Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Of Malay Businesses

It has come to my attention lately, that Malay businesses have been showing symptoms of a seemingly contagious plague.

This is not meant to degrade or disparage the efforts by the Malays, it is merely my observation on how business activities have been carried out in Malaysia, by the majority Malays.

Have you ever noticed that there is an awful lot of similarities between a large group of Malay businesses? For example, if one uses the name "D'anjung Cafe" then the whole lot of other cafe or restaurant operators will use the prefix D, as in "D'nenek Corner", "D'lima Restaurant", "D'engki Kopitiam" (pun intended), etc. Again, this is nothing detrimental or retrograding. But take another case, have you ever tried counting how many brands are there for Malay-produced coffee? You have Radix, Power Root, Kopi Janda, and a deluge of other brands, which by and large are the same product: Coffee.

I have started to wonder if there is any ingenuity at all in Malay businesses these days in Malaysia. Without doubt there is a large number of original products and services offered by the Bumiputra, but the sheer number of copycat entrepreneurs simply waned the pioneers of the business. One might argue that this is necessary for healthy competition and for the benefit of the customers specifically, but is it too much to ask for breakthrough and innovative businesses from the Malay people? Are we not ready? Or is it because of insufficient incentives and encouragement from the Government?

I will pen my thoughts some other time regarding this issue, and maybe even comment on the Multi-level Marketing (MLM) scene in Malaysia. In which I think, has been exploiting the Malays by promising riches beyond their initial investment, and forcing them to carry the burden of sales through the recruitment of new members.

* One of the antiquities of the world. This product could have possibly preceded the AK-47 assault rifle. =D

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