The ASEAN-BAC Malaysia Secretariat held its first meeting of the year on January 27, chaired by Chairman Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Munir Majid. Council Members Mr Raja Singham and Tan Sri Yong Poh Kon, and secretariat Supervisor Ms Jukhee Hong and Coordinator Ms Anis Yusof were in attendance.
The meeting, which revolved around plans for ASEAN-BAC Malaysia 2021 activities, concluded with the adoption of Ms Jukhee Hong’s three proposed strategic priorities for the year: Recovery, Connectivity, and Digitalisation.
The council members noted that these priorities were not only in line with present needs, but were also in line with Brunei’s Priority Economic Deliverables (PEDs), ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework (ACRF), as well as A Pathway Towards Recovery and Hope for ASEAN (Pathway 225).
The ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) Chairmanship for the year 2021 was officially handed over to ASEAN-BAC Brunei on January 20, in accordance with Brunei’s chairmanship of ASEAN for the year.
Brunei’s Minister of Finance and Economy II Dato’ Dr Haji Mohd Amin Liew bin Abdullah, in speaking at the formal turnover ceremony, shared the country’s proposed strategic thrusts for 2021: recovery, digitalisation, and sustainability.
ASEAN Secretary-General Dato’ Paduka Lim Jock Hoi, for his part, highlighted the need for businesses to invest in digital technology to avoid disruptions to the region’s supply chains. The Secretary-General also highlighted ASEAN-BAC Brunei’s Harnessing Impact with Resilient Employability Digital (HIRED) legacy project, saying that such projects can play a role in supporting and strengthening the region’s human capital.
Recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic remains the central theme this year, evidenced in ASEAN-BAC Brunei’s 2021 chairmanship theme “Recover. Stronger. Together. Sama-Sama”. According to the ASEAN-BAC 2021 chairperson YB Siti Rozaimeriyanty Abd Rahman, this year’s activities will be geared towards supporting businesses and the larger ASEAN community in their recovery as outlined in the Pathway 225 report.
The ASEAN-BAC Malaysia Secretariat participated in the first ASEAN-BAC Council Meeting of 2021 chaired by Brunei Darussalam’s YB Siti Rozaimeriyanty Abd Rahman.
The meeting commenced with the ASEAN-BAC chairmanship turnover from 2020’s Vietnam chair Dr Doan Duy Khuong to 2021’s Brunei chair YB Yanty Rahman.
ASEAN-BAC Malaysia was represented by Chairman Tan Sri Munir Majid, who introduced the chapter’s newly-appointed council member Tan Sri Yong Poh Kon, who was also present at the meeting. Meanwhile, council member Mr Raja Singham raised the topic of the ASEAN-BAC’s Cross-Cutting Legacy Project and proposed expanding the mentoring programme to at least 100 individuals from each ASEAN Member State.
Furthermore, the meeting included presentations by the ASEAN Secretariat and the Timor Leste Chamber of Commerce and Industry, as well as country legacy project updates from other ASEAN-BAC chapters. ASEAN-BAC Executive Director Mr Gil Gonzales also presented updates on the Strategic Action Plan for MSMEs and engagements with Joint Business Councils.
ASEAN-BAC Malaysia Supervisor and ASEAN-BAC Deputy Executive Director Ms Jukhee Hong said in a recent interview that ASEAN’s digital economy holds significant latent potential that could be unlocked if its Member States invested in and embarked on an all-inclusive digital transformation.
The TV interview, which was hosted by Malaysian Minister of Communications and Multimedia Datuk Saifuddin Abdullah, centred on ASEAN’s digital capabilities and Malaysia’s journey in becoming the region’s digital pulse. Also on the panel was Time dotCom Bhd CEO Mr Afzal Abdul Rahim.
Ms Jukhee also highlighted ASEAN-BAC’s Pathway 225 report which includes over 30 recommendations on digital transformation in ASEAN and the role that it can play as the fastest-growing digital economy in the world. For instance, she said, there is an urgent need for governments to improve the education system to bridge the digital skills gap and produce a digital workforce to meet the demands that come with digital transformation.