ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) was formed following decision of the ASEAN Leaders at the 7th ASEAN Summit, with the mandate to provide private sector feedback and guidance to boost ASEAN’s efforts towards economic integration. Accordingly, ASEAN-BAC’s activities are primarily focused on reviewing and identifying issues to facilitate and promote economic cooperation and integration.

The Council also submits annual recommendations for the consideration of the ASEAN Leaders and the ASEAN Economic Ministers (AEM). ASEAN-BAC’s members are appointed by the Ministers in charge, and comprise of high-level CEOs of companies from each member country. Each country is represented by a maximum of three members, with one representing the interest of the small and medium-sized enterprises.

Smart Showcase Series: ASEAN SMEs 4.0

 Future SME Conference 2019

October 15th | Putrajaya, Malaysia

Welcoming remarks by YBhg. Dato’Sri Syed Hussein Al Habshee and Opening Speech by YB. Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof

About Future SME Conference 2019

SME Corporation Malaysia with the support of the ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) Malaysia has held the Smart Showcase Series: ASEAN SMEs 4.0 at the Future SME Conference 2019 on 15th to 16th October 2019 at the Putrajaya International Conference Centre (PICC), Malaysia.

The event that was launched by YB. Datuk Seri Mohd Redzuan Yusof, Minister of Entrepreneur Development aims to provide Malaysian SMEs and emerging businesses with pertinent information, knowledge, techniques and solutions to propel their growth and development, well into the future, in an increasingly competitive market environment.

Themed ‘Engineering the Future’, this exclusive interactive event features industry experts, experienced practitioners and thought leaders sharing and exchanging their knowledge, expertise and insights on future business trends, innovations, technologies, strategies and best practices in the digital era.

Smart Showcase Series: ASEAN SMEs 4.0 moderated by Tan Sri Munir Majid, Chairman of ASEAN-BAC Malaysia.

Smart Showcase Series: ASEAN SMEs 4.0

ASEAN-BAC Panellists spoke on their field of expertise for the session of Smart Showcase Series: ASEAN SMEs 4.0 on Day 1 of the event. Moderated by Tan Sri Munir Majid, Chairman of ASEAN-BAC Malaysia, the session was joined by panellists by Khun Arin Jira Chair of ASEAN-BAC 2019, U. Moe Kyaw from ASEAN-BAC Myanmar, Ms. Merly Cruz from ASEAN-BAC Philippines, Mr. Henry Widjaja Chairman of YDBA Indonesia and Ms. Elain Lockman, Co-Founder of ATA Plus.

Smart Showcase Series: ASEAN SMEs 4.0 Panellists: U. Moe Kyaw, Khun Arin Jira, Ms Merly Cruz, Mr Henry Widjaja and Ms Elain Lockman

Panellists and Guests of Smart Showcase Series: ASEAN SMEs 4.0

The session started with U. Moe Kyaw’s presentation on the embracement of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) technology through the 4Ms which are Meaning, Market, Money & Mentorship. The discussion continued with Ms. Merly Cruz on the ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN) Philippines’ legacy project, Khun Arin Jira on ASEAN Human Empowerment and Development (AHEAD),  Mr. Henry Widjaja on YDBA and Astra’s SME Development Platforms, and Ms. Elain Lockman on the growth of crowdfunding platforms for the SMEs in Malaysia.

The session had given an insight into the successful digital strategies, established techniques, innovative ideas, technology advancements, and other challenges for ASEAN SMEs. The topics discussed by the panel speakers acted as a catalyst for Malaysian and ASEAN’ organizations in taking regional action by responding to the 4IR changing landscape using the right solutions.

ASEAN Mentorship Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN)
Pilot Run of Mentorship: Malaysia

August 20th | Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

From left: Welcome Speech by Tan Sri MunirMajid & Mr. Raja Singham

A welcome highlight to cap the day’s activity was the remarks by the ASEAN-BAC Malaysia Chairman, Tan Sri Munir Majid followed by the speech of SME Corporation Malaysia CEO, Mr. Noor Azmi Mat Said. “Entrepreneurship Masterclass” session by Mr. Raja Singham, council member of the ASEAN-BAC Malaysia and the Co-Founder of the BAC Education Group was also one of the main highlights of the programme. The event was attended by in total of 150 attendees including the mentors, mentees, media and guests.

Tan Sri Munir Majid, Mr. Raja Singham & Mr. Noor Azmi Mat Said with AMEN Consultants, Mentors and Mentees.
AMEN Consultants, Mentor and Mentees having their brainstorming session.

Among the deliverables of the project are the AMEN modular curriculum and framework for the training of AMEN mentors. The AMEN Project also assembles the pool of duly certified mentors who will be mobilized across the ASEAN region with the goal of ultimately leveraging on micro and small enterprises (MSEs) as agents of inclusive growth and prosperity by facilitating their access to the 3Ms (i.e., Mentorship, Money and Market).

The Pilot Run of ASEAN Mentorship in Malaysia was shortly replicated in Indonesia and the Philippines so as to finalize the AMEN modules that will then be used in the mentorship sessions to be conducted in all ten ASEAN member states.

Empowering ASEAN 4.0 Smart Showcase Series 2019
Future of Fintech in ASEAN

August 15th | Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

CIMB ASEAN Research Institute, in collaboration with the ASEAN Business Club and ASEAN Business Advisory Council Malaysia, held the inaugural Smart Showcase Series on 15th August 2019 at the Securities Commission Malaysia. The showcase focused on ‘The Future of Fintech in ASEAN’, in line with the ASEAN Business Advisory Council’s theme for 2019, “Empowering ASEAN 4.0”.

The Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) is set to change every aspect of the way business is conducted. The event was designed to be in line with ASEAN Chair Thailand’s theme for 2019, “Advancing Partnership for Sustainability”, as well as, the theme of ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ASEAN-BAC) 2019, “Empowering ASEAN 4.0”. This is achieved by showcasing and highlighting the “Future of Fintech in ASEAN” while also providing a platform for thought leaders to come together and plot the best direction for the industry to move forward.

Opening remarks by Tan Sri Dr. Munir Majid, Chairman of ASEAN-BAC Malaysia & Datuk Syed Zaid Albar, Chairman of the Securities Commission of Malaysia. Special remarks by Khun Arin Jira, 2019 Chair of ASEAN-BAC.

Tan Sri Dr. Munir Majid, Chairman of ASEAN-BAC Malaysia opened the Smart Showcase Series on the Future of Fintech in ASEAN. While the Opening keynote remarks was then given by Datuk Syed Zaid Albar, Chairman of the Securities Commission of Malaysia. In a show of support for the event, Khun Arin Jira, 2019 Chair of ASEAN-BAC presented the special remarks.

The one-day conference presented over 30 speakers from Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Japan showcasing the latest Fintech covering Bank-tech, Insurtech, RegTech, Wealth Tech, Lending Tech, Equity and Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Crowdfunding and blockchain technologies. The Fintech Smart Showcase Series also saw ASEAN-wide initiatives such as the APIX (Application Programming Interface Exchange) presented by Chief Fintech Officer of Monetary Authority of Singapore, Sopnendu Mohanty, as well as the ASEAN Regional Digital Trade Connectivity presented by Secretary-General of the Thai Bankers Association, Khun Kobsak Duangdee.

Smart Showcase Series 2019: The Future of Fintech in ASEAN presented over 30 speakers from ASEAN and beyond.

82nd ASEAN-BAC Meeting

September 5th – 7th | Bangkok, Thailand

ASEAN-BAC Council Members and Committee at the 82nd ASEAN-BAC Meeting.

The 82nd ASEAN-BAC Meeting was held on 6th September 2019 in Marriott Marquis Queen’s Park, Bangkok, Thailand. The meeting was chaired by Khun Arin Jira of Thailand and co-chaired by Dr. Robert Yap of Singapore and Dr. Doan Duy Khuong of Vietnam.

The meeting was filled with discussion on the summary record of the previous ASEAN-BAC Meeting along with presentations on IAI Work Plan III, Thailand Chairmanship Updates, ASEAN-BAC Singapore Activities, ASEAN-BAC Philippines Activities and Preparation on AEM Interface with ASEAN-BAC.

82nd ASEAN-BAC Meeting was chaired by Khun Arin Jira of Thailand and co-chaired by Dr. Robert Yap of Singapore and Dr. Doan Duy Khuong of Vietnam.

IAI Work Plan III – was presented by Wan Joon Lian from  the ASEAN Secretariat (ASEC). Ms. Lian briefed the Council on the recent progress from IAI work plan III which focuses on the strategic areas of food and agriculture, trade facilitation, MSMEs, education and health and well-being.

Initially, the launch of the IAI Work Plan was the response of ASEAN in assisting its less developed members bridge the development gap among members. ASEAN-6 has committed to assist the new members by capitalising on their broad spectrum of strengths, resources and abilities.

A project proposal on Improving Research and Advocacy Skills of Business Associations in CLMV Countries is being developed to implement the following action under strategic area of MSMEs.

Thailand Chairmanship Updates –

Thailand Legacy Project

The Council noted that ASEAN Human Empowerment And Development (AHEAD) and ASEAN Seamless Digital Trade Connectivity are a long term project. A support from the government in form of endorsement from Minister can take the initiatives rolling throughout the years.

The purpose of Regional Digital Trade Transformation is to transform the end to end current practices and processes related to B2B international trade transactions from paper and manual processes to digital end to end by establishing the National Digital Trade Platform (NDTP) in each counties and to have this platform to be able to connect digitally with NDTP platforms of other countries in the region and with NSW/ASW of the government.

Khun Kobsak Duandee also briefed the Council on the recent progress of the ASEAN Seamless Digital Trade Connectivity. The project is also pushed forward by East Asia Business Council (EABC) and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Business Advisory Council (APEC-BAC) and is hoping for some pushes from the government too.

ASEAN-BAC Singapore Activities –

ASEAN Fellowship Programme

Dr Robert Yap thanked the support extended by the Council on the programme. The programme will be launched with partnership with National University of Singapore (NUS).

The NUS Fellows Programme (Southeast Asia) aims to attract bright young faculty members (or would-be faculty members) and researchers from ASEAN universities and research institutes to NUS for a 6 to 12-month fellowship.

Digitize ASEAN 2019

Dr Robert Yap invited the Council to attend Digitize ASEAN on 30th Sept 2019 at Supply Chain City, Singapore. Key topics that will be covered would include 5G+AI+Cloud, Digitizing Supply Chain, ASEAN Government’s Digital Plan and Preparing ASEAN Workforce for the Future. The Council noted the invitation along with several request to help the event.


Dr. Robert Yap updated that Vietnam is going to undertake the first pilot project for SGConnect, particularly targeting on Ho Chi Minh city. On the other side, the pilot project for the Philippines, Taquig, will be postponed due to unavoidable obstacles with the local government.

SGConnect aims to pilot Smart Growth Centres in each ASEAN state, each centre with varying sophistication of technologies and human capital intensity but similar in resource productivity and efficiency to serve the local population.

ASEAN-BAC Philippines Activities –

The Council has noted the update by the Chair on the framework of ASEAN Human Empowerment and Development (AHEAD) and the need to set up AHEAD Working Group soon. The ultimate outcome of AHEAD is going to be the “Guideline on the skilled labors / professional services development in response to 4IR”, which will be presented to ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting, AEM in September and Leaders by November.

Preparation on AEM Interface with ASEAN-BAC –

Mr. Gil Gonzales highlighted on the needs of effort from each country to push the number of cases submission in ASEAN Solutions for Investments, Services and Trade (ASSIST) platform. The Council noted the need to extend more active support through appointments of Focal Points that may provide meaningful inputs to the Trade Facilitation agenda matrix.

The ASEAN Solutions for Investments, Services and Trade (ASSIST) is a non-binding and consultative mechanism for the expedited and effective solution of operational problems encountered by ASEAN Enterprises on cross-border issues related to the implementation of ASEAN economic agreements and within the framework of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) launched in 2015.

ASEAN Health Summit & Exhibition 2019

November 20th – 21st | Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

ASEAN Health Summit & Exhibition 2019

Smart Showcase Series 2019 will continue its legacy sector with Smart Healthcare in ASEAN Health Summit & Exhibition organised by ASEAN-BAC Malaysia together with Digital Transformation Academy. The event will be officially launched by The Hon. Dr. Dzulkefly Ahmad, Minister of Health Malaysia. ASEAN Health Summit & Exhibition aims to create greater awareness of opportunities and collaboration for the peoples of ASEAN through the latest exponential technologies in healthcare.

Highlights of the event would include:

2 Day Event of ASEAN Health Summit & Exhibition 2019

For more information and update of the event, email us at

Full programme of the summit will be on soon!

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