Penang Dialogue 2023 – Today for Tomorrow: Growth from Strong Foundations

On 8 December 2023, AMCHAM held its annual Penang Dialogue at the Eastern & Oriental Hotel. This year’s theme – “Today for Tomorrow: Growth from Strong Foundations” explored how Malaysia can forge ahead. This year’s event was once again graced by the presence of Y.A.B. Tuan Chow Kon Yeow, Chief Minister of Penang, and joining him was Manu Bhalla, chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of the United States of America.  

We had a stimulating ensemble of speakers and panelists, from industry to academia, to tackle the theme of 2023 with discussions on technology, sustainability and circular economy, and the various other factors affecting the ever-changing landscape of business and policy.

Dato’ Professor Ulung Dr. Rajah A/L Rasiah, Distinguished Professor of Economics, Asian Europe Institute (AEI), University Malaya provided the keynote address and presented on “Driving Innovation for a Sustainable Future”. He then proceeded to join Suresh Kumar Dass,  Vice-President, Design Engineering, GM, Intel Malaysia Design; Isabel Fan, Regional Director, Tesla; and Soon Kuek, Managing Director, Lam Research. Iqbal Shamsul,  CEO, nanoSkunkWorkX, moderated the session. Continuing from Professor Dr. Rajah’s presentation, this panel explored the advancement through technology in the business world and its impact on Malaysia. Panelists went into the challenges in technology adoption as well as how Malaysian businesses can leverage these technologies in preparation for the future. 

The second panel discussion of the day featured a robust discussion on achieving a circular economy in Malaysia with Balan Shanmuganathan, Sr Engineering Director Sustainability, Seagate; Lim Yeong-Chuan, Country President for Malaysia and Singapore, Honeywell; and Dr. Amani Salim, Founder & CTO, nanoSkunkWorkX, moderated by Pragalathen Krishnan, Vice President Finance-Global Operations, Facilities & Gross Margin Improvement, Advanced Energy industries. 

The centerpiece of the event was the dialogue between the Chief Minister of Penang and the U.S. Embassy in Malaysia. The dialogue under the theme of “Today for Tomorrow” looked into the future of Penang and Malaysia, addressing the huge amounts of investment coming into Malaysia from the U.S. and the talent pool needed to keep up with it.

This year also featured Special Presentations by Wilson Puon, Head of Integrated Clean Energy Solutions, Ditrolic Energy; Shanthi Kanthaswamy, Executive Director, JA Malaysia; and Syed Fairul Al-Mashoor, Consulting, Director for Corporate Sustainability and Climate Change, ERM Malaysia. 

Syed then proceeded to join in the final panel discussion of the day along with fellow panelists – LH Tan, Director of Strategic Procurement, Ni Malaysia; Tham Chee Aum, Group CEO, Ditrolic Energy; and Liong Chian Min, Managing Director, Renesas Electronics Penang. This session delved into the role MNCs could play in enabling Scope 3 Compliance for SMEs. 

A very big thank you to everyone who participated in this event. Special thanks to our Gold Sponsors – Boston Scientific Medical Devices (Malaysia), Citi Malaysia, HP Malaysia Manufacturing, Intel Malaysia, Lam Research International, Micron Malaysia, Motorola Solutions Malaysia, Smart Modular Technologies, and Teleflex Medical. And our Silver Sponsors – Analog Devices, Ditrolic Energy, and NI Malaysia. Thank you to Starbucks for being the beverage sponsor once again and to the team at E&O Hotel, Penang, for all the support.