Salary hike prospects ‘bleak’

THE Malaysian Employers Fund (MEF) announced its findings of four latest publications for 2018. The publications focus on the forecast of salary increases and bonuses for 2019. The outlook was “bleak”, according to the survey due to the global recession, increasing social costs and political uncertainties following GE14 which were among factors influencing the employers’ cautious attitude.

A few incentives were placed into the labour structure of the companies surveyed including productivity linked wage system (PLWS) and the Discrimination Reporting Procedure.

About 90% of companies and more indicated that the main reasons that they implemented PLWS was to reward good employees followed by aiming to improve productivity (which more than 80% responded) and to motivate average employees (more than 70%).

The findings also focused on the types of leaves provided where all participating companies provided annual leave and sick leave for top/senior managers, managers, execu- tives and non-executives.

The average total hours of total working hours per week for top/senior managers and managers were considered where they worked 41 hours compared to the executives where the average total working hours per week was 42 hours. In the case of non-executives the average total working hours was 43 hours.

About 42.5% of respondent companies implemented flexible working hours at the workplace. With implementation of flexible work arrangements 82.4% of the respondent companies indicated that there was increased employees’ engagement, commitment and satisfaction, quality of work and quantity of output (62.7%) and the company’s ability to retain talent (62.7%).

The survey for executives and non-executives were participated by 242 companies from manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors.

The executive report covered 160 benchmark positions of 14330 executives while the non-executives report covered 324654 non executives with 109 benchmark positions. – The Star

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Be an entrepreneur or a politician?

Let your children decide on their employment choice

Most parents in their fifties are looking at retirement options when their children starts looking for employment after their studies. There is this transition moment in our family circle of life where the baton of employment, career or business is being passed to the next generation.

The older generation after 30 years of slogging, looks forward to easier passing of days without the responsibilities and worries whilst the younger generation looks forward with optimism and high hopes of securing a good career ahead.

As an entrepreneur with businesses and investments, my natural instinct is to rope them into the family business, if any, as any typical old generation Chinese businessman will do. But I made up my mind some 7 years ago when my first born started his A Level, that my children will make their own choice whether they will prefer to seek employment elsewhere or participate in the family business. It will be their choice and decision and I will support whole heartedly whatever decisions they will make. 7 years later, I still have the same conviction.

I had this feeling that the business world and environment will be much different with all these globalization and technological advancement and the businesses that I was in will be operating in a much more competitive and disruptive world order. This has proven to be true.

The traditional brick and mortar businesses are under tremendous stress to keep up with new disruptive technologies and new business ideas.

My children will have to learn new skills and insights and they definitely will not be able to learn from my traditional family business unless I had instituted changes to my existing business to join the new business order. But I did not know how.

So it is better that they decide on their choice of employment in whatever industries they choose as long as they are working for a forward looking company who is able to embrace the new technological changes that is changing the business order across the global markets. And if they do decide later after some years of working experience to venture out as an entrepreneur, I will also support them wholeheartedly.

Assuming they are up to it, with the right attitude and skill sets.

Not everyone is capable of being a ‘successful’ entrepreneur. It is easy to start a business, call yourself a founder and entrepreneur but chances of being successful is limited to the capable few. For most cases, you are better off building a good career in a good organization rather than struggling in a small scale business for the rest of your life.

If you planned to be an entrepreneur, just make sure your business potential is scalable to a size that will earned you nett, double what you would be earning in a good job. Or else it will be a waste of time. The thrill of being your own boss wears thin over time when you are not doing well financially.

I have many friends who have done very well in their corporate careers and they seem very happy when we do meet up. They definitely look younger than me, with less stressful lines, a radiant and happy face. Compared to my aged face filled with worried lines and scars of agony suffered through the years. Was it worth it?

With the wisdom of hindsight, I am now able to advise my children on their decision making process on whether they should be a corporate suit or to go on their own. My only guidance to them is whatever choice they make, just ensure their actions are productive and contribute towards the well being of the economy. Don’t be lazy, do good where you can and be as good as you can be. Then start a family. Circle of life starts again.

The only career that I totally discouraged my children from is the job of a politician. Good politicians are hard to find nowadays. Since integrity left the politicians, good virtues and honesty followed. What is left is a shell of a conniving and corrupted politician using whatever means they can to stay in power supposedly representing the people’s interest.

All over the world, the politicians together with religious and racist bigots have caused total mayhem to our daily lives. People are divided by race, religion and skin colour. Nothing makes sense anymore. Throw in lots of money into a politician’s hands and we have absolute corruption across the ranks. Cash is king. Everybody can be bought. And I mean everybody.

What is really sad is the complete breakdown of morality and integrity of the human politician. Where he suffers no shame when he is openly corrupted. When he can sleep well even though he has done many evil things destroying the moral fabric of the society which he swore to protect. I have nothing but despise for these toxic politicians.

The few genuine politicians who stand up their grounds to all are few and far between. Eventually, they too will engulfed by the all pervasive influence of corruption.

To the younger generation joining the working community, my only advice is to pick a job that fits your personality and your skill sets. Make sure you enjoy the job. Get some proper working experience under your belt and you can evaluate your options in a more leisurely way.

You will know when there is a calling for you to become an entrepreneur. You will be unhappy with your job, your bosses irritates you, there is a burning desire that has just lighted up in your belly, a brilliant idea suddenly appeared and you feel that you are now ready to be an entrepreneur. Are you?

From experience, it takes a long time for an entrepreneur to make big fortune. If you do not have the patience, I recommend you a job that makes money faster than an entrepreneur.

Be a politician.

Source: Tan Thiam Hock, On Your Own/Starbizweek

The writer is an entrepreneur who hopes to share his experience and
insights with readers who want to take that giant leap into business but
are not sure if they should.

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China ends one-child policy, are you ready for another child?

China to allow two children for all couples 

Dialogue 10/30/2015 One-child policy ends

Are you ready for another child?

Most young couples can provide the best learning and growth environment for only one child. When you decide to have another child, you should plan your budget in advance. If you or your parents can’t take care of your baby, you have to at least spend an extra 5000 yuan per month to hire a nanny. If the gender of your new baby is different from your first one, you have to prepare another bedroom. If you want to send your kids to study abroad, you have to save another 1 million yuan. I think most young Chinese couples cannot afford the expense.
Are you ready for another child?
A girl with her younger brother. [Photo by Wang Nina/Provided to]
Bcnu (US)
If you aren’t terribly happy parenting one child –don’t have the second. Two is more than twice the work, there’s no guaranteeing they’ll share interests; they could very well fight or want to head off in completely different directions. If you find you love the second one more than the first, I don’t see how that could possibly make life simple, as children are very sensitive to that sort of thing. Having a second child will also extend the number of years until your nest will be empty again.
It’s very unrealistic to expect that you will love your second child if you’re having trouble loving the first. My advice is to take care of yourself and take time for your love for the first child to relax and grow before even thinking about having a second child.
Are you ready for another child?
A couple with their two children in this file photo. [Photo by Li Chuanping/Asianewsphoto]
Luciana (UK)
Being a one-child family allows me to keep a good balance between my family life and my job. It gives me the joy of being a mother, but it’s not too overwhelming to the point where I don’t have any time for myself or my husband. Financial barriers were also a factor in my decision. With a mortgage, and two cars, we have to be a two-income family. Having another child is financially just not an option for us.
Are you ready for another child?
The two-child policy was put into practice in early 2014 and did not lead to a baby boom in many provinces in China. [Photo by Zou Zhongpin/for China Daily]
Steven (US)
Sometimes we make some choices not because we prefer them but because we have no other choices to make. The twists and turns of life always narrow your choices or eliminate them completely. I always thought having two kids sounded perfect. But when my daughter was born with life-threatening health problems I know she would be my only kid. Raising our daughter was going to take a lot of emotional, physical, and financial resources. If I had any more children, I didn’t think I could handle it.
Are you ready for another child?
He Shaodong (L) and his wife Zhou Jun show their birth certificate for a second child in Hefei, capital of east China’s Anhui province, Feb. 14, 2014. [Photo/Xinhua]
William (China)
Under the one-child policy carried out in China for three decades, many kids are spoilt by their parents. The “litter emperors” have no idea of sharing and giving and many of them even become self-centered. If we have another child, the first one will learn something about responsibility, sharing and caring for others.
Are you ready for another child?

A girl poses for a photograph at a commercial area of downtown Shanghai, in this November 28, 2012. [Photo/Agencies

– China Daily

Chinese women’s marriage criteria,logical search for a mate

72% of women consider housing as a key requirement for a marriage partner, says the latest report of the Chinese Marriage Status Survey 2014, issued by China’s leading marriage service provider on Jan.11, 2015.

Researchers collected the results of 73,215 online questionnaires and held in-depth off-line interviews with 200 single men and women from 34 provinces, municipalities and autonomous regions.

Why still single?

The report shows that 63% of single men and women spend an average of more than six hours alone on their rest days; and 32% spend more than 10 hours alone. Surfing the internet, hanging out with friends, and just “quietly” staying at home have become the top three activities for single people.

32% of single women follow TV dramas while 67% of men scan websites, killing their private time at home.

The report concludes that the main reasons for remaining single is too much time spent alone – too few social contacts is the top obstacle to meeting the right person. 80% of single women report this.

Gender differences in marriage requirements

Nowadays, love is no longer the only passport for two people to enter marriage. The report says that more than 40% of single men and women are only willing to get married with a person in a suitable situation. People are becoming ever more rational and realistic when choosing their spouses.

The top three concerns for single men are appearance, physical health, and emotional experience. Single women attach more importance to a partner’s financial situation, physical health, and career.

33% of single men and 27% of single women have experienced interference from parents in their relationships.

Focus on housing

The report shows that 71% of women view housing as a key requirement for a potential marriage partner. 18% of women counted car ownership as one of the basic requirements, a rise of 9% compared with 2012. Both men and women said that a stable income and some savings were important factors.

Nearly 60 percent of women do not intend to have a second child, according to the report, although China has relaxed its birth control policy to allow couples to have a second child if either parent is an only child.

The report also shows that 33% of women think that Chinese men do not deserve Chinese women, in terms of “self-accomplishments and ability to care for themselves.” – (People’s Daily Online)

Home_Love The logical search for a mateChina_Love

‘Love’ takes a back seat when seeking prospective life partners

LOVE is not the only criterion for marriage in China. A recent survey shows that more than 40% of Chinese look to marry someone who suits them in appearance, educational background, social status, income and other characteristics., a major dating portal in China, released its 2014 Chinese Marriage Status Survey Report on Sunday.

The site has tracked marriage trends in the country since 2007.

The latest results show that 44.4% of male and 49.7% of female respondents said the reasons for their choice of a marriage partner include their prospective mate’s coming from a family of equal social rank.

“This means people are much more rational when it comes to the marriage decision,” the report said.

“They would like to match each other under every single standard. Love is no longer the only pass.”

The report also said that more than 70% of female respondents said they would consider marriage only if the male partner owns property.

And more than 70% of the women hoped their future husband’s income would be double their own.

Zhou Xiaopeng, the chief marriage consultant at, characterised the phenomenon as “supermarket marriage”, where people come with “money in hand” and want to select the best “products” after shopping around.

Tu Ying, a researcher at the portal, said that seeking a partner with quantifiable requirements is efficient.

“In everyday life, it is more and more difficult to find the right person and get to know him or her – not to mention the cost it comes with,” Tu said. “If people start with quantifiable standards, and then develop their relationship based on that, it is more likely to be a stable relationship.

“Starting marriage with money cannot guarantee stability from the beginning.

“Every relationship needs cultivation from each side.”

Zhou Xiaozheng, a professor of sociology at Renmin University of China, attributes the new approach to marriage choices to changes in society.

“Chinese people’s view of choosing a mate has undergone many changes,” Zhou said.

“In the past, marriage was arranged by parents, which reflected the will of family or country. Then it became a personal choice, or socalled love choice. And now it is more related to material standards, or what we call materialism in marriage.”

“This is simply because people live in a materialistic world: A couple needs an apartment to live in, which costs a lot; the couple needs to find a good school for their children, which costs a lot; the couple who live far away from their parents need to find a way to support them, which also costs a lot,” Zhou said. “It is a vicious circle.”

Zhou said to reverse the materialistic trend, the country needs to continue its anti-corruption campaign and improve social welfare, and young people need to know that money is not the solution to everything. – China Daily/Asia News Network

A Malaysian household needs monthly income of RM14,580 (US$4,486) to buy a home in Malaysia

Household Income

Klang Valley still affordable 

KUALA LUMPUR: You must have an average household income of RM14,580 a month to afford a home in the Klang Valley, according to a recent study.

The study – spearheaded by Sime Darby Property Bhd in collaboration with the Faculty of Built Environment of Universiti Malaya – takes into account the current household spending trend, price of homes and mortgage rates.

It found that certain groups of buyers interested in strategic areas can have access to houses that are priced at 56 times their household income.

The study also found that this same group can afford to spend up to 26% of their monthly household income to service a mortgage.

It identified strategic areas in the Klang Valley that are considered not only accessible but have the potential to appreciate in value. They include Nilai, Denai Alam, Bukit Jelutong and Bukit Subang.

A report of the study said that houses in selected areas in the Klang Valley remain accessible to homeowners who may be looking to invest in a second home.

The Housing-Income Index which was launched here yesterday by Urban Wellbeing, Housing and Local Government Minister Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan, who said the survey results would be useful for potential house buyers.

“The Index and its key findings had been reviewed by the ministry, and we find that the information is valuable as it can help policy makers and developers work hand-in-hand to build more houses that are not only accessible. but which can appreciate in value,” he said.

Abdul Rahman hoped that other property developers and the academia can carry out similar surveys in the country.

Based on the findings, Sime Darby said that 68% ofplanned housing schemes in the Klang Valley were in the accessible range.

“We intend to utilise the results to develop innovative, high quality products that are accessible and meet market needs,” said Sime darby Property managing director Datuk Seri Abd Wahab Maskan.

Household expenses

The Housing-Income Index was developed to gain a better understanding of home-owner profiles, specifically household incomes and spending patterns in relation to owning a home.

The study covered 1,529 respondents, of whom 1,183 were home owners at 12 locations: Bukit Jelutong, Denai Alam, Bukit Subang, Bandar Bukit Raja, Subang Jaya, USJ, Putra Heights, Ara Damansara, Mont Kiara, Melawati, Kajang and Nilai.

Purchasers want affordable homes but in safe neighbourhoods – However, Cheaper areas but few buyers

PETALING JAYA: Affordable homes are still available in the Klang Valley but many areas with houses priced around RM400,000 and below are not preferable to buyers.

Real-estate agent Michael Edward said areas such as Taman Sentosa and Taman Seri Andalas in Klang are examples where the houses are affordable but there are few pickers because it lacked security facilities and gated community features.

“Buyers want affordable pricing, safety and location when they buy a house. But most affordable houses that are available are usually under the older projects and may have a high crime rate. This puts off potential buyers,” said the Klang-based agent with Rina Properties.

Responding to recently-released Sime Darby Housing-Income Index, which said that one must have an average income of RM14,580 a month to afford a home in the Klang Valley, Edward said the survey probably interviewed respondents who owned properties in Sime Darby’s housing projects where prices were much higher compared to other areas.

“If other housing projects besides Sime Darby’s are taken under the survey, the average household income should be lower,” he added.

Describing the survey as “putting the bar too high”, real estate agent Jeremy Jones said the average household income of RM14,580 per month in the Klang Valley could be applicable to properties valued at RM950,000 to RM1.3mil in strategic locations.

“This is probably to purchase a double-storey house in areas such as Ara Damansara, USJ Heights and Glenmarie, Shah Alam where Sime Darby has developed its housing projects,” said Jones, who is attached to Ramdar Properties.

On whether selected areas in the Klang Valley remain accessible to potential house buyers, Jones said although there was affordable housing in various pockets within the Klang Valley, new buyers tended to look for a new environment and preferred to have their home within a gated-community.

“Therefore, choices for such housing become available to affluent buyers only,” he said.

On Monday, Sime Darby Property Bhd in collaboration with the Faculty of Built Environment of Universiti Malaya released the finding of a study that indicated that house buyers must have an average household income of RM14,580 a month to afford a home in the Klang Valley.

The study was conducted on 1,529 respondents aged between 21 and 60. Ninety-four per cent of them were married and 59% of them worked in the private sector.

Contributed by  G. Surach The Star/Asian News Network

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Malaysisia changes over the last 42 years; quanity yes, quality?

The ascend to the throne of our new King, 42 years after he was last installed, is a time to reflect on our achievements.

I WAS at the installation of our new King the other day. Twice as King, he has seen Malaysia change from what it was then and now. He also mentioned in his speech that he witnessed the efforts of the Prime Minister at that time, Tun Abdul Razak, the father of our current Prime Minister.

I sat in the audience, reflecting on some of the positives that have taken place in our country and took some notes on my Blackberry.

The key thought that ran through my mind was how much things have changed over the last 42 years. Here’s how much:

·We moved from a low-income, high-poverty country to a high-middle-income economy. Our next transformation is to become a high-income, developed country with quality of life for everyone.

·Our infrastructure has increased by leaps and bounds. Roads and highways have been built and traverse all parts of the country. We are putting in a mass rapid transit system in Kuala Lumpur to take us to the next level.

·We have modern retail outlets – supermarkets, hypermarkets, shopping complexes, malls and entertainment outlets and we are helping mom-and-pop stores to modernise too.

·We are moving towards greater freedom in all spheres with the repeal of the Internal Security Act, establishing clear rights for peaceful assembly and affirming the rights of online expression and social media liberties, amongst others. The Government has also made amendments to Printing Presses and Publications Act, while the Prime Minister is also talking about changes to the Sedition Act.

·Religious freedom has actually taken strides forward. There is now explicit statement of freedom to import (instead of implicitly before) and publish the Alkitab (the Bible). Indeed, since the 10 points resolution, many Alkitab have been imported and printed locally, without any difficulties with the authorities.

·We have moved to an extensive “social welfare” system e.g free primary and secondary schools, virtually free public health system, and one of the lowest consumer prices for fuel, LPG cooking gas, sugar, electricity, flour, gas, and so on with high subsidies from the Government.

·We have moved to greater focus on rural poor. Under the transformation initiatives, for low-income groups, three million lives were positively impacted in 2010 and 2011.

·We have put up an explicit and substantive roadmap to transform Malaysia further. We will build upon the great achievements we have made between the times of the rules of our current King and work towards our vision 2020 – to make our country a developed one with its people earning high incomes.

Considerable achievement

Just to show the extent our achievements over the last 42 years, I have constructed a table of some key indicators. You can see for yourself how much things have changed, even if you accounted for the fact that a ringgit went a much longer way then.

Our income as a nation – gross national income at the prevailing prices then – increased 64 times over the last 42 years, which is fantastic considering that the population growth over the same period was just 1.6 times.

It’s not surprising therefore that per capita income went up 25 times over the period, a considerable achievement even after taking into account inflation and the drop in value of money.

‘We are putting in a mass rapid transit system in Kuala Lumpur to take us to the next level.’

One of the most telling effects of this is that the incidence of poverty has been brought down from nearly half of the population to less than four for every 100 people in the country. That’s tremendous.

The number of schools increased but the impact here would have been understated because while additional schools were built, existing schools would have increased their enrolment considerably.

There was a massive explosion in universities. In 1970, the universities were all public and there were only three. The latest figures indicate that private universities now outnumber government ones almost two to one with 20 public universities and 39 private ones.

A similar situation was seen for hospitals with private hospitals increasing from 46 to 239 while government hospitals rose more moderately from less than 80 to 137.

Average life expectancy, assuming equal numbers of males and female, increased by 17% to 74.1 years, reflecting vast improvement in health levels, which is reinforced by the sharp over 80% drop in the infant mortality rate to seven per 1,000 live births.

World confidence in the Malaysian economy too increased over the 42-year period and this is well-supported by foreign direct investment flows in 2011 of an excellent RM33bil which was 150 times more than that in 1970.

Who would have believed 42 years ago, that Malaysia would make such major achievements in an extremely challenging environment of uncertainty posed by the 1969 racial riots and the drastic and controversial steps that the Government took then to redress racial imbalances and eliminate poverty?

But despite the scepticism and the lack of confidence then, we succeeded and succeeded well. Yes, we could have done better, but then we can always do better and anyone could have done better. What counted was that we met our major targets.

We find similar scepticism now to our efforts to make yet another great transformation, a giant stride to become a developed nation with its citizens earning high incomes and enjoying a better quality of life than ever before.

Promising figures

We aim to do this in a bit more than eight years in a rather challenging and competitive environment. And I dare say we know how to do it. We have it pretty much mapped out in quite some detail.

The initial figures are promising, despite all the nay-saying which continues to give me the transformation blues. But yes, we will rise above the blues as we did before and make this a better nation for each and everyone of us.

The results for 2010 and 2011 are great with most of our targets not just met but exceeded, often by a lot. See the comprehensive annual report on economic and government transformation in the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) website for details.

Rome wasn’t built overnight, likewise Malaysia too. We are blessed as a country. Whilst we know there are shortcomings, we also need to count our blessings even as we overcome the shortcomings and other obstacles.

And we shall overcome – of that I am very sure.

Transformation Blues – By Idris Jala

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