politik

Why Donald Trump Will Win & United States Plunges Into ‘Civil War’

In a world steeped in the cult of personality, the idea of Joe Biden presidency is not relatable to most average American. Even Obama can’t tell a personal story about him. People will elect person they know and if they feel they don’t know Joe Biden they will not vote for him. Contrast that with Donald Trump – many people might hate him but all people know him. He’s more human than the elite Joe Biden. A failed entrepreneur is more relatable than a career lawyer turned politician (which is quite the same thing). 

Donald Trump’s infection and recovery from COVID19 also made him a hero. This will make more people turn a blind eye towards his disastrous management of the pandemic at the national level. At 200,000 deaths the numbers are too large to be comprehensible to most people. People will just look at stories and personalities for ‘truth’ – and the story of Donald Trump is a compelling one.

Then add the shennanigans of the Electoral College system that traditionally gives more weight to whiter states in electing president which made it more likely for Donald Trump to be reelected. Make no mistake, despite the furor of Black Lives Matter movement the heartland of United States are still white. To top it off – considering the craziness of 2020, don’t be surprised if there’s one or two faithless elector that votes for Trump against the wishes of his constituents.

Due to the pandemic, there’s a huge movement to use mail-in ballot as a safer alternative to in-person voting especially on the Democrat side. There’s a record number of mail-in ballot this time around. However, Donald Trump sowed distrust in this method from the early days of the pandemic citing fraud and manipulation. As if to add another nail in the coffin, he even defunded USPS that should be bringing in the votes. 

These factors are at loggerheads with each other. The weird thing with US election is that the result are not tallied at the end of the election day. They can’t annnouce a national winner by midnight. Historically this was to allow votes to come from all across the vast country. However, the law wasn’t updated to match technological advancement and there’s no government investment in transportation either.

As such, there will be days with uncertain winners across the country because there’s a lot of mail-in votes that is yet to arrive. States have different laws deciding the cut off time for ballot arrival and cutting off too early can be seen as an attempt to steal the election. This will further undermine the legitimacy of election results. 

Both sides are ready to fight nail and tooth to defend what they deem as central to the sanctity of the election process. Trump loyalists flat out reject mail-in ballots while on the other hand Democrats want every single mail-in vote to be counted. Mind you that this fight is against a backdrop of long running voter supression and discrimination. Thus, it will potentially ignite a deep seated hatred to a full blown confrontation.

The election of the newest Supreme Courtt Justice also created another advantage to Republicans. The line up is the most conservative ever in recent history and they can easily trample upon any legal challenges to the election result. 

On the commercial side of things, we can see that Walmart is taking off guns and ammunitions from their sales display. In short, they are already anticipating killings and lootings. They also can see from their sales record that people are stockpiling weapons and food. Food banks across United States are also struggling with a surge of request and required the army to man their operation. Again, there’s a groundswell of expecting serious trouble. Not just defending against trouble but also creating trouble.

Jeff Widener/Associated Press

In a recent interview David Letterman asked David Chapelle does he think there will be tanks on the street this time. Chapelle the ever optimist don’t think so but seeing the genuine worry on Letterman’s face is a cause for concern. The long history of increasingly violent police brutality does made it possible that the US will have its own Tianamen Square incident. After all, the military did transfer a lot of military gear to the police. An armored truck is just a step away from tanks on the street. 

This is a continuation of my forecast 5 months ago & there’s no sign of the trend spotted back then abating.

Prisoners of Geography

Prisoners of Geography

Just finished reading this book by Tim Marshall on Saturday so here’s a quick review.

The idea is simple, geography as the ‘forgotten factor’ to the success or failure of nations. It is not the factor but simply the one that’s routinely overlooked. Also how geography affect world politics.

Some people might not be comfortable with the ideas in this book. Especially those who put too much emphasis on sheer human will and ingenuity. In other words, our own success also depends on the choices made by our forefathers in settling places.

Those who play Civ6 could readily see the facts in action as the terrain gives bonuses or penalties for military power, science, commerce, religion, etc.

Maybe the book seems to oversimplify things a bit as it give a sweeping global overview. The details might not be as accurate but it still gives something substantial to think about. You will not see the world the same way after reading this book.

Overall, it’s quite an easy read yet still thought-provoking.

Gelombang Merah Mahathir

Sekiranya anda menjunjung idealism reformasi lagi reformis, saya nasihatkan anda jangan teruskan baca. Kemungkinan besar anda akan sakit hati. Ini adalah penilaian realpolitik dan marketing pencalonan Tun Mahathir sebagai PM Pakatan Harapan. Segala idealism diketepikan sementara demi menilai Gelombang Merah Mahathir dari kacamata marhaen.

Make Malaysia Great Again – sebenarnya itulah intipati kempen Pakatan Harapan yang dikepalai Tun Mahathir. Mungkin agak aneh untuk menyamakan kempen Tun M dengan Trump kerana beliau adalah seorang politikus yang kompeten dan bukannya amatur yang main belasah sahaja. Namun apa yang pasti, Tun Mahathir melalui Bersatu membawa mesej yang populis lagi konservatif.

Apa yang menghalang Pakatan Rakyat untuk mendapat kemenangan pada PRU13? Kenapa tipping point tidak dapat dilepasi walaupun jumlah undi sudah majoriti?

Jawabnya golongan konservatif yakni Melayu Luar Bandar serta Melayu Bandar yang berminda Ketuanan Melayu masih tidak yakin Anwar bersama Pakatan Rakyat dapat menjamin hak-hak Melayu. Mereka mahu perubahan tetapi perubahan yang dicanang Anwar terlalu jauh untuk dijangkau akal dan hati mereka.

Antara prinsip dalam marketing adalah pengguna sebenarnya tidak mahu sesuatu yang benar-benar baru. Apa yang mereka mahukan adalah benda lama dalam cara yang baru. Oleh itu Bersatu menjadi wadah untuk para pengundi konservatif ini membuat perubahan dengan cara yang selamat. Atau dalam erti kata lain Bersatu adalah UMNO Baru Baru.

Jenama Anwar sudah terpukul teruk. Dua kali pusingan pertuduhan liwat telah menghancurkan nama beliau di mata pengundi konservatif. Ditambah pula dengan momokan bahawa beliau adalah ejen Amerika yang saban tahun dipalu di kampung-kampung. Kemudian para pengundi dapat lihat bagaimana golongan ‘liberal’ dalam Pakatan dapat bergerak bebas di bawah kepimpinan Anwar. Itu adalah satu mimpi ngeri buat mereka.

Jenama Tun M adalah jenama yang kuat. Namanya harum di segenap dunia. Pendiriannya yang tegas terhadap kuasa-kuasa besar tidak dapat disangkal. Dalam iklim konflik seperti sekarang di mana rakyat dibebani kos sara hidup yang meningkat dan pendapatan yang berkurang, personaliti kuat seperti Tun Mahathir akan ke hadapan. Anwar dilihat lemah kerana cuba menjaga hati semua pihak.

Persoalannya sekarang, adakah Tun Mahathir akan pergi ke daerah Trump yang berbaur xenophobia bagi mencipta suasana konflik yang lebih tegang?

Adakah beliau akan mengeluarkan manifesto menggempuar dan menghantar pulang PATI? Mengurangkan kebergantungan terhadap pelaburan dari China? Atau lebih ekstrem lagi membatalkan segala program pemutihan PATI yang dibuat di era Najib?

Itu semua adalah butang-butang panas ‘us versus them‘ yang boleh dipetik tanpa mengganggu gugat keharmonian kaum dalam negara. Pakejkan ‘us versus them‘ itu dalam konteks antarabangsa dan bukannya domestik. Sebabnya di kampung-kampung sekalipun sudah ramai pekerja dan peniaga asing. Projek-projek mega kendalian syarikat China di Malaysia bukan sahaja Melayu tidak dapat menumpang hasil, malah Cina Malaysia pun melopong juga.

Mood populis masih belum hilang dari iklim politik dunia. Duterte, BREXIT dan Trump berjaya meraih sokongan rakyat kebanyakan. Mereka sudah muak merempat di negara sendiri. Mengapa perlu tunggu 2050 andai Wawasan 2020 sudah terjangkau? Jika ini terus berlarutan tidak mustahil gelombang Merah Mahathir akan melanda Malaysia PRU14 ini.

Krisis MaGIC & Mitos Silicon Valley

Apabila Cheryl Yeoh dilaporkan akan berhenti dari jawatan CEO lebih awal dari sepatutnya, itu bukanlah satu kejutan buat kami. Sebenarnya kami telah lama melihat bibit-bibit yang membawa kepada krisis ini. Pimpinan MaGIC sedar sekiranya mereka tidak dapat menarik seluruh lapisan masyarakat secara sekata mereka akan mempunyai masalah dengan pihak pembuat dasar.

Apa yang heboh, kononnya MaGIC tidak membawa agenda bumiputera sehingga isu ini dibawa dalam Perhimpunan Agung UMNO. Tapi bagi kami yang berbangsa Melayu sekalipun, kenyataan dalam PAU itu memualkan.

Memalukan kerana memberikan gambaran seolah-olah Melayu berfikiran sempit. Sebetulnya MaGIC bukan gagal dalam mengangkat agenda bumiputera tetapi gagal dalam mengangkat mandat yang diberikan kepadanya.

MaGIC dilihat sebagai peneraju dalam membangunkan sektor startup berteraskan teknologi tetapi sebenarnya mereka diberi mandat untuk membangunkan ekologi startup bagi semua sektor. Ya, semua sektor bukan teknologi semata-mata. Tak percaya? Semak semula kenyataan Tan Sri Irwan Siregar dalam Utusan pada tahun 2013.

MaGIC menjawab kepada Kementerian Kewangan dan ukuran kejayaan serta kegagalan perlu disandarkan kepada fakta mandat mereka. Bukan kepada persepsi dan dogma sempit semata-mata.

Sebenarnya, terlalu sempit untuk kita berbincang tentang MaGIC semata-mata. Setidak-tidaknya kita perlu melihat lebih luas kepada Cyberjaya yang menjadi kampung kepada MaGIC.

Cyberjaya dicanang sebagai Silicon Valley Malaysia. Iklan-iklan dan bas-bas menjalar ke sana-sini mendabik gelaran tersebut. Namun sejujurnya, gelaran Silicon Valley Malaysia itu sebenarnya tidak layak untuk Cyberjaya.

Perhatikan apa sebenarnya yang menjana ekonomi Cyberjaya. Kebanyakannya hanya kerja-kerja outsourcing syarikat-syarikat gergasi global. Syarikat-syarikat tersebut pula kebanyakannya syarikat era Industrial. Bukannya Facebook atau Google yang membuka cawangan di Cyberjaya, bahkan Microsoft pun tidak bertapak di sana.

Gelaran lebih tepat untuk Cyberjaya ialah Bangalore Malaysia kerana apa yang dibuat kebanyakannya hanyalah kerja-kerja outsourcing. Syarikat-syarikat gergasi global hanya memanfaatkan insentif bagi mengurangkan kos operasi mereka. Mereka tidak pun menempatkan makmal R&D di Cyberjaya bagi menghasilkan inovasi baru untuk meningkatkan pendapatan mereka.

Dalam erti kata lain, Cyberjaya sebagai Silicon Valley Malaysia adalah hype semata-mata. Isu dasar ini sebenarnya membawa kepada kegagalan MaGIC sejak awal penubuhannya.

Pihak pembuat dasar mengimpikan MaGIC sebagai pemangkin untuk mencipta enjin ekonomi yang baru. Jika dahulu ukuran kejayaan graduan adalah untuk berkerja dengan kerajaan, GLC atau MNC. Tetapi sekarang, mereka mahu graduan membina startup sendiri atau berkerja dengan startup tempatan.

Cyberjaya bukanlah bandar tipikal Malaysia — enjin ekonominya diimport, penduduknya diimport, idea pun diimport. Jika disebut secara teknikal, ini adalah pemikiran ‘1 to n’. Sesuatu perkara telah berjaya sekali dan mahu diulang n kali — tiru sahaja apa yang telah menjadi. Sedangkan startup memerlukan pemikiran ‘0 to 1’ iaitu daripada tiada kepada ada.

Idea ini bukan kami reka-reka, ini adalah apa yang disebut oleh Peter Thiel co-founder Paypal dalam buku beliau Zero to One. Jadi bagaimana mungkin Cyberjaya melakukan inovasi Zero to One yang asli sekiranya bandar itu sendiri sibuk meniru Silicon Valley?

Apabila kita meluaskan pandangan lagi, Silicon Valley itu sendiri pun satu mitos. Bukan semua startup gergasi bermula dan berpangkalan di sana. Amazon dan Microsoft berpangkalan di Seattle, Facebook pula bermula di Harvard sebelum berpindah ke Silicon Valley. Memanglah Silicon Valley yang terkenal tetapi bukan itu sahaja tempat di mana inovasi dan startup bernilai berbillion dolar tercipta.

Kita lihat Klang Valley kita sendiri, berapa banyak startup tempatan yang beroperasi di luar Cyberjaya? GrabTaxi bermula di Petaling Jaya dan kemudiannya melangkau Cyberjaya untuk terus berpejabat ke Singapura. Silverlake Group yang membekalkan perisian kepada bank-bank dan institusi-institusi kewangan juga berpangkalan di Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya. Les Copaque sebagai peneraju industri animasi 3D pula beroperasi di Shah Alam.

Jadi, apa yang sibuk sangat hendak memusatkan semuanya di Cyberjaya dan secara khususnya di MaGIC? Bila kita amati kenyataan para pembuat dasar tentang MaGIC ternyata mereka sebenarnya mengharapkan keajaiban.

Mereka harap dengan buat satu agensi baru dengan bajet yang besar enjin ekonomi baru akan tercipta. Kononnya dengan cara ini Mark Zuckerberg dan Steve Jobs Malaysia akan dapat dilahirkan.

Kalau itulah keajaiban yang mereka harapkan maka tidak kiralah Cina, India, Melayu, Melanau, Iban atau Bajau yang jadi CEO. Jawatan ini akan terus jadi kerusi panas yang penghuninya bertukar bersilih ganti! MaGIC pula di Cyberjaya akan terus jadi hype di atas hype!

The Truth is Nuanced — Revisited

One year on, the battlefield has transformed. Not content with mere protest to the government, the taxi drivers are starting their own guerilla campaign. MyTeksi (a.k.a GrabTaxi) are also now seen to be on the same side with Uber as they start to expand their GrabCar service. On top of that, SPAD (Land Public Transport Commission) brings out a new regulatory weapon that can substantially threaten the viability of both Uber & GrabCar business model.

Battle of Hearts and Mind

Uber know the perception game very well, they are careful to portray themselves as crusaders providing better service as alternative to the wretched taxis. Quite a number of customers are now a convert and vocally express their support for Uber via social media.

Cornered by higher cost, reduced income and regulators apathy some taxi drivers are taking the matter in their own hand. Their guerilla warfare had caught both Uber & GrabCar drivers. Being caught now means serious trouble for these freelance drivers if they don’t have the proper Public Service License.

They are not facing mere fine which can be paid off — which Uber readily pay for their drivers in France. Instead they are now threatened by a more sinister threat — being barred from renewing their road tax. This essentially ‘brick’ their car and made it illegal to drive it for any purpose on the road. Bricking a $500 smartphone after jailbreaking it to use it on another carrier is painful enough. Imagine bricking your $35,000 car for signing up on Uber & GrabCar network.

That is the pain the licensed taxi drivers wanted to inflict upon these ‘illegal taxis’. They don’t care if their own image is tarnished by their rather barbaric and vandalising tactics. What’s clear to them is that Uber & GrabCar are a threat to their livelihood and must be stopped. They are even resourceful enough to use their enemy’s app to stalk the cars.

It must be tough for Uber to swallow their own medicine served cold by the taxi drivers. Uber had been known to be sabotaging other ride-sharing provider such as Lyft to poach their drivers. It is also aimed to inflict financial losses by deliberately ordering rides and cancelling them at the last minute. They even stalked journalist and threaten them.

Some brilliant minds at SPAD had also hatched a new strategy to nab Uber & GrabCar drivers. Instead of hitting the streets, they combed digital logs and photographic evidence to identify the drivers and summon them for ‘interview’. If they ignore the summon, they still can be barred from renewing their road tax — effectively bricking their car before the jailbreak has ever been proved.

Startups Are No Saint

Last year, GrabTaxi sided with the taxi drivers. They issued a statement to their drivers regarding an impending ‘threat to our livelihood’. There’s no mention of Uber by name but the phrase ‘We shall face this giant head on as One, showing them the indomitable Malaysia Boleh spirit’ is a dead giveaway. They even co-opt the ocassion of Merdeka to galvanise their warcry.

Fresh from USD250 million funding round from SoftBank Corp, GrabTaxi announced a USD2.8 million welfare fund to help taxi drivers in January 2015. At this point it seems that GrabTaxi are serious in both helping the drivers and providing better services to the customer.

In contrast, Uber are increasingly under scrutiny for conveniently classifying its drivers as independent contractors. They stand to gain from services rendered by the drivers yet deny any responsibilities of any harm inflicted when the drivers are serving their ride network.

But now, even GrabTaxi idealism seems to be in question. They keep on expanding GrabCar service that cannibalize the regular taxis which supported their meteoric rise in the first place. Uber are even more blunt, stating that they’ll discard the drivers once autonomous car technology are mature enough.

A Revolution Is Underway

What are witnessing now is just the tip of the iceberg of an economic revolution in progress. The top down Industrial Revolution are now crumbling under the pressure of the networked Digital Revolution.

It is inevitable that taxi companies must change. They can’t go on having a protected business model while at the same time squeezing the taxi drivers to fork out daily rent fees. Cab-hailing apps are here to stay and drivers need to be able to obtain their licenses individually.

Revolution destroy the perfect and enable the new. The perfect business model of taxi companies are now shattered and enable the new ridesharing business model. However, the new business model is yet to be proven. They might be very well just destroy the incumbent without providing a sustainable alternative in the long run.

The new can be exciting but beware the rebel might be even more tyrannical than the despot they disposed of.

The Truth is Nuanced

Thinking deeper & broader about Uber showdown in Malaysia

So, here we go again. Another city, another Uber fight against authority. Just another episode in a drama starring Uber.

We all love good drama of course. Especially those with simple, clear narrative — good vs evil, agile startup vs slow bureaucrat, local vs foreign.

But is it that simple and clear cut?

Uber has been in Kuala Lumpur for almost a year now. They started with their flagship UberBlack by hiring local limousine operators. It’s all good at the start — generous vouchers, excellent cars, easy to use app. The prospect of getting a ride in a BMW 7 Series made early adopters very excited. Existing users from other countries simply call for Uber when they’re in Kuala Lumpur.

Enter UberX — with price as cheap (or cheaper) than taxis it sends a shockwave to the local landscape. SPAD took notice and said things that’s similar to any other authorities around the world said. Need to comply with licensing, safety, etc. Just a reminder, not a crackdown.

MyTeksi, a local cab-calling startup starts to toe the arena. They issued a statement to their drivers regarding an impending ‘threat to our livelihood’. There’s no mention of Uber by name but the phrase ‘We shall face this giant head on as One, showing them the indomitable Malaysia Boleh spirit’ is a dead giveaway. They even co-opt the ocassion of Merdeka to galvanise their warcry.

Uber Malaysia didn’t stop offering UberX but they did stop using private cars such as MyVi and switched to licensed limousines. Essentially, they are offering almost-UberBlack at UberX price.

However, the move didn’t appease the authorities. Soon after, Director General of Road Transport Department announced a joint operation with SPAD and the Royal Malaysian Police to crackdown on Uber’s operation.

Article in Kosmo reagarding JPJ, PDRM, & SPAD Joint Operation against Uber

Now the grand narrative seems to be properly set up; agile startup VS slow bureaucrats — Uber’s usual frame of story. On the other hand; national interest VS ‘foreign intervention’ and protecting the livelihood of taxi drivers.

Time to grab some popcorns and enjoy the showdown?

Well, not so fast.

Zoom-In

Let’s put aside the media news cycle and go the ground. What does the users want? Fast, cheap, and safe mode of transportation. What choice do they have now? They have regular taxis, taxis augmented by MyTeksi and UberX.

Regular Taxis

Truth to be told, taxis are a regular punching bag. The chief complaint is wildly inconsistent service. The car condition can range from super clean to intoxicating kretek smoking den; charge by the meter to arbitarily exorbitant charges; polite professional drivers to downright criminals.

It’s tempting to lump all these taxi drivers into one category but the reality is they come from all walks of life. On one hand there’s people who work as taxi drivers as last resort, some are just part-timers (including civil servants!). On the other extreme, there’s ex-top civil officials (ie; JKR Engineers) who drive taxis to fill their time and genuinely seek to serve people post-retirement.

MyTeksi

MyTeksi seems to smooth out the wild inconsistencies in taxi service. So far, I’m yet to find a rude MyTeksi driver. They are a pleasant bunch of drivers. In fact, I found one of the most professional driver ever through MyTeksi.

However there’s still some inconsistencies such as whether who should pay for the booking fee — some choose to absorb it while some pass the cost to the passenger. Other than that; we can expect that the drivers charge according to the meter, dress decently and drive safely.

In short, taxi service as spelled out in government regulations.

UberX

The first ride with UberX is in a brand-new MyVi. No idea whether it is owned by Uber or the driver, forgot to ask. The ride is from Avenue K to IKEA with a young male driver and the total charge is RM18. The small car strained a bit climbing hilly highways but overall experience is still good.

Only when I came back from IKEA with a taxi I realized a critical difference — UberX uses SmartTag lane while taxis are still bound to cash lanes. This create a remarkable difference in experience as it shaves off precious minutes. Imagine how valuable it is when you are chasing a bus trip or an important meeting.

That was before SPAD issue any statement so to be thorough another round is required.

As for the second ride the app informed me that I’m getting a Mini Countryman. Wow! But then a Nissan Teana came along and picked me up from Low Yat Plaza to KLCC. The car clearly have a limousine license and the driver is an ex-VIP driver who is bored chauffering them to the same place.

The icing on the cake for UberX is there’s no need to whip out my wallet and fumbling with small change. So you can focus on getting your stuff out from the car and whatever you wanted to do next.

p/s: EasyTaxi reported to offer the same payment service now

Zooming In Between

No Internet?

Tough luck, IKEA was super congested on Merdeka weekend so no Internet service. I can’t hail UberX nor MyTeksi. Even though the signal indicator shows full strength with 3G all packets get dropped and I have to wait until the crowd disperse before able to use either app.

Surge

This is the bane of any kind of centralized commercial clout. Uber’s algorithm can automatically drive the price up when the demand is high. On the other hand, taxi drivers at bottlenecks such as train stations and bus stations form mini-cartels to impose an all time arbitary surge pricing.

Credit Card

Uber requires credit card and that might be a deal breaker for many. They fear unauthorized usage or over-charge. Uber has mistakenly over-charged me once but later promptly refunded in the form of ride credit. Recent survey by Nielsen indicates that more than half of Malaysian respondents (55%) say they are either hesitant or would not shop online and use their payment card details on either a smartphone or tablet device although their personal information is protected.

Zoom Out

Meanwhile in New York, Uber drivers also find their livelihood threatened when the company permanently lowers the price. Furthermore, they also cannibalize other startups such as Lyft.

‘The touted start-up is proving to be the embodiment of unrestrained hyper-capitalism’

Uber is also not safe from criticism in their home country. ‘The touted start-up is proving to be the embodiment of unrestrained hyper-capitalism’. A. Asohan also pointed out in his article that Uber is playing a loss-leader game for now to garner support. Once it became a dominant player and demanding profit, there’s no telling what will happen.

If Facebook is any indication, it’s not really pretty. Once the market is thoroughly saturated, Facebook tighten the flow and start putting up tolls. Page owners are the worst hit with post reach approaching zero percent.

The Future

It doesn’t matter much whether Uber win or lose this round in Kuala Lumpur. They have super deep pockets and can always come back later. Other startups such as Lyft and Sidecar can also come try their luck. Even Richard Branson is stepping into the game.

There’s also not-for-profit service such as BlaBlaCar. You can’t frame them with the usual corporate greed narrative. Currently, 2 million BlaBlaCar members drive 200 miles together each month.

The thing is, you can’t connect people to each other without expecting them to continue as it is.

This article also appeared on TechInAsia.

Bagaimana McDonald’s Malaysia Memperbodohkan Rakyat Malaysia

Masuk 3 Syawal, tiba-tiba McDonald’s Malaysia bersuara melalui Berita Harian. Ahli Lembaga Pengarah merangkap Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Halal Dalaman McDonald’s Malaysia, Wan Mohd Zam Wan Embong tampil memberikan kenyataan. Mungkin mereka sudah ‘panas punggung’ atas boikot yang berlarutan.

Membaca sepintas lalu artikel tersebut, beliau dilihat cuba menggambarkan McDonald’s Malaysia sebagai syarikat tempatan, mempunyai banyak kepentingan Melayu dan orang Islam yang hanya membayar 5 peratus royalti kepada McDonald’s Corporation.
Tapi adakah benar gambaran yang dibawa oleh beliau? Mari kita semak fakta melalui dokumen maklumat syarikat Golden Arches Restaurant Sdn Bhd yang dibeli dari SSM. Kita juga lihat maklumat dari laman web rasmi mereka di www.mcdonalds.com.my terutamanya notis di halaman ini.

Banyak restoran McDonald’s milik penuh rakyat Malaysia

Kita tidak perlu pergi jauh pun – ada baiknya kita semak kebenaran fakta dalam headline atau tajuk artikel ini. Mengikut laman web rasmi mereka terdapat 242 outlet McDonald’s Malaysia. Berapa banyak yang dikatakan banyak? 30 peratus? 40 peratus? Sekiranya 30 peratus harus ada 72 outlet, sekiranya 40 peratus harus ada 96 outlet.

Petikan dari notis di laman web mereka

Sebanyak 67 restoran kami dimiliki dan diusahakan oleh 27 francaisi tempatan, yang 40 peratus sehingga 50 peratus daripada mereka adalah berbangsa Melayu yang beragama Islam.

Jumlah outlet berdasarkan maklumat di laman web rasmi mereka: 242
Hanya 67 outlet, jadi bila dikira peratusan outlet francais yang dimiliki rakyat Malaysia: 67 / 242 x 100% = 27.68%

Adakah 27.68% outlet dikira banyak? Apa yang pasti bukan majoriti. McDonald’s Malaysia memiliki bakinya dan memiliki majoriti outlet.

Berapa banyak pula kepentingan Melayu?

Peratusan outlet francais yang dimiliki Melayu: (50% x 67) / 242 x 100% = 13.84%
Dengan hanya 13.84% outlet dimiliki oleh orang Melayu memang jauh panggang dari api hendak mengatakan McDonalds Malaysia adalah syarikat Melayu. Bukannya 50% outlet dimiliki orang Melayu!

Ahli lembaga pengarah yang seramai 10 orang pula hanya ada 2 orang pengarah Melayu!

Wan Mohd Zam berkata, hubungan antara McDonald’s Malaysia dan McDonald’s Corporation adalah atas dasar hubungan komersial yang mana pihaknya membayar royalti sebanyak lima peratus di atas hasil jualan. 

Adakah hubungan McDonald’s Malaysia dan McDonald’s Corporation setakat membayar royalti sahaja?
Semakan di SSM menunjukkan Golden Arches Restaturant Sdn. Bhd. mempunyai 20 juta saham biasa. Siapa pula pemiliknya?
McDonald’s Corporation bukan setakat menerima royalti malah mempunyai saham majoriti dalam Golden Arches Restaurant’s Sdn Bhd (McDonald’s Malaysia). 
Tiada entiti Malaysia yang mempunyai pegangan saham secara langsung dalam McDonald’s Malaysia.
Tiada entiti Melayu yang mempunyai pegangan saham secara langsung dalam McDonald’s Malaysia.
Melayu sekadar majoriti pekerja dan minoriti pemilik outlet McDonald’s Malaysia.

Tajuk artikel pun sudah memberi gambaran salah. Sejauh mana lagi McDonald’s Malaysia mahu memperbodohkan rakyat Malaysia?

Business Model Tidak Masuk Akal

Kewujudan sesebuah bisnes yang hidup dan berkembang menggunakan Business Model tertentu tidak bermakna model mereka boleh ditiru. Terdapat banyak organisasi dan syarikat di Malaysia yang mempunyai business model yang tidak masuk akal. Mereka sebenarnya hidup atas perlindungan politik semata-mata.

Sebagai contoh, ada sebuah stesen radio yang tidak membayar royalti kepada para pencipta lagu kerana kononnya mereka bukan stesen radio bermotifikan keuntungan. Namun dalam masa yang sama mereka buat duit daripada iklan. Lebih parah lagi, mereka juga mendapat geran dari kerajaan!

Faktor Undang-Undang & Value Proposition

Ada kalanya perubahan undang-undang boleh melenyapkan Value Proposition terutamanya yang berkaitan Price. Contoh yang dapat diperhatikan adalah apa yang berlaku di Langkawi. Pertama kali saya datang ke Langkawi 11 tahun dahulu terdapat banyak kedai menjual barangan elektrik dan elektronik di Langkawi. 

Pada lawatan saya yang terbaru, hanya tinggal 1-2 kedai elektrik sahaja. Puncanya? Penghapusan cukai dan duti barangan elektrik bermakna sudah tiada perbezaan harga antara Langkawi dengan tanah besar.  Kehilangan Value Proposition juga bermakna kehilangan bisnes. 
Kedai Sony di Langkawi pun boleh tutup!

Dalam keadaan yang lebih ekstrim, ura-ura perubahan undang-undang sudah cukup untuk menggugat banyak bisnes. Kempen Turunkan Harga Kereta oleh PKR sudah cukup untuk menyebabkan banyak kedai kereta hilang jualan. Ramai bakal pembeli menunggu perubahan kerajaan atau paling tidak penurunan cukai oleh kerajaan sedia ada dalam menghadapi pencabarnya.

Bukan itu sahaja, business model pengeluar kereta tempatan juga akan terjejas teruk dan mungkin tutup terus kerana Value Proposition mereka juga adalah Price. Lebih parah lagi, Value Proposition mereka adalah artificial kerana terhasil daripada perlindungan undang-undang.