Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Way To Go Philip Morris!

My Ayah quit smoking when he knew Mak was pregnant with me in the tummy. My first baby brother never smoke – he told his friends Mak forbids him from puffing, which Mak never did tell him so. My second baby brother used to smoke like a chimney – thanks to asthma, he smokes less nowadays and never in any houses, even his. Tok substituted eating with smoking – he sipped his Milo and went smoking straight away after each Buka Puasa. He saw mealtime as social time. Growing up with such colourful characters, I have turned diplomatically indifferent when it comes to people smoking. The only complain I may have towards them would be my clothes smelling like a chimney (I would rather be St Nick, going down the chimney with all the gifts for those kids!).

However, since yesterday morning, after listerning to Richard James of Philip Morris (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd ("PMM") fuming over Health Minister's flip-flop on banning small pack cigarettes on BFM 89.9 (you can listen to the podcast here), suddenly I see a hero was born out of cigarettes.

PMM does not only have butts (cigarette butts of course), it has guts too because this flip-flopping business is a big turn-off to foreign investors (as local investors don't really contribute to the country's GDP as huge amount of their monies exchanged hands along with froggies and serial liars) for it has no business sense.

And if you read this article on TMI, may you'd know why I salute PMM: -


"In the absence of clarity surrounding this decision PMM will have no choice but to evaluate all possible avenues including legal recourse to recover any losses the company may suffer", the statement said.

PMM had earlier released a statement threatening legal action over the government's flip-flopping over the small pack ban. PMM managing director Richard Morgan said that this sudden reversal of a previously-approved Cabinet directive was not only a 'devastating blow' for business but foreign investor confidence as well.

"How can any corporation plan for its future and maintain its viability in an environment of such legal uncertainty where decisions that are supposedly set in concrete can be overturned so rapidly and without any consultation?", he asked.

This precipitous decision coming less than one week before the previously-announced deadline will cause damage to PMM's business and competitive position and it conflicts with the Ministry of Health's stated public health objectives.

Morgan appealed to the prime minister and his Cabinet to reinstate the June 1 deadline for the ban on cigarette packs of less than 20 sticks.

"We believe this is essential to ensure foreign investor confidence that Malaysia is indeed a fair and transparent nation in which to do business ", he said.


I suspected that this 4th time flip-flop has got something to do with disposing some 14-stick stocks belonging to some 'warlords'. They are buying time to make more money. Previously, it wasn't easy to trace contrabands and with the banning, it will be easy for law enforcement agencies to seize them - yes, size sometimes does matter in this matter.

Still, is it worth it to quench the thirst of these warlords with more sinful moneys by turning away real investment? Should we allow some people's political and personal agenda to reign above our national economic agenda? Why bother attending Idris Jala's subsidies workshop if we allow such bad business ethics and corruption to flourish?

Way to go Philip Morris, way to go!


Uncle Lee said...

Hi Fi-Sha, always a pleasure to read your eloquent postings.
And I read this with great interest.
It is sad to note contracts, agreements, whatever can be absolved just like that.
I sure smell ikan bilis somewhere. There's always the smell of salt fish when reading similar stories like this.
Good for you posting this.
Have a nice day, Lee.

Antares said...

I'm not taking your remarks about smoking personally, Fi-Sha :-) However, were it not for the internet I never would have known that Najib's brother Johari is on the Board of British American Tobacco - Philip Morris's only serious competitor! QED.

Antares said...

P.S. Street talk has it that BAT still have a large unsold stock of 14-packs and it will take at least 6 months for them to deplete it. Interestingly, Johari joined the BAT board about a month before his brother ascended to the Umno throne :-)

Fi-sha said...

Hi Uncle Lee

If the Gomen could do such thing to giants like PMM, imagine what they are capabale of doing, melingkupkan those SME! Ish Ish Ish.

p.s. my regards to Auntie ok?

Dear Antares

Blame it on my over-sensitive nose for a whiff of something peculiar could haywire my system :P - really. I'm lerning to desensitise my sensory system, hope I would be nicer to smokers :)

I knew it theres something fishy (not fish-a ok :P). Hmm, our gomen 'bails' out in so many ways aye!