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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

The Dreaded CP38 Clause By LHDN

My joy of annual salary increment has been shortlived.

I kinda' expected it already.

Last night when I reached home and upon checking the mailbox, I already saw a white and sleek envelope with the official franking "Urusan Seri Paduka Baginda" ("On His Majesty's Service").

I knew it even before I opened it. This was surely the dreaded love letter from Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri (Inland Revenue Board - IRB).

It was the compulsory CP38 deduction schedule required of me to settle the balance of my income tax for the last assessment year, amounting to RM1,684.44. The deduction imposed by IRB from my monthly salary will begin in September this year and ends in March next year. IRB will deduct RM240.00 every month and RM244.44 as the final instalment in March 2010.

It's my fault actually and I bet that I'm not the only one. Once you file your tax returns in late April, you are required to quickly pay the "Cukai Kena Dibayar" or "Tax Payable" to IRB. If you can't afford to make full payment, then you are required to liaise with IRB to work out a reasonable payment plan. For those who fail to do either one of the two mentioned, then IRB will do the job for you, via clause CP38 which is forced deduction, on top of your existing Potongan Cukai Berjadual (PCB) or Scheduled Tax Deduction. Serve me right actually. Had I worked out a payment plan with IRB earlier, I could have reduced the CP38 deduction, though it would take me longer to pay it off.

My income tax is definitely more than RM1,684.44 actually. Thank God for PCB. If not for PCB, I think I'd still be paying the Government from my grave. That is the beauty of PCB - the Government forces you to deduct a reasonable amount from your monthly salary (based on a certain formula) which goes to your IRB account. When it's time to file your taxes, you already have a significant amount to cover your taxes. If you're lucky, you will even get a rebate from the Government in an event that your deductions are in excess of the required tax payable (cukai terlebih bayar).

But that is not the case for me. I haven't enjoyed a rebate for quite some years now. It is now always "cukai tak cukup bayar" which means even my PCB cannot cover the taxes. Hence for the last assessment year, I still owed the Government RM1,684.44 and it will take me 7 months to clear this one. So be it. At least I pay taxes unlike some big time tax evaders. I have an option actually which is to instruct my employer to increase the PCB deduction. But do I really want to do that? Even the current PCB deduction is killing me.

Thank God that I'm married and have kids which enables me to enjoy huge tax exemptions or discounts. Imagine those who earn the same amount of salary like me but are single. They pay higher taxes. So hey, I can't really complain.

Anyway, I guess prudent spending is the way to go these days. If it's unnecessary, don't spend. Refrain from splurging. Strecth your finances.

This is reality. And it bites...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Another Year, Another Familiar Friend, Or Figure To Be Exact

Syukur Alhamdulillah.

The results of the annual individual performance appraisal are out and I survived yet another gruelling financial year.

My results, or rating to be exact, is nothing much to shout about, but at least for the record, I have met all my requirements as stipulated in my KPIs.

And for that, I thank my bosses (you know who you are) for giving me a rating which has enabled me to enjoy a "more than I can bargain for" annual salary increment and the possibility of other incentives.

Terima kasih Encik A dan Cik J kerana masih percaya dengan saya, akan kemampuan saya untuk melaksanakan tugas-tugas yang diamanahkan, walaupun saya tahu benchmark yang ditetapkan oleh Encik A dan Cik J sangat tinggi.

Thank you for pushing me to the max, to encourage me, sometimes force me to go beyond the limits in order to produce a quality of work that would raise our unit's image among the rest of the division.

I am proud to be a part of your team. It is the best team in this division, although others would beg to differ. We have been known as a unit which walk the talk - always delivering what we pledge. "Hangat-hangat tahi ayam" hardly exists in our vocabulary. When others have seen whatever initiatives they introduced fall apart or simply evaporated into thin air due to lack of willpower to sustain, we have proven many times over that whatever we do is consistent and this observation was made by planners from other units and departments within our division. So there, we are doing something right.

It's okay that I did not get a higher rating (although God knows I can use the monumental increment which comes with it). I am just thankful I am not among those who get the dreaded mediocre rating which will result in them not getting any increment at all and worse, to be subjected to a 6-months review period for them rectify whatever weaknesses they have in their course of work. That I could not handle.

To my wife and daughters, whatever I do, I do it for you all. Not for me.

Daddy hardly buys himself anything. Daddy thinks 10 times before buying a book for himself at Kinokuniya. But Daddy would not even blink to think if kakak or adik wants books from Kinokuniya because Daddy knows both of you loves to read, colour and do activities. It's for your own good and Daddy doesn't mind spending if it means Daddy's girls would shine at whatever they do, especially at school.

Z, please save, save and save for our girls. I am increasing the monthly amount that I give to you so that we can save more for kakak's and adik's education.

You have every reason to save more than me because I pay everything for us. Your salary is completely yours so I hope a significant amount goes to the girl's funds.

You know me Z. I don't buy anything, don't really go anywhere. I'm either at home or at work. Or at the gym - also for you and the girls. Too many friends of my same age are either sick or dead because they did not bother to take care of their health. I need my health so that I can take care of you three.

Kalau ada rezeki, mungkin abang akan dapat rating yang lebih baik tahun depan. Untuk kemungkinan itu berlaku, abang kena kerja lebih kuat. I need you and the girls behind me to do this.

I'll see you at home later. Tell the girls to wait up for me. I won't be that late today....

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Conduct Unbecoming

Today I want to discuss about conduct unbecoming.

It is a phrase used to refer to behaviour considered dishonourable. Its origins are military, though it is also widely used in other fields to describe ungallant behaviour.

I'm pretty sure my employers also do not tolerate conduct unbecoming. Which is a good thing. Once you decide to join an establishment - be it government, military, corporate or academic, you must be prepared to condition yourself to adapt to the ways of the entity which you are now part of.

Which is why I do not condone to what a friend of mine will do soon. Either today, tomorrow or God knows when. One thing's for sure, my friend is bent on doing this despite me begging for this person not to do so, because the consequences will be to this person's disadvantage.

I can understand the grounds which has led my friend wanting to commit this act. The predicament faced by this person is the worst nightmare which any employee can possibly imagine.

But that is life. Life is not fair. You win some, you lose some. I'm okay with losing, because I have always been on the losing side for most parts of my life.

But my friend is not that used to losing. The analogy is like this. Imagine Sir Alex Ferguson whom is so used to winning silverware every English Premier League season with his beloved Manchester United, only to see his fancy team crash and relegated to Division One League another season.

Something like that.

I would not elaborate on what my friend is planning to do in retaliation to what has happened to him/her.

But I do know this. What my friend is planning to do qualifies as conduct unbecoming. And perhaps it was conduct unbecoming in the first place that caused this person to be accorded such treatment.

To my friend, I have done everything to stop you from doing this. It's out of my hands now.

You must do this alone...

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Susah Ke Nak Menulis Dalam Bahasa Kebangsaan??

Kepada orang-orang Melayu tertentu di tempat saya bekerja.

Cuba-cuba lah belajar menulis surat atau dokumen rasmi yang ingin dihantar kepada pihak kerajaan dalam Bahasa Melayu.

Janganlah asyik menulis deraf dalam bahasa Inggeris, kemudian minta pertolongan kakitangan yang mahir dalam Bahasa Melayu untuk membuat terjemahan.

Bukannya kami tak sudi tolong sebab memang itu sebahagian dari tugas kami pun.

Tapi kalau selalu-selalu sangat naik menyampah juga. Kalau nama awak Brad Pitt atau Trisha Yearwood tak pe. Ini tidak. Nama Ali Bin Mamat atau Khamsiah Binti Selamat. Orang Melayu! Orang Melayu yang tak reti menulis dalam Bahasa Melayu patut dihadiahkan penampar je.

Jangan ingat sebab kita bekerja di syarikat bertaraf multinasional, kita tidak perlu menguasai Bahasa Melayu. Ia adalah bahasa ibunda kita, bahasa kebangsaan.

Ada kakitangan kita yang bernama Ah Chong atau Muthusamy pulak yang mahir menulis dalam Bahasa Melayu!

Tak malu ke?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Working Out

There are many school of thoughts on working out at the gym.

Most people do it to stay fit and healthy. And of course, there's also a large number who do it to lose weight.

I think I fall somewhere in between. I go to the gym so that I can stay fit and healthy and at the same time, attempt to lose a significant amount of weight.

I'm not that fat actually but I guess my figure could be categorised as large - XXL. Big and tough, that's how I prefer to see it. Although my family and friends beg to differ.

I joined the gym - Twin Towers Fitness Centre to be exact, in December last year. Meaning its been almost 8 months now.

So, the million dollar question is - have I actually lost weight?

Not really.

But that's not the point. The point is, I feel good. I may have yet to lose the desired amount of weight, but I did gain a considerable amount of muscle. Biceps, triceps, latissimus dorsi, deltoids and trapezius (on the shoulders). Which is really cool when I stand in front of the mirror after the refreshing shower in the locker room.

The only thing which is preventing me to look like Rambo is of course my tummy. I really need to work on my abs in order to get that much desired six-pack. Yeah, yeah, dream on dream away, with all the carbo I'm consuming on a daily basis.

Anyway, toning my body is only one part of my workout regime. The other one is cardio. I usually start with cardio first - either on the treadmill, elliptical trainer, bicycle or lateral thigh trainer (commonly known as the stepper). I normally spend 45 minutes to an hour just on cardio workouts. And then only I move on to the weights for toning.

I think I have progressed well in the cardio department. I can run further now and faster too. I can easily clock 5 km in 30 minutes with a speed of 9.0 and burn close to 500 calories on the treadmill. Even better on the elliptical, where I can burn 700 to 800 calories, moving at Level 13. Not bad for a big guy eh?

I usually feel rewarded when I jog at the KLCC Park, alone or with friends. The KLCC Park has a dedicated synthetic jogging track, 1200 metres for one lap. Nowadays, I can run 5 laps (6km) non-stop and leave others who are half my size panting for air. How about that? Not to brag but just to share with you how rewarding it is to actually make an effort to be fit.

So which do you prefer - being slim but not fit or being big but fit?

Go figure.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

An Open Letter To A Busy Friend

Dear XXXX,

How are you? I hope life is treating you well.

I think it's been more than month since we last saw each other although we are working in the same building, for the same company.

Don't worry, I perfectly understand.

You are a very important person in this company. You have lots of meetings and discussions to attend.

And after work, you also have to attend gatherings in other parts of the city to catch up with your other more important friends.

So don't worry, I'm not angry that you hardly pick up my calls nowadays, let alone reply my text messages.

After all, a text message replied almost 72 hours later is still better than none, right?

Perhaps you are also busy in the love department. If that's the case, I'm so happy for you and wish you only the best.

Honestly XXXX, I only wish you the best.

And one thing's for sure, I'll always be here for you, through thick and thin.

You know where to reach me. I'm not going anywhere...

Your friend and ace boon coon,

The Naval Aviator Wannabe

Friday, July 17, 2009

Sleepless In Shah Alam...

...At least that was the case for the late Teoh Beng Hock, until 3.45 am yesterday.

The 30-year old political secretary to Selangor state executive councillor Ean-Yong Hian Wah, was found dead on the balcony of a shipping company on the 5th floor of Plaza Masalam, Section 9, Shah Alam at 1.30 pm yesterday.

At press time, police has classified this as sudden death. He was believed to have fallen from the 14th floor of the office block, where the Selangor headquarters of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) is located.

Teoh was at the MACC office from 5 pm on Wednesday, 15 July right up to 3.45 am on Thursday, 16 July for an intensive interrogation session by the commission's officers. He is a material witness to an MACC probe on alleged misappropriation of funds involving seven Selangor state assemblyman from Pakatan Rakyat.

After the interrogation, Teoh was allowed to go home on condition he returned with vital documents related to the probe. But he opted to rest at the MACC office as he was already too tired.

Poor MACC. This is the last thing they want, to have a senior aide of an Exco plunge to his death from their own offices, right after they grilled him for about 10 hours.

Surely now this will turn political. A scuffle was already said to have taken place between MACC officers and Ean who came to the scene much later in the day, accompanied by another Exco colleague Ronnie Liu. Ean was reported to have demanded the whereabouts of Teoh and why he was not informed of his political secretary's death earlier.

Here's my take on this. There are several possibilities :

1. I think Teoh committed suicide because he couldn't take it anymore. The 10-hour interrogation was not the end of it. MACC wanted him to return with several documents related to the probe. Either Teoh was scared that the documents would indict him as well or he was scared that he would not be able to produce the documents - either way he'd be in deep shit.

2. I think he was murdered by an "underworld" hitman. The Selangor State government is already in hot soup after Wangsa Maju MP, Wee Choo Keong alleged in his blog on July 11 that a Selangor Exco member has ties with underworld figures to an extent that the Exco even allowed his office in the State Secrerariat Building in Shah Alam be used by these gangsters to conduct their activities. Police has launched an investigation on Wee's claim. I think Teoh was murdered to cover up this whole thing which is starting to stink to the heavens. Perhaps the documents required by MACC from Teoh could have led to the arrest of all the culprits, including the Exco in question.

3. Maybe Teoh was rude and arrogant to MACC officers during the interrogation and because of that, he was thrown off the 14th floor. Nah, highly unlikely...

Anyway, I sincerely hope the Pakatan Rakyat-led State government would keep cool and not make blatant accusations. Let the police handle this.

Do not make MACC a scapegoat.

Berani kerana benar, takut kerana salah.

Oh and one more thing, and this is directed to all Selangor voters. Hah, lain kali pangkah lagi orang-orang macam ni to administer the state. For all you know, we have elected gangsters to run one of the richest states in Malaysia.

Elok benor le tu...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Sum Of All Fears, For PAS and Pakatan Rakyat

After 7 by-elections in 16 months, where Pakatan Rakyat (PR) humiliated Barisan Nasional (BN) by winning 6 of them including Manek Urai yesterday, it would be fair to conclude for now that PR is finally running on fumes. Running on fumes because PR, through its component PAS, only managed to edge BN with a majority of 65 votes when the result of the Manek Urai by-election was announced on Tuesday night.

We are not talking about any State constituency here. Manek Urai can be likened as Fort Knox for PAS in Kelantan. It has held the seat for five consecutive terms, that's almost 25 years, until the incumbent State Assemblyman, the late Ismail Yaacob passed away a few weeks ago, forcing a by-election which looked set to be another avenue for PR to further sink its teeth into the jugular vein of a watered down BN. At least that's what people thought, since PR was on a roll after it captured five states in the 12th General Election held in March last year, and also won another five out of six by-elections that followed within the next 14 months.

But surprise, surprise. Not because BN won. But because PAS won, but with a mediocre majority. PAS won by 65 votes, compared to 1,352 votes which they commanded just 16 months ago during the GE.

BN has humiliated PAS, and where it hurts most - in Kelantan.

Where did PAS go wrong? A number of things. One, because of the development pledges made by BN. Two, perhaps because the Kelantan Malays are sick and tired of being left behind and deprived of what Malaysians in other states are enjoying. Three, the prospect of being granted oil royalty payment by the BN-led Federal Government. And four, which I think is the most logical one, is that the Kelantan Malays are angry with the internal rift plaguing PAS. They are upset that both the President, Hadi Awang and Deputy President, Nasharuddin Mat Isa are not seeing eye to eye with the Spiritual Leader, Nik Aziz. Not only that, even several Vice Presidents and PAS' Central Committee members are not seeing eye to eye with the number one and number two, all because of the unity government proposal by UMNO which Nasharuddin openly supported, with full blessings from Hadi.

Perhaps this is a slap on the wrist for PAS. What we Malays call pukul manja. Minor punishment. If that is the case, then it's a bit too early for UMNO and BN to "pop the champagne". But if this is an indication that Kelantan folks want change, then UMNO and BN must continue to keep the pressure on PAS until they crack.

The game plan for UMNO and BN now is to slowly but surely regain confidence and trust from the rakyat. It's a long process, but sometimes in politics, patience will prevail. UMNO could be likened as what people in America refer to as the GOP or Grand Ole Party (when they talk about the Republicans). Yes, the Republicans have had their fair share of humiliation from their arch rivals the Democrats, but they are still pretty much alive and kicking until today, 155 years after they first came into power in the US.

For 52 years, UMNO has spearheaded this country and turned it into what it is today - dynamic, prosperous, well known, forward looking, exemplary, peaceful and harmonious.

We can't simply throw that away just for the sake of change. We already gave PR a chance and look at how they have messed things up in the five states and also stirred trouble at the Federal level.

It's time for Malaysia's Grand Ole Party to rise again. And when they do rise, like a Pacific Northwest grizzly bear standing to full height, I promise you, that will be the sum of all fears for Pakatan Rakyat...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Manek Urai Marks 7th By-Election In 16 Months : A New World Record?

I hate to say this because I think it is overused.

Malaysia Boleh.

The just concluded Manek Urai by-election (State seat N.41) of the state of Kelantan marks the 7th by-election in 16 months since the 12th General Election on March 8, 2008.

Surely this is a record of sorts. If so, jangan le setakat masuk the stupid Malaysia Book of Records. Do we dare submit this to the Guiness Book of Records for a possibly entry?

I don't know.

Anyway, it's very difficult to find the full list of the seven by-elections mentioned. So, me being the pro-active dude decided to compile this for you. Just the basic info and stats.

The rest you can find on Wikipedia. Believe me, there are Wikipedia entries for all seven by-elections.

Orang Malaysia benda-benda macam ni memang rajin meng"upload" ke internet.

Okay, here’s the full list of by-elections since 8 March 2008 up to yesterday for your record :

1) Permatang Pauh (P.44) Parliament (Pulau Pinang) : 26 August 2008
Winner : Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (PKR-Pakatan Rakyat) 31,195 votes, majority 15,671

2) Kuala Terengganu (P.36) Parliament (Terengganu) : 17 January 2009
Winner : Abdul Wahid Endut (PAS-Pakatan Rakyat) 32,883 votes, majority 2,631

3) Bukit Gantang (P.59) Parliament (Perak) : 7 April 2009
Winner : Datuk Seri Nizar Jamaluddin (PAS-Pakatan Rakyat) 21,860 votes, majority 2,789

4) Bukit Selambau (N.26) State (Kedah) : 7 April 2009
Winner : S. Manikumar (PKR-Pakatan Rakyat) 12,632 votes, majority 2,403

5) Batang Ai (N.23) State (Sarawak) : 7 April 2009
Winner : Malcom Mussem Lamoh (PRS-Barisan Nasional) 3,907 votes, majority 1,854

6) Penanti (N.12) State (Pulau Pinang) : 31 May 2009
Winner : Dr. Mansor Othman (PKR-Pakatan Rakyat) 6,052 votes, majority 5,558

7) Manek Urai (N.41) State (Kelantan) : 14 July 2009
Winner : Mohd Fauzi Abdullah (PAS-Pakatan Rakyat) 5,348 votes, majority 65

As you can see, Barisan Nasional (BN) only managed to win one, in Batang Ai, Sarawak.

Personally, the Batang Ai victory is nothing for BN. They should be proud that they managed to butcher PAS' majority in Manek Urai from 1,352 which they enjoyed in 2008 to a mere 65 vote majority yesterday.

Bravo BN and UMNO. It's a long process and patience will prevail.

Tidak semudah itu untuk orang melupakan jasa UMNO and BN. Masih ramai yang sayang pada anda, termasuk saya...

Close Call For PAS In Manek Urai

Hmm, even I was surprised upon knowing the results of the Manek Urai by-election in Kelantan.

Of course, everyone expected all along that PAS would retain the state seat but not on a razor thin majority.

PAS edged Barisan Nasional (BN) with a mere 65 votes, a far cry from its landslide 1,352 majority during the 12th General Election in March 2008.

Here's the final tally announced last night by the Election Commission :

Mohd Fauzi Abdullah (PAS) - 5,348
Tuan Aziz Tuan Mat (BN) - 5,283
Majority - 65

The Manek Urai state seat has 12,293 registered voters, including 25 postal voters. Voter turn out was quite good - 87% or 10,631.

So, what can we gauge from this? Well, common sense would tell you that BN is back on track in regaining the trust and confidence of the Malays in Kelantan, especially the fence-sitters. Which means that Dato' Seri Najib must be doing something right.

BN's commander-in-chief for the Manek Urai by-election machinery, Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin said BN need not be disheartened with the defeat as it is an indication that more and more people are supporting BN again. Muhyiddin who is also the Deputy Prime Minister believed the people are aware of the values of the PM's leadership and the changes that the country has already undergone.

So far so good, BN has accepted defeat in a gentlemen manner. Which is the expected thing to do. I just hope there won't be any gung ho UMNO members who would suggest or demand for a recount, just because PAS won on a razor thin majority. BN can afford to be patient. After a string of defeats in seven by-elections in the past 16 months, BN can finally see some positive results. Believe me, this is positive for BN, being able to deny PAS a landslide victory in the heart of the latter's stronghold - Kelantan.

And it is also hoped that Najib would start to take care of the Malays from now on. In the past 100 days, most of his announcements were in favour of the non-Malays. Sedikit sebanyak, hati orang-orang Melayu terguris jugak.

Cukup-cukup lah tu. We are all for your 1Malaysia concept. But at the same time, jagalah hati orang Melayu.

Again I quote Allahyarham Tun Abdul Razak, our second PM.

"Sekiranya orang-orang Melayu gembira, maka orang-orang lain juga akan gembira di negara ini."

I believe this quote still applies, in fact it applies forever. Because this is the Malay motherland. The Chinese have China as their motherland. The Indians have India as their motherland. But we Malays, this is our motherland. And by virtue of that, cut us Malays some slack, okay? We have been accomodating enough. Don't push it...

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Baca Sendiri Lah!

I sure hope my bosses won't be reading this.

The fact is, I'm sick and tired of monitoring blogs on a daily basis just so that the bosses at my division can be on top of things.

It all started when Barisan Nasional got whacked by the opposition in the March 8th General Election last year. Ini classic case of knee-jerk reaction lah ni.

On grounds that the company must be more pro-active in keeping tabs with what's going on in blogosphere or the new media or whatever the hell you want to call it, I suddenly found myself having to do this on a daily basis for the past 16 months. Nasib baik le ada a few more colleagues helping out.

Basically, what we have to do is monitor a number of high-traffic, high profile blogs and give our comments or analysis on what the bloggers posted. It does not necessarily have to do with our company or the industry we are in, but it could be about politics or current issues.

Hari-hari kena buat, and I tell you, it is time consuming. I'm struggling to do other stuff to meet my KPIs stipulated in my Individual Performance Contract.

I don't mind doing blog monitoring. Because it also keeps me on top of things. Tapi I rasa tak payah le hari-hari. Kalau ada benda-benda yang relevan untuk update or share, okay lah. Ini tak, hari-hari kena buat. Samada dia orang baca atau tidak blog monitoring report, itu belakang kira. Janji everyday at around 5pm, mesti submit.

Yang sedihnya, out of the 10 or so recipients of the blog monitoring report in the mailing list, half of them did not even bother to read. I know because I get the "NOT READ" return receipt. Kita separuh mampus perah otak buat analysis, dia main delete aje. Meaning memang tak minat pun, but just for the sake of being the priviliged few in the mailing list and so that they can be on top of things whenever they feel like it.

This is the only avenue where I can bitch about this. Because this is my personal blog. Even if one of the bosses at my division terbaca pun, so be it lah.

Please understand my predicament. How do you feel if you have to look at blogs upon blogs for hours in a day, and most of the postings are crap. It can be an emotional hazard. I mean, for all you know, the blogger probably wrote the crap wearing boxer shorts and picking his ear with cotton buds, and here I am in my cubicle wearing neck tie and leather shoes analysing what the bugger wrote, so that certain people can be on top of things.

Bukannya susah pun nak baca blog. Just surf the Net. Even my dad yang dah retire pun Net savvy. Takkan le bosses at this multinational company tak reti nak baca blog?

Baca sendiri la!!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Petronas Still The Sole Flag Bearer of Malaysia In Fortune Global 500 : Ranked 80th In The World, Much Better Than Last Year!

It's that time of the year again when CEOs and top management of the world's largest companies anxiously wait for the most coveted list in the world of free enterprise - the Fortune Global 500 list by Fortune Magazine, the premier global business publication.

This year, the Fortune Global 500 list was released by the magazine on 9 July 2009.

Alhamdulillah, Petronas remained a resident in the list, making it the sole representative of Malaysia, something that we should continue to be proud of despite some skeptics and cynics who feels it is no longer a big deal given the fact that the national oil company has already been in the big leagues for many years now.

Still, during these challenging times and volatile business environment, we should take comfort that Petronas still managed to be ranked in a very, very comfortable spot among the 500 companies listed in the Fortune list.

Petronas leaped 15 spots up from 95 to 80 in the overall category (based on revenue). This is an incredible achievement despite the company registering lower profit margins for the financial year ended 31st March 2009.

However, the lower profit margins has definitely taken its toll on Petronas, resulting in slightly poorer ranking in other categories - but still something for us Malaysians to be proud of.

Petronas emerged as the 13th most profitable company in the world and 7th most profitable in the world in the petroleum refining category, just trailing the supermajors - ExxonMobil, Shell, Chevron, BP, Petrobras and Total. Petronas can be forgiven for losing out to these big boys. Hell, it even beat ENI of Italy, Rosneft of Russia and China National Petroleum. It also the second most profitable company in Asia.

This is the kind of recognition which is pertinent for Petronas to continue to maintain trust and confidence from its business partners and stakeholders. Most of Petronas' business partners are the oil and gas supermajors - these boys don't simply do business with anyone. And bear in mind that for the last decade or so, Petronas' revenue were mainly derived from its international operations of which Petronas has presence in more than 30 countries.

It has always been referred to by many in the oil & gas fraternity as "an entity of which we are very comfortable to deal with". Now, doesn't that tell you something? Surely Petronas is doing something right to be accorded with such accolades.

That is why Petronas staff must hold their head up high and not be disheartened by people who has tendencies to downplay or ridicule their contribution to the country. You guys have done a great job and a great service to the people of Malaysia.

It is hoped that the Government of Malaysia in turn, would do its part to defend Petronas from any attempts to destroy what the latter has achieved for the past 35 years.

It is not just about pleasing people in one state with oil royalty payments or pleasing one politician who thinks Petronas should give special payments to all families in the country to ease their financial burden. It is more than that. It is more than meets the eye. And if we fail to see beyond quick tangible gains, I promise you, we will live to regret it....