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Teach them to fish

  • Why those at the helm of government would never realize that we should teach people how to fish instead of feeding them with fish?

By KUIK CHENG KANG
Sin Chew Daily

The Chinese city of Hangzhou readily conjures up the image of the breathtaking beauty of West Lake.

But my latest trip to the city was not for the legendary lake but a visit to Jack Ma's home city with a score of Malaysian small businesses eager to transform themselves, to experience the face recognition payment at KPRO by KFC, the innovative retail concept of Hema Fresh and the Alibaba headquarters.

These businessmen are all very young, many of them born in the 1990s. They are involved in a very broad spectrum of businesses: F&B, curtain, beauty products, electricals, hardware and even a tutor among them. We were in China to learn something, not for sightseeing.

Thanks to the breakneck advancement in state-of-the-art technology, industries across the world are experiencing an unprecedented shake-up. While many businessmen remain loyal to the traditions, they are seeking opportunities to ride the tide of the emerging megatrend by jumping onto the technology bandwagon and making big bucks by taking their businesses online. However, many have little idea how to actually go about this thing.

Today, China is leading the world in the migration towards a cashless society. In one of the bookshops I visited in Hangzhou, the young shop assistant told me as I attempted to exchange a pile of coins for some paper bills: "We normally don't worry about small change nowadays. Customers just need to scan the QR code with their smartphones and leave with their purchases."

KPRO by KFC in Hangzhou has revolutionized the retail model of face recognition payment. And while we were still scrambling to find a way to venture into e-commerce, Hema Fresh opened its doors, taking online orders and setting up brick-and-mortar stores that put a fresh market, supermarket and F&B outlet all under the same roof, offering consumers an unprecedented cashless shopping experience.

China is very different today. Its digital adoption is way ahead of the rest of the world.

I hope our Malaysians ministers and senior government officials will pay a visit to China to broaden their scope of vision so that when they are back here, they know how to draw up proper policies to help Malaysians irrespective of race survive and thrive in a rapidly transforming world.

In a bid to transform themselves, these Malaysian Chinese businesses dug into their own pockets to join the Alibaba Taobao University Internet Business CEO Program Malaysia, and flew to China to get a deeper insight into the operation of e-commerce players there.

They know they need to change to survive. They cannot afford to sit back and wait to be swept out of market.

Unfortunately, not all businessmen are like them. Many are still stubbornly clinging onto the traditional way of doing things. They hardly see the looming crisis!

The same goes with our government. Those senior officials who are supposed to serve the rakyat are still running things with outdated mentality, BR1M being an example.

And this is not exclusive to BN alone, as Pakatan Harapan is fast catching up with the stale practice.

Penang chief minister Lim Guan Eng recently announced that if PH were to form the next federal government, it would not remove the RM1,200 BR1M, but would change its name to "Bantuan Rakyat Integiriti Malaysia" instead.

Why those at the helm of government would never realize that we should teach people how to fish instead of feeding them with fish? The government should train the people to embrace new technology and take Malaysian-made products to the the world through web marketing.

This is exactly what our rural Malays need most at this moment.

Handing out goodies to the people will only provide a temporary relief to their financial woes. Only wealth created themselves through hard work is eternal. Continuously feeding these people will undermine their competitiveness further.

At a time when many businesses are facing the imminent threat of elimination, the government must seize the opportunity to help Malaysians transform themselves, not shouting loud and impressive political slogans.

 

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