Due Diligence – A Macro Perspective

Company X runs a billion-dollar business in Malaysia. The services Company X provide is a modern-day necessity for every single individual on this planet earth today… Yes! Company X runs a Telecommunication Service!

The business is so lucrative that competition to stay on top of the industry is so intense. Manipulation and sabotage is a norm for owners within this industry. The big players are challenged by new players mushrooming continuously within the industry. And if “clean competition” does not work towards their benefit, they dare to resort towards manipulation and sabotages. Company X was a victim of sabotage within its industry.

Generally, to enjoy an uninterrupted telecommunication service, these telecommunication companies need to set up sufficient cell towers. The primary function of a cell tower is to elevate antennas that transmit and receive radio frequency (RF) signals from mobile phones and devices. The wires that run from the antennas to the base station equipment are typically located at ground level, in sealed telecom equipment cabinets. But in many instances, especially in Malaysia, this equipment’s are easily stolen or damaged – which explains the poor reception, users encounter with any telecommunication service providers in Malaysia. The decision made by Company X to conduct a due diligence on their problem, enabled the company to investigate, assess and get to the root of this problem.

In the context of definition, due diligence is an action that refers to a research conducted on certain “areas of interest” to confirm, clarify and proof all allegations, facts or truths. Due diligence can be used to analyse any “areas of interest”, including Surveillance, Merger and Acquisition (M&A), Partnership, Investment, Awarding of Contracts, or simply for the sake of gathering General Information. A well-conducted due diligence identifies specific details beyond the micro perspective of the subject being investigated.

In the case of Company X, no doubt the direct culprits were identified and captured, but the bigger picture was focused on the socio-economy status of the people of this country. Ground equipment were stolen and sold for a minimum price, merely to afford a small amount of money to purchase drugs! This discovery indirectly led the due diligence activity to investigate further on the statistics of drug addicts in this country. According to the Home Ministry in Malaysia, between January 2010 and February 2016, there were a total of 131,841 drug addicts registered in Malaysia.

This indeed is an alarming figure, knowing that most of them are aged between 19 to 40 years old – all of whom should be engaged in some form of employment in Malaysia. It further increases the risks of employers employing such individuals, whom might be drug addicts, but the employers may have no clue whatsoever about their endangering habit. What shocked Company X was that some of the culprits captured in their case were their own ex-employees, and were drug addicts themselves.

Further probing could even proof the fact that employees with drug issues, would also not hesitate to commit minor fraud or serious crime within the vicinity of their workplace. Fraud such as petty thefts to serious scams can occur if the company is tied up to work with such employees.

Obviously, there’s the temptation to sit back and smile… but there’s so much at stake, that we must do our due diligence (RALPH NEAS).

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