The Philippine Center for Entrepreneurship or Go Negosyo held a “Let’s Get Vaccinated” webinar on 31 May 2021, moderated by CNN Philippines anchor Mr Rico Hizon. Representing Malaysia was ASEAN-BAC Malaysia Chairman Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Munir Majid as well as AirAsia (Malaysia) Group CEO Tan Sri Tony Fernandes.
During the webinar, Tan Sri Munir said that the high number of COVID-19 cases in Malaysia has led to greater pressure on the government to expedite the vaccine rollout process to achieve 80% herd immunity by year-end. Nevertheless, he added, vaccination will need to be coupled with antibody passports if we are to fully open borders and businesses.
Tan Sri Munir also raised the importance of implementing contact tracing technologies in the Philippines, referencing how such applications have been implemented in Malaysia and Singapore.
Furthermore, Tan Sri Munir highlighted the private sector’s role in supporting MSMEs during this period. Here, he cited initiatives by BAC Education Group Managing Director Mr Raja Singham to provide complimentary digital upskilling programmes to MSMEs not only in Malaysia but also the rest of ASEAN.
Organiser: The Embassy of Sweden, Singapore
ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) Malaysia Chairman Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Munir Majid was a panellist at the 3rd Sweden-Southeast Asia Business Summit held on 25 May 2021 where he spoke about building partnership ecosystems to access talent and capabilities, to which his fellow panellists concurred that there were indeed tremendous opportunities for companies in Sweden and Southeast Asia companies to collaborate.
Here, he stressed the importance of ASEAN businesses moving together, faster in the new normal. To this end, ASEAN-BAC has been pushing for the healthcare recommendations in Pathway 225 to be implemented as a private sector initiative, which could potentially produce commercial benefits for the region’s healthcare players.
Furthermore, Tan Sri Munir noted the emerging phenomenon of vaccine nationalism, which he says could accelerate the process of deglobalisation as such thinking could present geopolitical and geoeconomic consequences.
He also highlighted ASEAN Financial Inclusion Solutions (AFIS) project, the ASEAN-BAC Malaysia’s legacy project which provides financial assistance to micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs).
Supporting Organiser: ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-
BAC) Malaysia and ASEAN-BAC
The Greening ASEAN Webinar 2021 was hosted by CARI ASEAN and Research Advocacy on 24 May 2021, and supported by ASEAN-BAC and ASEAN-BAC Malaysia. The event was moderated by Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Munir Majid, who chairs both ASEAN-BAC Malaysia and CARI ASEAN Research and Advocacy.
During the event, the Hon. Dato Seri Paduka Dr Haji Abdul Manaf Bin Haji Metussin, Brunei’s Deputy Minister of Finance and Economy (Economy), urged policymakers and private sector players to cooperate through joint cross-sectoral collaborations and work together to enable systemic change needed by the region for a sustainable and resilient future.
Tan Sri Munir, for his part, said that ASEAN needs to be serious about sustainable development as he called for the development of ways to better protect our people and environment. He also stressed the need to translate the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from abstract, distant concepts to terms that are of real relevance to the people.
ASEAN-BAC Malaysia Members and Staffers participated in the Courtesy Call to the Newly Appointed DSG for the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), Mr. Satvinder Singh, organised by the ASEAN-BAC.
Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Munir Majid, Chairman of ASEAN-BAC Malaysia mentioned on ASEAN-BAC Malaysia’s legacy project, the ASEAN Financial Inclusion Solutions (AFIS) where it is working closely with ASEAN’s First Insurtech Ecosystem Platform, FERMION to provide affordable health insurance. He added that this legacy project is aimed to be launched by the end of 2021.
DSG Satvinder Singh showed his support for AFIS, and added that part of the ASEAN’s 2021 inclusion effort is for ASEAN MSMEs to collaborate with private companies that could provide alternative financial solutions and liquidity along the value chain.
Mr Satvinder also showed his strong support in each of the AMS legacy projects and encouraged the ASEAN-BAC to continue working closely with the ASEAN Secretariat.
The 6th ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) Dialogue with the ASEAN-BAC and Joint Business Councils (JBCs) was held on 19 May 2021.
ASEAN-BAC Malaysia Chairman Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Munir Majid stressed the urgent need for cross-sector collaboration between public and private sector healthcare players as he highlighted the healthcare recommendations proposed in Pathway 225, i.e.:
- ASEAN joint purchase of vaccines and antibody passports
- Harmonized regional mass testing standard
- Contact tracing standard
- Elimination of barriers for easy access to medical devices and equipment
ASEAN-BAC Deputy Executive Director and ASEAN-BAC Malaysia Supervisor Ms Jukhee Hong also highlighted long-standing issues surrounding non-tariff barriers (NTB) and non-tariff measures (NTM), particularly those revolving around the NTB elimination and trade reciprocity aspiration gap.
ASEAN-BAC 2021 Chair Hon. YB Rozaimeriyanty Abd Rahman, for her part, said that recommendations from the private sector have been reprioritized, redefined, and repurposed based on the realities and exigencies of each year.
In line with the 2021 ASEAN Chairmanship’s 13 Priority Economic Deliverables (PEDs), ASEAN-BAC has identified the JBCs and sector champions to support one or more PEDs to help realise its deliverables.
Chair: Dr. Khor Swee Kheng, ASEAN-BAC Healthcare Working Group
The first ASEAN-BAC Healthcare Working Group (HWG) Meeting of the year was held on 7 May 2021, chaired by ABAC-Malaysia HWG Chairman Dr Khor Swee Kheng and attended by ASEAN-BAC and Joint Business Councils (JBCs) members.
The meeting discussed the three priorities for ASEAN-BAC HWG in 2021, as outlined by ASEAN-BAC Malaysia Chairman Tan Sri Munir Majid:
- Creating a Regional Travel Bubble with an antibody/vaccination passport and regional contact tracing infrastructure
- Implementing the Medical Device Directive 2015
- Establishing a pooled procurement mechanism for vaccines within ASEAN
YB Rozaimeriyanty Abd. Rahman, Chair of ASEAN-BAC 2021, expressed her strong support for the priorities discussed and emphasized the importance of reinvigorating the ASEAN-BAC HWG to help ensure inclusivity in the healthcare sector as we pursue ASEAN’s economic recovery.
International Trade and Industry (MITI) Malaysia
Venue: ASEAN Meeting Room, Level 18, MITI Tower
The first consultation meeting between the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) Malaysia and the Malaysian Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI)’s ASEAN Economic Integration Division was held on 4 May 2021, led by ASEAN-BAC Malaysia Chairman.
ASEAN-BAC Malaysia presented its 2021 priorities and activities implemented in the year so far, as well as progress made by its legacy ASEAN Financial Inclusion Solutions (AFIS) project, ASEAN-BAC Healthcare Working Group (HWG), and Pathway for Malaysia 2021: Recommendations and Feedback by the private sector.
According to Tan Sri Munir, ASEAN-BAC Malaysia seeks to work closely with MITI and other government agencies to advance Malaysia’s participation and position within ASEAN.
Mr Mohd Zahid Abdullah, Senior Director of MITI’s ASEAN Economic Integration Division, welcomed the proposals raised during the meeting and expressed his appreciation for the Pathway for Malaysia 2021 report which he says will serve as an important reference of private sector feedback for the government.