The first ASEAN-BAC Healthcare Working Group (HWG) meeting of 2022 was held on 25 April 2022, chaired by Dr Khor Swee Kheng. The meeting was attended by ASEAN-BAC Malaysia Chairman Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Munir Abdul Majid, as well as over 17 members and staffers from ASEAN-BAC Malaysia, ASEAN-BAC and the Joint Business Councils (JBCs).
The meeting was held to provide progress updates on the working group’s priorities for 2022 and share the working group’s milestones in 2021. This includes the reopening of borders in ASEAN, and ASEAN-BAC HWG’s representation at the 7th ASEAN Coordinating Council Working Group on Public Health Emergencies (ACCWG PHE) Meeting on 27 September 2021.
ASEAN-BAC Malaysia held its second council meeting on 21 April 2022 chaired by Chairman Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Munir Majid. The meeting was attended by Council Members Tan Sri Yong Poh Kon and Mr Raja Singham, ASEAN-BAC Healthcare Working Group (HWG) Chair Dr Khor Swee Kheng, Consulting Director and ASEAN-BAC Green and Sustainable Economy Working Group (GSE WG) Chair Ms Jukhee Hong, as well as the secretariat team.
The meeting discussed ASEAN-BAC Malaysia’s upcoming activities for the second quarter of the year and its continued efforts to engage the public and private sectors to advance Malaysia and ASEAN’s priorities through the HWG and the GSE WG.
ASEAN-BAC Malaysia Chairman Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Munir Majid represented ASEAN-BAC at the 8th ASEAN Finance Ministers’ and Central Bank Governors’ Meeting (AFMGM) Interface with the Business Councils on 8 April 2022. The meeting was co-chaired by His Excellency Dr Aun Pornmoniroth, Cambodia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy and Finance, and His Excellency Chea Chanto, Governor of the National Bank of Cambodia (NBC).The meeting was attended by representatives from ASEAN-BAC, EU-ASEAN Business Council (EU-ABC), and the US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC). Meanwhile, the Malaysian government was represented by Deputy Finance Minister I, YB Dato’ Indera Mohd Shahar Bin Abdullah and Central Bank Deputy Governor Datuk Shaik Abdul Rasheed Abdul Ghaffour. Tan Sri Munir urged ASEAN’s finance ministers to leverage commercial and multinational development banks to channel climate finance. He also proposed several strategies to tackle the looming economic challenges as the region enters the pandemic recovery phase and observes the situation in Ukraine. This includes the need to:
- Be circumspect before raising interest rates in the region
- Address regional supply chain issues which are affecting business activities
- Consider establishing a region-wide settlement system in ASEAN
YB Dato’ Indera Mohd Shahar said that Malaysia intends to measure its economy-wide carbon intensity rate of 45% against the country’s GDP by 2030 and has set a long-term goal of achieving net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. He also highlighted the Malaysian government’s green tax incentives that aim to encourage businesses to reduce their carbon footprint through the Green Income Tax Exemption (GITE) and Green Investment Tax Allowance (GITA).
Datuk Shaik Abdul Rasheed, for his part, shared that Malaysia is undertaking structural reforms to address the critical challenge of strengthening the country’s economic fundamentals. He also said that Malaysia is actively collaborating with the international financial community to address climate change challenges.
ASEAN-BAC Malaysia, represented by its Chairman Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Munir Majid, witnessed the ASEAN Manufacturing Network (AMN) Chairmanship handover from Tan Sri Dato’ Soh Thian Lai, Pro Tem Chairman of AMN and President of the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) to Neak Okhna Kith Meng, President of the Cambodian Chamber of Commerce (CCC), who was represented by Okhna Sok Piseth, Vice President of CCC. The meeting was attended by over 20 AMN members.
ASEAN-BAC Malaysia held the first ASEAN-BAC Green and Sustainable Economy Working Group (GSE WG) Meeting on 4 April 2022, chaired by GSE WG Chair Ms Jukhee Hong. The meeting was attended by the members and staffers of ASEAN-BAC Malaysia, ASEAN-BAC and the Joint Business Councils (JBCs).
Ms Hong presented the objectives, themes, priorities, and activities of the GSE WG for the year and highlighted the working group’s eight priority areas–green finance, green investment, energy transition, circular economy, green transportation, green tourism, green capacity building, and sustainable infrastructure–for which the working group will seek to provide policy input at the ASEAN level.
ASEAN-BAC Malaysia Chairman Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Munir Majid highlighted the gap in resources available to help guide ASEAN industry players to achieve their green economy objectives and suggested that the working group:
- Provide practical suggestions for such objectives
- Conduct energy transition pilot projects that can serve as models for other industry players and assist them in such implementations
Fellow Council Member Tan Sri Yong Poh Kon proposed that the working group work on reshaping the narratives on large plantations and help them move from being viewed as deforestation agents to being viewed as carbon sinks. He also suggested positioning ASEAN as a carbon absorption region, especially given the large swaths of forest reserves and plantations in ASEAN countries, and establishing an ASEAN-wide mechanism for carbon absorption.
Council Member Mr Raja Singham, for his part, stressed that education plays an important role in getting the general public and companies to transition to cleaner energy. He also suggested that the GSE WG develop guidelines for companies to be recognised as green companies at the ASEAN level.