EEA entries reflect export growth

(Seated from left) Mak, Bahria, and Yeow together with (standing from left) Abu Bakar and Balasubramaniam posing for a group photo to mark the occasion of EEA’s final judging session.

MALAYSIA’s trade is anticipated to recover by 5% in 2024, according to the Finance Ministry in its Economic Outlook 2024, with a 5.1% and 4.9% growth in exports and imports respectively.

Investment, Trade and Industry Ministry (MITI) deputy secretary general for management and investment Datuk Bahria Mohd Tamil believes that many of the Export Excellence Awards (EEA) 2023 participants are on track towards this trajectory.

During the EEA final judging session which took place in Menara Star, Petaling Jaya, Bahria noted the significant improvement on the overall quality of the entries, which reflects the Awards’ increasing prestige and credibility in attracting quality participants.

“This has partly contributed towards fulfilling the objectives and aspirations of the New Investment Policy, the New Industrial Master Plan 2030, Industry4WRD as well as the new National ESG Framework for Industry (i-ESG).

“Elements on sustainability, ESG and innovation have clearly been embraced by the participants. We are confident that embracing those elements will further enable them to build resilience, grow their exports and stay ahead of the curve,” said the eminent chief judge.

Bahria foresees more mature exporters upping their game in next year’s Awards, embracing ESG considerations and rapidly adopting automation and digitalisation in their business processes to remain competitive globally.

“For companies embarking on their ESG journey, they should contact their respective chambers on how they can begin to embrace ESG through MITI’s i-ESG to continuously have access to various markets that are becoming increasingly ESG-sensitive,” she advised.

Commitment to exports

Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (Matrade) deputy chief executive officer (exporters development) Abu Bakar Yusof concurred, noting the export growth of companies.

“Regardless of whether the export value is big or small, their commitment to prioritise exports is visible. This is underscored by the significant increase in their contribution to exports against total revenue in the last three years.

“This shows our SMEs’ understanding of the local market that is competitive, and their recognition of the broader global opportunities.

“Moreover, they are embarking on a journey to embrace, adapt and adopt sustainability, automation and digitalisation in their business processes so they can be globally competitive.”

The EEA eminent judge added that the submissions were comprehensive, and outlined the companies’ sustainability plans – an area that Matrade is focusing on as they facilitate Malaysian exporters and enterprises on the global arena.

“It is heartening to see companies active and aggressive in adopting a more comprehensive ESG framework. For them to be globally competitive, their commitment to align with global sustainability and ESG standards is crucial.

“Similarly, the integration of technology, including automation and digitalisation, is not only interconnected with sustainability but also brings cost efficiency, waste reduction and heightened productivity,” said Abu Bakar.

Areas for improvement

Participating in awards such as the EEA provides an excellent opportunity for companies to not only showcase their achievements, but also identify areas for improvement, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) director of digital exports A. Balasubramaniam said.

Apart from having the ability to narrate well on their company’s profile, performance, and plans, he emphasised the importance of several areas that companies, including potential participants for the 2024 Awards, should focus on.

“Integrating sustainable business practices can be a distinguishing factor.

“Companies should consider initiatives on environmental responsibility, social impact, and ethical business practices.

“Digital transformation is also essential, and enhancing digital infrastructure can improve operational efficiency and customer engagement.

“Investing in innovation through research and development is key for competitiveness while market diversification helps mitigate risks associated with economic uncertainties in specific geographic areas.

“Understanding and adhering to global trade regulations and resilience planning can help companies navigate unforeseen challenges. A well-prepared business is better equipped to withstand disruptions.

“Through these and more, companies can position themselves for sustainable growth in the dynamic global marketplace. Continuous improvement, strategic planning, and a commitment to excellence are key elements for long-term success,” the eminent judge pointed out.

Success stories

Having been a partner of EEA for the fourth consecutive year, Standard Chartered Malaysia is honoured to be part of this Awards.

“As facilitators of cross-border trade, we take pride in being able to continue playing our role in providing this platform that showcases Malaysia’s trade capabilities to the world,” expressed its chief executive officer Mak Joon Nien.

For Mak, the essence of EEA is all about success stories.

“It’s important for companies to understand and hear what success means. Therefore, establishing a platform where success can be shared is significantly crucial.

“There’s an education element as well, whereby successful Malaysian exporters and industry experts share their knowledge and insights into current export trend and regulations to ensure continuous learning and upskilling.

“This is vital considering the growing call for sustainability and resilience globally, which will shape the business models for most companies. Core export destinations are adopting sustainability practices, with a specific emphasis on ESG compliance.

“Financial players are crucial in unlocking the funding that businesses need to transition into nett zero, which is why Standard Chartered will continue to develop innovative and simple solutions to support Malaysian exporters, such as our Sustainable Trade Finance proposition.

“It’s about how emerging markets or developing countries plug into more developed economies, which is where the EEA alumni – a community of Malaysian exporters – come in to share timely insights and best practices, as well as a better understanding of financial instruments that are available to help expand their business across borders, with their peers,” said Mak of the Awards in shaping the export landscape o the country.

Gateway to new opportunitiesFor Star Media Group’s chief executive officer Alex Yeow, 2023 has been an exciting year for the Awards.

Workshops were conducted in Penang and Johor for companies to learn export strategies, while various events were held by trade and industry associations for their members – in addition to the networking sessions that brought together EEA’s partners, past winners and industry experts to exchange insightful ideas.

“We would like to extend our gratitude to our esteemed partner, Standard Chartered, co-sponsor PKT Logistics Group, patron Matrade, and technology partner MDEC, for their steadfast support and commitment in ensuring the success of this Awards programme.

“Since we launched the fourth instalment of the Awards earlier this year, everyone has contributed their time and expertise in ensuring EEA grows to be the platform that not only celebrates success but is a testament to the resilience, innovation, and dedication of our nation’s exporters.

“To all exporters, this is not merely an Awards programme. It is a gateway to new opportunities and growth. The EEA epitomises the spirit of achievement, and we are delighted to recognise the exceptional contributions of our business community once again.”

Yeow expressed his anticipation for the upcoming gala night scheduled for January 2024, underscoring it as a pivotal moment where the culmination of efforts and excellence will be acknowledged. This event will serve as the grand stage where winners will be crowned for their outstanding achievements in the export arena.

Winners of EEA 2023 will be announced at the Export Excellence Awards Gala Night in January 2024.

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, Matrade as patron, and MDEC as Technology Partner. It is audited by BDO.

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