for about a year, my girlfriend was in Kuala Lumpur. I called her daily. In the days where there were no mobile phones or phone cards, I used to change notes to coins and use my own money to make my personal calls instead of using the company line which I consider as ‘haram’ or sinful. A few of my sales subordinates started to do the same thereafter.

Today, I try hard to convince clients that they do not need to house me in special suites at hotels with fruit baskets and the unnecessary extras. A comfortable regular room is sufficient.

These are just simple examples. I could list you many more but, it is hard to convince people to be frugal and prudent with other people’s money. Heck! Many Malaysians cannot even do that with their own money!

As such, I find the direct, honest and on the spot explanation (The STAR page 3, 29th May 2015) by Christoph Mueller, the current MAS CEO refreshing and absolutely timely. The situation is not peculiar to MAS. It is a cancer in our society – from businesses, to GLCs, to government bodies. We need to do deep and honest reflections and correct ourselves. This is not just a top management problem as many like to make believe. This is an endemic and involves the entire organisation.

Perhaps, MAS could be our ‘mirror’ and serve as a lesson to us all. I hope we learn well and learn quickly.


Anas Zubedy

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