CNY 2017, Xi spreads love, inspires nation …


– The President’s latest appeal for diligence and hard work has sparked heated discussion and spread inspiration and confidence across the …

中國國家主席習近平2017年新年賀詞(Chinese President Xi Jinping 2017 New Year Address)

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/o4jS9hLiHUQ

President Xi Jinping (pic) struck a warm tone with his annual Spring Festival greeting calling on the whole nation to love their family and friends.

Love should reach to every family and bring warmth to all Chinese like a spring breeze blowing across the nation, he said on Thursday in his speech ahead of the Lunar New Year.

“The Chinese people have always valued love and high morality,” Xi told his audience at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, which included senior government officials, military officers, renowned artists and ethnic community leaders.

He urged people not to neglect their family, comrades and loved ones, no matter how busy they are with their work. Love means not being hypocritical, not selfish and not outrageous, he said.

“A short greeting of ‘welcome home for Spring Festival’ would warm the hearts of millions of Chinese people,” he said.

Xi went on to wish all Chinese, including ethnic groups, those in Hong Kong, Macao and Taiwan, and those living abroad, an auspicious Year of the Rooster, an animal that symbolises good fortune.

China’s economic growth has remained one of the strongest in the world, and people’s livelihoods have continuously been improved, the president said, before calling on the nation to “roll up our sleeves to work harder”.

Xi said he hopes the people “not only have great dreams, but also show a hardworking spirit to fulfil those dreams”. He added, “The progresses in China’s development are achieved thanks to Chinese people’s diligent work.”

Jin Yanlei, a geography teacher in Dongying, Shandong province, said,

“President Xi has told us to roll up our sleeves to work harder, which I think is important not only for ourselves, but also for the nation, especially at a time when the global economy is sluggish.” — China Daily/The Star/Asia News Network

Malaysia’s PM Najib Razak : Chinese New Year TVC 2017

https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/8DB9zIlQrh0

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Entrepreneurship is not a job but providing a solution


Coming up with a winning idea

Entrepreneurship is not a job. It’s about providing a solution, and pulling people and resources together to make that change. Workable business ideas are all about solving problems.

Q: I’m an engineering student in Portugal, but I feel I really was born to be an entrepreneur. I started creating logos for companies when I was about 15. I’m passionate about entrepreneurship and I’m always trying to think of new ways to start businesses. I want to follow my passion — but it’s tough when you have a great business idea, and no support. How do I find the right path? — João Bandeira, PortugalJoão, it’s always heartening to hear a young would-be entrepreneur talk about passion being a key driver in his life. The most successful entrepreneurs share that indescribable desire to change the world and make a positive difference in people’s lives.

And while it can be a struggle in the early days to find one project to pour all your enthusiasm into, just remember that successful entrepreneurs always manage to come up with an idea that’s right for them, and they make it work.

Your question reminds me of the origins of Ring — a wildly successful business that I have invested in.

For years, founder Jamie Siminoff had attempted to come up with a winning business idea — he even turned his garage in California into a lab for prototypes. As he worked there, though, Jamie was annoyed that he couldn’t hear the front doorbell.

One day he decided to fix this problem — he created a program to link the doorbell to his smartphone so that he could answer the door remotely with a video call. It was a great solution.

Jamie’s wife loved the idea as well: When Jamie was away, she could always see who was at the front door, and she felt safer.

Later, Jamie invited friends around to check out his other inventions, but the only thing anybody cared about was the doorbell!

He soon realised that this was the best business idea he ever had, and Ring was born. Just like that, the hours of searching for a winning idea were over.

João, the fact that you are constantly thinking of new businesses to start is a hugely valuable asset. Being proactive is a good thing, but I would strike a note of caution about the idea search.

I recently joined a host of fellow entrepreneurs in Los Angeles for Virgin Atlantic’s inaugural “Business Is an Adventure” event, and the topic of generating business ideas came up in a panel. Sean Rad, the CEO and founder of the dating app Tinder, made a great point.

“Entrepreneurship is not a job — it is a reaction to you wanting to solve a problem,” he said. “You have to wake up and say: ‘I am passionate about making a change, and I am passionate about pulling together people and resources… Not wake up and say: ‘I want to be an entrepreneur’ because I think you’ll kind of be lost… you’ll be looking for a problem instead of finding a problem looking for a solution.”

It’s a shrewd observation, and one that underlies the success of many companies, including Tinder.

In our daily lives, we all come across problems, annoyances or frustrations that we would love to see solved. Luckily, entrepreneurs are perfectly placed to solve those problems.

Interestingly enough, that’s how Virgin Atlantic began. After one particularly terrible experience as a passenger with an unscrupulous airline, I decided there must be a better way to fly. The next day, our team was on the phone with Boeing asking if they had any second-hand 747s that they were willing to sell.

Thankfully, they didn’t laugh and hang up — and the first Virgin airline was born.

So keep in mind that generating ideas is a great strength, but make sure that you’re spending your time and energy searching for solutions, not problems. That’s the best way to approach workable business ideas. Become a passionate problem-solver, and you’re half-way to being a successful entrepreneur.

Also keep in mind that once a great idea has been sparked, getting it off the ground can feel like a daunting task for anyone — especially if you have nobody there to support you, as you point out. I would advise you to take advantage of the connectivity offered by the Internet. Plenty of resources, networks and fellow entrepreneurs are just a click away.

Additionally, getting a mentor who can point you in the right direction and share his experiences is one of the best things you could ever do. You’d be surprised how many people are willing to help if you just ask. — Distributed by The New York Times Syndicate

By Richard Branson

Questions from readers will be answered in future columns. Please send them to Richard.Branson@nytimes.com. Please include your name, country, email address and the name of the website or publication where you read the column.

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The iron lady of the last survivors of Japanese occupation in WWII Part 4


>
The Last Survivors: Yap Chwee Lan
How Japan Forced Women Into Sexual Slavery

AT the age of 15, girls were pretending to be boys during the Japanese Occupation in Malaya, but Yap Chwee Lan was bravely rescuing the people of Kampung Baru, Johor, all because she could speak Japanese.

“Every night, about seven or eight young girls from the neighbourhood would come to my house to sleep because they felt safer there. They knew I could speak Japanese,” recalled Yap, now 90.

“The Japanese soldiers would come knocking on our door to ask for young girls and I’d respond in Japanese, ‘ Why do you need women? You need housekeepers?’. They were shocked I could speak Japanese.”

Yap learnt the language from her former Japanese employer, who was a hairdresser in Johor. The then 13- yearold picked up the language quickly, and was even treated well by his family.

Yap’s fluency in their language granted her favour in the eyes of the Japanese, and this ordinary girl found herself holding extraordinary power – the ability to save people.

She managed to save those who lived in her town, Kampung Baru, Johor, by identifying them – in Japanese – to the soldiers who would have killed them on suspicion of aiding the resistance.

And we were there to capture her experiences as the R. AGE crew brought her around Johor to film at locations that hold significant memories during the Occupation. This is for The Last Survivors, an interactive online documentary project that aims to raise awareness to youths about the importance of preserving Malaysian World War II stories.

Listening to her stories when he was growing up, one of Yap’s grandson Sebastian Chew, 18, is glad he didn’t have to experience WWII and the Occupation as he thinks it will haunt him throughout his life.

“I can’t imagine going through everything – from the bombings, hiding, living in fear and when the Japanese made the people dig their own graves in one of the fields and killed them. I don’t know how my grandma did it,” he said.

“That’s why I think it’s important for young people to know about these war stories so they can prevent anything of this sort from happening in the future. It’s cruel and heartbreaking.”

In her teenage years, Yap, whose father passed away when she was seven years old, had to work because her family was living in poverty.

She got married when she was 15, and lived with her husband Chiew Seng Leung at his laundry shop, Kedai Dobi Shanghai, in Johor Baru. Twenty days after their wedding, the Japanese started bombing Singapore.

Japanese fighter jets, based in Johor, would fly across to Singapore twice a day to bomb the neighbouring country. As the Japanese was attacking Singapore, lots of people walked over to Johor for safety. Yap and her family evacuated to Tampoi.

“We packed food and clothes, and placed them on my husband’s bicycle. As we were walking to Tampoi, we were stopped by a soldier because he wanted our bicycle. I told him in Japanese that it was ours and he let us through,” said Yap.

“The soldiers would leave you alone if they knew you could speak Japanese because it was like you were one of them. They’ll have more respect for you.”

Once they were in Tampoi, they sought refuge in a temple along with about 50 other refugees, but soldiers came looking for comfort women. Yap not only told them there were none, but also said she was part Japanese, hoping they wouldn’t come back.

But the next day, the Japanese returned. This time, they were with their general.

Yet, Yap wasn’t afraid. “Strangely enough, I wasn’t scared. He was impressed that I could speak Japanese and praised me, saying it was good because I could help the Japanese soldiers,” she said. He proceeded to ask Yap if they had enough food and made sure they did by sending them rice, sugar and flour so they could cook.

He also offered her a job in Singapore as a liaison officer between the Japanese and the locals. She took the job after the island was invaded, but later learned that the Singaporeans she had liaised with were all eventually killed.

The distance was too much for Yap to handle as well, as she didn’t know if her family was well and alive. She returned to Johor one week later, and things were unfortunately similar to what was happening in Singapore.

Chiew’s boss had been arrested, along with a bunch of other people.

“There were black flags all along the streets,” Yap recalled. “It meant everybody was to stay home, because the Japanese would arrest anyone on sight.”

Those who were arrested were taken to a house in Jalan Abdul Samad, behind what is now the Maktab Sultan Abu Bakar, to be held before being taken to Dataran Bandaraya, where they would be executed.

“When I got to the house, the people were kneeling on the ground, their hands tied behind their backs with thick wire as the Japanese soldiers pointed bayonets at them,” said Yap.

“A lot of them called out my name, begging me to save them. Then the Japanese asked if I knew these people.”

“I said, ‘ Yes, I do’. A lot of them lived in my neighbourhood. When I identi- fied them, they were freed.”

The rest, whom she couldn’t identify, weren’t so lucky. Her mother’s friend’s son was one of the unlucky ones.

“I didn’t see him there, I was devastated when I found out. His mother was crying in the street,” said Yap, recalling the horrors of wartime Malaya.

Those remained were brought to the field. They were asked to dig holes in the ground, sit at the edge of the holes and were shot with machine guns. As the bodies fell in, those who were merely injured were kicked into those holes they had dug themselves and buried alive together with the dead.

While a great number of people died during the Occupation, many more owe their lives to Yap.

Her family, though, remained safe, thanks to Yap.

“Before I went to Singapore, the Japanese general gave me a permit for my family,” she said. “He told me, ‘ If anybody disturbs your family, ask them to report to one of my officers’.”

Today, Yap and her family still live in Johor, where some of the survivors’ descendants still recognise her.

“I was walking around town and suddenly someone called out, ‘ Ah Ma!’. They told their kids that I saved their grandfather or grandmother,” Yap said with a laugh.

By VIVIENNE WONG The Star

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Last man standing in Penang under the Kempeitai during WWII Part 3


Working under the Kempeitai in Penang during WWII haunts James Jeremiah to this day.

While filming an episode of Jeremiah brought the crew back to the Wesley Methodist Church in Penang, where he would hear the screams of those torutured there by the Japanese. He had not been back to the church in over 70 years. — HAFrIZ IQBAL/ r. AGE

STARING out to sea on Fort Cornwallis, James Jeremiah cuts a lonely figure.

“Before the fighting started, we were so excited to shoot the Japanese. We had never seen war; we had only seen it in the movies,” said Jeremiah. “But the first time I heard a real bomb, I was scared to death.”

That was at the old Bayan Lepas Airport, where Jeremiah witnessed the beginning of the Japanese invasion of Penang. He was 18 at the time, and a member of the Eurasian “E” company of Penang, a volunteer force similar to the British Home Guard.

“We thought the Japanese would fly in from Batu Maung in the south, but they came in through Tanjung Bungah and Batu Ferringhi. I think they knew we were focused on the south.”

The tactic worked. The volunteers mistook the Japanese planes for British fighters, a mistake that almost cost them their lives.

“They turned out to be Japanese Zero fighters. They starting bombing and machine gunning us. Shrapnel was flying everywhere. I cannot even describe the fear we had in our hearts.”

Although they were trained to some extent, the Volunteer Forces ( VF) were not hardened military men.

After the bombing, it was only a matter of time before Japanese ground troops arrived.

Even then, the volunteer forces regrouped at their headquarters on Peel Avenue, and did their best to maintain order.

With the British gone and the Japanese at their doorstep, people were looting ruined houses and bodies were strewn everywhere from the bombing.

“We carried the dead bodies away, assisted the wounded and stopped all looters.

“It’s no joke when you’re in that situation – we just didn’t know what to do,” said Jeremiah.

Things quickly got worse when the Japanese arrived. The Volunteer Forces were rounded up, and the Europeans and fairskinned Eurasians were sent to Singapore to be held as prisoners of war.

“My father had rather dark skin, which I inherited. I think it saved my life!” said Jeremiah.

The remaining VF members were used by the Japanese as guides. Jeremiah’s work ethic as a guide caught the eye of a member of the Kempeitai, the feared Japanese military police.

“Colonel Watanabe took me to his office and asked what work I could do, so I said anything. He asked me to make tea, coffee, polish his boots – things like that.”

The Kempeitai office was located in the Wesley Methodist Church on Jalan Burma. Although he was a mere office boy, the experience was terrifying.

He still lives on Penang island today, a mere 20 minutes from the church – but he has never gone back to the church in over 70 years, until he brought R. AGE there last month to shoot an episode of The Last Survivors ( rage. com. my/ lastsurvivors).

“I used to see people being arrested. I don’t know how, but they were ‘ interrogated’. I used to hear screams, cries… I couldn’t take it,” he said in the video, which is part of a series documenting the stories of Malaysia’s WWII survivors.

Although the brutality of the Kempeitai has haunted many, including Jeremiah, not all the Japanese were cruel overlords.

Watanabe was educated in the United States, and he saved Jeremiah’s life a few times.

The Japanese would hold “trials” at public spaces – including Padang Kota Lama next to Fort Cornwallis – where their local informants would expose other locals who were working against the Japanese.

“( The informants) wore hoods when they pointed people out. The minute they point at you, you’re finished, gone,” said Jeremiah. “The Japanese would round up the public so the informants could point people out.”

Jeremiah thanks Watanabe for saving him from attending the trials, where he believes he could easily have been singled out for execution. “Watanabe protected me. I was so lucky, he was very good to me.”

Some of the informants flaunted their special privilege with the Japanese, according to Jeremiah.

“They would say ‘ don’t mess with us’, so we kept quiet. I remember a famous Eurasian doctor, Doctor J. E. Smith, who was done in by them and, I think, beheaded.”

Even with Watanabe’s protection, the atrocities being committed at the Kempeitai office was too much for Jeremiah to bear, and he asked to be transfered to the railways. The colonel relunctantly agreed.

Watanabe continued showing kindness to Jeremiah even after he started work as a locomotive driver, putting in a good word to his new boss and General Yamashita himself, the mastermind behind the invasion of Malaya. Yamashita had defeated the combined Australian, British and Indian force of 130,000 soldiers with just 30,000 troops.

“Yamashita was riding the train along with Tadashi Suzuki ( an infamous samurai sword- wielding executioner), but I couldn’t understand what they were saying as it was in Japanese,” said Jeremiah. “They noticed that my new boss’ boots were shining, and Watanabe said I was the one who polished them.”

The general made a lasting impression on young Jeremiah, who said the very sight of him made everyone afraid.

“He was very fierce and very dynamic, though very big and chubby. Everyone was afraid. I didn’t dare look him in the eye.”

While many struggled for food during the Occupation, Jeremiah said he was lucky to be paid in both “banana money” – the Japanese currency – and food.

“I used to get about 30 dollars a week, sometimes more. I saved the bread for my parents and if I wanted an egg, I’d ask Watanabe.”

Had he been caught smuggling eggs, the colonel would have beheaded him.

The horrors of the Occupation were a far cry from his pre- war days.

Jeremiah was rotated around a few places, including Fort Auchry ( now a Malaysian army camp), Fort Cornwallis and Batu Maung.

He remembers watching the Europeans and Eurasians boarding ships at Swettenham Pier heading to Singapore, where they believed they would be safe. Winston Churchill had insisted Singapore would not fall.

He was also posted at Batu Maung, a British fort which the Japanese turned into a torture chamber.

He brought the Last Survivors crew there during filming. The original fort remains, but the land is now a privately owned museumcum- theme park, with plastic “ghosts” hanging everywhere and a paintball field attached.

“Everything has changed,” said Jeremiah with a laugh. “I don’t remember any of this being here!”

Jeremiah spent the rest of the war as a locomotive driver. After the war, he worked at the Batu Ferringhi reservoir, where he would retire as a superintendent.

While he experienced many horrors during the war, something beautiful did come out of it. He met his late wife, a former Miss Thailand, during his time on the railways.

“I travelled all the way to Bangkok after the war to find her,” said Jeremiah with a wide smile.

“All I had was her name, as her letters never had a return address.”

Though he lives on, happily surrounded by his children and grandchildren, Jeremiah said young Malaysians need to find out about their grandparents’ experiences.

“War is something that hurts everyone – it’s not like what you see in the movies. They should find out; they need to be told what happened.”

Today, he has outlived all 18 members of the “E” Company, all five of his siblings, and one of his children.

“All my friends and colleagues are now gone. I am the last survivor.”

By Natasha Venner-Pack, The Star

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Malaysian WWII survivors share experience Part 2


 

PETALING JAYA: Stories of Malaysia’s World War II survivors have been coming in from across the country since R.AGE kicked off The Last Survivors, an online interactive video project.

The project aims to get young Malaysians to explore the country’s WWII history through the eyes of its survivors, in line with the 70th anniversary of Japan’s surrender in Kuala Lumpur on Feb 22.

While some submissions were from the grandchildren or children of survivors, others were written by the survivors themselves.

For example, John Robson, 84, said he started working when he was nine because of the war. He narrowly escaped execution after a bag of rice went missing at his workplace at the Tapah Road railway station.

“The Japanese captain slapped and kicked me. Then he went to his room and came out with his sword. The lorry driver and I were shivering,” Robson recounted.

“I cried and begged for forgiveness. I peed in my pants! Luckily, the captain believed me because he saw how scared I was and let me go with a warning.”

Another survivor, Lim Chung Bee, 93, was held captive in Japan from 1942 to 1946. His daughter Doreen Lim e-mailed R.AGE.

“He was 17 years old then and he experienced it all as a Japanese pri­so­ner of war working in the copper mines for four years,” said Doreen.

“I’ve found photos of him when he and other British soldiers were captured in Java in 1941.”

R.AGE also produced a mini-docu­mentary series on several WWII survivors.

Ethelin Teo, 85, was featured in episode three. She spoke of how she was almost taken as a comfort woman during the Japanese occupation of Kuantan.

Teo was 13 when the Japanese invaded Kuantan. She recalled how Teluk Cempedak, now a popular beach, was used as a killing field and mass grave.

Watch The Last Survivors and read all the WWII stories contribu­ted by the public at age.com.my.

By Vivienne Wong The Star

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Malaysia slides in global Corruption perception index


KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s ranking dropped four places in the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) last year.

The index, released by Transparency International, showed that Malaysia was ranked 54th out of 168 countries this year compared to 50th out of 175 countries last year.

Malaysia ranked 52 the previous year.

he CPI scores and ranks are determined by the perceived level of corruption in the country’s public sector.

Transparency International-Malaysia president Datuk Akhbar Satar said Malaysia’s position would be even worse if seven other countries were included in last year’s evaluation as their scores were above Malaysia in 2014.

“Despite many steps implemented, the level of corruption experienced in Malaysia does not seem to be decreasing,” he said.

Globally, Denmark received the highest rank with a score of 91 followed by Finland (90) and Sweden (89).

 

Malaysia slides four points down global corruption perception index

 

Issues surrounding 1Malaysia Development Berhad and the RM2.6bil donation were among reasons why Malaysia slipped four points down the global corruption perception index (CPI).

The survey of the CPI of 168 nations for 2015 revealed the country’s score dropped from 52% to 50% compared to 2014 while its ranking slid from 50 to 54.

Transparency International Malaysia president Datuk Akhbar Satar said the recent controversy surrounding 1MDB and the RM2.6bil donations contributed to the drop.

“There were 175 countries that were surveyed last year.

“However, seven countries were not included in the survey which would have pushed our ranking down further,” he said during the announcement of the global CPI

Among the nations that scored the top marks were Denmark (91%), Finland (90%), Sweden (89%), New Zealand (88%), Netherlands and Norway (87%).

Among the nations to score the lowest were Angola, South Sudan, Sudan, Afghanistan, North Korea and Somalia.

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Information is power, overloaded, who and where can we trust?


A global survey gauging trust in society finds that people of a feather really do flock together.

 

THE person you see in the mirror is the most trusted.”

No, that is not a self-help mantra or nostalgia for Michael Jackson’s old hit Man in the Mirror.

Rather, as the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals, that is a common belief in the world when it comes to trust.

People now are increasingly reliant on a “person like yourself” (rising 6% in trust) more than the “leaders” of society like CEOs, government officials, technical experts or even academic experts, according to global communications firm Edelman’s annual survey that measures trust levels in the world.

Says Edelman Malaysia managing director Robert Kay, it reflects the way people in Malaysia are increasingly sharing and weighing information and opinions online.

“When it comes to information on social networking sites, content sharing sites and online-only information, Malaysians trust friends and families more at 74% compared to a company CEO at 57% or elected officials at 53%,” shares Kay at the launch of the Barometer in Kuala Lumpur last Tuesday.

For its fifth survey in Malaysia, Edelman polled 1,350 Malaysians online from October to November last year.

What some might find surprising is that in today’s celebrity-obsessed world, online personalities rake in only 45% “believers”, while celebrities rank last in their trustworthiness at 30%.

Interestingly, Malaysians’ overall trust in online content, specifically that shared on social media has dipped seven points to 42%.

Kay points to the rampant sharing of misinformation online in the past year as the main reason.

Consequently, search engines hold their lead as the most trusted source for information at 66%, he adds, as people feel they have more control over what they read and see.

The rise in peer-to-peer trust inevitably coincides with the decline in public faith in public institutions and the business world.

Faith in the press among the “informed public”, however, has jumped 13% – from 46% last year to 59% this year.

Asked how much they trust the media – on a scale of zero to nine – to do the right thing, Malaysian citizens say they have a lot more faith in the press than before.

This, says Edelman, puts Malaysia’s more informed citizens’ trust in media at the same level as the elite of the United States.

“Malaysia has one of the biggest rises in media trust among the informed public globally, possibly due to the constant coverage of alleged corruption at 1MDB,” Kay notes, stressing that it is crucial for the media to continue pursuing rigorous, balanced and transparent reporting to maintain credibility.

While the survey did not distinguish between trust in local and international media, the trust in the media in Asia highlights the perceived role of the media in this region, Edelman Asia Pacific, Middle East & Africa CEO David Brain reportedly said in Mumbrella Asia, a discussion site on the region’s media.

“The media – through Western eyes – is expected to keep politicians to account, but in Asian countries such as Singapore and Malaysia, there is ‘a social contract that the role of the media is about nation building’, and less about revealing the truth,” Brain had explained.

In a panel discussion on the Barometer results, The Malaysian Insider CEO Jahabar Sadiq points out that even as trust in business captains and political leaders fell, those who are perceived to be critical and caring of society and are vocal on social media, such as CIMB group chairman Datuk Seri Nazir Razak and former Cabinet minister Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, are deemed as “trustworthy”.

Comparing Malaysia to Britain and the United States, Umno Youth exco member Shahril Hamdan suggests the dip in public trust towards the government is a natural development as the nation matures.

“As democracy matures, the cynicism level of people toward the government increases.

“Regardless of how the government communicates or performs, people will put less trust in the government and its leaders.”

Maxis Malaysia Head of Consumer Business Dushyanthan Vathiyanathan believes that it is time for public institutions and the business sector to transform and engage more with people.

“People now are interested in knowing what is happening and not in what you tell them.

By Hariati Azizan The Star/Asia News Network

“You have to be transparent with them and inform them of anything and everything. That’s because now they have information and do their checks.”

Related:

Panel Discussion of the 2016 Edelman Trust Barometer for Malaysia

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