'Justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be done.
This is one of the things I still remember from law school. Recently, while reading books for my research on Public Administration, Self-help, Citizen Participation, Government intervention and Social Justice, as well as religiously watching John Oliver to learn aboutcritical commentary, amongst others. Hahahaa! Justice is also one of the main element of public interest. Although public interest is much discussed in relation to the scholarly works of Public Administration, public interest is actually bigger and broader than just of the Public Administration scope but must also include the importance of how other actors such as the business community in the public sphere reduce or add value in society, augment or complement, compete or even impact the community while at the same time influencing policies and decisions of the regulators.
Recently, I wrote about how individuals, business and corporate should play roles in the society. Recently I have been interested in the impact of the businesses/private sector and non-state actors in the realm of the Malaysian society and why they are behaving as such. Are they responsible? What are the extent of the level of responsibility they are willing to accept? how do they see themselves in the community? Are they just there to make money? Do they exist just to benefit from the tax exemptions given by the government, make as much money and leave.. or do they have values that are parallel or value adds the existing values in the community.. so they want to invest in that?
A few days ago, I was informed that Persatuan Pengusaha-Pengusaha Stesen Minyak received an Okay from the government to charge motorists for air for tyres. I have no idea how much it is costing the station owners but I think it is simply ridiculous. Yes, there are some companies abroad that charge for air but still it's simply nonsensical. Why can't the owners absorb the cost? most gas stations are self-service now, although we do see an increase of workers, which I also don't understand why..how did we change our policy for the petrol stations? Public toilets, or toilets in public spaces are also not free. Why?
I would like to share that in Japan, public toilets are free. Toilets in public spaces including train stations, parks, malls are free. Almost all convenient stores (7E, Ministop, Lawson, Family Mart) in Japan, including 100yen stores such as 100yen Lawson have restrooms that can be used without any charges. Restaurants or shops usually allow non-consumers to use their restrooms. I have seen mothers using restrooms in a very busy restaurant to change diapers, although they are are not customers. In festivals where there is usually a big crowd, nearby business also open their doors to people because those people are their guests.
On rainy days, special umbrella bags are provided for customers (free). In many public spaces, hand sanitizers are also provided (free). Once, a bought some books, the shops gave me a plastic cover over my paper bag because it was drizzling (free). Bookshops provide a choice of book covers for free. All restaurants have handwash, proper handwash instead of soap bars (ewww!!).
Most restaurants provide hand towels or wet tissues without charging extra in the receipt! If you buy cakes, fish or meat, the cashiers will ask if you need dry ice..usually without any charges.
No restaurants charge for water unless you request for bottled water. You can eat in a restaurant without ordering a drink.The air for my bicycle tyres in Japan has been filled free. All I do is I say Thank you and greet them before I pump the air.
In Korea, water is free too,.and its RnR provides free rice soup (air kanji). If you have been to Korean restaurants, the coffee after meals are also free.
I know it looks like i have listed a lot of free things. Who doesn't like free things. But, the free things I have listed gives us the feeling of safety, you could use a restroom even if you don't have any money, you can have a sip of water, even when you don't have enough money, you can rest assure that there is soap for you to wash you hands, and tissue is also free. When you tyres are punctured and your days are crumbling down, the air is free.
I believe so strongly that business must absorb some cost. its call business cost, It's unfair for to pass the cost entirely to the consumers. Aren't we at all ashamed that we can respond to the real needs of the people.
Why can't our business community be more people friendly? What kind of mentality have we had and what are we building? what kind of values is our nation state want our businesses to have?
DON'T we understand that PAYING IT FORWARD IS IMPORTANT?
What? only to make money?Duhh.