Penang Dialogue 2022: A Stronger Malaysian Ecosystem

On 8 September 2022, AMCHAM once again held its signature program, the Penang Dialogue, for the first time in two years with over 280 present at the E&O Hotel in Penang. Not only were we delighted to meet in person but with the Mask Mandate being relaxed significantly, we were all able to test our recognition memory pathways. 

The Penang Dialogue focused around “A Stronger Malaysian Ecosystem”  brought together a diverse ensemble of speakers to look at where Malaysia sits in global value chains and what needs to be done to strengthen its position. 

This year, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), represented by Dato’ Sri Norazman Ayob, Deputy Secretary-General (Industry), joined H.E. Brian McFeeters, U.S. Ambassador to Malaysia and Y.A.B. Tuan Chow Kon Yeow, Chief Minister of Penang as our guests of honor.

The morning kicked off with a special presentation by Bo Huang, Associate Partner, McKinsey & Company on the transition in global value chains providing a macro view of trade and Malaysia’s role. Bo Huang proceeded to join a conversation with Sebastian Cortes-Sanchez, Deputy Director, Asian Trade Center and moderated by Linda Ooi, International Tax and Transaction Services – Operating Model Effectiveness group, Ernst & Young. 

Their discussion centered around the opportunities and challenges of the emerging trade environment, re-aligning supply chain resilience, the role of technology and services impacting the global supply chain and lastly, sharing best practices uncovered in recent disruptions and how best to maximize opportunities through trade agreements.

The next panel focused on Enabling Tomorrow’s Infrastructure with discussions on Supply Chain Infrastructure & Ecosystem, Cybersecurity, and ESG. The panel concurred that Malaysia, while it is strategically positioned to support the anticipated growth and incoming FDI, needed greater resistance in its supply chains. Technology adoption needs to be strategic and to cut across the entire ecosystem including SMEs.   With the digital environment upon us, measures need to be put in place to protect both the Information Technology and Operation Technology infrastructure. Greater cyber security awareness is an imperative along with data protection and compliance to PDPA and EU GDPR is essential.  The panelists taking on this discussion were:  Mahadhir Aziz, Chief Executive Officer, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) Yeong-Chuan (YC) Lim, Country President, Malaysia & Singapore, Honeywell, Vivien Pua, Senior Industry Analyst, Security, Frost & Sullivan,  moderated by Dalbir Singh, Senior Director, Quantela Inc.

Panel 3 featured an insightful discussion on creating a sustainable SME ecosystem in the global value chains including the role of MNCs and organizations in supporting the SME industry. Accountability and the expansion of the SME support system is also crucial for success. Additional topics discussed were the need to build effective partnerships and to ensure a sustainable talent pool which will be critical in defining the success of the SMEs.  

This session featured panelists –  Steven X. Chan, International Head of Government Relations and Public Policy, Asia-Pacific and Latin America, PayPal, Dr Juita Mohamad, Director, Economics and Business Unit; Director of Research, IDEAS Malaysia, Dr Wong Peng Wen, CEO, Filpal (M) Sdn Bhd, Noor Amy Ismail, Chief Operating Officer, Malaysia Venture Capital Management (MAVCAP), who were moderated by Shahrizal Mohd Suffian, Executive Director for SEA, Deloitte. 

AMCHAM would like to thank everyone who participated for your support. We would also like to thank our Gold Sponsors – Boston Scientific, Citibank Berhad, HP Inc Malaysia, Intel Malaysia, Keysight Technologies, Lam Research Malaysia, Motorola Solutions Malaysia, Plexus Manufacturing Malaysia, and Smart Modular Technologies Malaysia. 

Thank you to our Silver Sponsors – Flex Malaysia, International SOS, NCER Malaysia, NI Malaysia, Nolato Malaysia, MDEC, and Sanmina-SCI Systems Malaysia. We would also like to thank Samtec, Plexus, First Solar for your support in taking up a corporate table. Last but not least, thank you to Starbucks for being our official beverage sponsor at the event.

View the photo gallery HERE