TBY and British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce hold roundtable discussion

TBY recently held a roundtable discussion in cooperation with the British Malaysian Chamber of Commerce, with the participation of Mahendra Gursahani, CEO of Standard Chartered Malaysia, Muhamad Hanif Hashim, General Manager of Petrofac Malaysia, and John Stocker, Director Malaysia of BAE Systems. Topics for the discussion on the role innovation in their growth strategies and how multinationals can add value to the local economy with offset packages, global service centers and graduate programs.

Malaysia is an important market for Standard Chartered, as it employs, besides its banking operations, nearly 5,000 people in a global services center called Scope. The center services more than 40 countries 24/7, in their respective languages. Gursahani elaborated on recent investments undertaken by Standard Chartered to make this into an improved facility called the “Collective Intelligence and Command Centre,” a concept that integrates global fintech solutions into its services. This week the bank, which has been present on Malaysian soil since 1875, launched video banking to personalize online banking solutions.

BAE Systems is currently bidding to supply the Malaysian state with modern multirole fighter aircraft. On adding value to the local economy, Stocker mentioned the offset packages that the Eurofighter Typhoon would bring to the country. Malaysia’s already well-developed aerospace ecosystem could be further enhanced by BAE Systems’ MRO, local supply, and training programs.

Furthermore, BAE Systems runs a major global cyber security operations center from Malaysia, which, similarly to Standard Chartered’s fintech efforts, has found success due to a skilled workforce and cost-effective operations uniquely available in this market. BAE Systems also has a joint venture with Boustead Heavy Industries, a Malaysian shipbuilder and defense firm, on the supply, MRO, and training for naval weapon systems, and expressed its strong commitment to further expand similar partnerships in the region.

Hanif, GM of Petrofac, a leading services provider in the oil and gas industry, mentioned innovation as one of its core pillars. Petrofac is one of the engineering service providers to PETRONAS, and has brought expertise and training in a broad range of activities. The nature of the energy industry’s demand for services has shifted with higher oil price volatility, and Petrofac has turned its attention of cost saving measures across extraction and production.

When it comes to adding value to the local economy, the company’s long presence in the country has led to a large pool of engineers and Hanif Hashim mentioned that he is proof of Petrofac acknowledging the skill of local Malaysians in managing its business units. In his opinion, strong cooperation between native universities and multinationals—in the form of traineeships and a dialogue on curricula—can spur economic development.

All three companies have a long and established presence in Malaysia, and are committed to keep investing. The full text of the roundtable discussion will be published in The Business Year: Malaysia, to be launched in January 2017. The Business Year expresses its gratitude to the British Chamber of Commerce, which co-organized this event.