Why you can’t always believe the political-corporate spin


Exports of electrical and electronic products fell 35 per cent in Jan 2009

So Intel has started laying off workers in Kulim, according to The Edge:

KULIM: Intel Malaysia, which is closing two of its microchip production facilities in Penang — a move which will affect over 1,000 workers — has started laying off employees at its Kulim facility which has more than 3,500 workers.

Sources told The Edge Financial Daily that at least 16 people out of 26 employed in the department in charge of maintaining the three plants in Kulim were asked to leave yesterday.

According to a source, the workers were not offered a voluntary separation scheme or even asked if they wanted to leave.

“They were told their services were no longer needed and it was not restricted to any age group or hierarchy. The affected employees were technicians, supervisors and even managers.

“They are being paid a severance package of 1.5 months’ salary for every year of service,” the source said.

It is learnt that more employees from other departments would also be asked to leave in the coming days and months but their number could not be ascertained.

No choice, no VSS…

This is why you can’t always believe all the ‘spin’ you read. Recall what Guan Eng had said in this Bernama report on 22 January on the Intel plant closures.

Lim said: “There would not be any job losses for those working in Penang Intel as the multinational company is only consolidating its branches with its employees moving to Kulim.”

I guess he was only referring to “Penang Intel” and not Kedah (Kulim) Intel!  He also mentioned the possibility of VSS.

And remember how Intel’s corporate affairs manager had spun it when she said that the workers would be offered comparable positions in Intel’s other Malaysian plants. Quote from a Star report:

“It is safe to say that the company has no plans to lay off any workers for now,” she said.

Very safe to say… with the emphasis on “for now”.

Meanwhile, Flextronics International, one of the world’s largest contract manufacturers, is reportedly shutting an assembly plant in Shah Alam and retrenching 1,382 workers.

The slump in the electronics industry is going to hit Malaysia hard: exports of electronic and electrical products plunged 35 per cent in January 2009, compared to the same month last year. Putting a rosy spin on such a dire situation is unhelpful and misleading.

Can we not begin thinking of alternatives to our export-oriented FDI-driven economic model?

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11 Mar 2009 10.03pm

Like it or not, more VSS coming to Penang factories. Either volunteer or “paksa rela”.

LGE should just shut up if he don’t have the facts. In fact, he cannot even rely on the information by the companies themselves. Some are layouts are corporate driven from US and the sites folks will not even have the latest information.

11 Mar 2009 4.01am

Malaysia badly needs “Role Model” established Leaders & Politicians of HONOUR with Calibre, Maturity & Tolerance without Fear or Favour & NOT Political OPPORTUNISTS – on BOTH sides of the Political Divide. This nation Desperately needs Intelligent, Time Proven Pragmatic Successful modelled, Financial & Politiical “SOLUTIONS” NOW on BOTH sides of the Political Divide, to MITIGATE the IMPENDING Political & Financial fallout. Today all the PR Politicians, CM LGE, MBs, Dewan Speaker, etc & us citizens are all faced with the fact that ALL Federal & State Government Secretariats, Institutions, GLCs, etc are filled to the brim with “Holier-than-thou” Chiefs… Read more »

10 Mar 2009 9.09pm

It is a GLOBAL recession, you fellas.
What makes u think Penang would be spared?

Our economy is built on exports, foreign multinationals and tourism!
Even if our one and only activity is planting paddy, we would be affected!

This is a storm we can’t avoid.
However, I am glad that we have LGE at the helm in this trying times. At least his heart is in the right place. And he is trying.

10 Mar 2009 3.10pm

Aisay, he could have been saying what he was told .. that the Penang chaps are asked to go to Kulim. And been in US company before, retrenchment can be quite drastic. Perhaps the MD that reassures LGE also need to swallow pride since direction comes from US.

Relate to the story on Microsoft. Same story when some big chap reassures that there is not retrechment as it is not a culture, one month later she was asked to retrench 10% of their MY staff.

10 Mar 2009 3.02pm

Ong ES: what have you done to improve Pen state through your ‘inputs’ during the previous BN-Govt period? If for so many years you could not, then please tone down your aggression on this 1 year PR-Govt. Your behaviour reflects you as being shallow – not sincere. I see that the roads of Penang are now cleaner. There are not so many illegal car-park attendants anymore. I ask you again – during the previous Pen-BNGovt, what have you manage to get improvements? If not – please go gripe somewhere else rather than trying to paint impatient and speckled grey pictures… Read more »

10 Mar 2009 1.57pm

You guys have to remember LGE have to work triple hard to get somethings going than Tsu Koon, because the whole government of Penang is still full of old government people. No federal support is a huge blockage to any CM in the 5 states. You need to survive on your own. In a year, he has to clean up the s*** of 18 years, try to re-simulate the economy with minimal funds and to meet all your voters expectation. He is under huge pressure and have been trying to voice out his concern as well. You all do nothing… Read more »

10 Mar 2009 1.29pm

LRT system to PENANG!!!
it will definitely stimulate the economy of PEnang!!!

10 Mar 2009 12.54pm

I would like to agree with ‘Fishhook’ that we have to be realistic, however, word of ‘advice’ to Pakatan’s led Govertment in Penang, do not under estimate the peoples of Penang and do not over-develop Penang, this is what the past politicians learnt. God Bless Penang.

10 Mar 2009 12.53pm

agree with fishook. the way eu soon is complaining LGE has no solution to this, that, this, that… so long list… is as thought he is expecting LGE to be god. come on, it’s only his one year of rule – give him a break.

i also echo timmy that LGE is unlucky to be the CM in these untiring times, and we penangites, who are here for most of our lives all these years, are more to be blame than him who is CM for a year.

10 Mar 2009 11.54am

ong spoke too soon about not engaging ngos.
A Penang Transport Council has been established to tackle the long standing transportation woes in the state.
In announcing this, Local Government and Traffic Management Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the council would be formalised in two weeks time, would look into the short, mid and long term action plans on how to improve transport problems and issues in the state.
Chow said the council was an extended version of a working group on transport, established in May last year, that had presented their major findings and recommendations to him.

Ong Eu Soon
10 Mar 2009 11.42am

He is not GOD, but he is still boasting about how great he is after BN agree with him to plunder Malaysian taxpayers of RM50 billion. Read the latest news report in Sin Chew if you know mandarin.

10 Mar 2009 11.12am

Eu Soon,

Your CM is Lim Guan Eng NOT God!! It is fair to have expectations when you vote for change but reasonable time must be given. You really expect LGE to have solutions to all the problems above in ONE YEAR when Gerakan did not have any in 18??!! Be realistic!

Sam G
Sam G
10 Mar 2009 11.12am

Over the last one year, I have been harping at some of the PR leaders to come out with several Master Plans for the state. We very badly need an Industrial Master Plan, A Tourism Master Plan, and Environment Master Plan. Until now, nothing! However the only thing which is being spoken about is the Halal Hub Master Plan. Sorry to say, I had gone thru’ some of the planning work done, and it looks like it has been put together by a group of SPM students. In the 1st 3-6 months, LGE was meeting every Entrepreneur and businessmen in… Read more »

10 Mar 2009 11.10am

Not only unhelpful and misleading, it’s downright irresponsible

10 Mar 2009 11.05am

Flextronics Shah Alam close down is unavoided as many knows. SonyEricsson its biggest customer have been moving out from Malaysia since 2007 and 2008 they did nothing even the rumour and story gaining momentum….it have now lead to the closure of Nolato at near by Shah Alam…. cripple the business for company like Polymatech at Shah Alam…. Green point at Sungai Petani and another company called Balda at Ipoh. the impact is far more since there’s other supplier that supply to SonyEricsson thru Flextronics Shah Alam…. no one was interested on economics…they enjoy waving Keris….making all sorts of cheap skate… Read more »

Ong Eu soon
10 Mar 2009 10.51am

And the joker want to rely on tourism during recession, hopefully foreigners will come to Penang to spend their monies. What monies? If the world still have monies, no recession lah! Bodoh!

10 Mar 2009 10.48am

It is unavoidable. I think he did try to persuade Intel not to take this move. But as a politician, what he should do? 1. Tell it earlier that Intel is going to retrench? This means he already gave up the fight even before trying to persuade Intel. 2. Intel indeed laying off. It is unavoidable, as electronics took a big hit and in business, profit and cutting cost to survive is everything. Malaysia is not really a good place to continue anymore, their 15 years plan in Malaysia is time-up. Their profit and cost graph becomes narrow. Intel will… Read more »

Ong Eu soon
10 Mar 2009 10.33am

Lim Guan Eng’s biggest problem is that he likes cheap and stupid public blitz without realizing that it will haunt him later on. He is leading a state government void of solutions and with his suspicion mind he will not trust NGOs. He rather trusts developers, which will end up in the drains after suffering from the worst recession in decades. He didn’t even realize after the recession he will end up with a lot of abandoned projects from his trusted developers, the one that can bring prosperity to Penang. He also believe all the big talks from corporate leaders… Read more »