MICCI calls for conducive business environment


Christina Tee

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry (MICCI) is no ordinary group.

Tracing its history from the formation of its ancestor, Penang Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture in 1837, it was restructured in 1974 as a company limited by guarantee and renamed the Malaysian International Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Today, MICCI is the oldest chamber in the nation, consisting of 60% multinational corporations (MNCs), 20% local companies that have gone global, while the remaining are small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

Made up of more than 1,000 plus members from over 21 industries, MICCI serves as a catalyst that aims to improve businesses and its environment for all its members.

MICCI has five branches across Malaysia, namely in Penang, Johor, Perak, Sabah and Kuala Lumpur.

The group also has an affiliate in Sarawak – the Sarawak Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

As a group, MICCI is dedicated to consistently evaluating the business climate in Malaysia while actively holding dialogue sessions with the relevant authorities in the government.

StarBiz spoke to a few key members who tell us about the benefits and opportunities they have encountered through using MICCI as a platform.

As the president of MICCI, Christina Tee, the managing director and chief executive officer of Cape EMS Bhd, said they are always looking for different ways to network with not only each other but with the government as well.

Tee told StarBiz MICCI has a council and business focus group, to address specific issues and it can be dispensed when it’s resolved.

“For example, the Digital Economy group addresses the concerns raised by members such as Lazada, Shopee, Grab, GoGet, and others,” she said.

Tee added in terms of partnerships, MICCI has signed memorandums with foreign embassies and foreign business chambers.

“MICCI is also planning to re-launch their training department to start training programmes for our members. The focus will be on niche programmes, whereby it’s customised to achieve greater output,” she said.

She said MICCI is working on a few strategies at the moment including with the Royal Malaysia Customs.

“MICCI is already engaging with the Royal Malaysian Customs and we attend their quarterly consultative dialogue.

“Moving forward, we will step up engagements with the Royal Malaysian Customs and the Royal Malaysia Police, requesting their representation in our council meetings. This is crucial to address security issues and revenue leakages in terms of tax in beer and tobacco industry.”

Renuka: The benefits of being a member include having a wider industry platform to raise issues and challenges through collaborative engagements.Renuka: The benefits of being a member include having a wider industry platform to raise issues and challenges through collaborative engagements.Renuka Indrarajah has been with Heineken Malaysia Bhd for 21 years. She is the corporate affairs and legal director of the brewery and is no stranger to being a member of MICCI as she takes the role of vice-president of the chamber.

According to Renuka, the benefits of being a member include having a wider industry platform to raise issues and challenges through collaborative engagements with the government and relevant agencies, with the aim to find business-friendly solutions.

She said that frequent discussions and roundtable sessions were held with the Investment Trade and Industry Ministry (Miti), Finance Ministry and several other government agencies to address operational challenges.

“We have been in regular discussions with Miti providing input on industry challenges to reach net-zero carbon. Moving forward our aim is to support our members by creating awareness on the national industry environmental, social and governance framework.

“During the pandemic, we knew businesses were really struggling, jobs were being lost and we wanted to ease some of those pain points. So we had a discussion to set up a private vaccination programme while the rest of the public continue receiving their vaccination through the government systems,” she said.

She added this helped expedite the number of vaccinated people which then allowed for the economy to reopen.

Van Crombrugge: I am glad for the many connections that MICCI has which have allowed the chamber to help struggling businesses.Van Crombrugge: I am glad for the many connections that MICCI has which have allowed the chamber to help struggling businesses.As the country manager of Paramit Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Michel Van Crombrugge has credited MICCI for many successes in helping businesses of all sizes.

The vice-president of the chamber said he was glad for the many connections that MICCI has with both the state and federal governments which have allowed them to help struggling businesses especially during the pandemic.

“It was difficult during the Covid era in terms of awareness of rules and regulations. So as a platform we formed a WhatsApp group that gave us firsthand information on reopening our plants and the rules we had to follow,” he said.

He added some of the main issues faced today, which includes digitalisation, talent development and enviromental, social and governance (ESG) concerns especially among the SME’s were discussed by the platform.

“MICCI is represented by a wide range of industries, from smaller businesses to large companies. We are glad that we have a good mix of companies that allow us to learn and collaborate with each other,” he said.

As the chief executive officer of Northport (M) Sdn, Datuk Azman Shah Mohd Yusof said no man is an island, which aptly described how the supply chain in the logistics sector had to pivot during Covid-19.

He said being a part of MICCI allowed the members to work together and propose solutions on how to strengthen the supply chain during this time.

“We were quite active in dialogue sessions and engagements on sectoral issues to do with the economy, especially once it reopened,” he said.

Azman: Being a part of the chamber allowed members to work together and propose solutions on how to strengthen the supply chain during the pandemic.Azman: Being a part of the chamber allowed members to work together and propose solutions on how to strengthen the supply chain during the pandemic.Another key area stemming from successful discussions included the implementation of ESG practices within its members.

“We have a strong ESG council in MICCI which brings forth issues to the government when needed. We also help each other implement strategies, for example we installed solar panels on our roof and encouraged other members to do the same,” he said.

MICCI is a strategic partner for Star Media Group’s Export Excellence Awards (EEA) 2023. Submissions for the EEA 2023 are still open, with nominations closing on Oct 19.

The EEA 2023 is organised by Star Media Group in partnership with Standard Chartered Malaysia and PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd as a co-sponsor. Malaysia External Trade Development Corp is the patron of the awards and Malaysia Digital Economy Corp is the technology partner. It is audited by BDO.For more information on EEA 2023, go to exportawards.com.my, WhatsApp 010-388 3742, or email eea@thestar.com.my

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