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Majority of Malaysians with Zero Savings?

Reading the article on MSN last week, I was quite surprised that majority of Malaysian are with zero savings. A few days later, followed by another 2 more related article here and here. The savings mentioned in these articles excludes forced savings such as KWSP@EPF, because according to the researchers, household do not have access to forced savings during emergencies.
As a rakyat biasa (ordinary people), I do believe that many Malaysians are having difficulty to save a portion of their income for emergency purposes. With rising cost of living, stagnant or low salary increment, it is getting tough for most Malaysian to earn enough to have a surplus after taking care of their basic needs. Another factor could be poor financial management among fellow Malaysians. I strongly believe that, proper financial literacy will provide guidelines for all Malaysians to better manage their personal finances.

Let’s better equipped our fellow Malaysians, especially the young Malaysian, with proper financial literacy so that we can improve on our ‘money saving skills’.

photo credit: wajakemek | rashdanothman via photopin cc

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How To Renew Your Malaysian Passport in Kuching?

Today I am taking the day off to renew my passport.
Below are some quick information if you’re planning to renew your Malaysian passport in Kuching. This is the requirement as at 13 Dec 2013 as it might change from time to time:
Bring along:
1) Your IC
2) Your old passport
3) 2 recent passport size photo (must follow the recent requirement – white background, not teeth shown…)
4) Your cash (RM100 for 2 years international passport and RM300 for 5 years international passport)
1) Go to Level 2, Bangunan Sultan Iskandar at Simpang Tiga.
2) Proceed to Counter 1 to get the queue number. The officer will check whether you had your IC, old passport and recent passport size photo with you. Once completed, the officer will give you a queue number. Wait for your queue number to be called.
3) When it’s your queue number, go to the respective counter. The office will serve you – ask whether you would like to renew for 2 years or 5 years, verify your personal details and if there’s any changes, then verify your left and right thumb print. Then, the officer will print out the renewal form where you put down your right thumb print. The officer will ask you to sit down and wait for your name to be called from the payment counter.
4) When your name being called from the payment counter, proceed to the counter and bring along your cash. After payment made, the officer will provide your an official receipt with remark – time and date to collect your new passport. Mine was to collect 2pm in the afternoon.
5) To collect the new passport, make sure you show the officer at Counter 14 or Counter 15 the official receipt. The officer will give you a new queue number. Wait for another 10 or 15 mins (depends on the crowds), when your number being called, the officer will show you the new passport, ask you to sign on the form to prove you’ve taken the passport. Then, the officer will ask you to double check the personal detail on the new passport. Once confirmed, the officer will ask you to sign on the passport. She’ll pass back to you your old passport and it’s done.
Important note:
1) Try to arrive as early as possible and preferably in the morning. I arrived at around 8:30am and was given number 66. They serving counter was 16. And most importantly, the queue number counter was closed at around 9:30am today. No more queue number given. Means that you’ll need to come back at 2pm and queue for your number. In the afternoon, I saw a very long queue at the front of the office for the queue number. At around 2:30pm, there’s an announcement that no more queue number to be given for that afternoon. So, you better arrive as early as possible. The official operation hours is available on Immigration Department of Malaysia.
My Suggestion to improve the Service at Kuching Immigration Office:
1) Ensure more counter are serving during operation hours. Today, at around 9am, only 2 counters are serving. At round 10am, about 5 counters are serving. Total, there’s 15 counters (registration counter, including payment counter, 2 collection counters, a special counter). Imagine  if 10 counters are serving from 7:30am till 5:30pm. I am very sure there’s be many happy citizen walking out from the Kuching Immigration Office.More counter meaning less waiting time and highly effective operation.
2) Dont close the number counter so early. Can you imagine those applicant come as far as Serian and have to wait till 2pm to get her queue number? How about someone with young kids?
3) Have a special counter for senior citizen, woman with young kids or those with special needs.
4) Have separate counter for renewal and for new application. Renewal of passport will be faster. This will speed up the process and reduce the stressful waiting time.
5) Get better seat for the crowd. I think average waiting time will be around 2 hours for each applicant. The seat looks quite old and not comfortable. Some are standing because not enough seat available. 
6) Install a tv so that there’s light entertainment while the crowds are waiting
Overall Service Experience
Other than the above suggestion, I would like to say that I am pleased with the service provided by the officers at Kuching Immigration office. They are friendly, pleasant and helpful. My hope is that the procedure will be smoother and faster. It is important to respect others’ time as I think it’s not right to have to wait for hours just to renew my passport. I hope the service will be further improved for the benefits of all Kuchingites 🙂

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Life After SPM (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia)

My eighteen-years-old nephew who got his SPM result last month was asking me for some advice about ‘life after SPM’. He’s asking which college he should go to, which course he should be taking, whether he should go to Form Six for 2 years, and many more questions. In return, I ask him what’s his interest and from there to see what are the plan to meet his interest. I’ve also shared with him the followings:
1) Do some reading and research on different disciplines. I think other that that special gift or talent that we have, what we enjoy doing is very much link to our knowledge and our life experience. If the father is a doctor, very likely one of the children will become a doctor. If the father is a lawyer, very likely his children will become a lawyer. If the father is a businessman, very likely his children will also become a businessman. If the father is a successful athlete, very likely his children will excel in sports too. You see, there is really a link somewhere. So, since not all of us are lucky enough to have doctor father, a lawyer father, a successful business father or a successful athlete, the least we can do is do some reading and research on different discipline. In this way, we can expose ourselves so that we can have more choices.
2) Do something you enjoy doing. After working for many years, I realized that the most rewarding job is the job which you enjoy doing. What we enjoy doing might change from time to time, but, deep in our heart we know best what we enjoy doing. Maybe your father is a doctor and he wants you to become a doctor. If you know your interest is not in medicine, but in arts, you should really follow your heart. But of course, the best would be if your family background is in medicine and you have interest in medicine, then you’ll really be a successful and happy doctor.
3) Do not follow your friends. We all have good friends and some friends who might influence our decision. It is important not to follow friends. If your friend wants to study engineering, it is not wise to follow him to study engineering while your interest is in arts. If your friend wants to go to Kolej A, it’s not wise to follow him to Kolej A just because you’re afraid you could not find new friends when to go to Kolej B. You will find and make new friends no matter where you go. Follow  your own path and do not let yourself drift away  with others path which might not be the best for your.
4) Believe in yourself and fight for yourself. If there’re limitations of the number of students  in certain course, do not just accept it. Try to appeal or look for other alternative somewhere else. 
Most probably he’ll go to Form Six. Mainly because with STPM, he will have higher change to get a place in local university. The other reason is, Form Six is the most cost effective way. I really hope that he’ll find something he enjoy doing. And for the rest who’s in the same boat with him, I also wish you all the best in your future undertakings. Some say, real life start after SPM 🙂

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After the Nightmare…

A quick update on my niece situation. She was discharged from hospital on 28 May 2012. Everyone in the family are so grateful and thankful. She’s in good condition. Just that she has really slim down a lot. She used to be in big size. She lose more than 10kg within 1.5 months. Now, she is very slim and looks energetic. I think she looks like a different her (in a positive way). She still need to perform her CAPD 4 times daily. She can do it herself but her mum still help and monitor her during the CAPD. She said bath time was hard as she needs to ensure that the ‘exit site’ is protected. She said she’s still learning. Twice a week, she’ll need to have injection at hospital. Those injection are for additional minerals. In term of food, she has quite a strict diet. But, nutritionist said it’s still early. As the time goes by, diet might change from time to time, depending on the body condition. 
Second week of June, she started to go to work at a local supermarket. She said she cannot stay at home 24 hours and doing nothing. She comes back home during lunch hour for her CAPD session. Looks not easy. But I know she’s a strong girl.
We all still hoping for her to lead a normal life. We hope and we pray for her. And I am really thankful to God for I still able to see my niece and she still can go on her life though there are some changes. Thank You, my Lord…

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A Real Nightmare

An update about my niece condition. In my post dated 31 Jan 2012, I mentioned my 24 years old niece was diagnosed with end stage kidney failure. One of the 3 specialist did mentioned that, without immediate dialysis, my niece can only survive for a maximum of 3 months. It has been a really hard time for my niece and our family member especially my brother and sis-in-law (my niece parents). My niece went to Sarawak General Hospital (SGH) for weekly follow up where the doctors advised her to prepare and go for dialysis. My niece and her parents refused to do so as was told by the Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) doctor, there is hope in her kidneys if she does not go for dialysis. TCM doctor said, once she started dialysis, her kidney will be lazy to work and will not provide positive response to her TCM medication. Everytime my niece to SGH, she was terrified and worried as the doctors keep pushing her for dialysis. 

Within the period from Jan to Mid of Apr, my niece still taking the TCM + tradional herbs (all kinds of them) and some direct selling products. I was quite mad at my brother for forcing my niece to take the direct selling products. A lot of quarrels happened as well during this time. My niece was feeling really weak and sick from Jan to Mid of Apr 2012. Everytime I visited her, I feel so painful. She will share most of her sadness with me as it’s hard for her to communicate with her parents. Most of their conversation ended in quarrels and feeling hurt. Everyday was filled with tears, tears from my niece, her parents and all of our family members. Never before I ever experience such a sad and bitter experience. Relatives started to visited my niece and my niece was always in bad mood. She said she feel very very sick and she not able to explain her sickness with words. She vomited most of the time, feel itchy on most of her body parts, no appetite at all, swollen legs, no energy, breathless and feeling tired most of the time. Towards Apr 2012, she told me she cannot sleep at night and she also don’t dare to sleep because she worried she will never wake up again. She told me she started to feel there’s a 3rd party surround her..

The TCM doctors said my niece need time to adjust to the TCM medication, but he not able to tell when my niece will have the positive sign. I was really angry with this TCM doctor. But my niece and her parents still put high hope on this TCM doctor. At last on 16 Apr 2012, the TCM doctor said it’s better for my niece to admit to SGH for blood transfusion. On 14 Apr 2012, my niece already look terrible and really weak. She hardly can walk. The last appointment with the TCM doctor was on 16 Apr 2012, very early morning. By 9am, my sis-in-law called me, saying that my niece on the way to SGH emergency unit because she’s in critical condition. During noon, she SGH immediately arranged for her dialysis through her stomach. She was really scared but still conscious. We all were really worried. SGH doctor said her dialysis will continue for at least 60 hours due to high urea and creatine level in her body. On the second day of her dialysis, she is a bit better. On the third day of dialysis, she sleep most of the time. On the forth day of dialysis, she also sleep most of the time. On the night of the forth day of dialysis, my niece turned into someone else. She become out of control. Things were really bad. She became violent and aggressive as well. We didn’t know what to do. We heard that dialysis patient can become out of control, but we never know what is the actual meaning of ‘out of control’. Doctors said, maybe my niece body couldn’t adapt to the sudden drop of urea and creatine level during dialysis. My niece become unstable. She didn’t eat for days and look really terrible too. 

Her unstable condition lasted for 2 weeks. It was really hard for my sis-in-law to take care of her. Everytime we visited her at SGH, my niece would cry and speak funny languages with some weird actions. Some times, it was like she’s talking to the unseen creatures. Most of our visit to her ended in tears and pain in the heart with thousand of question marks in our head.

During this hard time, many friends and relative offer all kinds of help. On 27 Apr 2012, my church Father visited her. During this visit, my niece broke down and cried badly, shared her worries and concern. The next morning, my niece feel a bit better and said she feel like woke up from a dream. Her condition slightly improved but she still always in bad mood. At the same time, my brother also seek all kinds of help and treatment from anyone who can offer help including from mediums. On 9 May 2012, my niece called me and she sound like the real her. It was a really bright and light moment for me. I visited her on 12 May and she almost become my actual niece. We chit chat for quite some time. She is on peritonial dialysis training at SGH. Everyday, she needs to do her continuous ambulatory peritoneal dialysis (CAPD) four times at about 4-5 hours interval, with the help from her mum. This training will last for a few weeks. I visited her again yesterday. She is much-much better. Occasionally still asking me if her kidney will recover. All I can say is we hope and pray for it, but we need to be ready for the worst. She said she hates it when the doctors keep telling her that her kidney will never recover. I told her that doctors must convey the real message to their patients and do not want patients to have empty hope. Anyway, I do really hope and pray that my niece kidney still has hope. 

Her life will definitely change after this. Now is her final semester at university but she not able to attend her final semester. Her final exam will be next month. Most probably she will not be able to attend her final exam and her industrial training. Which means that she will not be able to graduate. I know she is really sad about this part. But, I told her, take good control and care of her health first. She can extend her study for a later time. 

Life not only change for her, but for everyone in our family as well especially her parents. We all still not sure the road ahead. We can only take one thing at a time. I hope my niece will become more stable so that she can perform the CAPD herself. I am happy that now she started to learn about her CAPD diet (what food should take, what food should avoid). I wish my niece will see hope in her life. I wish my niece will be strong. I know it is a tough time for a 24 years old. I told her that if she can go through this tough part, she will have nothing to fear in future. I wish my niece all the best and we all really care and love her.

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The Real Cost Of An Indonesian Maid In Kuching

My mother-in-law had a serious stroke 6 years ago. It’s a miracle that she survived the most difficult moment for her. She took about 2 years to recover except partial of her left leg and left hand are not controllable. Thus, she needs another person to take care partial of her needs.

Since both hubby and me are working, and we are not willing to send my mother-in-law to care centre, the only option we have is to hire a maid. We had just changed to a new Indonesian maid on Christmas eve 2009 and the cost for a 2 years contract is as below:

Agent fee (Kuching agent & Indonesia agent) – RM6800.00

Maid monthly salary – Minimum is RM300.00

So, for a two years contract, one needs to prepare at least RM14ooo.oo. This has not include other cost such as food, clothes, maid’s personal care items and other miscellaneous charges for the maid. Hubby said, there are other agency which charged much higher than RM6800. In west Malaysia, the agent fee goes as high as RM8000.00 for a two years contract. The sad part is a big portion of the cost goes to agent or introducer, and not the maid.

There are news that the agent fee is increasing. Just hope that the related parties will plan for Malaysian senior citizen and those with special needs. The aging population is increasing and not many can afford to hire Indonesian maids.

Feel free to comment.

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Inside the mind of Singapore’s Youngest Millionaire – By Adam Khoo

I got this email from a friend. And I can’t help but to share with others on what’s on Adam Khoo’s mind.

In case you have no idea who’s Adam Khoo, you can read more about him here.

Happy reading.

Inside the mind of Singapore’s Youngest Millionaire – By Adam Khoo

Some of you may already know that I travel around the region pretty frequently, having to visit and conduct seminars at my offices in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand and Suzhou (China). I am in the airport almost every other week so I get to bump into many people who have attended my seminars or have read my books.

Recently, someone came up to me on a plane to KL and looked rather shocked. He asked, ‘How come a millionaire like you is travelling economy?’ My reply was, ‘That’s why I am a millionaire. ‘He still looked pretty confused. This again confirms that greatest lie ever told about wealth (which I wrote about in my latest book ‘Secrets of Self Made Millionaires’). Many people have been brainwashed to think that millionaires have to wear Gucci, Hugo Boss, Rolex, and sit in first class in air travel. This is why so many people never become rich because the moment that earn more money, they think that it is only natural that they spend more, putting them back to square one.

The truth is that most self-made millionaires are frugal and only spend on what is necessary and of value. That is why they are able to accumulate and multiply their wealth so much faster. Over the last 7 years, I have saved about 80% of my income while today I save only about 60% (because I have my wife, mother in law, 2 maids, 2 kids, etc. to support). Still, it is way above most people who save 10% of their income (if they are lucky). I refuse to buy a first class ticket or to buy a $300 shirt because I think that it is a complete waste of money. However, I happily pay $1,300 to send my 2-year old daughter to Julia Gabriel Speech and Drama without thinking twice.

When I joined the YEO (Young Entrepreneur’s Organization) a few years back (YEO is an exclusive club open to those who are under 40 and make over $1m a year in their own business) I discovered that those who were self-made thought like me. Many of them with net worth’s well over $5m, traveled economy class and some even drove Toyotas and Nissans (not Audis, Mercs, BMWs).

I noticed that it was only those who never had to work hard to build their own wealth (there were also a few ministers’ and tycoons’ sons in the club) who spent like there was no tomorrow. Somehow, when you did not have to build everything from scratch, you do not really value money. This is precisely the reason why a family’s wealth
(no matter how much) rarely lasts past the third generation. Thank God my rich dad (oh no! I sound like Kiyosaki) foresaw this terrible possibility and refused to give me a cent to start my business.

Then some people ask me, ‘What is the point in making so much money if you don’t enjoy it?’ The thing is that I don’t really find happiness in buying branded clothes, jewelry or sitting first class. Even if buying something makes me happy it is only for a while, it does not last. Material happiness never lasts, it just gives you a quick fix. After a while you feel lousy again and have to buy the next thing which you think will make you happy. I always think that if you need material things to make you happy, then you live a pretty sad and unfulfilled life.

Instead, what makes ME happy is when I see my children laughing and playing and learning so fast. What makes me happy is when I see my companies and trainers reaching more and more people every year in so many more countries. What makes me really happy is when I read all the emails about how my books and seminars have touched and inspired someone’s life. This happiness makes me feel really good for a long time, much much more than what a Rolex would do for me.

I think the point I want to put across is that happiness must come from doing your life’s work (be in teaching, building homes, designing, trading, winning tournaments etc.) and the money that comes is only a by-product. If you hate what you are doing and rely on the money you earn to make you happy by buying stuff, then I think that you are living a meaningless life.

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What Do You Have In Your Wallet Or Purse?

Currently, I have the followings in my red purse:
1) My IC
2) My driving licence
3) 1 ATM card
4) 2 credit cards
5) 4 pieces of RM10 note
6) 1 piece of RM5 note
7) 3 pieces of RM1 note
8) A few coins
9) My ING Insurance medical card
10) My Popular Bookstore member card
11) 2 pieces of my name card
12) 2 small reminder notes
I used to have a lot more things in my purse, but later I decided to keep most of them at home because I don’t see the point bringing so many things especially membership cards around. It’s only making my purse fatter and heavier.
I know there are several other things that people keep in their wallet or purse:
1) Receipts and some are very old receipts
2) A photo of oneself
3) A photo of loved ones
4) Lucky charms
5) A string of membership cards
6) A small phone book
7) A small note consist of bible verse
8) Name cards of somone important
9) 4D tickets
Anything else that you have in your wallet? Or anything else that you know other people keep in their wallet or purse? Do share with me.

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A Broadband Service Which Worth My Every Cents?

Lately I had been very unhappy with my existing broadband service provider which I had been using for the past 5 years. I had a lot of problem with my connections. For the past 20 days, I had been complaining to the customer service centre for more than 5 times. From the 5 times, for the first 3 times, I cannot get connected but after I called the customer service centre, and they reset the connection port or create a new dialer, I can get connected. For the 4th time, I totally cannot get connected for 3 consecutive days. The customer service said they will send technical support team to check the connection at my end. But they did not turned up. Luckily I can get connected on the 3rd night. And at that time, I got a miscalled on my mobile and it is from the broadband call centre (I know because I had saved the customer service centre number in my mobile). She only called me back about 4 days later.
And for the 5th time, it happened last night. I tried to connect to the Internet and it kept prompting ‘invalid username and password’ or ‘the remote computer did not respond’ to my connection. When I called the customer service centre, my calls cannot get connected after I pressed the option for technical support. I do not know whether they do it on purpose or not (which I hope not). I was quite angry and annoyed. After I pressed another option for the billing enquiries section, finally the call can reach a customer service consultant who claimed that he is from technical support (very funny!). After he asked all the lame questions, and performed all the lame trouble shootings, I still cannot get connected. I was very unhappy as I am very sure my username and password is 100% correct. Before he finished the conversation, the call got cut off. I do not know whether there is a timer for each caller who called in or he purposely cut off my line. And as usual, they never call back. I called in again for the second time and after so many trial, I reached another different customer service consultant. I do not know why, but this time I am not as angry as the first time. So, again I went through all the same lame stuff and he confirmed there is problem with my connections. He gave me a report number and informed me technical team will check the connection at my end (again???).
After I hung up the phone, I tried to connect and this time I can get connected. But, the connection speed is not as what I paid for.
Early this morning, a technical guy called me and asked me about my broadband connection. I told him I can get connected and will monitor my situation. A bit surprised that the respond is very fast. Then, I remember last night I did mentioned to the first customer service consultant that I might launch a complaint to MCMC if the service did not improve and up to the standard for the $$$ I paid for.
Are you happy with your current broadband service provider? Or are you facing the same problem like me? I really hope for a broadband service which worth my every cents.

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A Review Of My 2009 Financial Goals

It has been about 2 weeks since I last posted on my blog. Had been pretty busy lately. Last week, I just submitted my mid year performance appraisal at my workplace. And it reminds me of the mid year review of my own 2009 financial goals. From time to time, I did take a look at my 2009 financial goals as it is sticked on my bedroom notice board. The best feeling would be, when I completed a goal, I place a ‘tick’ by the side of the goal. It provides me the energy to achieve more goals.

I wish to share the status of my 2009 financial goals:

1) Increase my annual income by at least 10%. (to be completed by Dec 2009)

Status: In progress. Hopefully I can make it.

2) Moving the $$$ from my emergency account to fixed deposit accounts. I don’t want my emergency account to just sit in the saving account. Moving the $$$to the fixed deposit accounts not only benefit me but also to the banks and the society as they need the $$$. (to be completed by Jan 2009)
Status: Completed mid of Jan 2009. Partially moved to my unit trust funds due to low interest rate for fixed deposit.

3) Invest in a new unit trust fund. This time, I want to invest in equity fund. (to be completed by June 2009)
Status: Completed 2 July 2009. Invested in PB Growth Fund. Timing is just nice as the price on 2 July dropped after PB Growth Fund announced its dividend of 7.50 sen per unit.

4) Continue to top up my existing unit trust funds. (all year long)
Status: In progress. I only top up on selected funds.

5) Keeping a separate file for each of my unit trust funds. Currently all my unit trust funds details are in the same file. It’s time to separate them. Separating them will make my fund monitoring easier. (to be done by Jan 2009)
Status: Easy. Completed mid of Jan 2009.
6) Monitoring my Public Bank Gold Investment Account and top up at least once. (to be completed by 31 Dec 2009)
Status: Haven’t to up yet due to high gold price.
7) Monitoring my investment-link Pru-link assurance and see if there’s a need to review the coverage and purchase a second insurance. (to be done by Sept 2008)
Status: In progress. Perhaps will increase my medical coverage.
8) Terminating my unused credit cards, and concentrate on 1 credit card with another two as backup. I must ensure that the active and backup credit cards are without annual fee. (to be done by June 2009)
Status: Not very easy as I thought it would be. Anyway, completed end of March 2009. Now, I only have 2 credit cards.
9) File and submit my income tax early. (to be done by 15 April 2008)
Status: Completed 20th April 2009
10) Continue with my ‘fun saving’ account. My fun saving accounts keep all my fun expenses. This includes fun expenses for my family and for myself. It’sgreat to be able to provide some fun $$$ throughout the financial planning journey. Life can’t be serious all the time, right :p (all year long)
Status: In progress.

So, I completed 5 goals and I still have another 5 goals to achieve within 6 months. I am quite satiesfied with my 50% achievement. How about you? Do you keep track of your financial goals?

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