Today, Knowledge Management today are not limited merely to : (A) 'knowing' or 'reading lots of books/scholarly articles' or (B) data mining, analysis, decision making, preventive actions, or (C) some Human Resources Management issue or (D) some ICT issue. Knowledge Management is about putting your knowledge, skills and competency into practice and most important IT WORKS! For you and your company or your business (Nik Zafri)

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Email: nikzafri@yahoo.com, nikzafri@gmail.com

Kelantanese, Alumni of Sultan Ismail College Kelantan (SICA), Diploma (Management), IT Competency Cert, Certified Written English Professional US. Has participated in many seminars/conferences (local/ international) in the capacity of trainer/lecturer and participant.

Affiliations :- Council Member of Gerson Lehrman Group NY, Institute of Quality Malaysia, Malaysian Institute of Management, Malaysian Occupational Safety and Health Professionals Association, Auditor ISO 9000 IRCAUK, Auditor OHSAS 18000 (SIRIM and STS) /EMS ISO 14000:2004 and Construction Quality Assessment System (CONQUAS, CIDB (Now BCA) Singapore),

* Possesses 26 years of experience/hands-on in the multi-modern management & technical disciplines (systems & methodologies) such as Knowledge Management (Hi-Impact Management/ICT Solutions), Quality (TQM/ISO), Safety Health Environment, Civil & Building (Construction), Manufacturing, Motivation & Team Building, HR, Marketing/Branding, Business Process Reengineering, Economy/Stock Market, Contracts/Project Management, Finance & Banking, etc. He was employed to international bluechips involving in national/international megaprojects such as Balfour Beatty Construction/Knight Piesold & Partners UK, MMI Insurance Group Australia, Hazama Corporation (Hazamagumi) Japan (with Mitsubishi Corporation, JA Jones US, MMCE and Ho-Hup) and Sunway Construction Berhad (The Sunway Group of Companies). Among major projects undertaken : Pergau Hydro Electric Project, KLCC Petronas Twin Towers, LRT Tunnelling, KLIA, Petronas Refineries Melaka, Putrajaya Government Complex, Sistem Lingkaran Lebuhraya Kajang (SILK), Mex Highway, KLIA1, KLIA2 etc. Once serviced SMPD Management Consultants as Associate Consultant cum Lecturer for Diploma in Management, Institute of Supervisory Management UK/SMPD JV. Currently – Associate/Visiting Consultants/Facilitators, Advisors for leading consulting firms (local and international) including project management. To name a few – Noma SWO Consult, Amiosh Resources, Timur West Consultant Sdn. Bhd., TIJ Consultants Group (Malaysia and Singapore) and many others.

* Ex-Resident Weekly Columnist of Utusan Malaysia (1995-1998) and have produced more than 100 articles related to ISO-9000– Management System and Documentation Models, TQM Strategic Management, Occupational Safety and Health (now OHSAS 18000) and Environmental Management Systems ISO 14000. His write-ups/experience has assisted many students/researchers alike in module developments based on competency or academics and completion of many theses. Once commended by the then Chief Secretary to the Government of Malaysia for his diligence in promoting and training the civil services (government sector) based on “Total Quality Management and Quality Management System ISO-9000 in Malaysian Civil Service – Paradigm Shift Scalar for Assessment System”

Among Nik Zafri’s clients : Adabi Consumer Industries Sdn. Bhd, (MRP II, Accounts/Credit Control) The HQ of Royal Customs and Excise Malaysia (ISO 9000), Veterinary Services Dept. Negeri Sembilan (ISO 9000), The Institution of Engineers Malaysia (Aspects of Project Management – KLCC construction), Corporate HQ of RHB (Peter Drucker's MBO/KRA), NEC Semiconductor - Klang Selangor (Productivity Management), Prime Minister’s Department Malaysia (ISO 9000), State Secretarial Office Negeri Sembilan (ISO 9000), Hidrological Department KL (ISO 9000), Asahi Kluang Johor(System Audit, Management/Supervisory Development), Tunku Mahmood (2) Primary School Kluang Johor (ISO 9000), Consortium PANZANA (HSSE 3rd Party Audit), Lecturer for Information Technology Training Centre (ITTC) – Authorised Training Center (ATC) – University of Technology Malaysia (UTM) Kluang Branch Johor, Kluang General Hospital Johor (Management/Supervision Development, Office Technology/Administration, ISO 9000 & Construction Management), Kahang Timur Secondary School Johor (ISO 9000), Sultan Abdul Jalil Secondary School Kluang Johor (Islamic Motivation and Team Building), Guocera Tiles Industries Kluang Johor (EMS ISO 14000), MNE Construction (M) Sdn. Bhd. Kota Tinggi Johor (ISO 9000 – Construction), UITM Shah Alam Selangor (Knowledge Management/Knowledge Based Economy /TQM), Telesystem Electronics/Digico Cable(ODM/OEM for Astro – ISO 9000), Sungai Long Industries Sdn. Bhd. (Bina Puri Group) - ISO 9000 Construction), Secura Security Printing Sdn. Bhd,(ISO 9000 – Security Printing) ROTOL AMS Bumi Sdn. Bhd & ROTOL Architectural Services Sdn. Bhd. (ROTOL Group) – ISO 9000 –Architecture, Bond M & E (KL) Sdn. Bhd. (ISO 9000 – Construction/M & E), Skyline Telco (M) Sdn. Bhd. (Knowledge Management),Technochase Sdn. Bhd JB (ISO 9000 – Construction), Institut Kefahaman Islam Malaysia (IKIM – ISO 9000 & Internal Audit Refresher), Shinryo/Steamline Consortium (Petronas/OGP Power Co-Generation Plant Melaka – Construction Management and Safety, Health, Environment), Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (Negotiation Skills), Association for Retired Intelligence Operatives of Malaysia (Cyber Security – Arpa/NSFUsenet, Cobit, Till, ISO/IEC ISMS 27000 for Law/Enforcement/Military), T.Yamaichi Corp. (M) Sdn. Bhd. (EMS ISO 14000) LSB Manufacturing Solutions Sdn. Bhd., (Lean Scoreboard (including a full development of System-Software-Application - MSC Malaysia & Six Sigma) PJZ Marine Services Sdn. Bhd., (Safety Management Systems and Internal Audit based on International Marine Organization Standards) UNITAR/UNTEC (Degree in Accountacy – Career Path/Roadmap) Cobrain Holdings Sdn. Bhd.(Managing Construction Safety & Health), Speaker for International Finance & Management Strategy (Closed Conference), Pembinaan Jaya Zira Sdn. Bhd. (ISO 9001:2008-Internal Audit for Construction Industry & Overview of version 2015), Straits Consulting Engineers Sdn. Bhd. (Full Integrated Management System – ISO 9000, OHSAS 1800 and EMS ISO 14000 for Civl/Structural/Geotechnical Consulting), Malaysia Management & Science University (MSU – (Managing Business in an Organization), Innoseven Sdn. Bhd. (KVMRT Line 1 MSPR8 – Awareness and Internal Audit (Construction), ISO 9001:2008 and 2015 overview for the Construction Industry), Kemakmuran Sdn. Bhd. (KVMRT Line 1 - Signages/Wayfinding - Project Quality Plan and Construction Method Statement ), Amiosh Resources - (1) Lembaga Tabung Haji - Flood ERP (2) WNA Consultants - DID/JPS -Flood Risk Assessment and Management Plan - Prelim, Conceptual Design, Interim and Final Report etc. (3) Tunnel Fire Safety - Fire Risk Assessment Report - Design Fire Scenario), Safety, Health and Environmental Management Plans leading construction/property companies/corporations in Malaysia. Timur West Consulting (1) Business Methodology and System (2) Information Security Management Systems (ISMS) ISO/IEC 27001:2013 for Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya ISMS/Audit/Risk/ITP Technical Team

* Has appeared for 10 consecutive series in “Good Morning Malaysia RTM TV1’ Corporate Talk Segment discussing on ISO 9000/14000 in various industries. For ICT, his inputs garnered from his expertise have successfully led to development of work-process e-enabling systems in the environments of intranet, portal and interactive web design especially for the construction and manufacturing. Some of the end products have won various competitions of innovativeness, quality, continual-improvements and construction industry award at national level. He has also in advisory capacity – involved in development and moderation of websites, portals and e-profiles for mainly corporate and private sectors, public figures etc. He is also one of the recipients for MOSTE Innovation for RFID use in Electronic Toll Collection in Malaysia.

Note :



Saturday, May 26, 2012


A note to the Malaysian Construction Industry

(Click to enlarge)

Question : Salams and greetings Nick. In some countries, construction industry integrates the Job Method Statement and Job Safety Analysis. I also know that some countries do not incorporate them together. Should JMS and JSA be integrated?
Thank you for query. In Malaysia, I know many construction companies do not mix Method Statement and Job Safety Analysis. Strange it might seems, but there is always a rationale behind it.

From what I gather, it is commonly due to the foll...owing scenario :

Element : Preventive Action - (prevention of occurence) - not corrective action or correction.

The company is heading towards certifications of OHSAS 18000 and ISO 9000. The funny thing about Malaysia is that despite some construction companies attempt to integrate (even with EMS ISO 14000) some certification bodies still consider them as two or three separate system.

If there is a certification audit being conducted..say if the company is going for ISO 9000, the certification auditors will only focus on the ISO 9000. I seldom heard that they do an integrated audit (perhaps if coincidentally they want both systems to be audited)

(I do not wish to touch on why OHSAS is not being given the title ISO in front of the numbers - let the certification and accreditation bodies figure them out - although I do know the reason)

If you ask me, logically speaking BOTH JSA and Method Statement should be integrated. Quality and Safety are brothers.

If there is a quality issue, say major defects which deserve a major non-conformance, then major defects is a safety issue as well...e.g. structural integrity.

If the defect product is not being labelled properly and not been separated from the good ones, then, not only it becomes a quality issue but it is also a safety issue.

(external quality costs - is about failure of the product being accidentally delivered to the client - and definitely if the product is defective and cause great trouble to the client, it becomes a safety issue and the manufacturer or the contractor are still liable)

Now back to the JSA, here's how :

1. A Method Statement is a construction methodology which entails resources, area concerned and method of construction (some refer back to a certain trades of codes of practice) - in the manufacturing industry, it is known as Standard Operating Procedures or the closest one is Work Instruction (how to do things)

2. A JSA will determine the risk associated with such construction activity.

Thus, JSA should make reference to the Method Statement.

For example :

Method Statement for the construction of Box Culvert (just quoting an example)

It definitely will entail at least the following methods :

How to Backfill around culverts, How to do proper backfill excavations, equipment delivery, form covers/walls, formwork - footings & bottom etc. etc.

Let's take Backfill around culverts from the same Method Statement - what are the risks associated with this activity?

Employee Injury ( Falling Loads, Excavation Hazards, Equipment Operations, Etc.)

So what would be the likely preventive action?

Employee training in backfill safety procedures, Qualified equipment operators, No employees allowed under the loads, Good supervision of employees in excavation, Excavation protection as required by the depth of the excavation.

So now based on my explanation here, you tell me, should JSA be integrated with Method Statement?

My answer would be YES!

Friday, May 25, 2012


Globalist Analysis > Global Markets
Facebook — Not a Disaster, Just a Tale of Old-Fashioned Greed  
By Beat J. Guldimann | Friday, May 25, 2012

A week ago, Facebook became a publicly traded company on the NASDAQ stock exchange — putting a valuation of $17 billion on its founder's ownership stake. Since then, Facebook's stock price has been sinking, leading Beat Guldimann to question why it was ever so high in the first place. Could old-fashioned greed have been a factor?

Photo credit: Lev Radin/Shutterstock.com

Mark Zuckerberg has finally done it. Facebook went public in an initial public offering (IPO) that valued the company at over one hundred times earnings at an initial offering price that was hiked in the last hours of the deal going live. This allowed Zuckerberg and other key shareholders of Facebook Inc. to squeeze a few more dollars out of an eager public thirsty for new issues in a dry market.


  Companies don't go public in order to make those
who buy their stock rich. IPOs happen for a lot of
reasons, none of which are altruistic.


Only a few days after the stock traded for the first time, the party seems to be over. Instead of rising and allowing some lucky speculators to make a quick buck, Facebook lost a quarter of its value.

Everybody is up in arms. There are the scandalized who are crying fraud and the told-you-so's basking in schadenfreude. Meanwhile, the media is labeling the Facebook IPO an epic failure — even a disaster.

Nobody can deny that the Facebook IPO is a bit of a failure. The stock was supposed to soar in the first few days of trading so that a lot of early investors could get paid for taking the risk. At least, that's what the investment bankers' playbook says.

However, the 25% pullback out of the gates is no disaster. To the contrary, it demonstrates that markets will see things for what they are. In the case of Facebook, markets were quick to recognize that the company was simply too expensive. And they did what markets are supposed to do — correct inefficient pricing.

The story of Facebook going to town is a tale of greed, nothing more and nothing less. Companies don't go public with the objective of making those who buy their stock rich. IPOs happen for all sorts of reasons, none of which are altruistic. Let's look at a few:

First off, there is Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook's founder and its controlling force. Ever since he took Facebook outside of Harvard, his story has been an amazing success. He became one of the wealthiest twenty-somethings on the planet by transforming the way people use social media.

His problem, however, was that the lion's share of the billions he created in personal wealth was tied up in the company. Zuckerberg's motivation for the IPO was to create liquidity and take some money off the table. Selling shares to the public gives him a lot of cash and allows him to reduce the concentration of investment risk associated with his brainchild.


shareholders are watching the value of their
investment drop, while Zuckerberg counts his coins
like Scrooge.


There is nothing wrong with this motivation per se. The problem is in setting the issuing price at an unreasonably high level, which hurt the buying public that paid Zuckerberg too much for his stock. Shareholders are watching the value of their investment drop, while Zuckerberg counts his coins like Scrooge.

Yes, we understand that Zuckerberg is still a shareholder in Facebook. As such, he too suffers from the decline in market value. The difference, however, is that he did not have to pay an arbitrarily high price for being part of the ride. Even if Facebook were to lose half its value, he would still be ahead.

Landing the elusive blockbuster deal

Second, we need to look at the investment banks. Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase led the syndicate that allowed Zuckerberg to transform his privately-held company into liquid money.
Their motivation was simple. Contrary to what Goldman CEO Lloyd Blankfein famously said in November 2009, investment banks are not doing God's work. They exist to create profits for their firms and opportunities for their bankers to earn a living and get paid bonuses.

Adding value to the economy or making future Facebook shareholders happy did not drive the Facebook syndicate. The main driving force for them was to land the elusive blockbuster deal in a dried-up new issues environment and bring in millions in fees that could be generously shared with a few lucky investment bankers in the form of outsized bonuses. It really is that simple.

Again, there would be nothing intrinsically wrong with any of this, had the syndicate not enabled the IPO to be priced at an unsustainable level. Arguably, if the investment bankers had done their job properly, they would have recognized that the issuing price was beyond reason and advised Facebook to go public at a more modest valuation.

They should also have disclosed their earnings warnings in a much more timely manner, possibly delaying the IPO altogether, as they realized that their assumptions were not supported by the reality of Facebook's latest numbers and forecasts.


Whether or not IPOs enable future growth of the
company now owned by the public is,
for the most part, just a side benefit.


The problem is that doing so would likely have meant lower revenues for the banks, or at least delayed gratification for those working on the deal. But moderation is not an area in which Wall Street bankers traditionally show too much strength. After all, Tom Wolfe refers to them as self-declared "masters of the universe" in his 1987 novel The Bonfire of the Vanities.

And let's not forget the brokerage community. Investment advisors (or should we just call them stockbrokers?) have been waiting for a deal like this one for a long time. They always have a number of key clients that are hungry for an IPO in the hopes of doubling their money quickly.

The benefit for the brokers lies in the elevated commissions that are typically associated with initial offerings. Is it any wonder then that they try to sell Facebook to their clients even at an unreasonable price?

What this short analysis leaves us with is the realization that IPOs such as the one we have just witnessed here have one driver. They satisfy the greed of company owners, investment bankers and stockbrokers first and foremost. Whether or not they enable future growth of the company now owned by the public is, for the most part, just a side benefit.

The single most important thing that the investing public needs to recognize in all deals like this one is that their interests and expectations are not usually aligned with the interests of those involved in bringing the stock to market and selling the IPO. Which really just brings us back to the tried and tested principle of "buyers beware."

Friday, May 18, 2012

Europe's New Normal - It's Here, It's Unclear, Get Used to It

An article by R. DANIEL KELEMEN

The eurozone's troubles no longer qualify as a crisis, an unstable situation that could either quickly improve or take a dramatic turn for the worse. They are, instead, a new normal -- a painful situation, to be sure, but one that will last for years to come. Citizens, investors, and policymakers should let go of the idea that there is some magic bullet that could quickly kill off Europe's ailments. By the same token, despite the real possibility of Greek exit, the eurozone is not on the brink of collapse. The European Union and its common currency will hold together, but the road to recovery will be long.

It has been nearly two and a half years since the incoming socialist government in Greece revealed the extent to which its predecessor had accumulated debt, precipitating an economic storm that has left slashed budgets, collapsed governments, and record unemployment in its wake. With each dramatic turn, observers have anticipated the story's denouement. But again and again, a definitive resolution -- either a policy fix or a total collapse -- has failed to emerge.

The truth is that there are no quick escapes from the eurozone's predicament. Divorce is no solution. Although some economists suggest that struggling countries on the periphery could leave the euro and return to a national currency in order to regain competitiveness and restore growth, no country would willingly leave the eurozone; doing so would amount to economic suicide. Its financial system would collapse, and ensuing bank runs and riots would make today's social unrest seem quaint by comparison. What is more, even after a partial default, the country's government and financial firms would still be burdened by debt denominated largely in euros. As the value of the new national currency plummeted, the debt would become unbearable, and the government, now outside the club, would not be able to turn to the eurozone for help.


The eurozone has, at least in practice, done away with its founding documents


Some economists go further and argue that countries on Europe's periphery could thrive outside the euro straitjacket. This is equally unconvincing. Southern European countries' economies suffer from deep structural problems that predate the euro.  Spanish unemployment rates fluctuated between 15 and 22 percent throughout most of the 1990s; Greece has been in default for nearly half of its history as an independent state. These countries are far more likely to tackle their underlying problems and thrive inside the eurozone than outside it.

Others have suggested that Germany and other core countries -- weary of funding endless bailouts -- might abandon the euro. That is even less plausible. Germany has been the greatest beneficiary of European integration and the common currency. Forty percent of German exports go to eurozone countries, and the common currency has reduced transaction costs and boosted German growth. An unraveling of the eurozone would devastate German banks, and any new German currency would appreciate rapidly, damaging the country's export-led economic model.

A number of policy reforms may improve economic conditions in the eurozone, but none offers a panacea. Eurobonds, increased investment in struggling economies through the European Investment Bank and other funds, stricter regulations of banks, a common deposit insurance system, a shift from budget cuts to structural reforms that enhance productivity and encourage private-sector job creation -- all of these could improve Europe's economic situation and should be implemented.

But none of these measures would quickly restore growth or bring employment back to pre-crisis levels. That is because they do not address Europe's central economic problem: the massive debt accumulated by the periphery countries during last decade's credit boom. The 2000s saw a tremendous amount of capital flow from the northern European countries to private- and public-sector borrowers in Greece, Ireland, Portugal, and Spain. Germany and other countries with current account surpluses flooded the periphery with easy credit, and the periphery gobbled it up. This boosted domestic demand and generated growth in the periphery but also encouraged wage inflation that undermined competitiveness and left massive debt behind. As the economists Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff have pointed out, when countries suffer a recession caused by a financial crisis and debt overhang, they take many years to recover.

With both breakup and immediate solutions off the table, then, the eurozone is settling into a new normal. As the union slowly digs itself out of the economic pit, it is important to recognize that its system of economic governance has already been fundamentally transformed over the past two years.

First, the eurozone has, at least in practice, done away with its founding documents. In any monetary union in which states retain the autonomy to tax, spend, and borrow, there is a risk that some countries' excessive borrowing could threaten the value of the common currency. Recognizing this, the euro's creators drafted the Stability and Growth Pact and the "no bailout" clause in the Maastricht Treaty. The SGP placed legal restrictions on member-state deficit and debt levels, and the no-bailout clause forbade the European Union or individual member states from bailing out over-indebted states to avoid moral hazard.

The Maastricht governance regime is dead. The SGP was never strictly enforced, and when the crisis hit, the European Union tossed aside the no-bailout clause. Fearing contagion, it extended emergency loans to Greece, Ireland, and Portugal and set up a permanent bailout fund -- the European Stability Mechanism (ESM) -- which will be up and running this summer.

Having broken the taboo on bailouts, Europe had to find a way to limit the moral hazard of states turning again and again to the European Union for aid. EU lawmakers introduced the so-called six-pack legislation, which strengthened the European Commission's ability to monitor member states' fiscal policies and enforce debt limits. Twenty-five EU member states signed a fiscal compact treaty, which committed them to enshrining deficit limits into national law. Only those states that eventually ratify the treaty will be eligible for loans from the ESM.

Such legal provisions alone will not overcome the moral hazard, but they have been accompanied by evolution in bond markets, which now distinguish between the debt of healthy governments in the core and weak ones on the periphery. For the first decade of the euro's young life, bond markets priced the risk associated with the peripheral economies' bonds nearly the same as that associated with German ones. Today, the yield spreads are substantial and increase at the first sign of heightened risk. And by forcing private investors to take a nearly 75 percent loss on Greek bonds in conjunction with the second Greek bailout in February 2012, European leaders made clear that private bondholders should not expect bailouts to cover their losses, too. Now, more vigilant bond markets will police governments that run up unsustainable deficits or whose banking sectors grow fragile.

The second major structural change is that the European Central Bank -- legally prohibited from purchasing any member state's debt -- has thrown its rules aside and directly purchased billions in Greek, Irish, Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish bonds. Moreover, the ECB has indirectly financed billions more loans through its long-term refinancing operation, which extended over a trillion euros in low-interest loans to commercial banks.

ECB President Mario Draghi has repeatedly insisted that the bank is not engaging in "monetary financing" of member-state debts. If I were an Italian president of a central bank located in Frankfurt with a mandate designed by German inflation hawks, I would say that, too. But in practice, the ECB has shown itself to be far more flexible than many had anticipated. It has revealed, quite simply, that it will not oversee the demise of the currency that justifies its existence.

This new system of eurozone governance is more sustainable than the pre-crisis regime set in place by the Maastricht Treaty. It will withstand a Greek exit, for example. If Greece refuses to adhere to the terms of its bailout package and is forced out of the eurozone in the coming weeks, the ECB will likely scramble to stop contagion, but it will not be faced with the entire system's collapse. Meanwhile, by standing firm on Greece, the European Union will have further demonstrated that the conditions attached to its bailouts are serious, motivating other states to stick to their reform programs.

Greece's exit from the eurozone would be a catastrophe for Greece and a trauma for Europe, but it would not change the fundamentals of the post-2008 eurozone governance regime, which will still be based on stronger fiscal surveillance, more robust enforcement procedures, more vigilant bond markets, and a more activist central bank. With such a system in place, and with their commitment to fiscal discipline established, EU leaders will now face the slow, difficult tasks of adjustment and structural reform. And those burdens must be shared by all. It is understandable that Germany and the ECB initially demanded austerity as the condition for bailouts, but this one-sided approach has driven peripheral economies deeper into recession. Moving forward, austerity, wage reductions, and structural reform on the periphery must be comupled with public spending and wage increases in Germany, which will boost demand. There will be no quick fix, but the eurozone will recover, slowly but surely.

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