Convener: ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) Brunei


The ASEAN Business and Investment Summit (ABIS) 2021 was held on 25 October 2021 under Brunei’s chairmanship and the theme “Building Our Sustainable Digital Future” set by ASEAN-BAC Brunei which focused on how ASEAN can build back better and recover stronger, together. The summit was attended by world leaders including Malaysian Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri bin Yaakob who delivered a keynote address titled “Towards ASEAN Sustainable Digital Future”.

The address emphasised:

  • Building an inclusive Digital Infrastructure
  • Promoting an inclusive digital literacy
  • Boosting digital-ready Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs)

“While we can agree that digital integration has enabled ASEAN to harness its collective competitiveness in the global economy and foster domestic growth, divergences in technological readiness and connectivity remain elusive. We cannot disregard the speed and scale of changes that have implicated our society which has widened inequalities across nations,” he said.

He urged “ASEAN to work closely in ensuring digital technologies are benefited by all. In achieving such aspirations, the wealth of experience, technological capacity and innovative approach of private sectors could be further consolidated via public policy”. He also added his firm belief that “through capitalising on those synergies, we would be able to pave the path for an inclusive digitally-enabled ASEAN in the near future”.

Convener: ASEAN-BAC Malaysia


The fourth ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) Healthcare Working Group (HWG) Meeting in 2021 was chaired by Dr. Khor Swee Kheng and attended by the members and staffers of ASEAN-BAC and Joint Business Councils (JBCs).

The objective of the meeting was to update the group on the 7th ASEAN Coordinating Council Working Group on Public Health Emergencies (ACCWG PHE) Meeting that was held on 27 September 2021, and the preparation for future regular interactions with the ACCWG PHE.

Convener: ASEAN-BAC Malaysia


The ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) Malaysia held a consultation meeting with the Sarawak state government and state agencies to discuss the state’s efforts in attracting foreign direct investment, its existing priorities and future development plans, as well as opportunities that it can tap into in the larger ASEAN region. The session was chaired by ASEAN-BAC Malaysia Chairman Tan Sri Dr Munir Majid, who emphasised that the goal of this consultation was to listen and learn about the Sarawak government’s sophisticated development plans and how these plans will benefit micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

“ASEAN-BAC Malaysia’s last dialogue with Sarawak MSMEs was held in February 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic struck, and before the government instability at the federal level from March the same year which added to our national woes and no doubt those of small businesses,” said Tan Sri Munir.

“We hope Sarawak will become more purposefully connected with ASEAN economic integration, such as through the Brunei Darussalam–Indonesia–Malaysia–Philippines East ASEAN Growth Area (BIMP-EAGA), especially with its high technology and clean energy projects. Digitalization and sustainability of the economy are the way forward for Sarawak and the region,” he added.

ASEAN-BAC Malaysia Council Member Tan Sri Yong Poh Kon concurred, adding, “Sarawak is uniquely placed to play a major role in the next global wave of development which increasingly emphasises clean energy and sustainability. Apart from ample renewable energy sources, Sarawak’s large tracts of forests represent potential state revenue from the trading of carbon credits with industries that need these credits.”

Highlighting Sarawak’s ability to attract foreign investment, ASEAN-BAC Malaysia Raja Singham said, “With over RM15 billion in FDI in the first nine months of 2020, Sarawak continues to show growth while generating new investment opportunities from state and federal authorities. The state should look to expand its overall trade opportunities through cross-border activities and from FDI, especially in the manufacturing and mining sectors. Leveraging the 12th Malaysia Plan will also definitely open doors for Sarawak to flourish further.”

Convener: ASEAN-BAC Malaysia


ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) Malaysia held a consultation meeting with business associations representing the United Kingdom (UK) businesses to discuss Malaysia’s efforts in attracting foreign direct investment from the UK and its business communities. The discussion was moderated by ASEAN-BAC Malaysia Chairman Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Munir Majid and hosted by ASEAN-BAC Malaysia Consulting Director Ms Jukhee Hong.

In his opening remarks, ASEAN-BAC Malaysia Chairman Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Munir Majid said, “The long and historic relationship between Britain and Malaysia needs to be revitalised across all fronts, particularly in trade and investment. Both countries have been distracted in recent years, pandemic aside. Recent developments such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP), and greater ASEAN economic integration point to opportunities for both countries as Britain looks out from Europe more and more, and Malaysia talks of itself as the regional hub.”

ASEAN-BAC Malaysia Council Member Tan Sri Yong Poh Kon concurred, adding “Malaysia and the UK have been traditional trading partners for decades, though merchandise exports from both sides are now subject to import duties what with the graduation of Malaysia from the UK’s Generalised System of Preferences (GSP). In the absence of a free trade agreement, we look forward to a time in the near future when both countries are full members of the CPTPP, where two-way trade will increase and where British industry could set up a base in Malaysia to further tap the RCEP markets.”

“Total bilateral trade in goods and services between UK and Malaysia took a dip towards the end of Q1 2021 due to the pandemic,” noted ASEAN-BAC Malaysia Council Member Mr Raja Singham. “However, I am confident that this consultation between the JBCs and Foreign Business Councils from the UK will allow us an avenue to explore not just investment opportunities but also the continuation of transfer in knowledge, skills, money, and technology.”

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