Wednesday, December 3, 2008

In Bad Times, Prepare For Good Times!

CAPITALAND: Mr Liew Mun Leong

The Malaysian Insider features a report on Liew Mun Leong, The President and CEO of Singapore's CapitaLand Group.

Mr Liew has more than 30 years of experience in construction and real estate in Singapore and overseas. For five years, he was CEO of Singapore Institute of Standards and Industrial Research (SISIR), From 1997 to 1998, he was elected the President of International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO).

Mr Liew graduated from the University of Singapore with a Civil Engineering degree in 1970 and is a registered professional civil engineer. In 2006, he was awarded Outstanding CEO of the Year in the Singapore Business Awards.

He was also conferred the CEO of the Year award at the 2007 Singapore Corporate

What has Mr Liew got to say about the current economic downturn? Take a look:

"Retrenchment is 'morally wrong'."

“When someone is retrenched, they lose their livelihood, their ability to support family, send children to school, pay their mortgages. There's lots of suffering,” he says.

Mr Liew knows what he is talking about for he had tasted the bitterness when his father was retrenched back in 1963.

Home was a rented room in a terrace house in Serangoon, where seven of them crammed into a single bedroom. After his father got fired, he remembers how worried they all were. “No work, no money,” he sums up grimly.

“I feel it more because I went through this myself. Maybe that's the difference between a CEO who has suffered through this and someone who hasn't. I'm from the proletariat,” he says.

“I believe in the theory of common happiness and common misery. In good times, give bonuses. In bad times, take a salary cut. If the cost savings of retrenching 100 out of 1,000 employees can be obtained by a wage cut, you achieve the same objective. It's a better way of maintaining viability, even at the expense of more people. It saves some jobs.”

“From our perspective, loyalty between company and staff is a two-way street,” he says. “Unless the company is loyal to its staff, they cannot be loyal to the company."

“You cannot treat people as dispensable items — in good times, we want you; in bad times, we don't want you. Our staff are an asset on our balance sheet and we must treat them as such.”

And what about this gem of a statement?

“In good times, prepare for bad times. In bad times, prepare for good times.”

This separates the mediocre from the excellence!! The wise from the foolish. The successful from the failure!! The visionary from the myopic.

What do you think?


A true Malaysian said...


Strictly speaking, according to accounting convention, 'STAFF' is a cost item in term of salary, wages, overtime, bonus and incentives, depend on the nature of payment and purpose.

But, this guy, he regards 'STAFF' as an 'asset' in the Balance Sheet. He is indeed a wise man to think of this.

'STAFF', to me, can be a 'liability' in the Balance Sheet as well if he or she gets 'Gaji Buta' like what we see in many government sectors.

romerz said...

In 1986, in my first job after graduation, I had to retrench 190+ factory workers because the company was going belly-up due to insufficient working capital not caused by the factory itself but the property development arm of the group.

It was the hardest thing I've ever done in my life.

Giving those retrenched their last salaries and asking them not to come back to work anymore (trying not to look into their eyes as I explained why to every individual). The exercise lasted 3 days and I couldn't sleep those 3 nights.

I never want to go through that ever again!

bowee said...

CEO of corporations are the worst mankind in our world today, just look at the three big auto executives from USA, rewarding themselves with astronomical salary and perks while the company facing financial difficulty and massive lay-off,travel to Washington D.C with shameless demand for government bail out, when can these "crooks" ever learn that "greed" is not OK in business world!

monsterball said...

Commercial firms are after productivities and profits.
Government owned companies have more politics agendas...and politics played more than working. They will be no retrenchments.. as long as all are loyal to that party.
Only if you are too good Zaid will be sacked.
Regardless S'pore or any developed world ..working conditions are totally different between commercial and government sectors. One thing is clear in commercial firm....all over the world...cannot afford an idiotic... balls carrying CEO.....unless investors are idiots too...reading false reports..getting nice compliments...from the CEO.

monsterball said...

You better go and support Doc blog la.
His latest all about YOU!!

dr hsu said...

monsterball,no offence for calling u monster. I don t mean the bad thing, but the good aspect of a monster.

monsterball said...

I know you are lovingly joking about me.
If you just get away from Gerakan...both of us can form monstrous funding it.
Justin...T.Malaysia ..ever willing to lend their hands.
Worst can happen..we will be thrown to a forgotten small the 'pappilon" ever trying to keep planting vegetables and flowers...pass your a ripe old age.

monsterball said...

hhhhmmmmmmm...Good aspect of it!
I have a monstrous mouth...heart...loud speaker...brain...generosity...exzetra King Monkut...known as Rama 3rd... Is that it??

bowee said...

For an ordinary man like me, in bad time, i will prepare to tighten my belt instead of prepare for good time, this must be some kinds of "Confucius (confusing) " teaching..hahaha....No wonder he is a CEO, sigh!!!

pilocarpine said...

staff is always an asset
no matter how you look at it.

therefore, staff must be chosen and hired wisely, for gaji buta is a thing that must go in government sectors.

worst still, is when government staff in the medical field are being forced to attend PTK exam and other penilaian that wasted more time with patients.

bowee said...

Wasting taxpayers money is BN's way of being a responsible government, by doing that, civil servants are happy,master race contractors are happy, except Malaysian taxpayers are screwed!

monsterball said...

hi Justin!
Just learn a great bahasa word.."Munifix"...mean...hypocrite.
According to RPK's speech..the Prophet told his followers.."Kill the munafix....before you kill the enemy"
Hope you can come out a post on....MUNAFIX...who are they..why are they not punished by Muslims...and hope some Muslims will comment on this.
But in your is just two of us talking you better ask THE Doctor to make a post.
Don't ask me to do it....when I ask you to do it..and don't ask me..why am I not 3.40am.

dr hsu said...


A son of the Great leader, who is aiming to be the youth chief, has asked all schools be converted into a single stream.

Manay politicians talked like that but send theri children to International schools. I view that as the ultimate hypocrisy, what monsterball described as munafik.
This person who is aspiring to be the youth chief, and whom I whacked by issuing a statement, is also one of these people who sent their children to international school. If they have so much confidence in national schools, why should they do that?

By doing that , they have lost the moral highground to suggest that other school systems be streamlined into one.

In my humble opinion, we should actually bring back the english schools so that by having competition, all the school standards will be raised.

Monsterball asked me to write on munafik, this is munafik...

monsterball said...

Thanks Doc!
The point is...UMNO and BN guys are all munafik..{thanks for right spelling. I understand is an Arabic word. Sound more class as.."munafique"...hahahahahaha}}
Back to the point...the Prophet said..."Kill all the munafiks before you kill the enemies"
So why don't we "kill" them..including not supporting those parties and vote them out.......starting by you....resigning from that
"munafiktical" Gerakan party??
Why do you want to sacrifice your good reputation...behave like Jesus Christ Superstar and save the party?
Certainly Buddha is not that dumb. He will simply ignore and move on.....doing all good.

Anonymous said...

united monkey national organization with the help of Chinese lapdogs are turning Malaysia into a deeper slide ever since younger generation of Malaysian are forced to study "monkey" language in national school and denied the benefit of English education system enjoyed by those hypocrites right after British rule.

Anonymous said...

This CEO has million dollar salary and cover under corporate' golden parachute compensation, he is all the talk but no action, if he is really sincere, he should give at least 50% of his salary to help his lowly pay employees pull through this economy hard time instead of telling us prepare for this or that, sigh!!!!!!

bowee said...

So much of Malaysia abundant natural wealth had been plundered by umno dominated BN for self enrichment, these crooks are stealing at an even faster rate than the British colonist,what in the world this CEO is talking about, majority of Malaysians are already struggling hard in present economy environment for survival,how to prepare for good time? Another "ass hole" from corporate world....


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