Friday, 16 December 2016

When banks are getting ridiculous

Two afternoons ago, while having tea with a friend of mine and mom, the mobile phone rang. On the other end of the line is the branch manager of Alliance Bank calling to enquire the reason and source of fund of a recent cheque deposit of RM 11,000.00.

Friend: "The cheque was issued by EPF. I am sure you can see from the cheque itself. Is that a problem?"

Branch manager: "My HQ want to know what is the reason for your withdrawal?"

Friend: "I am a former Malaysian and I was asked to clear my EPF account. Your bank is unable to process the cheque from EPF?"

Branch manager: "No, we just want to know the source of fund. My HQ asking."

Friend:"EPF!! Can’t you see from the signatories of the cheque itself?"

After the conversation with the branch manager, which my friend found extremely ridiculous, he called the Head of the Customer Service Team of Alliance Bank to lodge his dissatisfaction. He was then told that banks in Malaysia screen through every deposit of more than certain amount to counter terrorism. Oh well, EPF withdrawal by a former Malaysian who is now a Singaporean at the request of EPF itself to fund terrorism and a branch manager who can’t see that the cheque was issued by EPF!!!

“Do you think they read the name of the receiver as ACH bin Laden?” he asked me teasingly after the whole “moronic” affairs was over.

Then my mom joined the conversation.

“Last year, when I make a fixed deposit in HSBC Teluk Intan, the bank officer also asked me for my source of fund. I told him it is from Najib’s donation and then someone next to him said that I am the taukeh of Shell,” my mom said angrily.

“But Public Bank is smart enough not to ask me this kind of stupid question,” mom added.

As if the banks have the spine to alienate their VIP customers with such a question!!

Personally, my dear bankers in Singapore and Malaysia have never asked for my source of fund regardless of the amount transacted. Therefore, I am in the opinion that banks are after inconsequential amount as a window dressing to comply with the Central Bank’s anti-terrorism and money laundering measure while closing an eye big amounts for fear of offending “VIPs”. In fact, as heard in court during the trial of former BSI private bank bankers in Singapore, they have even gone the extra mile to help certain clients to move hundreds of millions.

Or, even the banks are wary of government institutions such as the EPF?

Lastly, do you still remember what is the most commonly said phrase to describe banks? 

Monday, 12 December 2016

A note on the occasion of my birthday

Words cannot describe how fortune, blessed and thankful I am to be surrounded by beloved family members, best of friends and primus inter pares colleagues that stood by me through thick and thin and be here to celebrate a memorable birthday for me. It is a long list to thank everyone by name but I am deeply touched by your best wishes, your time spent celebrating and showering me with wonderful gifts.

On this occasion, I would also like to thank my dear one for the beautiful gift of a pair of wrightia religiousa bonsai trees (pic above) that signifies growth and life.  I hope that these two trees will grow healthily and if possible, to look at their changes 35 years later. After all, you once said that the art of bonsai is an artwork that will never finish – 永远未完成的艺术- a continuous labour of love.

Last but not least, my birthday wish is to see a developed and prosperous Malaysia where everyone from different race and religion live harmoniously, a peaceful world to live without fear and a better tomorrow for everyone. Once again, thank you very much.