Monday, June 20, 2016

Sleeping on the job a Malaysian culture?

Malaysiakini - Outgoing CEO: Many MAS employees were doing nothing, some sleeping

Outgoing Malaysian Airlines Bhd (MAS) CEO Christoph Mueller said he had to cut 6,000 jobs because many of the 20,000 employees were “doing nothing”.

He said he was not impressed with the state that MAS was in when he first took over the Malaysian flag carrier.

"Despite all the announcements by the government, a turnaround wasn't initiated by the time I became CEO.

"Many of the 20,000 employees who worked for the airline had nothing to do. In fact, when I walked through the hangars, people were sleeping. That's why I had to radically cut 6,000 jobs," Muller told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle (DW) on its web portal.

The National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam) took umbrage at Mueller's statement that he sacked 6,000 people because they slept while on duty.

Nufam criticized Mueller, saying he couldn't understand Malaysian culture. Malaysiakini reported Nufam retorting (or making a fool of itself as I see it):

Nufam also questioned if Mueller thought members of the cabin crew were also sleeping on the job.

“If they are sleeping, who are the one preparing food for passengers? Ghosts?

“Even the cabin crew need sleep as it is important to be fresh for long flights,” he said.

Furthermore, Nufam said airlines such as Virgin even encourages their employees to take a nap if they are tired, describing it as a compassionate company and do not see workers as mere “spare parts”.

“Sleeping is not an excuse for a company like MAS to sack workers.

“We believe that Mueller, with his tight schedule, will also feel drowsy and would take a nap when he has the chance,” it said.

Nufam said Mueller’s comment was hurtful to the 6,000 out of 20,000 employees who were let go, calling it “egoistic".

Well, for a start, Nufam got it wrong because Mueller did NOT criticize flight attendants. He mentioned "... when I walked through the hangars, people were sleeping. That's why I had to radically cut 6,000 jobs."

Were flight attendants sleeping in the hangar? If they were, I need to ask why were flight attendants in the hangar which is not a place of work for flight attendants but more for engineers and technicians. But if none were, then why has Nufam been upset? Melayu kata: 'Siapa makan cili, dia rasa pedas'.

Furthermore Nufam, you shame me by saying something stupid like 'Mueller not understanding Malaysian culture', implying it's a Malaysian culture to sleep on jobs.

Has it been Malaysian culture to sleep on the job? Bloody bullshit.

And just WTF does Nufam know about 'Malaysian culture'?

'Nufam culture' or 'MAS culture' maybe but 'Malaysian culture'? F**k off. Nufam, speak for yourself. Don't you dare claim to speak on behalf of all Malaysians or that it's 'Malaysian culture' to sleep on the job. Don't drag every Malaysian down to your level.

As my matey, fellow blogger Hsu Dar Ren commented in his blog: Sleeping on the job and sleeping during rest hours are two different things. As I have often said, the tidak apa attitude of our people is the main cause of the loss of excellence in every field.

Besides, crew cat-napping on flights is approved as a carefully rostered schedule and should not be taken to imply flight crew could just sleep in their jobs on board a flight as they wish. Jangan pandai buat suka sendiri.

Mueller has been right to dismiss people sleeping on the job, because their sleeping indicated there's hardly any job for them to do.

Besides, Mueller is a German and German work ethics are renowned throughout the world, on par with Dutch and Japanese work ethics. One day I'll narrate to you what my uncle told me about the German consultant for the development of the Lumut Naval Base and his humongous problems with Malaysian contractors, wakakaka.

You know, I reckon this 'there's not much (or nothing) to do' situation in some organizations all started back in 1980 when the Mahathir government launched Operasi Isi Penuh to fill up the Malaysian Civil Service lower ranks with mainly unemployed Malays.

Mahathir's Operasi Isi Penuh was, IMHO, a bad decision though of course he embarked on that massive recruitment for the civil service in order to deal with acute unemployment among Malay youths during a period of economic depression. But in fixing a tactical problem he endowed us with a strategic headache - so what's new?

My uncles and friends in their Saturday evening discussions, all complete with samsu wakakaka, related how Operasi Isi Penuh was seen to be exorbitantly, needlessly and excessively profligate in its implementation, where they recalled department heads being instructed in no uncertain terms and even pressured to 'top up' their staffing a.s.a.p.

Suffice to say it was about political gains for the ruling party and not public service because many Malaysians even until today have mucho complaints about services at government departments and agencies, where in some extreme cases, the public servants became the Tuan and the tuan-rakyat became the servants.

statistics somewhat dated but still provides a glimpse of the outcome of Operasi Isi Penuh but without the deserved benefits

I wonder whether such profligacy, as in our numerous cases of profligacy over the past 35 years, was an outcome from the curse of our then considerable oil and gas assets. We then had too much wealth which might possibly have led to such excessive extravaganza including, I heard, dropping a Proton Saga at the North Pole - and for what? For Santa Claus?

I remove the top as I had problems with the power windows, wakakaka 

Would we have a far better though poorer Malaysia if we haven't have oil and gas, depending only on our rubber, tin, iron, palm oil, cocoa, and light and agricultural industry as in the days of Tunku?

The end result of Operasi Isi Penuh only saw the gross bloating of the civil service with its inevitable jatuh standard and, worse, an increasing (unmentioned but nonetheless official) trend towards ethnocentric recruitment, which was not just confined to the Malaysian Civil Service, the Police, the Military but extended to other government-linked organizations.

There has been a deliberate contrived myth, yes a myth, that the Chinese shun the Civil Service, the police force and the military because they prefer the lucrativeness of business rather than the staid salary of the public service, and that the civil service is an alien concept of employment to Chinese culture.

The latter, the civil service being an alien concept to Chinese culture, is 101% pure grade bullshit because the Chinese have, in their several thousands of years of civilisation, enjoyed (or suffered) from the Chinese civil service. In fact the Chinese invented the civil service.

A.H Ponniah, who was a former CUEPACS secretary general (1989 – 1996), MTUC vice president (1976 - 1988), the National Joint Council for Public Services staff side secretary (1986 – 1996) and the Asia Pacific Regional Secretary of Public Services International (1997-2003), wrote in Aliran in 2003 on Operasi Isi Penuh:

In 1980, the government, faced with a pressing need for employment creation, launched a massive recruitment in the public service called Operasi Penuh. Since 1979, it had often been declared that there were 880,000 public sector employees. I believe that there were 1.12 million employees after Operasi Isi Penuh was conducted.

Strangely, non-bumiputeras were generally bypassed in this exercise. After that general recruitment in the public sector - except for teachers and nurses - this policy was reversed because of an austerity drive, resulting in a very small presence of non-bumiputeras in the public service

It is difficult to rectify this disproportionate employment of the non-bumiputras in the public sector now. During festive holidays at the end of Ramadhan, when there are mass leave applications by bumiputera employees, most government departments are under-staffed, virtually non-functioning.

Although this results in public dissatisfaction, the unions have no choice but to defend the rights of their members to go on leave to be with their loved ones during the Muslim festive times. 

Anyway, when we have a quantum of chores to do, and we have far far too many employees or civil servants (as the outcome of Operasi Isi Penuh) to do those jobs, some or even many will invariably be not fruitfully employed, and as the saying goes, 'Idleness is the root of all evil', and that's when a lackadaisical attitude creeps in and becomes a cultural habit for the workforce of that organization.

The malaise spread into what it is today, sleeping on the job as a justified and due entitlement for employees of certain organizations, as propounded by Nufam.

Overemployment has also become another government institutionalised culture, principally to remove the unemployed Malay youths from the streets and their potential political troublemaking. Government linked organizations such as MAS suffered from the same problem of having too many staff.

And when you have too many staff members without knowing how to employ them productively then you have imported the problem from the streets into your organization, and concretized said malaise.

But whatever, we must never consider sleeping on the job as a Malaysian culture.


  1. There is nothing wrong with MAS.It is a Malaysian culture for most,if not all GLC's to have three or four employees doing the job requiring the services on only one worker.

    We cannot go check every GLC's to see if it is true.One need not look too far.Just look at the JKR doing roadworks or filling potholes.One worker doing the job with three or four employees watching (supervising) him.Hehehe,the more the merrier.

  2. 1. some enforcement officers (state & federal) also sleep on the job tapi mata buka luas2. kumpul harta karun.
    2. prophet saw said: 9/10 rezeki datangnya dari berniaga.
    3. sleeping on duty budaya orang malas. pak lah eh, was he the chairman or penasihat mas?

    1. Pak Lah suffered from apnoea, a sleeping disorder which makes him extremely tired during the daytime. Sometimes high blood pressure and/or snoring are also associated with apnoea

  3. It's sleeping
    What else to say?
    On the job
    It isn't right

    I watched a movie
    A cook caught sleeping
    He was given his marching order
    No inquiry no second chance

    Sleeping on a job
    It isn't a right move
    It is the bad habits
    A person has to change

    Sleeping on a break
    It is your own time
    Who want to complain?
    You need your rest

    A union should consider
    Every angle to a point
    MAS has its problems
    It should take active measures

    When a wrong is said
    Playing a defensive game
    It will bring MAS nosedive
    The taxpayers have enough of it

  4. everytime mas gets into trouble the first people to go is top management. i think we should sack those sleeping at hangers, useless people like nufam members etc, isn't it? 6,000 is not enough; more than half (>10,000) should go!

  5. Can u guy look at the BIG picture?

    The sleeping on the job attitude is ONLY the syndrome NOT the cause!

    Similarly, the diehard supports given to an openly corrupted administration by the tongkat feeders in the recent concluded ‘buy’-elections is the syndrome not the cause!

    Ditto, the absconding of the ransom money in rescuing the 4 Sarawakian hostages!

    Years of tongkat feedings, coupled with an inborn inferiority complex, nurtured via a twisted AlifBaTa indoctrination has turned majority of this group of people into weaklings, via the creation of a consistent siege mentality of ketuanan proportion that has memed into the very psyche of this once proud people.

    It’s NOT easy to re-educate this weaklings, majority r blur-sotongs while a small group of elites is casting bread crumbs to ease the onset of the tongkat urge of those under their Pied Piper chants.

    The once gentle & hardworking attitude of the old has gone the dodo way of the baju kerbaya, substitutes by a foreign pak unta’s religion that’s unchanging with modern time!

    Talk about penghianat bangsa – what more can be said about removing the legacy of the forefathers in favour of a backward marching sound created long after the messenger has died.

    Cold turkey treatment is still a VERY long way away, while the willingness of these people to face this painful cleaning monumental change IS very much in doubt!

    Nufam is honest in its statement, in the truest form to repute Mueller's observation. But it forgets to clarify this culture IS only apply to a section of the M'sian, where tongkat feeding is the norm.

    That, also prove their arrogant in claiming to represent the whole of working M'sian. Ketuanan mentality to the nth....

    So, look at the cause not the syndrome, then harden one’s heart to change.

    It’s painful BUT necessary for the continuation of that HangTuah cry!