It gives me great pleasure to join Star Media Group as it once again organises the prestigious Star Outstanding Business Awards in recognition of our local SMEs.

2020 proved to be an unprecedented year, with the COVID-19 pandemic affecting lives and livelihoods the world over. However, despite the arduous challenges that came about, 2020 also told the story of courage, strength and resilience.

From the man on the street, to multinational corporations and SMEs, we have seen just how adaptable and resourceful people are. They do not merely endure, they bounce back stronger than ever.

Today, I am pleased to celebrate such distinguished individuals – those who overcame all odds to make their mark in the industry. My heartiest congratulations go out to all the nominees for SOBA 2020 and I look forward to celebrating your well-deserved success this evening.

Ladies and gentlemen.

Today’s celebration is a fitting testament to the continuous pursuit of innovation, creativity and productivity that drives our companies to grow, become more competitive and capable in meeting future challenges.

MITI is honoured to play its role as a key collaborator for the SOBA Awards for the fourth consecutive year, for it is our firm conviction that this initiative serves as healthy competition to encourage SMEs to excel and rise to the top in their class.

As the backbone of the nation’s economy, SMEs have been the key driver of employment and economic growth. Indeed, the numbers are staggering: SMEs make up 98.5 per cent of all business establishments in Malaysia. In 2019, they contributed RM586.9 billion of the nation’s GDP, increasing to 38.9 per cent compared to 38.3 per cent in 2018. Employment by SMEs comprised 48.4 per cent from Malaysia’s total employment, offering jobs to 7.3 million persons in 2019.

SMEs’ GDP for the year 2019 grew 5.8 per cent as compared with 6.2 per cent in the preceding year but nevertheless, its performance remained above Malaysia’s GDP of 4.3 per cent.

The pandemic hit fast and hard, and the lockdown measures imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 caused major disruptions to supply chains and saw many businesses, particularly SMEs, struggle to regain traction even after the movement control orders were lifted. The Government promptly addressed the plight of the SMEs and took the necessary steps to provide the much needed aid to revitalise the sector.

At the same time, we witnessed how the unintended economic consequences of the lockdown phenomenon have transformed crisis into opportunity, propelling the use of e-commerce to record levels throughout all sectors and value chains.

In particular, SMEs must play a central role in tandem with these game-changing realities, for we know that the disruption caused by the pandemic hit them hardest. SMEs, therefore, will stand to benefit massively if they focus their attention on adopting digitalisation measures to ensure long-term business sustainability, increase efficiencies and gain economies of scale.

At the recent ASEAN Economic Ministers’ Retreat, the importance of e-commerce for SMEs at the regional level was thoroughly discussed. The general consensus was reached that as the ASEAN economy becomes more integrated, digital transformation was the way to go for member states. Hence, the sooner SMEs get on the digital bandwagon, the better it will be if they are to thrive and succeed in the post COVID-19 digital economy.

In this regard, the MyDigital initiative via the Malaysia Digital Economy Blueprint will be the real game changer to transform our digital ecosystem. This will provide the holistic infrastructure to enable our SMEs to enhance their capabilities, resilience and competitiveness. Apart from the plan to provide 500,000 job opportunities in the digital economy, the strategic thrust is to encourage 875,000 SMEs to accept the use of e-commerce. Initiatives will also be implemented to serve as catalysts for 5,000 start-up companies to begin their operations in the next five years, which will be the starting point to attract new investments worth RM70 billion in the digital sector.

Additionally, Industry4WRD Policy was launched to assist SMEs in manufacturing and related services in moving forward to transform their operations. As at 15 March 2021, a total of 916 companies have been approved with the Government Funded Readiness Assessment programme. Meanwhile, 96 companies have been offered Industry4WRD Intervention Fund.

Just this evening, Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin announced PEMERKASA, the latest economic stimulus package valued at RM20 billion, that will bring tremendous benefits to the SMEs. These include an additional RM500 million for micro credit financing and RM700 million to extend the wage subsidy programme for another three months.

Ladies and Gentlemen

As we know, our National Immunisation Programme has taken off and we are in the midst of the first phase of mass vaccination. We cannot overstress that this process is essential in order to accelerate and ensure effective and sustainable economic recovery. As the saying goes – oeconomia sana in corpore sano – a healthy economy in a healthy body.

Indeed, Malaysia is well poised to capitalise on the recovery efforts of the region. It is noteworthy that the World Bank has projected the Malaysian economy to grow at a rate of 6.7% this year, of course, on condition of the successful implementation of the vaccination programme. Be that as it may, we are confident that this effort will provide the necessary impetus to boost the flow of FDI into the country, opening up greater business opportunities for our SMEs.

In closing, let me assure you that we listen, and we hear you. We understand your concerns and we will do all that is necessary to advance the interests of the SMEs. As someone once said:

“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.”

As I stand before you on this auspicious occasion, I daresay that your desire for success far exceeds your fear of failure. Therefore, just as your problems will be our problems, your success will be our success as well, because we are all in this together.

I applaud everyone here tonight for your resilience and tenacity in climbing to greater heights no matter the odds. My heartiest congratulations to all the deserving winners and those who have participated in the Star Outstanding Business Awards.

Thank you.

17 March 202

This has been a very trying year for all us, one that has tested our physical and mental endurance to the limit, causing hardship and difficulties and with unavoidable health protocols imposed, a year where Christmas can no longer be celebrated in full swing and merriment.

Nevertheless, we need not despair, for in spite of these constraints and even as we remain extra vigilant to stay safe at all times, the spirit of Christmas still endures and shall prevail. It is a spirit that makes Christmas a season for joy and happiness, a time for forgiving, and above all, for generosity, kindness and sharing. It is in this spirit that we would like to wish all Malaysian Christians, good health, peace, and happiness.

It is also in this spirit that we feel most proud as parents that our children have on their own accord and initiative, responded so warmly to the children of Rumah Destiny in Gombak by answering their wish list. This underscores the enduring Christmas message of loving your neighbour, cherishing peace and the fostering of solidarity and harmony in the community, a message which is all the more imperative for a society like ours which is so multiracial, multi-cultural and multi-religious.

As the coming year may continue to pose challenges to us all, as to the rest of the world, let us strengthen our resolve to work together to overcome them, and remain united as Malaysians, a nation proud, strong, and prosperous.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

“Glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward all.”

Azmin Ali & Shamshida Taharin

December 25, 2020

  • I am honoured to welcome all of you to the launch of Leadership and Digital Summit 2020. The theme “Go B.I.G with Digital” is most apt in view of the situation that we are facing today.
  • In the age of digital disruption, the mantra of Breakthrough, Integrity and Good resonates indeed with demands for continuous innovation and enhanced productivity through the adoption of digital technology.
  • In this regard, I would like to commend the Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC) for the establishment of Nine Productivity Nexus as a platform to drive multi- stakeholder initiatives to increase productivity, including no doubt, with the SMEs sector.
  • Globally, Malaysia ranks 33rd among 144 countries in ICT Adoption Pillars in the Global Competitiveness Report 2019 by the World Economic Forum. With strong support and smart collaborations between public and private sectors, there are certainly more avenues to guide our SMEs to digitally empower Malaysian businesses.

Ladies and gentlemen,

  • With the establishment of the Digital Economy and Fourth Industrial Revolution Council, the Government is providing clear and coherent policy leadership to scale the country’s capabilities in technological advancements and power the growth of the digital economy.
  • Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic has created an added urgency for Malaysia to deal head long with the ‘new norm’ to provide quality access to digital connectivity as well as devise strategies to address future contingencies. It has pushed forward the need to embrace automation and ICT fully in the efforts to ensure the continuity and competitiveness of the industries.
  • Hence, the Government recently formulated the Jalinan Digital Negara Plan (JENDELA) to improve coverage and quality of service and set the foundation for 5G. This will be achieved via a phased approach, beginning with key quick win initiatives, maximising the existing resources and infrastructure to ensure the people can get maximal broadband connectivity.
  • Subsequently, the requisite high-tech infrastructure will be put in place to fast track our transition into 5G wireless technology. As an enabler of higher and quicker rate of technology adoption and digital transformation, the implementation of JENDELA is therefore timely and central and no doubt will be a primary catalyst to propel the country on a higher trajectory of economic growth.
  • I wish to stress that in our efforts to complement the JENDELA initiative, MITI has given top priority to the development of digitalisation in its New Services Sector Blueprint 2021-2025. All new programs on digitalisation under this Blueprint will support and complement all JENDELA initiatives as part of the continuous efforts to ensure the well-being of the people.

Ladies and gentlemen,

  • In the 3rd Quarter 2020, Malaysia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth improved to -2.7% as compared to -17.1% for the 2nd Quarter. This is significant indeed as reflecting the effectiveness of the initiatives implemented by the Government including the various economic stimulus packages.
  • Meanwhile, our GDP is projected to grow between 6.5 and 7.5% in 2021, with the strong rebound to be driven by the anticipated improvement in global growth in demand and international trade. This is also in line with other multilateral institutions such as the International Monetary Fund which has projected a global economic growth of 5.2% and a global trade growth of 8.3% in 2021.
  • The renewed focus will be on increasing foreign direct investments, enhancing productivity and re-instilling consumer confidence. Prioritising essential areas such as improving the ease of doing business, enhancing the usage of technology and digitalisation across public and private sectors as well as ensuring a stable labour market would be requisite for continued flow of high value-added investments into the country.

Ladies and gentlemen,

  • As leadership remains a critical element in any organisation, preparing the team to embrace the digital revolution through technology innovation can only be rolled out successfully through great digital leadership.
  • In this regard, MITI will continue to provide the impetus and leadership to strengthen the industries particularly the SMEs and support them to drive productivity and ensure sustainability.
  • It is indeed noteworthy that the Government has unveiled an expansionary budget for 2021 with a clear focus on exponential productivity growth through the adoption of digital technology and IR4.0.
  • Among the enablers is the RM1 billion budget for Industrial Digitalisation Transformation, an allocation that takes into account the challenges, needs and welfare of all strata of societies, industries, and businesses. The additional RM150 million for SME Digitalisation Grant Scheme and Smart Automation Grant will facilitate micro SMEs and start-ups to empower businesses to fuel the growth of this important sector.
  • Clearly, digitalisation will boost productivity growth for SMEs in Malaysia – for the immediate, medium and long term. Highly productive economies must adapt quickly to technological developments and this involves the willingness of leaders to acculturate new ways of producing goods and services, resulting in innovative ways of operating businesses.

Ladies and gentlemen,

  • It will take time and going big with digital does not happen overnight. We need to rise together and pool our human capital resources to achieve Breakthrough results, enhance loyalty with Integrity and to bring a force of Good for all stakeholders of the business ecosystem.
  • In closing, I wish to thank the organisers, Digital Productivity Nexus and MPC for your support and commitment towards achieving our nation’s productivity agenda. I am indeed delighted to be here with you to launch the Go B.I.G with Digital video and wish everyone a productive day ahead and a very successful conference.

Thank you.

Excellencies, Fellow Ministers, Executive Director of the APEC Secretariat, ABAC 2020 Chair, Observers, Distinguished Colleagues, Ladies & Gentlemen;

• It is indeed my honour and privilege to welcome all of you to the first ever fully virtual APEC Ministerial Meeting (AMM), today.

• It is rather unfortunate that we are unable to meet physically in scenic Kuala Lumpur.  However, to help set the ambience, we have shared with you a digital backdrop of the Kuala Lumpur cityscape, and I am pleased to see this displayed behind all of you.

• Our Meeting today takes place almost at the tail end of Malaysia’s host year, and what a journey it has been!  We have pivoted, prioritised and progressed work on a number of APEC initiatives, despite the challenging circumstances brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

• It has been quite a ride, to say the least, but we take pride in the fact that we have made remarkable strides on numerous areas of mutual interest.

• Of immense and particular significance is of course the completion of our work in formulating the Post-2020 Vision.  This document is set to build on the success of Bogor Goals and will chart the long-term strategic direction for the region, in the years to come, at least for the next two decades.

• I am tremendously honoured that Malaysia is the lead penholder for this crucial document, one that envisions an open, dynamic and resilient Asia Pacific community built upon Shared Prosperity, and I am also equally humbled by the resounding support, flexibility and cooperation rendered to Malaysia, by all Economies, in finalising the Vision.

• In addition to formulating the Vision, we have also advanced our work on the regional trade and investment agenda, remaining true to the crux of APEC.  And we have done so while simultaneously managing the challenges unleashed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused massive disruption to supply chains and wreaking havoc to the global economic landscape.

• Nevertheless, we have also been prompt to ensure that there is a specific focus on enhancing the role of trade and investment in navigating the region along a path of robust economic recovery, post-pandemic.

• This commitment to the relentless pursuit of free and open trade and investment, made even more imperative during these challenging times, demonstrates our resolute determination to the value-system of APEC.  This underscores the will and conviction of the Asia Pacific to continue to resist the forces of protectionism, in whatever form that they may come.

• The region will also strengthen support to a well-functioning, rules-based multilateral trading system, while remaining steadfast to advancing the development agenda of the WTO.

• This year, we also made it a priority to improve the narrative of trade and investment, by translating these elements into inclusive economic growth that brings palpable benefits and greater wellbeing to all our people.  In this regard, we have placed particular emphasis on shared prosperity, to enable more effective and meaningful economic participation by all segments of our societies.

• The year also saw us reinvigorating our efforts towards regional economic recovery and growth, while bringing APEC closer to the people.  We exchanged views and shared information regarding our policy responses and intervention measures that were aimed at reopening our economic activities, returning our workers to employment and allowing our people to move across borders through the introduction of travel bubbles; all while managing our collective concerns regarding the health, safety and wellbeing of our people.  The travel bubbles that are emerging within the region are a crucial development as these could possibly redefine the future of travel and tourism.  These bubbles are also central to revitalising the essential movement of people within APEC.

• Last but not least, we reaffirmed our support for economic and technical cooperation, particularly for our MSMEs, women and vulnerable groups.  We also recognised the need to continue to enhance capacity building and technical assistance to those most impacted by the pandemic.

• Colleagues, this brings us to the end of my Opening Remarks.

• Thank you.

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

  1. Firstly, I would like to express my appreciation to Bursa Malaysia and Macquarie for organising this event and inviting me to deliver this special address.
  2. If I may, I would like to first touch on the economic performance of Malaysia in terms of investments and international trade and some of the major policy responses that the Government has undertaken.
  3. The COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed a tsunami of such force and magnitude that no economy has been spared. In dealing with this crisis, governments had to implement drastic measures thereby incurring unintended economic consequences.
  4. Across the globe, severe disruption to industrial supply chains, plunging demand for goods and services, and sluggish pick-up in businesses upon initial resumption resulted in into dismal economic performance for the first half of the year.
  5. Not spared from the ravages of this global downturn, Malaysia’s GDP contracted 17.1% in the 2nd quarter from a marginal growth of 0.7% in the first quarter.
  6. The manufacturing sector recorded a negative growth of 18.3% in the second quarter. Total trade for the same quarter, valued at RM392.96 billion, declined by 10.8% compared to the first quarter. Exports totalled RM210.3 billion, a decrease of 11.9% while imports amounted to RM182.66 billion, contracting by 9.4%.
  7. Having said that, I should now add that it is not all doom and gloom. There is a silver lining to every dark cloud and as restrictions began to be lifted along with the gradual resumption of economic activities, the numbers for economic performance in June 2020 started signalling that the country is on track for a gradual recovery.
  8. Thus, Malaysia’s total trade in June 2020 actually expanded by 2.2% to RM144.78 billion while exports bounced back with an increase of 8.8% to RM82.82 billion. The manufacturing sector recovered with double digit growth and exports of manufactured goods which made up 87.5% of total exports picked up by 13.7% year-on-year to RM72.48 billion.
  9. Now, even more promising are the numbers that we’ve just obtained last Friday for July, signalling Malaysia’s exports rising for the second straight month. We recorded an expansion of 3.1% from a year earlier on higher shipments of manufactured goods and agricultural commodities, particularly palm oil. All said, our trade surplus widened to a historical high of RM 25.15 billion last month, beating the previous record of RM20.9 billion in June.
  10. In terms of investment, as at June 2020, MIDA is reviewing a total of 725 projects with a value of RM36.7 billion and monitoring 141 high profile leads with potential investments of RM72.6 billion. MIDA has also facilitated 86 companies from various countries including China and closed deals on 32 projects with investments amounting to RM17.5 billion to relocate or redeploy activities to Malaysia.

Ladies and gentlemen,

  1. The pandemic has called for at least three major policy responses. The first is the introduction of emergency economic relief measures that are targeted, timely and proportionate to the phased reopening of economic sectors. Hence, to date RM295 billion worth of relief was provided by the Government. The positive economic and trade numbers that I reported at the outset are clear testimony to the effectiveness of the decisive, bold and comprehensive action taken swiftly by the Government to deal with the unintended economic consequences.
  2. The next major policy response, being an extension of the first, is ensuring investors’ confidence is restored by facilitating investments and promoting greater market access to sustain international trade. The Short-Term Economic Recovery Plan (PENJANA) that was announced in June 2020 supports the promotion of domestic and foreign investments in positioning Malaysia as an attractive horizon for businesses.
  3. Efforts to allow investments to be realised upon approval, need to be coordinated and accelerated. With that in mind, MIDA established the Project Acceleration and Coordination Unit (PACU) to facilitate investors in getting regulatory approvals and coordinate resolution of issues within the fastest time possible. This is part and parcel of the overall government policy in providing a value proposition to investors by way of easing regulatory approvals and to enhance the ease of doing business.

Ladies and gentlemen,

  1. At the recently concluded APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade meeting, Malaysia together with other APEC Economies have committed to ensuring uninterrupted flow of essential goods across borders.
  2. In this regard, Free Trade Agreements (FTA), represent an important platform to gain better market access and advance Malaysia’s trade and industrial development agenda. Expansion of growth in trade with Malaysia’s FTA partners that covers almost 63% of Malaysia’s total trade has therefore helped to cushion the impact of the ongoing crisis.
  3. At the 52nd ASEAN Economic Ministers’ (AEM) Meeting, ASEAN Plus Five namely China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand made significant progress towards the November 2020 signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement.
  4. We cannot overstress the significant role that the RCEP agreement could play in post-COVID-19 recovery efforts particularly in contributing to deepening economic integration and enhancing prosperity of the region.
  5. The third major policy response is to encourage our domestic industries to enhance their capacities and capabilities towards building better resilience and ensuring sustainability. This entails a trajectory towards digital transformation as well as holistic policies in the face of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
  6. In Malaysia, companies especially the SMEs were cautious in taking the first step towards Industry 4.0 adoption. Nonetheless, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has created a sea change in how companies think about this. As a matter of fact, from our engagement with SMEs and other stakeholders, one general concern stands out – the issue of scaling and how to modernise production processes, upgrade equipment and advance in higher technology towards that end.
  7. In short, companies are now more receptive to adopt Industry 4.0 technologies to become more agile to mitigate production and distribution shortfalls. MITI is spearheading this agenda in bringing digital transformation of manufacturing and related services to be more resilient and competitive. This is a crucial point given that SMEs account for nearly 97.1% of our manufacturing landscape.
  8. The Government is highly committed to developing a comprehensive industrial ecosystem to embrace new opportunities via the adoption of more smart manufacturing processes that will enhance production flexibility and efficiency, and radically transform value chains and business models.
  9. In this regard, the Cabinet has approved the establishment of the National 4IR and Digital Council to be chaired by the Prime Minister. The Council will provide policy leadership with regards to the 4IR and digitalisation policy direction and steer socio-economic development of the country by leveraging technological advancement.
  10. Indeed, with the formation of the Council, the way forward to accelerate the growth of the economy will go in tandem with the adoption of Artificial Intelligence, robotics, drone and sensor technology whilst synergising the capabilities of 5G infrastructure.
  11. The National Digital Infrastructure Plan, namely, Jalinan Digital Negara or Jendela, unveiled on Saturday, is therefore most timely and central towards our transition into 5G wireless technology and will pave the way to strengthen digital connectivity and close the digital divide in Malaysia.
  12. It is, therefore, clear that the Government has identified Industry 4.0 as the key growth engine that will play a big role in ensuring sustainable economic growth. In this regard, the Industry4WRD policy, launched in 2018, envisions that by 2025, Malaysia will be the strategic partner for smart manufacturing and related services in Asia Pacific.
  13. One of the flagship programmes under this policy is the Industry4WRD Readiness Assessment Programme (RA) which provides assessment for businesses and factories on how they can move into Industry 4.0 through targeted intervention.

Ladies and gentlemen,

  1. Talent development will also be intensified as we gear up to produce our own talent pool for 4IR transformation. The development of this talent from the beginning of ideas to the marketing process will be enhanced through the formation of sandboxes in driving the development of R&D, innovation, and high-tech entrepreneurship.
  2. In this regard, at the recent launching of the National Technology and Innovation Sandbox, the Prime Minister said that Malaysia stands ready to crystallise the output of high technology and high incomes mandate by increasing the commercialisation rate of local products, technologies as well as R&D. Investors, therefore, would be able to work in a safe and controlled environment to jointly develop high-tech products and services and commercialise these investments.
  3. These strategic moves toward digitalization and technological adaptation will see us trailblazing many more programmes to increase the supply of local talents with high skills, thus reducing our dependency on foreign workers.

Ladies and gentlemen,

  1. Being a highly open economy and a global trading nation, Malaysia will continue to remain vigilant of the geo-political and geo-economic dynamics of the region amidst the 
US-China trade war, South China Sea conflicts and COVID-19. Issues of safeguarding national security and strategic national interests as well as advancing economic growth are no longer confined to the physical world.
  2. As we know it, the Fourth Industrial Revolution is characterised by a range of new technologies that are fusing the physical, digital and biological worlds.
  3. In this regard, the advancing of Malaysia’s 5G coupled with the implementation of Industry 4.0 is indeed the way forward to push the technology adoption and digital transformation so crucial to propel our economic trajectory. This has to be a concerted effort by all relevant stakeholders including the GLCs, SMEs, MNCs and financial institutions working hand in glove with the government agencies.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

  1. Akira Kurosawa made the world classic movie Rashōmon, which was adapted from the short story In a Grove written by Akutagawa. Here’s an inspiring quote that I’d like to share with you:

“Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.”

Let us therefore move forward together to make that transformation and drive our economy to greater heights.

Thank you.

Address by Dato’ Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali, Menteri Besar of Selangor at the Southeast Asia Halal & Cross Border E-Commerce Selangor – Taiwan, New Southbound Policy Forum in Taipei on 28TH April 2017

Ladies and gentlemen.

Da jia chow an hao (Good morning to all of you)

First and foremost, let me congratulate the Government of the Republic of China under President Tsai Ing-wen for this significant initiative known as the New Southbound Policy.

Taiwan’s initiative to enhance cooperation and trade partnerships, exchanges and regional connections with the countries in Southeast Asia, South Asia and Australasia is certainly a positive move and should be welcomed.

In the context of Malaysia, such a move has even greater significance because our two nations already have a long history of close ties in the matters of economy, trade and education.

As Taiwan is one of the five largest foreign investors in Malaysia, with most investments directed to the State of Selangor, I can foresee that the New Southbound Policy will lead to even greater enhancement not just of foreign investment but in all the essential aspects of relations.

With education being one of the top priorities of the New Southbound Policy, we see vast potential in extending and intensifying areas of cooperation in this area.

Of the two Taipei Schools in Malaysia, one is located in Selangor. More than 70,000 Malaysians have already graduated from Taiwanese universities while another 15,000 are currently studying here.

If I may suggest, as part of your educational initiative under the New Southbound Policy, Taiwan should consider sending over some of your graduates to pursue a Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) degree in our homegrown Selangor Business School.

We can also work towards greater exchanges and mutual engagement in research and technical advancement between our universities and educational institutions. In particular, we should explore how best to cooperate in the area of Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET).

With business schools and TVET cooperation and attention on Small and Medium Enterprises, we can work towards enhancement of both technical and business skills, which I believe is one of your priorities in this new initiative.

With regard to innovation and technology, Selangor can leverage on Taiwan’s strengths especially in the areas of Smart City technology, Startup support, and e-Commerce. Selangor also stands as the first state in Malaysia to establish its “Smart State” agenda, with the aim of accelerating the adoption of information technology to enhance the quality of life of our citizens.

On our part, as a gateway to the Southeast Asian market, Selangor can offer tremendous opportunities for the Taiwanese business community. Selangor is strategically positioned with both major airports located in the state. We can reach any major city in Southeast Asia within a 2-hour flight.

With a diverse cultural background and a high level of competency in a variety of languages, Selangorians are ideally suited to help our Taiwanese friends interact with the Southeast Asian community. By forging closer ties, a symbiotic relationship can be created, forming a win-win situation for mutual progress and prosperity.

Selangorians can offer insights and advice on expanding businesses in Southeast Asia, India, as well as the Middle East, through the Halal market, which is expected to exceed US$ 3.7 trillion by 2019.

Our newly launched Halal International Selangor (HIS) is a key initiative to promote Global Halalan Thoyyiban Trade and Industry (GHTTI) that is based on trustworthy, integrity, security and assurance. HIS will work closely with local certification bodies, such as the Taiwan Halal Integrity Development Association (THIDA). Our Halal Technical Competent Persons (HTCPs) Program, as well as the Halal Repository and E-Commerce Platform (HIREC) will provide the necessary knowledge and understanding of the Halal ecosystem. We are confident that this collaboration will facilitate the expansion and entry into new markets for the Taiwan Halal industry.

Several Taiwanese cities and local governments such as Taipei, Kaohsiung, Tainan and Yun Lin, have signed MoUs with the Selangor State Government, especially in the Smart City and Halal sectors where much interest has been expressed.

In E-Commerce, which is expected to grow to a US$200 billion market in Southeast Asia by 2025, Selangor has been organizing cross-border E-Commerce business forums in Taiwan.

We believe the time is ripe for Taiwanese companies to further invest in Selangor and pursue long-term partnerships with Selangor entrepreneurs so that we can enjoy the fruits of mutual cooperation, respect, and understanding for the coming decades together.

Another major area that must be enhanced is tourism. Let me take this occasion to renew the call for more Taiwanese to come to Selangor. Selangor has much to offer in terms of eco-tourism, health and sports tourism. Our culinary offering and delights are also well-known. Above all, come and experience the warmth and hospitality of Selangorians.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I believe, the South China Sea disputes must be resolved only through peaceful means and all parties must exercise self-restraint.

There must be multi-lateral engagement to resolve all outstanding issues.

I believe the continued prosperity of the region can only be achieved within the framework of peace and stability. ASEAN, evolving from the fundamental concept of ZOPFAN – a zone of peace, freedom and neutrality – is now a major player economically and politically in the region where free trade is a hall mark. ASEAN has a population of 625 million and a GDP of US2.8 trillion.

Amidst these developments we witness a paradigm shift in the balance of global economic power which is incrementally gravitating towards Asia with significant contribution coming from ASEAN.

In light of this, the New Southbound Policy of Taiwan should not be seen merely as trade and business expansion but also as one of the multiple factors that will have long term strategic implications for the region.

We are confident that all efforts towards peaceful cooperation in economic, trade and cultural matters will be positive and good for the continued peace and prosperity of the region.

In ending, I would like to stress that Selangor always regards Taiwan as a strong partner in trade and commerce. I am confident that, going forward, our ties will be even firmer and stronger.

Thank you.

CHINESE NEW YEAR MESSAGE 2017

I would like to wish a very Happy Chinese New Year to the entire Malaysian Chinese community. Xin Nian Kuai Le (新年快乐), Ji Nian Da Ji (鸡年大吉)!

May this Year of the Rooster bring happiness and prosperity to all of you and your families. May it strengthen the harmony and ties between our nation’s ethnic groups as we visit each other’s houses and pay our respects.

The admirable qualities possessed by the rooster and Chinese culture, namely sincerety, bravery, and fortitude of both morals and physique, make the rooster a symbol of leadership and strong will.

This Year of the Rooster reminds us of the importance of good leadership in setting the direction and future of our nation and its people.

Good leadership must be based on a functioning democratic system, not one that is manipulated for the benefit of political elites.

I cherish the tremendous contributions that the Malaysian Chinese community, especially in Selangor, have made towards building our beloved nation together with other ethnic groups. A stalwart defender of justice and reform, the Chinese community has taught us a valuable lesson that patience and hard work will find their reward.

When the darkness of night has peaked, dawn will surely follow. The rooster will rise to greet the desire for justice, democracy, freedom and reform that ride upon the light of dawn.

DATO’ SERI MOHAMED AZMIN ALI

 

雪兰莪州务大臣

拿督斯里莫哈末阿兹敏阿里

2017丁酉鸡年新年献词

在迎接2017年华人农历新年之际,我恭祝马来西亚全体华裔同胞:新年快乐,鸡年大吉!

依据生肖运程,今年当值鸡年,我希望能为您和家人带来欢乐和福气。各族同胞在佳节期间的互相拜访和交流,愿能加强各族之间的和谐及联系。

“鸡”和中国文化向来拥有令人钦佩的文化内涵,代表着诚实、英勇、坚韧的道德和体魄,成为领导和坚毅的象征。

今年鸡年提醒我们,良好的领导对确定国家和人民未来方向的重要性。良好的领导,必须建立在运作完善的民主制度上,而并非为了部分政治精英的利益,成为被操纵的制度。

我珍惜马来西亚华裔社群作出的巨大贡献,尤其在雪兰莪州,与各族一起建立我们所热爱的国家。作为捍卫正义和改革的使者,华裔社群让我们上了重要的一堂课,即只要肯忍耐和辛勤工作,必能获得回报。

当黑夜过去,我们必会迎来黎明。在鸡年来临的此刻,我们也必能冲破黎明前的黑暗,迎来正义、民主、自由和改革之光。

 

Saya ingin mengucapkan Selamat Tahun Baru Cina terhadap semua masyarakat Cina di Malaysia. Xin Nian Kuai Le (新年快乐), Ji Nian Da Ji (鸡年大吉)!

Semoga Tahun Ayam kali ini membawa kegembiraan dan kemakmuran terhadap anda dan keluarga. Diharap ia dapat memperkukuhkan keharmonian dan hubungan antara kaum dalam negara ini, di mana kita menziarahi rumah sesama kita sebagai tanda penghormatan dalam perayaan ini.

Kehebatan kualiti yang dimiliki oleh ayam berdasarkan kebudayaan Cina ialah kejujuran, keberanian dan kecekalan menerusi fizikal dan moralnya, menjadikan ayam sebagai lambang kepemimpinan dan keinginan yang kuat.

Tahun Ayam kali ini mengingatkan kita akan kepentingan kepemimpinan yang baik dalam menentukan hala tuju dan masa depan rakyat dan negara.

Kepemimpinan yang baik hendaklah berdasarkan kepada sistem demokrasi yang berfungsi, dan bukannya yang dimanipulasi untuk kepentingan elit politik.

Saya ingin meraikan sumbangan besar kaum Cina Malaysia, terutamanya di Selangor, yang telah membina negara kita yang tercinta ini bersama kaum lain. Teguh memperjuangkan keadilan dan pembaharuan, kaum Cina Malaysia mengajar kita semua bahawa sifat sabar dan tekun pastinya akan mendapat ganjaran.

Apabila kegelapan malam mencapai kemuncaknya, ia pasti disusuli dengan dinihari. Ayam akan menyambutnya dengan keinginan untuk memperoleh keadilan, demokrasi, kebebasan dan pembaharuan yang akan membawa kepada cahaya pagi.

DATO’ SERI MOHAMED AZMIN ALI

I would like to thank the organisers for inviting me to offer some closing remarks. I am honoured to be here today in the presence of so many distinguished personalities and guests.

As a matter of fact, I feel very priviledged to be back here again for the forum – after having had the opportunity to take part in the Jakarta proceedings last year.

Let me begin by addressing the theme of the forum “Strengthening Democracy in the Fight Against Extremism and Islamophobia.”

Socio-economic advancement

One of the biggest challenges, if not the biggest, for Muslims has been and remains to be socio-economic advancement. We have to be clear about dealing with the issue of extremism and Islamophobia and to remember that these are symptoms and not causes.

Indeed the causes are manifold such as political and cultural marginalization. Deprivation of sovereignty or what may be described as the politics of dispossession is well documented. The Palestinian issue, the Patani Muslims and the Moros are some clear examples.

But then there is a clear and pressing – I may say overarching – problem which is the socio-economic position of Muslim communities throughout the world but more so in the Middle East, the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia.

More than two thirds of the world’s Muslims live in countries located in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. From the estimated 1.6 billion Muslims in 2014, the numbers are expected to increase through natural increase to about 1.8 billion in 2025. On the whole, Muslim populations rank below the world’s average in terms of levels of socio-economic development.

We don’t need to wait for extremism to flare up before we react and do something positive to rectify the situation. But the time for talking and rhetoric is long over. Clear prescriptions followed by solid and tangible action is the only way.

Speaking from the perspective of the administration of the state of Selangor, Muslim democrats can and do play a practical and active role in this regard. Selangor is the most developed state in Malaysia and is often referred to as the nation’s economic powerhouse. It contributes nearly a quarter of Malaysia’s GDP and is typified by positive economic growth and dynamism as well as political stability where governance is firmly grounded in accountability and transparency.

We implement an agenda for socio-economic empowerment of the people which is essentially two-fold in a broad sense. First, the strategic thrust of the state economic blueprint is centred on developmental growth with special emphasis on infrastructure, education, primary health care and the advancement of a home owning democracy.

Secondly, there is a more micro-managed social justice agenda targeting the lower income group to provide for micro-financing, extra budgetary allocations for religious schools to encourage enhancement of learning for science and technology and a sustained program to uplift the living standards of those in the rural areas.

As issues of poverty and socio-economic marginalization among Muslims are of serious concern, I would say that these efforts that I have enumerated are crucial measures to help Muslims break free from the cycle of poverty.

While the Selangor population is multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious, the majority remains to be Muslim and there is no question therefore this strategy has a direct and positive impact in terms of uplifting the socio-economic position of Muslims.

Moderation and justice

Subsumed under this strategic thrust is of course an explicit and clearly articulated state policy of moderation and justice. And this answers one of the fundamental questions asked: What does it take to create a Muslim democratic society?

To infuse the concept of moderation and justice in the governance of a state like Selangor, we must walk the talk. So, one of the earliest examples we set was to resolve the problem that arose concerning the Malay language Bible that was confiscated by the local authorities. In addition, inter-faith dialogues were held and I personally made courtesy calls to church leaders. Significantly too, during Ramadhan, church leaders and their congregation joined Imams and other Muslim leaders in iftar or breaking fast sessions.

These are not matters that should be brushed aside as being insignificant. On the contrary, when moderation and justice is left by the wayside, a culture of intolerance and bigotry will occupy the vacuum. I will not belabour the point that if unchecked, a one-dimensional and inward looking world view will logically morph into extreme bigotry and many other manifestations of extremism.

Geopolitical dynamics

In gauging the role of Muslim democrats and their strategic tasks ahead, the geopolitical dynamics and implications of a rising Muslim population in Southeast Asia is an important factor.

We know that after the war, Japan re-entered the international state system with concentrated focus on economic revival and since then, for more than half a century, Japan has proved to be the rock of Gibraltar for Asia’s geopolitical stability.

Particularly since the 1980’s, Japan has played an influential role in the democratization process of Southeast Asia. Apart from the pivotal economic role that Japan plays and will continue to play, the dynamics of engagement with Muslim democrats will be increasingly political.

Muslim democrats in turn will stand to benefit tremendously with greater engagement with Japan, being the most established democracy in Asia as well as the most developed in terms of its socio-economic framework.

Nevertheless, the geopolitical implications arising from the current rival claims in the South China Sea pose challenges to both peace and prosperity in the region. Whether or not it will pitch Japan and China on the path of direct confrontation is a matter that cannot be simply brushed aside. But when that happens, Muslim democrats from Southeast Asia will face formidable challenges as to which side they will be on. The doctrine of ZOPFAN – making Southeast Asia a zone of peace, freedom and neutrality – has been essentially in force and is said to have stood the test of time for the region, in terms of collective security and stability. These new developments will pose new challenges to this principle.

The Westphalian System and ASEAN’s Position

According to Dr Henry Kissinger, it is in Asia that “the maxims of the Westphalian model of international order find their contemporary expression”, where sovereignty “is treated as having an absolute character.” In the case of Southeast Asia and to be specific ASEAN, this principle has been translated into the doctrine of “non-intervention and consensus”. Because sovereignty is absolute, the domestic actions of member states cannot be interfered with – even if they are clearly excessive.

Faced with such a strong dictum against intervention, member states stand by the side-lines and turn a blind eye to the plight of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. In the name of national sovereignty, member states fold their arms while more than 1 million Rohingya Muslims – among the worst treated minorities of the world – are stripped of their citizenship while thousands are forced into concentration camps and thousands more are forced to flee abroad.

The question therefore is: Having now entered fully into the 21st century, can such a doctrine be considered relevant? The time is ripe therefore for Muslim democrats to seize the moral high ground to make that change. While it is true that many Muslim countries have not got their own house in order, that should not be the pretext for a policy of indifference for Muslim democrats. Can Muslim democrats stand idly by while their leaders rob and plunder the nation’s wealth and siphon tax payers’ money into their private bank accounts? What can we say about the state of democracy in Muslim countries when kleptocracy becomes an accepted culture and practice?

To my mind, the Forum for World Muslim Democrats is not just an enabler for Muslims to be the voice of reason to call for justice and toleration but also a firm and formidable platform to drive the establishment of proper governance, to fight the scourge of power abuse and corruption and to ensure accountability and transparency.

Enlightenment and voice of reason

Muslim democrats must have a voice that can hold its own without resorting to the easy tools of mere polemics, name-calling and political grandstanding. However, this approach requires courage of conviction, sincerity and forthrightness while observing the dictates of propriety. Nevertheless, it underscores the profound importance of articulating an inclusive paradigm in the discourse.

In any event, such a paradigm is not new. It is borne by the influence of democratic principles and ideas of the Enlightenment which, historically, have made their mark on the likes of the early Muslim democrats such as Rifa’a al-Tahtawi, Khayr al-Din al-Tunisi and eventually Muhammad Abduh. Khayr al-Din al-Tunisi, for example, was not obsessed with rhetoric but went on taking concrete measures including economic, educational and administrative reforms and to the support of parliamentary democracy. This may be history but as in the words of T.S. Eliot:

“History may be servitude, History may be freedom.”

It is up to us as Muslim democrats to make that choice. History has also shown that the subsequent backward slide to fundamentalist Islam also saw a rise in extremism even as progressive Islam was making its presence felt too. And this has much to do with personality cults or charismatic leaders – in the Weberian sense of leaders who gain the upper hand in moral authority.

Islam Nusantara

In this regard, we are reminded of leaders who bring transformational change. Speaking from the Southeast Asian perspective we have, without doubt, Anwar Ibrahim who, even as we speak, remains incarcerated as a victim of a foul political conspiracy. Nevertheless, Dr Anwar Ibrahim’s agenda for islah and tajdīd – reform and renewal – for the Muslim ummah can never be incarcerated.

In Indonesia, the reform agenda of the Nahdlatul Ulama movement which occupies a crucial place, not just in Indonesian politics but regionally as well, showcases yet another transformational Muslim leader namely the late Abdurrahman Wahid or Gus Dur as we know him. Notwithstanding his relatively short span as president of the largest Muslim nation in the world, Gus Dur brought real and tangible reforms to the cultural and political fabric of Indonesian society. His writings draw from both classic Islamic and Western philosophy into a synthesis that is “compatible with modernity” especially democracy, human rights, and religious tolerance.

In closing, may I say that even as Muslim nations are attempting to forge ahead on the path of democracy, the risks and temptation of backsliding into autocracy are real and pose a major challenge to all of us – as Muslim democrats – to stay true to the cause and to have the courage of conviction to stand up for what is right.

I sincerely believe that the future for us – even as the challenges are very trying and formidable – remains bright. This forum itself is living testimony to the unceasing efforts, fortitude and optimism of we Muslim democrats to do what ever it takes to strengthen democracy.

Thank you.

Assalamualaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh and Good Afternoon.

I would like to thank the Royal Danish Embassy and the Selangor State Planning Unit for organizing this seminar and inviting me to say a few words on this occasion.

First and foremost, I would like to say that I fully appreciate the importance of today’s presentations and discussions. Rest assured that we regard the issue of sustainability of cities – and of the state – as a very serious matter.

Indeed, we are fully committed towards sustainable development in all the vital aspects within the jurisdiction of the state. I am therefore particularly grateful that our friends from Denmark, especially from Copenhagen – both from the municipality as well as the private sector are here to share their expertise and experience with us.

Climate Change & Sustainability

The climate system of the planet Earth has changed substantively since the pre-industrial era, posing a serious challenge to policy-makers, and leaders around the world.

One of the fundamental issues facing modern society, now more than before, concerns the clash between conservation on the one hand and progress and development on the other. This tension runs across the entire spectrum of activities ranging from climate change issues to overall liveability concerns.

For example, at the 21st Conference of Parties at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris last year, Malaysia announced that it intended to reduce greenhouse gas emissions intensity of GDP by 45% by 2030.

However, at the same time, we are aiming for developed nation status by 2020 and this means transforming into an industrialized nation.

These two interests appear to be diametrically opposed. Attaining developed nation status is paramount, yet this must be done with a careful eye on carbon emissions, traffic congestion and waste accumulation among other things. The answer lies of course in searching for the optimum solution.

The major cities in the country are located along the Klang Valley right in the heart of the state of Selangor.

What this means is that, much that concerns cities all over the world, also concerns us here. Top on the list is of course the overarching theme that you have deliberated today – the question of sustainability in the face of the common challenges posed by urban living.

When dealing with sustainability, we cannot break away from the major question of liveability, which in turn covers issues of stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure.

Indeed they go hand in hand. Sustainability is important to ensure we have and will continue to have, continuous food supply, safe drinking water, adequate materials and resources to protect human health and our environmentThis is not just for us but for our future generations.

Water sustainability

Safe drinking water – that is a phrase we seem to have taken for granted. On a global scale, we are using freshwater at rates faster than replenishment. Latest United Nations studies tell us that in another 14 years the world could face a 40 percent water shortage.

The impact of such a shortage is far reaching and widespread. Ecosystems may break down with severe political and socio-economic dimensions. The harsher effects will be borne by the poor and the marginalised.

We need a paradigm shift in current usage trends, as well as in attitude and mind set, on the use of water. We need to re-think water policies and encourage water conservation and recycling of wastewater.

Our local authorities must start taking pro-active steps in translating this philosophy into their policies in relation to housing projects, industrial development and their town and city planning.

The point is, it is incumbent on the government to manage water resources more efficiently and to utilise more effective technology as well as maintain water assets to ensure long-term sustainability of water supply.

Sustainability initiatives

The Copenhagen formula on sustainability is impressive and is obviously reflective of the attempt to seek a golden mean between adaptation and mitigation initiatives on one side, and progress on the other.

While the developed world in Europe and the West may aspire for zero-waste, suffice to say that at this juncture that Selangor would be considered successful if we achieve our emissions targets, have clean air, sound water usage, attain better health and practise optimised recycling.

While growing our economy, we must continually aspire for enhancement of the quality of life for our citizens, green mobility and efficient and integrated public transportation.

Selangor has recognized the need and importance of achieving long term sustainability, thus providing a conducive environment to the people. In this regard, we have launched several policies related to environmental protection, reflecting the government initiatives on sustainable growth and development and the move towards greener solutions.

Klang River cleaning

We have begun the process of revitalising the Klang River starting with the initial cleaning of floatables and building 48 waste traps along key discharge points entering the river.

About 4000 tons of floatable waste were collected. We are now looking at methods to monetise these floatables by converting them into industrial products such as plastic flakes or the generation of biodiesel through the synthetic gas route.

Meanwhile, a more sustainable river management model is being explored for a long-term rehabilitation and re-development program for the Klang River.

Pilot waste management project

We have appointed a state company to take over the waste management operations from the Klang local authority. Since its inception, average daily complaints have dropped and with new technologies being deployed, collection capacity is much higher today. Here, I must thank residents for their active cooperation.

Forest Management and tree planting

Much has been said about our forest reserve with allegations of irresponsible state-sponsored deforestation being spread via a campaign of spurious lies and disinformation.

The truth is, we have been able to maintain our forest reserve intact, no doubt on account of a sustainable forest management policy.

A majority of the forest areas in Selangor is gazetted as permanent forest reserve:  to be precise, a total of 250,129 hectares or 31.5% of the total land area of the state.

Of this, about 175,090 hectares or 70% have been classed as Protected Forest.

We have also embarked on a perennial tree-planting and greening program for the towns and cities in the state.

The Sultan of Selangor is a strong advocate of this campaign and we are indeed fortunate that his Royal Highness takes an active role in ensuring the success of this program.

In ensuring a sound balance of development and environmental protection, the state government constantly endeavours to implement development by giving due emphasis to environmental factors to ensure that it complies with the guidelines and conditions stipulated by the technical agencies.

Low Carbon City Framework

As for other green initiatives, our Green Technology Action Plan encompasses 5 Local Authorities to adopt Low Carbon City Framework implementation by 2017 and all 12 Local Authorities by 2020.

We have also installed more than 50 electric vehicle charging stations in Selangor to promote use of emission-free vehicles in a bid to reduce the carbon footprint. This makes Selangor the state with the most EV charging stations in Malaysia.

Smart State

As the largest contributor to the nation’s GDP, Selangor is the most progressive state. We have embarked on a drive to become a Smart State.

We believe this transformational change is necessary to take us to the next level in industrial and economic development. Integral to this paradigm change is our new urban planning master plan, a transport master plan, educational programs and initiatives, and a restructuring of our essential water utilities.

Needless to say, models on liveability and sustainability are most relevant for us to consider. Hence, your presentations today are both timely and enlightening.

May I also seize this opportunity to invite all of you from Denmark to come aboard and share your technologies and expertise with us in Selangor. There is no zero-sum game here. Let us make this a win-win situation and prosper together while at the same time, stay true to our duty to preserve the green of this planet.

As Benjamin Franklin once said “Well done, is better than well said,” I would like to conclude with the sincere hope that we leave this seminar with the immediate resolve to put into action all the great plans we have, towards making this world more sustainable and more liveable.

 

Thank you.

5 August 2016

To all our guests, I would like to say a very big “Thank you” for your presence tonight. In particular, I would like to thank all our investors both local and foreign for their unwavering support towards Selangor.

I would also like to record my highest appreciation to the relevant government departments and agencies both at the state and federal levels for their immense contribution in helping to bring about the success of Selangor.

In this regard, I would like to express my gratitude in particular to MIDA for having extended their full support to our efforts in promoting our investment programs. This is a clear example of effective and productive cooperation between state and federal government.

I would also like to thank YB Dato’ Teng for his leadership in driving this challenging portfolio and ensuring we grow in leaps and bounds.

The state government acknowledges the great services provided by Invest Selangor and truly believes that performance could be taken to another level under the excellent leadership of Encik Hasan Azhari Hj Idris.

Since the establishment of Invest Selangor, the state successfully attracted more than RM 130.7 billion of investment from the manufacturing sector over the past 16 years, that is, from 1999 to 2015.

Looking at 2015 alone, Selangor achieved more than RM 7.9 billion, representing a year-on-year surge of 13%.

This impressive track record shows beyond all doubt that Selangor has been and God-willing will remain as a preferred investment destination in Malaysia.

While we are indeed proud of this success, we would like to assure you that we will continue to work very hard to improve ourselves even further.

As you know, we are positioning Selangor as a regional player, particularly in ASEAN. In this regard, we will spare no effort in enhancing Selangor’s international standing.

This requires the commitment of all stakeholders and I earnestly invite all of you investors to come aboard this venture and together let us make it a success.

The more we grow, the greater will be the multiplier effects. The more we expand, the greater will be the benefits to be derived from the economies of scale.

However, this success is dependent on two major factors. First and foremost, there must continue to be a government fully committed to see the state expand and grow exponentially. A business friendly government.

At the same time, there must be good governance with transparency and accountability. I cannot overstress the importance of this principle. We cannot compromise with regards to questions of corruption and misuse of state power. Kleptocracy is not our style.

This is a very serious matter but I am happy and proud to say that in this connection, the Selangor government and its officials have proven themselves to be worthy of the people’s trust and expectations.

Secondly, we should bear in mind the importance of investors in their role not just as business entities but as strategic partners with the State Government in advancing the state economy.

With your significant investment, you have generated almost 400,000 jobs and boosted new technology transfers. With regard to this, I would like to reiterate the need for our leading foreign investors to relocate their R & D facilities to Selangor.

This is part and parcel of our efforts at making Selangor a regional hub – particularly ASEAN – to market their products on a much wider scale.

The fruits of investment are also utilised for social development and in this way investors in Selangor play an important role in ensuring social justice.

While it is often said that businesses exist to make profits, it needs to be added that in a humane economy, social justice cannot be set aside.

You therefore are not just instrumental in shaping the economy of Selangor but play an important role in helping the state to bring about social development and welfare to the people.

This is an essential symbiosis between business and government. On the part of the State of Selangor, let me assure you that we will be at hand to assist you in your endeavours.

As you know, we have successfully organised several working lunches with foreign investors on a country by country basis. I have personally attended each and every one of these lunch-cum-dialogue sessions so that I myself can get a first-hand perspective of the situation and the state of our investment. This is how important you are to us.

As you know, Invest Selangor has a great track record in providing guidance to investors as well as post-investment business support. To be precise, it has assisted over 4,600 manufacturing projects since its establishment.

Investment promotion and place branding will continue as important pillars of the development of the state, despite the stiff global competition.

In line with this great partnership, we also further extend our efforts with continuous state planning and many new initiatives.

These include the Industrial Master Plan of Selangor, the Transport Master Plan, E-commerce Initiative in particular Selangor Information Technology and E-commerce Council (SITEC).

In terms of our globalisation and trade initiative, a major International Expo is in store. In line with our strategy to make Selangor an international trade centre, we propose to make this an annual affair.

Selangor International EXPO represents one of Malaysia’s largest and most recognised local and international trade gateways, connecting trade exhibitors, buyers and visitors to global markets.

We also have the Selangor Bio Council which will oversee the planned development of Selangor Bio-bay. The basic idea is to offer a great environment for biotechnology companies to thrive and advance.

I am also pleased to inform that the Selangor Aerospace Council will be having its inaugural meeting soon. The Council aims to further drive development in the Selangor aerospace sector and to enhance recognition of the state’s capabilities as a leader in ASEAN aerospace markets.

In this regard, three dedicated industrial locations have been identified as the main growth centres. They are Subang Nexus, Sepang KLIA Aeropolis and the newly announced Serendah Aerospace Hard Metal Manufacturing Park. This is called the “3S” Aerospace Belt of Selangor expanding from the north to south region.

Incidentally, just to share with you: In November, I will be heading a delegation overseas to explore the possibilities of further enhancing our potential growth and expansion in this challenging field.

In terms of human capital development, we have among others, the Invest Selangor Talent Initiative which aims to match the talent demand and supply in the state.

There are also the Youth employability programs such as Internship for High Impact Talent, Youth Enhancement Strategic Selangor and the academic boot camp that was successfully implemented in March.

We have also invested more than RM 60 million in upgrading state-owned university UNISEL as part and parcel of our overall plan to establish a knowledge economy and provide a ready talent pool to meet our industry needs.

As a matter of fact, over and above the RM 60 million, just this afternoon, I handed over a cheque of RM20 million to UNISEL which represents a special grant from the State Government to further accelerate the advancement of its academic programs as well as to ensure the smooth running of its general administration.

In today’s globalised economy, the State government recognises that there is a paradigm shift from a labour-intensive economy to one that is high-tech and knowledge based.

While we must embrace this new paradigm with commitment and conviction, we also will not lose sight of the importance of incremental transformation. There must be a plan to minimise social dislocation and disruption in employment patterns. The creation of jobs and employment opportunities will still be a priority.

The new theme of the state – Smart Selangor – therefore encapsulates this philosophy of moving into a new paradigm, which is a process towards adaptation, innovation and creative expansion.

In this regard, the government again will invest and improve the infrastructure and delivery systems accommodating the needs and wants of investors.

Ladies and gentlemen,

May I congratulate the recipients for tonight’s awards. May this award persuade you to continuously improve and venture forward in the ever-challenging global business environment.

Last but not least, I wish to express the highest appreciation to all related parties who have contributed their time and effort in making Invest Selangor Gala Dinner 2016 a success.

Thank you.