Saturday, April 24, 2010

15% tax rate for knowledge workers in Johor Iskandar region.

The Malaysian PM has confirmed that Knowledge workers resident in the Johor Iskandar region will benefit from a 15% income tax rate.

Friday April 23, 2010
Knowledge-worker tax cut in Iskandar finalised
JOHOR BARU: The Federal Government has finalised the details of the implementation of the 15% income tax rate for knowledge workers in Iskandar Malaysia.
Deputy Finance Minister I Datuk Chor Chee Heung said the Government would be announcing the details soon but declined to give the date.

He said among other things, the study conducted by the decision makers covered the definition of knowledge workers and those eligible for the 15% income tax cut.

I know lots of contract workers who would see this as a strong incentive to ply their trade in Johor.

Yesterday, I went to Johor. I could not get access to the track. I'll phone before next time!

I was hoping to see Nandakumar in the Malaysian rally. We missed each other!
I did speak to Aister McRae in the hotel. Alistair said he did OK. In fact Alistair is leading the rally!
Alister McRae on course for first Proton victory

pic borrowed from the Star newspaper

Proton will be happy. Poor Karamjit Singh had mechanical problems. He stayed in his room...

I know Nandakumar finished the stage, but I don't know if he did OK...
Another ex Lotus colleague, Tengku Djan was across the border in Singapore. Singapore was/is hosting a drift competition.

Paul tan is covering this on his blog.
pic borrowed from the Paul Tan

Monday, April 19, 2010

SepangF1 Centre of Excellence. Singapore way to go.

Today, The Star (Malaysia) reports that LotusF1 are progressing well with their centre of excellence in SepangF1.
Lotus facility in Sepang to include wind tunnel
KUALA LUMPUR: The Lotus Racing team are looking at developing a state-of-the-art technology, research and development centre based in Malaysia. The site will be at the Sepang International Circuit.

The facility will include a top class F1 wind tunnel, backed by a world class computational fluids dynamics (CFD) which incorporates vehicle dynamics and production facilities.

“We are already moving towards getting this project off the ground and we are hopeful that it could be completed by this year,” said Tony.(Fernandes).

I thought I would add my Bernama interview.

This weekend I met a 'Sensei' who's son is training to be a racing driver. He has contacts in Singapore motorsport. He has taken my contact info. Hopefully that will lead somewhere.
The Sensai has trained with Mohamed Ali, Joe Frazier,Larry Holmes, and Sugar Ray Leonard among others.

He is very good even at 75 years of age! The resident dojo sensai video'd him teaching. If it makes youtube, I'll embed it on the blog.
In the meantime this a Star newspaper video. It shows the sensai, Winston, and his son Fei Hoong (Future World Champion).

Anyway, good luck to Tony Fernandes, and his team. I am sure that Group Lotus are very comfortable in Bukit Jalil...

Private investors and Singapore may be the way to go.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Training. Is it possible to make a profit?

As always I find it hard to believe the group Lotus view that they cannot make a profit from training. Group Lotus normally operates at a loss.

I read an interesting article in todays NST

After tax Masterskill Made Rm1 on each Rm3 of revenue

Masterskill, is a healthcare University. It operates from physical campuses.

I do not know the breakeven figure for this institution.I find the after tax profit of Masterskill very interesting

Obviously, the physical campus I envisage would be expensive. Cars and associated hardware is not cheap. Hence the virtual aspect of the plan is important.

As Motorsport University Malaysia is a sports based entity, I see parallels with Football clubs.
The hardware at Old Trafford and The Emirates is also expensive. Players alone can earn in excess of  Rm 2 million a month (100,000 pounds a week). Even with crowds of 60,000 paying upwards of 40 pounds a ticket, these clubs rely on sponsorship deals and TV money.

This is an instance where the physical campus drives the virtual (TV) audience. Hence the high financial returns..

Another problem I had with group Lotus apart from the fact that losing money selling cars and engineering services was acceptable, was in 2002 the virtual aspect of the plan was not understood.

In the intervening years broadband has grown to a point, where in many parts of the world it is as accessable as 'TV'

Broadband subscribers in 1999

Ten years later

Assuming group Lotus feel that they cannot match Masterskill from education delivery that is campus based.

Let us look at the Manchester United/Arsenal model.

Their games are beamed all over the world! Hence TV money and expensive sponsorship deal are possible.

Surely, an association to a successful much loved team sport is worth considering?

Anyone visibly associated with this project would get global exposure of the most beneficial kind.

I recently spoke to some Padi (diving) instructors. You can take their 'theory' online. You obviously have to do the practical with a qualified instructor.
What does it cost?

The PADI Open Water Diver Course online is $120 (US) nonrefundable. The fee covers your knowledge development training and gives you unlimited access to an electronic version of the PADI Open Water Diver Manual (course textbook). Your PADI Dive Center or Resort will charge an additional fee for the inwater portion of your certification.
Interestingly, the 'theory' questions are multi choice. The online papers are software marked. So Padi have to pay for IT people to ensure that their webpage is updated and functioning. Marking per se is free.

The main cost of such an online course is obviously the cost of setting up the cirriculum, and updating it.

When I first proposed this project in 2001/2, Cranfield were the only University of note doing Motorsport studies. Today that has changed.

I notice that Brookes University in the UK offer an online "Motorsport Knowledge Exchange Program' for Data Aquisition Systems.

Tuition Fees:

The tuition fees for this course are £1200.
The practical element of the course is an additional £600.
Although you will be expected to study autonomously, you will
be able to contact a tutor. Your progress will be monitored, for
your own feedback and for assessment, through a series of short
computer-marked assignments, one for each couple of hours or
so of study. These computer-marked assignments give automatic
feedback, depending on your answers, and questions can be
repeated if necessary. The computer-marked assignments provide
a pass/fail assessment only. There is also a final tutor-marked
assignment.  END

Even though this example shows some manpower hours for Tutor contact and marking, again the main cost appears to be the setting up and maintainence of an up to date curriculum.

In contrast to the 2002 Group Lotus response to education, here is a quote from Tony Fernandes LotusF1 boss:
Wednesday, April 14th 2010, 07:54 GMT -

Tony Fernandes, team principal: "I'm delighted we've arrived in China and can't wait to see the fans' reaction to us here. It's an honour to be in Shanghai as China is the home of the new world and has been a very important market for AirAsia, so it's somewhere I'm always excited about coming to. We are thrilled that we are bringing Lotus Racing, a uniquely Asian - British team, to the Shanghai Grand Prix, particularly as we have a number of people within the team with Chinese heritage who are very proud to see our team here for the first time. I know the whole team will work hard to put on a good show on and off track, and I hope that this demonstrates that we can provide a very good platform for universities, commercial partners and future drivers across China to work with a team whose heart beats close to our Asian home."

LotusF1 are proposing a centre of excellence based in SepangF1. UTM and Petronas University are their local partners.
Maxis produce LotusF1 Apps. They are also contracted to produce apps for Limkokwing University.
Limkokwing has publicly stated that it hopes to have 1,000,000 students (online and physical) within 10 years.


Monday, April 5, 2010

3 CEO's say Nej tak, No, Nein danke.

This week I am enjoying KL as usual. Later I will go out and exercise. Life is good!

Group Lotus is consistent. I have now presented my proposal to 3 CEO’s. One Danish, one Brummy (from Birmingham, England), one Swiss.

Every time they have rejected the idea. Never mind. It goes to show that even top guys make mistakes.

I’m not sure I can afford to hang around for CEO number 4 to arrive!

Let’s hope that something spectacular will happen in the next few weeks that will change the mindset of the management team.

I must say I have not spoken to anyone at Lotus in Malaysia. I would not expect any positive response if I did.

I met with a friend for lunch yesterday. Congratulations to Gaza on Newcastle’s promotion! He asked me how my project was going. I told him that I am hoping to see a positive article in this weekend’s New Strait times. The NST has a Car Truck and Bike section.

I met with Andrew Suresh, a journalist friend of Nandakumar. Nandakumar was a local Lotus engineer. Now he is a business owner and successful Rally driver.

I have embedded a video of Nanadakumar in a recent entry.

He has raced in the same team as Karamjit Singh, arguably one of the best rally drivers in Asia, certainly in Malaysia.

Karamjit Singh WINS MRC 2008 10th Time


23 November, 2008, Sepang: Team GSR Pennzoil celebrated a spectacular year in the Malaysian Rally Championship 2008 with lead driver Karamjit Singh taking home the trophy for first overall this sixth and final Round and scoring his tenth Championship win. He was trailed by Team Manager, Gunaseelan Rajoo who finished second today and fellow team mate P. Nandakumar who finished third.

As I have made mention of both football and rallying in this blog entry, I have embedded a video with a two Malaysian Singhs.

Shebby and Karamjit Singh: ENJOY

Thursday, April 1, 2010

New Economic Policy +Iskandar region = MUM ? plus a little GM history

Bob Lutz retiring from GM. The Globe and Mail, a Canadian publication wrote a nice article:
GM will be a poorer company with Lutz gone. Not everyone agrees with him both within and outside GM, but he is universally respected. His legacy at GM is a stack of new models with good interiors and strong ride manners. And what he has helped create at GM during the past eight and a half years has a chance of continuing under GM's new president for North America, Mark Reuss. He's a car guy, too, just like Lutz.

I don't know Bob Lutz. He was and is famous in automotive circles. I have done work for Mark Reuss. About 20 years he was a GM product engineer. I did a manual drawing for him. A full size side view of the Oldsmobile Aurora. This was done in Troy Michigan.
Later, I worked on the same project on the computer in Flint Michigan. The design facilities in both Troy and Flint are both now 'Closed".
The Flint Tech Centre was recently auctioned off. Click this link to view the abc12 video
The Aurora was supposed to save the Oldsmobile brand. That too has now been 'closed".
The 1995 Oldsmobile Aurora

Mark has done well for himself. Now he is president of the North American portion of GM.

Enough looking back!

In todays NST Business Times they have an article on Malaysia's New Economic Model (NEM).
CRITICAL reforms on the education front would be an important signpost for Malaysia's structural turnaround, says Morgan Stanley Research Asia Pacific.

"In our view, the crux to Malaysia's reform agenda and the structural inflexion point lies in the skill-set upgrade, either raising the quality of the labour force either via education or via import of foreign talent," it said in a report.

"Without a suitably qualified labour force, other policy initiatives of creating a competitive domestic economy, jump-starting private-sector-led growth and enhancing other growth sources would be futile," it added.

The Malaysian government has long called for Malaysia to become the educational hub for the region. It has earmarked the Iskandar development corridor as one of it's growth areas for among other things 'Education".

If you view slide 4 you will see Creative Industries and Education head the list of desireable industries the government wants to attract to the area.

Alex Yoong kindly allowed me to use him as an endorser of my project. You will see his picture on the front page of my webpage.
Today, he got a full page in the New Strait Times. He mentions his new autobiography 'The Drivers line'. It's F1 weekend here in Malaysia, and Alex is responsible for driver development for LotusF1.