WITH a history of 40 years in Malaysia through legacy companies, deciding where to house its regional headquarters was a natural progression for AECOM.
A few factors swung in favour of Greater Kuala Lumpur (Greater KL) when the decision was made.
The global provider of architecture, design, engineering, and construction services has over 600 people working for it to advise on some of the more iconic developments in Malaysia.
AECOM’s portfolio of projects is peppered with high-profile projects and, a few do stand out. It has worked on the Sultan Abdul Halim Mua’dzam Shah Bridge in Penang and, is currently involved in the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit project and the River of Life project in Greater KL.
“AECOM has participated in the River of Life and Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit projects under the government’s Economic Transformation Programme (ETP). We are involved in many of the mixed-use developments around KLCC and have worked on many iconic projects in the Malaysia,” said Scott Dunn (pic), vice-president, Malaysia, AECOM.
“We are constantly looking for more opportunities to contribute back to Malaysia and among our areas of focus is the oil and gas market.”
With ties that bond both the company and the host country of many of its projects, the decision to set its roots in Greater KL was assisted by a large part by InvestKL.
The assistance it received from InvestKL when establishing its operations here made things even smoother for AECOM.
“InvestKL plays an instrumental role in helping companies integrate and establish their business in Greater KL. It has been very helpful and provided a lot of knowledge on the structural framework of various industries to assist AECOM’s growth plans into new market opportunities such as the oil and gas sector,” said Dunn.
“InvestKL has been highly supportive of AECOM’s business plans and are able to find other like-minded business partners whose work adds to what we do, and bring us together to help shape Malaysia’s landscape.”
Competition among countries in this region to attract and draw in multinational companies is fierce, and in order to succeed, organisations such as InvestKL draw support from the Government to enhance the allure of Greater KL for such prized companies.
“The commitment from the Malaysia government to work with partners to transform the city makes it a natural progression for us to develop our business in the country and look at further investments into Malaysia,” said Dunn.
Among the moves to enhance Kuala Lumpur’s standing as a business centre in the region has been the Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley NKEA under the ETP.
In that programme undertaken by PEMANDU from the Prime Minister’s Department, the Government has given its support in advancing Greater KL to be among the top 20 cities in the Economic Intelligence Unit Livability Index Survey by 2020.
And that strong commitment from the government instills confidence in companies.
“Similar to trends around the world with an increasing urban population, Greater KL is attracting more people to live, work and play in the city. This growth contributes to a diverse, rich culture that gives Greater KL its unique competitiveness,” said Dunn.
Having support from the Government and its agencies is important for companies such as AECOM but latching on to thriving opportunities in business is crucial in stationing the company in Greater KL and Malaysia.
“Malaysia’s focus on positioning the country as the No. 1 Asian hub for oil field services and building a sustainable energy platform for growth has created new business opportunities and jobs in the sector,” said Datuk Ahmad Suhaili Idrus, senior vice-president, oil and gas sector, South-East Asia, who is driving AECOM’s expansion into oil and gas in the region.
“AECOM’s multi-disciplinary team is well-poised to provide integrated services in the growing market and support Malaysia’s oil, gas and energy National Key Economic Area target of 5% annual growth for the sector from 2010 and 2020.”
Role in nation building
AECOM’s role in Malaysia is also one of nation building where the multinational company, while capitalising on business avenues in the country, intends to create, enhance and sustain the world’s built, natural and social environments.
“Our over 600 strong team of professionals in Malaysia live and breathe this purpose everyday as they design infrastructure, buildings and places for the country,” said Dunn.
As Greater KL expands through urbanisation and in pace with the broader economy, that translates to an ever increasing demand for infrastructural and transportation needs such as mass rapid transit, highways and aviation.
“Our integrated services provides us with the capability to support this demand and work with both public and private sectors to help them develop their projects successfully and together, transform Malaysia into one of the world’s most liveable cities,” said Dunn.
The growth of Greater KL is also creating a different role for AECOM, and that is helping provide employment for the skilled Malaysian workforce.
Dunn said AECOM’s portfolio in Malaysia requires more professionals and the strong talent pool in the country are passionate, have the technical capability to work on the projects and are willing to learn and advance in their professional career.
“Through working on ETP and other key projects in the country, it will further hone the team’s technical skills and equip them with the experience and knowledge to build and develop Malaysia,” he said.
“Initiatives such as the Greater KL/Klang Valley Sustainability Centre also allow us to create a platform that allows knowledge and technology transfer to local institutions and talents through research and application works.”
Growth without planning can have disastrous consequences and for AECOM, sustainability is more than just a cliché or a buzzword.
“Sustainability is embedded in our business and drives much of our work at AECOM. Our Asia sustainability centre was established to look at projects with sustainability as their core focus. The centre of excellence brings together all our multi-disciplinary specialists that span various business lines to pursue projects with sustainability as the common thread,” said Dunn.
Centre of excellence
AECOM recently partnered Yayasan Wilayah Persekutuan, a foundation body under0 the Ministry of Federal Territories, and inked a memorandum of understanding with them to establish a centre of excellence in Greater KL/Klang Valley to advance sustainable urban development in Malaysia.
“The Greater KL/Klang Valley Sustainability Centre (GKLKVSC) reinforces our commitment to sustainability and is the first centre of excellence focused on sustainable development in the tropics.It will pull together resources from both private and public sectors to shape the city towards sustainable development, enhance quality of life in Greater KL and help Greater KL achieve competitive advantages regionally and internationally,” said Dunn.
“The MoU to establish GKLKVSC demonstrates the country’s commitment in advancing sustainable urban development to transform Greater KL into one of world’s most liveable cities by 2020.”
One spinoff from the GKLKVSC is that it provides the opportunity for AECOM to work with government agencies, private sector firms, and institutions to consult, research and develop products and services which create economic, environmental and social values.
“We are also exploring how we can meet the needs of clients in the oil and gas market to support and maximise the potential in this sector,” said Dunn.
This article is brought to you by InvestKL. Its mandate is to facilitate MNCs decision to base their regional headquarters in Greater KL.
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