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Saturday, July 13, 2024

50 Times Profit – Your $2,800 Christian Dior Handbags Cost Only $57 To Make, And Made By Workers Paid $2 An Hour

 Ever wonder why women love designer handbags so much, to the extent they willingly eat instant noodles – even skipping meals – just to save money for the luxury items? Many are prepared to spend more on a handbag than a holiday or even a car. Why? That’s because they want to flash our handbags so that the rest of the world, or at least friends or colleagues, know it.

 

Women find bags so desirable and irresistible largely because they represent a woman’s status, fashion savvy and earning power. It wasn’t like that some 200 years ago, when a woman’s  role was largely domestic. Everything changes when women started leaving the home, both for leisure and work. Bags naturally became a useful way of carrying a woman’s possessions.

 

Therefore, it’s not a coincidence that many of today’s most luxurious handbag design powerhouses, such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada and Hermes, originated in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as travel became more common. As women gained financial independence, handbag industry exploded. Some say not only it feels luxurious, but also feels like wearing sexy underwear.

Christian Dior Bag - Overpriced

Many men don’t understand why women need a handbag, or were curious about what they actually carry as some handbags could weight a tonne. Essentially, a bag contains a woman’s survival kit for daily life – from mobile phone, power-bank, tampons, make-up, hand sanitizer, tissues, money and keys, to pepper spray, laptops, chewing gum, condoms, umbrella or even a change of clothes.

 

While some women would gladly beans on toast for a month in order to stretch their money, paying a hefty amounts of hard-earned money for luxury bags, do you know how much profit LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton makes for its iconic brands? There’s a reason why Bernard Arnault, CEO of LVMH, briefly became the world’s richest person in May 2024 – excessive profiteering.

 

The 75-year-old French billionaire once said – “As long as I’m not the richest man in the world, I won’t really be happy”. Operating the world’s biggest luxury conglomerate worth nearly US$400 billion with 6,097 stores worldwide, the company which was formed in 1987 through the merger of fashion house Louis Vuitton with Moët Hennessy, has been aggressively gobbling up real estate and luxury brands.

LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton - Bernard Arnault and Family
 

The Hermès family has called Arnault a “wolf in cashmere” due to an aggressive approach toward takeover targets and cost-cutting measures. But that was not the only cunning way the family-based business makes its fortune. Its subsidiary Dior, which Louis Vuitton acquired from Christian Dior in 2017 in a US$13 billion deal, is now being investigated by the Italian government.

 

A court in Milan, Italy, was told how a US$2,800 Christian Dior handbag costs only US$57 to make – a 50 times profit. The costs, however, do not include raw materials such as leather. But even if the cost of the leather and hardware are included, it would add only another US$160. Of course, there were advertising fees, rental on the most exclusive shopping streets, head-office costs and other expenses.

 

The price increases didn’t stop there. A mini Lady Dior bag that cost US$3,500 in 2019 (before the Covid-19 pandemic) will cost consumers an arm and a leg as it skyrockets to US$5,500 today – a 57% increase. After deducting everything, the pure operating profit for a Dior handbag is at least 50% margin. Thanks to capitalism,excessive profiteering was just the beginning.

Christian Dior - Store Brand

While the retail price for the goods of major luxury brands is typically between 8 and 12 times the cost of making the product, there is something worse. Workers were exploited to the extent that they were paid as little as US$2 an hour to make handbags. The stunning revelation of human exploitation was discovered after police conducted a series of raids on workshop and factories.

 

Yes, workers exploitation actually happens in Western nations. Some of Dior’s production was contracted out directly to a Chinese-run low-cost factory in Italy, where workers assembled the bags in unsafe conditions. For example, safety devices on machines were removed to increase worker speed, producing more goods even though illegally reducing production costs.

 

Not only the workers – Chinese migrants and other foreign workers – were forced to sleep in the workshops, they are made to work from dusk until dawn (24 hours a day), including on holidays and weekends. That was how the brand greedily makes a very high profit margin, according to a 34-page court ruling. But Dior was not alone in its quest for profitability at the expense of human rights.

Giorgio Armani Store

Italian fashion empire Giorgio Armani, who has been struggling to avoid the fate like fellows Fendi, Loro Piana and jeweler Bulgari – all were swallowed by LVMH – paid contractors US$99 for a bag that sold for more than US$1,900 in stores. Armani outsources the manufacturing of its products to GA Operations, an in-house production company which has denied wrongdoing.

 

Interestingly, Italian police said it was part of a system of “caporalato” – the illegal intermediation and exploitation of workers most often associated with the agricultural sector. While GA Operations is not under investigation, it has been placed under judicial administration for up to a year as part of a procedure to ensure legal operations.

 

Last month, Italian judges ordered a subsidiary of Dior, Armanti as well as Alviero Martini Spa, another luxury fashion maker known for map-print bags and other items, to be placed under court administration after ruling that their manufacturing units mistreated migrant workers. The prosecution said violating labour rules was a common industry practice that luxury giants relied on for higher profits.

Christian Dior Bag Mini

For years, luxury companies have been linked to forced-labour claims in countries like China and India. Now, it appears Italy – home to thousands of small manufacturers that account for 50% to 55% of the global production of luxury clothing and leather goods – isn’t any better. Previously, Swedish H&M was caught in similar activities in Myanmar, making it the subject of an investigation and ultimately pushing it to wind up operations there. - financetwitter

The Syed Saddiq brand suffers more damage after accusations of cheating in triathlon event

 

Once seen as a shining beacon of youthful hope among all the old, tired faces in Malaysian politics, Syed Sadiq’s fall from grace has been nothing short of spectacular.

The founding member of MUDA (Malaysian United Democratic Alliance) has already suffered the ignominy of being sentenced to two strokes of the rotan (among other punishments) after being found guilty of criminal breach of trust.

The MP for Muar has once again attracted the wrong headlines for his perceived “cheating” in the Triathlon Desaru 2024 event held in Johor last weekend.

At the end of the gruelling multi-discipline event, the former Bersatu member had posted on social media that he had managed a podium finish.

It was then highlighted on social media that Syed had not completed the required loops at the cycling stage.

The former Minister for Youth and Sports had previously denied cheating but has since admitted that there was an “honest mistake” at the cycling stage. He maintains that he had even worn the necessary ankle bracelet to monitor movement and that he had even checked with the technical team to ensure all was in order, as he did not want to “tipu”.

The official result now categorises Syed as ‘DNF’ (did not finish).

However, many are using this as a stick to beat the 32-year-old politician. One example is a post on X (formerly Twitter) by Joker (@BayBoy2662) which suggests that the image that Syed is trying to portray is very different from reality.

The post (and those of similar ilk) has attracted plenty of comments. This is a sample of what is being said.

Needless to say, his detractors had a field day.

One said such qualities made him an ideal candidate for the current opposition bloc.

While another said a corrupt personality was a prerequisite to being a minister in this country.

While another expressed regret at joining MUDA.

One commenter pointedly asked why so many Malaysians still believe in him.

One netizen said this was not important as long as Syed was able to raise funds from such stunts. It was reported that he had managed to raise RM160,000 for his constituency of Muar on July 1 with the self-styled ‘Langkah Muar’, where he completed a 200km run.

Justified or not, the vast majority of comments seem to paint a very negative picture of the young politician, with more than a few chiding him for being a serpent-tongued attention seeker.

Regardless of whether the budding ‘Iron Man’ had made an honest mistake or was consciously trying to steal a march on his rivals at the race, it cannot be denied that the episode has further tarnished his image.

Such headlines are not a good look when trying to cultivate an image of transparency and integrity. As one netizen claims, the rakyat see him for what he really is.

 

FocusM would like to kindly suggest to the former minister that he hire a better public relations team because, rightly or wrongly, his public persona is taking a beating. – Focus Malaysia

ITALIAN AIRFORCE F35 STEALTH FIGHTERS TRANSIT SUBANG AIRPORT ON THEIR WAY TO AUSTRALIA

 A squadron (4 planes) of Lockheed F35 Stealth fighters of the Italian Airforce (Aeronautica Militare) and Italian Navy (Marina Militare), Boeing KC-767 tanker planes and a Hercules C-130 transport aircraft transited Subang Airport yesterday. Here are videos of their arrival and departure. They were on their way to take part in Exercise Pitch Black 2024 in Darwin, Australia.



Note the F35s afterburners firing during takeoff. You can see the air-to-air refueling boom secured to the back of the huge Boeing tanker plane.

 


 
The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of MMKtT.

Friday Notes (12/7/2024) From The Quran - Do Not Say I Will Do It Tomorrow

 


Today's notes are very short and to the point.


Surah 18:23   وَلَا تَقُولَنَّ لِشَا۟ىْءٍ إِنِّى فَاعِلٌۭ ذَٰلِكَ غَدًا    

"And say not of anything: Surely I shall do that tomorrow"



Surah 18:24 
  إِلَّآ أَن يَشَآءَ ٱللَّهُ ۚ وَٱذْكُر رَّبَّكَ إِذَا نَسِيتَ وَقُلْ عَسَىٰٓ أَن يَهْدِيَنِ رَبِّى لِأَقْرَبَ مِنْ هَـٰذَا رَشَدًۭا

Except that Allah wills; and remember your Lord when you forget and say: Maybe my Lord will guide me closer to the right than this.



My Comments : Of course it is best to get things done today. What should be done today do not postpone it to tomorrow.

The views expressed are those of the writer and do not necessarily reflect those of MMKtT.

Speaker's decision risks enabling next Sheraton Move

 


Dewan Rakyat speaker Johari Abdul’s decision to reject the vacancy of five Bersatu MPs (except Labuan) has weakened the anti-hopping law and risks enabling the next Sheraton Move.

It has also brought disrepute to the high office of the speaker.

The speaker's decision to not declare a seat vacancy for Labuan was on the grounds that the MP has an ongoing court case over his Bersatu membership. Such a decision also risks opening up a loophole for any defectors to escape having their seats vacated by suing their parties.

Projek Sama warns Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim that the opposition may return the favour by luring some government MPs to switch their allegiance to weaken or topple the government.

His shortsighted attempt to use constituency allocation to lure the defection of opposition MPs and to avoid by-elections after the Sungai Bakap by-election defeat is a betrayal of the post-Sheraton norm of “party-based government”.

Projek Sama reminds DAP, Amanah and Umno that the similar provisions in their respective party constitutions could be likewise disabled by another speaker in future.

The biggest flaw of the law - Article 49A of the Federal Constitution and corresponding clauses in the State Constitution - now appears to be the twin failures in defining the speaker’s role in informing the Election Commission of seat vacancy as purely administrative and in ensuring judicial review on the application of the anti-hopping law.

The judiciary now holds the key to prevent future Sheraton Move-style political chaos by upholding the spirit and purpose of the anti-hopping law.

Projek Sama urges all Malaysians wanting political stability and accountability to express their objection to blatant partisan moves that undermine the law. DAP former chairperson Lim Kit Siang who has championed an anti-hopping law since 1978 must not stay silent.

Projek Sama’s detailed position is as below:

The multiparty compromise

The anti-hopping law has a built-in dilemma in deciding the degree of strictness, akin to the dosage of chemotherapeutic drugs in treating cancers - if it is too strict that any elected representatives sacked from the party would lose their seats, then party leadership may use the anti-hopping law to purge rivals in the party.

On the other hand, if it is too lenient that all elected representatives sacked from the party get to keep their seats, then the law could be rendered ineffective.

The multiparty compromise reached by the Parliamentary Special Select Committee (PSSC) on the anti-hopping law was that it would be kept mild by excluding expulsion.

However, parties have the option to amend their party constitution to tighten it by listing violations that can cause an elected representative to “cease to be a member” and hence to lose seats under Article 49A(1)(a)(ii), which reads:

“... a member of the House of Representatives shall cease to be a member of that House and his seat shall become vacant ... if (a) having been elected to the House of Representatives as a member of a political party - (i) he resigns as a member of the political party; or (ii) he ceases to be a member of the political party;...”

This intention was made clear in a slide produced by the Legal Affairs Division of the Prime Minister’s Department, which incidentally used Bersatu as the hypothetical example:

“Jika tindakan tidak mengikut keputusan parti menyebabkan beberapa ahli Bersatu terhenti keanggotaan parti (berdasarkan Perlembagaan Parti tersebut) maka ahli-ahli tersebut dianggapkan telah bertukar parti dan perlu mengosongkan kerusi mereka.”

Against this background, Amanah, DAP and Umno amended their constitution to cause their lawmakers to “cease to be members” for “acting against the decision of party or party whip” (Amanah), “non-compliance of any written directive by the Central Executive Committee” (DAP) and “joining a coalition not joined by Umno or opting to be an independent elected representative” (Umno).

Bersatu followed these three parties’ footsteps and had its amendments approved by the Registrar of Societies (ROS) on April 1, 2024.

Bersatu’s anti-hopping provision “non-compliance of any written directive by the supreme leadership council” is strikingly similar to that of DAP “non-compliance of any written directive by the Central Executive Committee”.

It is self-delusional for DAP to claim that its party constitution would not be affected by the speaker’s decision on Bersatu.

Speakers’ function in applying the anti-hopping law

Article 49A(3) reads:

“Whenever the speaker receives a written notice from any member of the House of Representatives on the occurrence of a casual vacancy among the members of the House of Representatives under this article, the speaker shall establish that there is such a casual vacancy and notify the Election Commission accordingly within 21 days from the date he received the written notice.”

It should be interpreted that the speaker’s function to “establish” is purely administrative to confirm factual details and not discretionary. A submission by political scientists Wong Chin Huat and Wo Chang Xi to the PSSC on the anti-hopping law pointed out the danger of leaving any room for the speaker’s discretion.

Regrettably not adopted, their proposal (on page 149 Written Submission of the PSSC report) was:

“The speaker shall notify the Election Commission on the occurrence of a vacancy under Clause (1) within three working days from the date he receives a written notice from a member of the House of Representatives or the leader of his party with evidence that the member has resigned from or ceased to be a member of the party.”

Since the existing Article 49A(3) has caused the speakers to see themselves as holding interpretive power, such decisions by speakers must be subject to judicial review.

The opposite would result in dire consequences - on the same matter, relying on the speakers of the Dewan Rakyat and the 12 state legislative assemblies may have different interpretations as they are not bound by each other, and even the same legislature, different speakers may make different interpretations at different time.

The former confusion is already shown between Johari and Kelantan state legislative assembly speaker Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah on the federal (Gua Musang) and state (Nenggiri) seats concurrently held by Mohd Azizi Abu Naim.

Dewan Rakyat speaker Johari Abdul

As evidenced by the abuse of speakers’ power in India, if speakers can arbitrarily decide when to apply the anti-hopping law, then the law would not bring about political stability and accountability to affirm multiparty democracy.

Instead, it would be a convenient tool for partisan manipulation and speakers incentivised to act in highly partisan manners.

The simple remedy for Article 49A(3) is subjecting speakers’ decisions to judicial review. As courts’ decisions are bound by precedents, this would bring order to the application of the anti-hopping law.

We pray that the courts would not take an overstretched interpretation of Article 63 Privileges of Parliament and Article 72 Privileges of Legislative Assembly to abdicate their roles in upholding the Federal Constitution and affirming parliamentary democracy.

Johari’s grounds examined

In his letter to Bersatu’s Beluran MP Ronald Kiandee dated July 9, 2024, Johari informed Bersatu that he decided against seat vacancy for all the five MPs from Kelantan, Perak and Selangor on the grounds that Article 49A was created to ensure political stability in the long term based on the PSSC report and parliamentary Hansards.

He said he found that Clause 10.5 of the Bersatu party constitution to be violating the Federal Constitution, the Dewan Rakyat Standing Orders and the Houses of Parliament (Privileges and Powers) Act 1952.

The learned speaker’s position is premised on two assumptions. First, the expressed purposes in formulating constitutional and legal provisions override the specific wordings of the constitution and law.

Second, the Dewan Rakyat speaker has the authority to determine the constitutionality and viability of a political party’s constitution, which is in the domain of the ROS as per the Societies Act 1966.

Both assumptions are manifestly flawed and need to be invalidated by the judiciary to avoid dangerous precedents.

Specifically, we would like to set the record straight that Article 49A was enacted to ensure long-term political stability by penalising party-hopping of lawmakers, not by enabling one-way traffic party-hopping in favour of the government.

Status of the six former Bersatu MPs

Based on Article 49A(1)(a)(ii) of the Federal Constitution and Clauses 10.2.6, 10.4 and 10.5 of the Bersatu party constitution, we hold that the following MPs have ceased to be members of Bersatu and by extension, Perikatan Nasional after having elected as PN members, and hence ceased to be members of Dewan Rakyat:

1. Syed Abu Hussin Hafiz Syed Abdul Fasal (Bukit Gantang),

2. Iskandar Dzulkarnain Abdul Khalid (Kuala Kangsar),

3. Zulkafperi Hanafi (Tanjong Karang), and

4. Suhaili Abdul Rahman (Labuan).

The remaining two MPs from Kelantan, Zahari Kechik (Jeli) and Azizi (Gua Musang) were not bound by the anti-hopping law despite ceasing to be Bersatu members because they were elected as PAS candidates, not Bersatu or PN members.

They should, however, resign and recontest in a by-election to prove that the constituents support their change of allegiance. - Mkini


The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of MMKtT.