Tuesday, April 29, 2008

The Saga of Umno-Linked Companies in the UAE

Last week, I received a call from a friend. He is a senior staff at an UMNO-linked company (ULC) operating in the UAE. A public-listed company with some concession contracts in Malaysia. You may guess it right.

His message was simple, he was desperately looking for a new job. This ULC was officially closed down when the JV partner took over by buying the whole equity. ULC staff was sent packing immediately.

The information received, it was due to the greed of the JV partner. I had an experience dealing with this particular ULC for some personal matters and the person-in-charge here was fired for some CBT-type of activities. He made some millions, the rumour said.

Another ULC by the name of Paremba had closed shop and lost millions. Its senior staff was detained and jailed for dishonoured cheque last year. He was freed after Malaysian community assisted through legal avenues. Another former staff was recently detained for the same charge and is still in prison, however, as claimed, this guy has some millions in his account as well.

Thieves are not uncommon for ULCs....they may follow the leaders.

The problem is not unique. Malaysian companies are coming lately to grab the ever increasing opportunities with USD trillions worth of projects all over the UAE. Some has made it in big way. Some like these two ULCs, should have learned their lessons or bad experiences well and hopefully return with vengeance to secure more projects with impressive ROI. Therefore UMNO bigwigs and mafia can spend lavishly for next election. Or for their own personal investments (like second wife or more girlfriends) and entertainments around the globe.

Another landscaping company, owned by son of former premier is already in deep financial shit. The staff salaries are always over due or if ever paid only half of the amount due. This has been going on since last one year. Most of the staff has already quit but some still hoping for a turnaround. (I managed to help few of them)

This son of former premier by the name of M seems, according to his staff, investing heavily in Dubai upmarket properties. He allegedly owns luxury homes here and a frequent visitor for pleasure. Well, his company needs cash injection with the current cash flow problems and he must be aware of the staff predicaments. However, his big mouth father should advise his son before KJ and gangs use this shitty problem as a weapon to kill him off. Like father like son.

The biggest Malaysian employer here by sheer size, an ID public-listed company with hundreds of Malaysian staff and RM billions worth of projects seem doing the right things except, most of its staff working without proper work visa. Mostly on visit visa which has to be renewed every two months. Malaysians can enter the UAE anytime with upon arrival visit visa which is valid for 60 days per entry.

In the UAE, anyone caught illegally working on visit visa can be jailed before being deported and will be banned from entering the country again. So far this company manages the risks very well even the office was raided few times and some staff deported for wrong reasons but at the end, linked to the illegal status.

This company may want to save upfront and operating cost but by risking or rather abusing its staff, it does show how inhumane some chinaman business is. Racism aside, it is not coincidence that most of its staff working illegally are Malays. Mind you, as I always remind these unfortunate guys and gals there are always positive sides of this especially they are here and can see the opportunities. If there are better opportunities around, leave this company immediately as we would never know the consequences. Better be safe than sorry.

The rumour says the current outgoing diplomat man here would be its chairman very soon after happily carrying the towkay's bags around for all these years......yes some few diplomats can be scumbags, but opportunists are acceptable unless they abuse their powers, privileges and special immunity for personal gains!

At the end of the day, we want more Malaysian companies, all of them not only UMNO-linked, MCA-linked, MIC-linked, PAS-linked, PKR-link, DAP-linked, Raja Petra-linked, chinaman or GLCs to be successful and proud of.

Do right thing as well as become wiser from those lessons learned!

73 per cent of employees in UAE unhappy with work



Dubai: More than 73 per cent of the employees in the UAE are unhappy with work, as only 27 per cent of them expressed high satisfaction with their job in a recent survey by employment site Bayt.com and research firm YouGovSiraj.
The study, conducted last month, collected answers from 9,760 respondents aged between 20 and 62 in the UAE, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Pakistan.
Researchers said the UAE's job satisfaction rating was "considerably low" in the region. Lebanon and Morocco fared well, posting the highest satisfaction ratings at 36 per cent and 35 per cent respectively.
Of all the nationalities polled, Gulf nationals appeared to be the least happy, with only 26 per cent enjoying a high level of satisfaction in their work.
"These figures are very telling about the current employment situation in the region, and provide an accurate picture of how not only different nationalities feel in their jobs, but how attitudes towards the working environment change between countries," said Bayt.com chief executive officer Rabea Ataya.
YouGovSiraj chief executive officer Nassim Ghrayeb said the survey indicates that, "despite highly favourable economic conditions, companies are not going far enough to make their employees feel like valued members of the workforce."
"This knowledge is of fundamental importance to businesses, especially in the face of increased costs of recruiting staff, compared to the actual costs of retaining them," Ghrayeb added.
The study did not specify the factors that influenced workers' satisfaction levels, but for 33-year-old Luisa who is working as a receptionist in Dubai, her low salary and her employer's failure to deliver its promise are turning her off.
"My boss promised to give me a Dh500 increase after six months, but all I got was Dh300 after one year. It increased my salary from Dh2,000 to Dh2,300, which is barely enough to cover my living expenses," says Luisa, a Mass Communications graduate.
According to recruitment specialist Gulftalent.com, while employers have been forced to increase salaries by an average of 10.7 per cent last year, this falls short of the increase in cost of living experienced by most expatriates.
The study also asked employees if they were happy with their "work organisation." Saudi Arabia fared worst in this category, with 40 per cent of the respondents saying their satisfaction with their work organisation is low.
Algeria came second with 38 per cent, followed by Kuwait and UAE with 34 per cent. In terms of motivation levels, the UAE scored lowest, with 65 per cent of employees saying they "feel motivated to perform well in the work" they do.
The UAE has 3.11 million foreign workers from 202 countries, employed by approximately 260,000 establishments, according to the 2007 labour report.
Expats make up for more than 90 per cent of the private sector labour force.
Source : Gulfnews

Calling Telecom and Utility Men & Women