When compliance leads to complications9

When compliance leads to complications

“Why fix if it ain’t broke.” This is a well-known American saying and essentially it means to keep — “business as usual”. After all “why rock the boat?”

After years of building a system that functions well enough why go to all that trouble to dismantle and rebuild? This is a question on the lips of many people, especially bureaucrats caught in the middle where they have to deal with everyday deadlines and yet they have to rethink the entire process to improve efficiency.

Change is a difficult concept to grasp and to embrace

I do sympathise. Yes, it is a lot of trouble but we have no choice. We have to think ahead and anticipate. Many of us may not know it but the world outside is changing very rapidly and Malaysia risks losing its place as a top trading nation to the world.

When that happens, this country can plunge into economic chaos. We can easily become a very poor nation if we carry on as we have done for many years. We have to change. We have to relook and rethink everything and every process.

The Prime Minister has made all the right decisions. He has been bold and courageous in putting forward this huge, comprehensive transformation programme.

This is a Prime Minister with spunk because he has refused to allow the nation to stay and battle in the middle-income category.

PTEHe is taking us into a new territory where high value, high productivity and high income are the norm to battle with giants.

And innovation sits at the very centre of this grand new plan. And that is why in this article I wish to address the complications that compliance can create.

Compliance sits at the opposite side of the table where innovation sits. They don’t see eye to eye.

Granted compliance has its merits, but there is a time and place for it.  When the whole country is attempting to engage innovation as the way forward, compliance, especially blind compliance, becomes a stumbling block to progress.

To help you understand let me give you a window to the kind of compliance educators are expected to fulfill in order to obtain accreditation for new programmes.  All I need is just this one tiny example to illustrate my point. This pertains to the use of the word “classical” to describe a module on animation where students learn about old methods used in this discipline.

We were told to change it to “traditional animation” because that is the norm and we cannot break the trend. If we had insisted on keeping “classical” over “traditional” we would not have gotten accreditation for that programme.

In other words we have to comply. That was easy. Imagine the battle for programmes that are completely new to this country. We have faced these battles and it has taken us a long time to get accreditation. Life did get complicated but it was a complication we wanted to immerse in order to move forward.

In any case for both the University as well as the authorities it has been a long learning curve. We have come to know each other better. We understand the challenges faced by the authorities and they have come to understand the University’s need to innovate.

student learning

To the University compliance does not come easy because we take great pride in being innovative. Compliance in our case certainly does not benefit the students because they learn nothing new. Which is one of the reasons that a lot of the real learning at the University takes place outside the classroom.

Now translate this compliance scenario to other sectors where the regulatory system has no provision for assessment of new ideas. A person like Steve Jobs will never get his iPad off the ground, if he was located in this country.

And this is making me very worried.

Here our Prime Minister is pushing to migrate the economy to high-income, high-productivity and high-value status, while those down the line continue in a “business-as-usual” fashion.

In key areas of government the people who can make a vital difference still insist on the old ways of doing things.

This is the “real world” for many out there who face frustration because of the delays and the denials.

How do we “change” this situation?

There are many models to measure excellence and achieve outcomes we seek

The strategists in government have to work this out. Bureaucracy must accept that there is no single model for success. That there are many ways of achieving outcomes and there are many ways of measuring excellence.

If we continue with adherence to archaic methods there is no way this country is going to sustain its competitiveness. Too many Malaysians are exporting products and services overseas and they have to deal with the stringent requirements of other countries.

You know the saying water will always find its level. In the same sentiment those in the business world will always find other ways to move their goods.

An increasing number of our top companies are taking their businesses out of the country and setting up manufacturing hubs overseas where they are given the support to bring their products to the marketplace with speed.

This is a worrying trend, one that must be addressed, swiftly and with urgency.

Certainly the Government appears to be working towards a better and more efficient system of facilitating the private sector in its operations. The plans and the programmes are in place.

But down the line as we get closer to the ground the scenario changes. Here is where the private sector is losing the battle because the change has not taken place where it must.

And you cannot really blame the “gatekeepers” because they are following the same tried and true systems for submission and approval of a whole gamut of things covering the different economic sectors within which the private sector operates.

I do think that we still have a long way to go. We have got the maths right but when it comes to putting it to work it’s a different ball game all together.

We need to innovate and get out of this muddy track and onto the highway. And we need to do this as quickly as we can.

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About Tan Sri Lim

Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Paduka Dr Lim Kok Wing, the Founder and President of Limkokwing University of Creative Technology, does not fit into any ordinary mould that would describe most entrepreneurs.

His journey has been closely linked with the economic and social development of Malaysia.

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clement Mogatle
2011 June 7

This are very encouraging words Prof,,, innovation,,,

2011 June 24

I’m proud to be a student of your institute man and i feel
the qualification will be the one of the ornaments on my wealth.
I wish you long live so i can read more of your articles.

Brandon Chan
2011 July 4

Never regret a moment working under your tutelage Tan Sri. Your words have been continuously inspiring even till this moment. In fact, this latest blog has triggered a new strength in me to thrive on a challenge.

2011 July 7

just read Prof`s article and it is so motivating and makes me more proud to be a student of limkokwing

Mamolete Mohapi
2011 July 11

I have always been inspired by your brilliant writings Tan Sri. I wish we can read the words to understand thoroughly what they mean to all of us. This is the blog I would like to share with as many people as possible.

B Khoarai
2011 July 13

Just about to graduate and already i know i want to start work and it feels like it going to be a walk in a park due to the huge experience i had the honour to gather here.

i know of a lot of people, me included who would definitely say why fix it while its been working and continues to do so. But it truly takes a man of this world to see beyond normal, and to question today about tomorrow. The world need more leaders of you caliber although i know your kind is a very rare commodity.

2011 July 15

this is my dream to enhand my tallent

2011 July 21

Wise words comes from wise men.

Thabo Malefetsane
2011 November 8

From day1 as a student at the institution of limkokwing University…i knew nd understood the turn that my life took, i knew that my bed-tym dreams nd my day-tym dreams wuld change…words lyk “Innovation”, “Creativity”...wuld be the words to hount my life 4eva nd im proud of it…Thank u Limkokwing, i can now see beyond…


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