Category Archives: Business

DRB-HICOM appoints Proton Inspira as Proton CEO

**SATIRE, PARODY, UNTRUE. Just a joke, folks**

SHAH ALAM — DRB-HICOM Bhd today announced the appointment of an artificial intelligence-enhanced Proton Inspira 2.0 as Proton Holdings Bhd’s new chief executive officer, following the investment conglomerate acquiring the carmaker a few weeks ago.

KHAMIL: Inspira knows the product more than anyone

At the announcement ceremony, DRB-HICOM group managing director Datuk Seri Mohd Khamil Jamil said that the parent company had made the perfect choice in putting the fate of the national automaker in the hands of a car they had built.

“DRB-HICOM has always maintained that we cannot afford to appoint just about anybody, especially those not from the auto industry. We’d want the new Proton CEO to really know the product. And who would know cars better than a car?” said Khamil at the Press conference, as the Inspira, serial number 3765-210-0444-IQ57 looked on, its red ‘Knight Rider’-inspired sensor light swooshing calmly on its grille.

“Throughout Proton’s almost 3 decades of operation, humans have called the shots,” Khamil continued. “And as the company enters a crucial chapter, where the stakes are higher and global competition is getting stiff, we cannot afford to risk human error. Inspira here will be able to make logical, objective and heartless decisions that would benefit the company and the cars it produces, free from emotions or political pressure,” said Khamil, as the new CEO scanned the faces of all the journalists in the conference hall, the supercomputer under the hood buzzing menacingly. “This is a car business, and it’s best to leave the hard decisions to those in the business.”

Khamil then proceeded to explain to the reporters the characters of the new CEO.

INSPIRING CHOICE: New CEO Inspira at the event

“The CEO started as an ordinary production car, of course. It was assembled just like any other Inspiras out there,” said Khamil. “But we picked the best one from the assembly line, and added on a few things that would make it functional in the boardroom as well as the highway.

“The AI is top of the line. Developed right here in the Proton Centre of Excellence by local programmers, the neural network sits in a Cray-XK7 supercomputer with multiple-core processors,” said Khamil, proudly showing the processor-infused engine bay. “We spared no expense. We wanted the very best leader for Proton, one who could carry the weight of the nation’s expectations.”

Responding to a reporter’s question about appointing a non-Malaysian as head of a Government-linked company, what with the Inspira model originating as a Mitsubishi Lancer GT, Khamil said that the Inspira was only ‘inspired’ by the Japanese automaker’s model, not an exact copy. “To say that the Inspira is Japanese is like calling a Malaysian who graduated from Harvard University an American! That would be very silly,” he retorted, to the laughter from the audience. “We are proud of the CEO’s Malaysian heritage and spirit, and have no doubt about its loyalty.”

Additionally, Khamil would not confirm or deny rumours of DRB-HICOM appointing other cars from Proton’s model lineup in the management.

“Let’s start small, ladies and gentlemen,” he said. “As it is, we’ll be the first company in the world that has a non-human as CEO. While we celebrate our innovative step today, we should take baby steps into the next phase. Our expectations are high, but who knows, if the Inspira performs well, we’ll be seeing the Satria Neo as COO, Saga as CFO and Exora in charge of marketing?” said Khamil, as the current human being management team looked on nervously.

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Woman first human to be OPEC member

JONES: Thrilled to be part of this exclusive club

ONTARIO — For Andrea Jones, 35, her oily face had always been a problem. Ever since she hit puberty at ten, she’s always been the butt of jokes and taunts from family members, friends and colleagues. Now however, her overactive oil glands are proving to be a blessing as she received news that she has been accepted in the prestigious Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). The 12-member coalition, whose membership includes Angola, Iran, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia, sent their offer to join to Miss Jones this week after carefully studying her oil-producing capabilities.

“Oh my god, this is an absolute dream come true,” shrieked Jones when contacted. “I’ve been trying to get rid of this oil on my face, with numerous types of mattifying moisturisers, oil blotters, medicated wet wipes and lotions, all to no avail. I clean my face in the morning and by lunchtime, I was dripping with oil. It has been such a pain!

“But now, look at me. I’m standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Qatar, yo!” she beamed, her face reflecting the ceiling light and partially blinding those present.

Showing the offer letter signed by OPEC secretary general, His Excellency Abdalla Salem El-Badri, Jones said that she was initially skeptical that a regular person like her could join such an esteemed global body.

“I mean, I thought, who am I to be compared to countries like Venezuela, who produces 2 million barrels of crude oil per day? I was barely pushing a pint per day. I didn’t think I was worthy of the honour,” admitted Jones. “But since the OPEC members have, as Mr El-Badri put it, ‘unanimously agreed’, I couldn’t say no.”

Jones says that instead of avoiding oily food as she had been trying to do the last few years, she will now eat only greasy fares.

“The oilier, the better!” she exclaimed. “Now, I typically start my day with a bucket of golden brown deep fried chicken, dipped in saturated fat, for breakfast. For lunch and dinner, I alternate between fried fish and beef jerky, all dripping grease. Yum-my! As for snacks, I now only take palm oil kernel, dipped in salsa, you know, to keep my body balanced.

“OPEC was pretty clear with me about the rules,” said the single clerk. “I have to keep my oil production up, or else they’ll revoke my membership. I completely understand, they have to keep the global balance of power in their favour, and I have to play my part.”

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Toys ‘R’ Us admits to supplying Santa with toys

THE IMAGE: Santa delivering toys supposedly made by his elves

NORTH POLE — For ages, children around the world were led to believe that the toys Santa Claus left in their stockings on Christmas mornings were lovingly made by his merry elves.

However, that belief was blown away to pieces today when giant toy store franchise Toys ‘R’ Us revealed that it had been supplying most, if not all, of the jovial Christmas icon’s gifts for the last decade.

In a written statement, Chairman and CEO Gerald Storch said that the company was no longer willing to ‘hide the truth’ from the world and ‘continue living an ugly lie’ by letting Santa Claus take the credit for the high quality toys children get every Christmas morning.

“The orders for the latest toys started coming in from North Pole in October 1997,” said Storch. “We at Toys ‘R’ Us were naturally ecstatic at first. Which company wouldn’t like a big corporate buyer knocking on their door?

“As the orders continued and grew the following years, so did our bank accounts. We did wonder who was behind these orders, since the company bought through an agent, who only stated that the buyer was a foundation set up by a ‘well-respected and jolly philantropist’ who ‘loved kids’. He was a very prompt paymaster, so we never bothered about the details.

“However, as we began receiving reports that children around the world were getting ‘more hip and trendy’ toys in their stockings from Santa, unlike the usual traditional ones made of wood, tin and cloth he delivers, our suspicions grew.”

Storch added that his company’s intial investigations showed obvious signs.

“We contacted some of the children who reported that they got uber-cool toys — which they had actually asked for in the wish list they sent Santa – and purchased their toys for investigation. The results were both stunning, and disappointing.

“We discovered that the toys were the ones we sold to our North Pole buyer, but only repackaged and had their logos stripped off. Even the serial numbers were scaled off. However, via the serial numbers found on the inner parts of some of the toys, we determined that the toys were from us.”

Storch said that the company’s board of directors were then faced with a moral dilemma — while Santa’s actions were very healthy to Toys ‘R’ Us’ balance sheets, it was an ‘outright deception’, and ran against the company’s principles.

“In the end, we decided that money is not as important as preserving the honest spirit of Christmas,” said Storch. “We had to make this public, even if we risk losing this big account.”

Toys ‘R’ Us would not reveal how much the Santa account is worth, but sources say that it ran into billions a year.

A spokesman for Santa Claus Inc, in response, said that it was not a deception, but simply ‘a new business model, in line with a global strategy deemed necessary in the new millennium’.

Chief communications officer Elf Rowan said, “Santa Claus would like to state that he sees nothing wrong with subbing out the manufacturing process of his toys to other parties, to improve efficiency and keep up with the times.

“He realises that the kids these days demand more from their toys, and acknowledge that his own toy factory, manned by millions of hardworking and merry elves, was not able to produce such electronic and digital products, and cope with the rising number of children worldwide. He saw, and still sees, no harm in sourcing out, as long as the quality is high and the kids are happy.”

Elf Rowan refused to say if Santa would stop buying from Toys ‘R’ Us, in light of this revelation.

“Santa will have the whole of next year to evaluate the current situation. He will make a statement at a much later date.”

Toy manufacturers Hasbro and Mattel, when contacted, said that they were not concerned about whom the kids get their products from.

“As long as our high quality, super-cool and uber kick-ass toys fly off the shelves and make our customers happy playing and learning, we’re okay,” they said, in a joint statement.

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Tackling road hogs with Sidewinders

Road hogging frustrates many performance car drivers

Road hogging frustrates many performance car drivers

KUALA LUMPUR — A German company has come up with a perfect solution for drivers fed up with slow-moving vehicles hogging the fast lane — obliterate them out of the way with a guided missile.

Linus Furtwaffe GmbH, a premium auto accessory maker based in Stuttgart, yesterday made available to Malaysian drivers a mini-version of the AIM-9 Sidewinder Air-to-Air Missile (AAM) carried by NATO fighter aircraft and certain helicopter gunships. The 1.3m-long AIM-9RH solid rocket fuel-propelled missile is sold in a set of two, complete with the launch and guidance systems and installation, for RM145,000 per set.

At the launching ceremony, Linus Furtwaffe (M) Managing Director Kenneth How said that the idea for the mini-Sidewinder was conceived by the company’s German founder two years ago after having to tailgate slow-moving trucks on the Autobahn for a full half hour before being able to overtake. “Mr Furtwaffe had to keep his McLaren SLR going 45km/h behind a vegetable truck and a cement mixer hogging both lanes,” said How. “It was then that he wished that he could just ‘blow them out of the way’, and the idea was born.

“A year later, with the help of Ford Aerospace in the US, Linus Furtwaffe launched its first Sidewinder missile for automobiles. The purpose is simple: if drivers of slow-moving vehicles cannot respect the road rule regarding fast lane usage, then perhaps they should be taught some respect.”

How said that the target market for this product are ‘drivers of performance vehicles who are constantly frustrated by fast-lane road hoggers who think they own the bloody road’.

A demo Sidewinder missile being launched from a BMW 5-series

A demo Sidewinder missile being launched from a BMW 5-series

“I think most Malaysian drivers who like to go fast have experienced — nay, endured — this situation, yes?” asked How.

“Taxis, motorcycles, buses and even those tiny little sub-compact cars who go around on the fast lane thinking ‘yes I can, yes I can’, like that toy train in the children’s book as we get stuck behind them moving at snail’s pace,” he said. “We honk, we give them a polite high-beam, we even tailgate dangerously close… and yet they still don’t get it,” How continued, shaking his head.

“Well now, instead of us having our blood boil and cursing to ourselves to no avail, we get to do something effective and change the situation.”
How said that the system is easy to use. “With a push of a button added on the steering wheel spoke, the missile launch system would instantaneously unleash hell upon the target,” he said excitedly. “With over 8 pounds (4 kg) of PBXN-3 explosives in each missile, we can assure you that there woun’t be much left in front of you to slow you down. The target would be vapourised.”
The minimal installation system would only add 120kg to the car's overall weight
The minimal installation system would only add 120kg to the car’s overall weight

How said that installation would be hassle-free and fast.

“We understand how much you love driving you car, so the last thing we want to do is keep your car in our garage for a week or two to fit the system in,” he said. “The AIM-9RH set can be installed in any medium- to large-sized car in under two hours. You can send your loved vehicles in in the morning and have it ready to kill road hogs right after lunch!”
How added that customers can only expect the best of German engineering and service. “Our professional technicians were rigorously trained at the Stuttgart headquarters, to ensure that every missile deployment is a safe one.
“I mean, you wouldn’t want to blow yourself up now, would you?” he joked.
How said that the system was also easy to use, and clients can even reload the missiles on their own.
“Refill missiles are sold at RM25,000 each, and we have ready stock. We want our clients to have fun on the road again, to drive as fast as their machines can afford them — to enjoy the pure spirit of performance driving again,” How said.
“However, just make sure you leave a little bit of distance between your car and the target — flying debris can leave an ugly dent on your hood.”

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Proton unveils cheap-ass variant of Exora

Customers admiring the Exora C variant

Customers admiring the Exora C variant

KUALA LUMPUR — Amid an excited Malaysian public, Proton today launched the first of three variants of its latest model, the MPV Exora.

The ‘C’ variant (for Cheap) comes without the frills traditionally included by car companies, like engine, transmission, seats, doors, windows and steering wheel. (The other two variants, “Premium” and “Standard”, will be launched next month)

Proton managing director Datuk Syed Zainal Abdin Tahir said that the MPV was designed for families which were conscious about doing things economically. “While the other two variants, with the usual package that includes items some see as ‘basic’ would be sold at around RM80,000, the ‘C’ variant is sold at below RM5,000.

“This way, we’re appealing to the segments which traditionally would not have considered buying a car, let alone an MPV. We’ve made it possible for everyone to own a family car.”

Acknowledging that an engine would have made the ‘C’ variant a more complete vehicle, Syed Zainal said that there were many shops which sold new or reconditioned engines around the country. “We’re giving Malaysians the choice to choose the type, brand, and capacity of engines they want. They’re free to even choose what kind of transmission, suspension, and pretty much anything else, they want for their car.”
Syed Zainal pointed out that even without the ‘optional’ extra safety items like airbags, seat belts and bumbers, the Exora ‘C’ variant is a very safe vehicle.

“It’s gone through the same safety tests as the other variants and came out smelling like roses. While we do recommend using safety helmets if driving the vehicle at its most basic form, we stand by our promise that it’s safe.”

Syed Zainal added that the first 200 customers who register their ‘C’ variant Exora would stand to win an Astro satellite dish worth RM30 (decoder, cables, remote and account not included).

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KFC gives chickens VIP treatment

KUALA LUMPUR — TIRED of accusations of badly treating its livestock, KFC Malaysia today revealed that the company has revamped all its chicken farms, far exceeding international standards.

kfcboss Its managing director Jamaludin Mohammed Ali told a packed press conference today that the chickens are now being housed at facilities rated no less than five stars, fitting their new status as ‘brand ambassadors’.

“We realise that today’s society doesn’t like seeing animals being treated badly, and we fully understand that. While we don’t think putting them up in our regular chicken farms, which are already very hygienic and spacious, is wrong, we must respect the public opinion,” he said.

“Hence, the chickens’ new accommodation will be suites complete with attached jacuzzis and walk-in closets.”

Jamaludin added that there would be 450 double-storey villas, with each villa housing 2 suites, manned by 3 staff including a butler to cater to all the chickens’ needs.

luxury-suite1

“As KFC’s brand ambassadors, they deserve only the best treatment, before being slaughtered, defeathered, cut and sent to our 480 outlets across the country.

“I can’t think of a better way to live than getting a Balinese massage, a facial treatment and spending some time in the sauna. It’s all top-class treatment, using only authentic and imported ingredients to pamper the discerning fowl,” enthused Jamaludin. “And at the end of the day, our customers get the best quality chicken, in line with our ‘Finger Lickin’ Good’ mantra.”

An unnamed spokesperson for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA), when contacted, said that she would not comment on the latest development, until the organisation has had a chance to study it in detail. “Of course, we welcome any effort by KFC to treat its livestock better,” she said. “However, we’re still waiting for the company’s response to our recommendation that KFC does not use any animal in their product, so we’re not too optimistic about their move.”

Jamaludin disclosed that the company’s move to better treat its chickens will affect the bottom line.

“We would be spending close to billion ringgit building the new facilities, so naturally, our finances would be hit,” he said. “While we would take the brunt of the expenditure, unfortunately, we’ll have to transfer some of the cost to the customer, albeit only minimally.

“For example, the price for a Snack Plate meal (consisting 2 pieces of chicken, two side dishes of coleslaw and mashed potatoes, and a fizzy drink) would be increased marginally to RM249.90 per meal, and a Zinger burger would be priced at RM79.90,” he said. He added that the new prices for the full menu would be announced in a few days.

KFC’s traditional rivals, McDonald’s and Burger King, when contacted, refused to comment. Industry insiders however, disclosed that the two companies are in the midst of coming out with equally eco-friendly measures to counter KFC’s move, including turning Ronald McDonald into a vegetarian.

A spokesperson for Nando’s, however, said that they may be experimenting with going the opposite direction — treat the chickens so badly that they’d wish they were dead.

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