Why Is Malaysia Run Like A MLM?

The writer of this article which was first published in the Malay Mail, Erna Mahyuni, says that 2024 feels like it happened 20 years ago. Malaysia Madani seems to be backtracking

KUALA LUMPUR — An old man is droning about how we (as in the people of Malaysia, or the Malaysian government, perhaps), need to support corporations and successful businessmen because the wealth will “trickle down”.

Someone in power is boasting about Malaysia’s potential as a digital hub and pledges to talk to all the big tech names.

A huge sum of money and multiple grants are promised to empower the Bumiputera.

Deja Vu

Pardon my deja vu but the year 2024 feels like it happened 20 years ago, when the exact same things happened.

Funny too, is that even then multi-level marketing (MLM) was a thing.

MLMs are so entrenched in this country that when I hear of yet another local celebrity hawking skincare, health supplements or cosmetics I assume it’s just another MLM.

As someone said once, those so-called celebrity entrepreneurs depend on recruitment and not so much purely product sales.

Sniff around enough and you will find many of the nouveau riche coming from similar origins; not making money from their businesses so much as connections.

That is the deepest problem with Malaysia and how, in general, Malaysians think. Underneath the bluster and religious posturing, no one truly cares how you make the money so long as you make enough of it to matter.

Economy Mister

However, why is our economy minister’s head still in the early 2000s? His aspirations to supposedly make us a digital hub is laughable when we had our chance long ago but we squandered it.

Grants went to the undeserving, projects were dreamed up as a cover just so someone could afford a Lamborghini and a mistress and meanwhile smart schools stayed unbuilt and students in Sabah had to do homework in trees.

We rely so much on local so-called prominent businessmen for ideas on making money but they’re the wrong people to ask.

They know how to make money, but only for themselves.

The formula is as old as capitalism. Pay your workers as little as you can get away with, keep raising your prices even when wages can’t keep up with them and skim plenty off the top with the help of your willing accountant.

Susceptible To Temptation

Word of advice: always watch your accountant or financial controller because from my personal experience they’re very much susceptible to temptation. If they’ve suddenly acquired an Audi, check your company accounts.

There is one simple reason many international companies don’t set up shop here: our market is just too small.

It’s simple, on paper. Help Malaysians figure out how to sell outside our borders or train them to be proficient at working remotely with both technical and language skills.

Instead all Madani is offering is unimaginative ideas such as vending machines and a new, fresh pot of money for cronies to fight over.

MLM Saturation

It is quite the ridiculous notion, trying to find customers primarily among already cash-strapped Malaysians and it’s much like MLM saturation.

Once you can no longer find people willing to buy into your scheme disguised as an opportunity, the business will founder along with only the people at the top making money while the unlucky new recruits are stuck with products they’d be lucky to sell.

The writer says all Madani is offering is unimaginative ideas such as vending machines and a new fresh pot of money for cronies to fight over Picture by Shafwan Zaidon Malay Mail

We are stuck in some insidious time warp with our leaders recycling what the then-leaders said more than 20 years ago, and some of those leaders are still around instead of retiring.

We really need some sort of term limit, if you ask me.

New ideas, people who care more for the country than their egos or aren’t so easily excited by buzzwords — that’s the way forward.

Malaysia Recycling Ideas

Recycling is a good thing but recycling ideas? Not when they’ve been proven not to work but alas, like old men of yore, our old men of today still think shouting things loudly will make something work.

Shouting loudly might also be a sign of deafness so my best advice to this government is perhaps it’s time to actually listen to the people who actually care.

* This is the personal opinion of the columnist.

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