1. Terlebih dulu saya ingin mengambil peluang ini untuk mengucap terima kasih kepada Encik Ravi Dharan, Group Chief Executive, Daya Group of Companies oleh kerana menjemput saya dan isteri ke majlis makan malam tahunan. Saya ucapkan tahniah di atas prestasi syarikat tuan-tuan dan puan-puan. I am given to understand that Daya over the past years has acquired considerable presence in the region, having undertaken infrastructure projects in China, India, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Indonesia and the Philippines. Global approach to business and large scale operations, needs great self-discipline, high professional standards and good ethical practices.
Daya seems to be on the right track, namely exporting its engineering and management expertise; providing total solutions to regional economies; developing greading edge technologies that combine so well with the use of Information Technology, and lastly the implementation of Total Transparent Project Management System, (which I understand is a first that provides dynamic on-line view of progress at Daya's project sites.
2. I believe that Daya is geared to taking its acquired experience into the next phase of its corporate life, that of investing in expanding economies of the New Asia. Positive work culture and values need to be inculcated in the workforce so as to enable them to face challenges in the current volatile and dynamic market environment. The workforce should be allowed to participate and integrate in management decisions and segregation of labour from management should be avoided. I wish to emphasise on management style. The most important responsibility of management is to ensure that all employees and systems in the company are geared to wards productivity improvements. In view of this, management should be committed to create a work culture that stresses on productivity. Managers must lead. They must provide the vision and set clear objectives for the organization. These must then be effectively communicated to employees from all levels so that there is a common understanding of the shared vision and objectives. Employees have to be encouraged to participate in productivity improvement efforts.
3. I referred to ethics just now. Business ethics deal with the question of what is right and what is wrong in the conduct of business. Its principal objective is to produce morally upright businessmen who will conduct their business in accordance with what society regards as ethical and acceptable. The standard measure of what is acceptable is the age- old principle of "nonmaleficience" which simply means "do no harm". In other words, as long as our conduct of business will not bring about any harm to others, we are considered to be within the standard or norm of business practices. Although the principle appears to be simple, there seems to be more factors that influence man to be unethical in their business practices. The questions of greed, desire to make quick returns, inability to face stiff competition, commonly lead towards unethical conduct of business.
4. In order to appreciate the Islamic view of business ethics, it is necessary to understand what is the objective of the Islamic "shariah" itself.
The Islamic "shariah" aims at promoting the welfare of society and safeguarding it from all forms of impediments and difficulties. In other words, the "shariah" is good for everybody and not just to take punitive action to the wrong doers. Take for example, the fact that Islam teaches us to be just in all our dealings including business. This means that there should not be any cheating, deception or any form of business practice that would result in any degree of injustice. All business deals have to be transparent. If we have established that justice is always our concern in all our business dealings, it will the biggest intangible asset that we can create for a more sustainable success. The trust that people will have in us will be of inestimable value. Secondly, Islam insists on the practice of "ihsan" or benevolence in the same verse with justice. "Ihsan" implies that some concern should be given to the party that one deals with. It is not sufficient to deal justly, but indeed Islam demands benevolence as well. The practice of "ihsan" will undoubtedly attract more customers because we are actually giving them the necessary priority. It is also interesting to note that "ihsan" also covers all the stakeholders. We cannot simply give priorities to the customers and expect to succeed, but we have also to give due consideration to our suppliers, the shareholders and the workers and staff. The application of "ihsan" in a wider perspective will undoubtedly provide the framework within which we build proper relationships with all those concerned with our business. The Prophet has been reported to have said to the effect that "A truthful and trustworthy merchant (will be gathered in the Day of Resurrection) with the Prophets, the truthful and the martyrs". This is indeed a very strong motivation to all business people who will be handsomely recompensed in the hereafter, for the services they rendered to mankind in this life simply through his good conduct in business.
5. We have achieved rapid growth and our wealth has increased by leaps and bounds. However, we must also be reminded of some untoward and ugly incidences overseas and at home of some of our so called businessmen. While it is correct not to single out the black sheep as representative of the general truth, it is apt for me to remind you not to have the image of the "ugly Malaysians" overseas.
6. I congratulate you on ten years of achievement and have great pleasure in launching Daya's new directions into the next millennium.