Swiss firm sets up centre in Cyberjaya to help fight illicit trade

Sealing process: Augsburger (right) explaining to Mustapa how the security banderols are placed onto bottles.

A PROVIDER of security inks, authentication and traceability solutions and services for banknotes, security documents and consumer products, Sicpa, has set up its new RM5mil Asia-Pacific regional centre in Cyberjaya as it seeks in-depth cooperation with regional governments and businesses in the fight against illicit trade.

The Cyberjaya centre is only one of three Sicpa centres and promises to provide customised solutions to create a more secure environment so as to protect tax revenue and integrity of producst from smuggling and counterfeiting activities.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed officially opened the centre in a ceremony attended by Swiss Ambassador to Malaysia, Dr Rolf Lenz and Royal Malaysian Customs director-general Datuk Seri Khazali Ahmad.

“Sicpa is investing in Malaysia because we recognise that proximity to the Asia-Pacific market will promote more frequent and easier dialogue with local partners, as well as regional governments and other clients,” said Sicpa chief executive officer Philippe Amon.

“This will ensure we fully understand your requirements and expectations in developing and delivering the best possible technology innovations to counter the ever-changing illicit markets of smuggling and counterfeiting.”

Sicpa said it had been working through its long-term Malaysian technology partner, Lembah Sari Sdn Bhd, to help the Royal Malaysian Customs combat the illicit trade of tobacco and imported alcohol.

“The 2014 Illicit Cigarette Study (ICS) by Nielsen showed that there has been a sharp 6.6 percentage point decline in the incidence of illegal cigarettes to 32.3%, from a record high of 38.9% last year. This was deemed the largest drop in the history of illegal cigarettes in Malaysia, proving the result of the concerted efforts of government and enforcement agencies, notably the Royal Malaysian Customs which has deployed Sicpa technology,” it noted.

In his address, Mustapa welcomed the expansion of Sicpa’s services in Malaysia.

“Malaysia would like to attract more companies such as Sicpa to make Malaysia its base, and in order to do so, we must be able to provide for their needs in terms of the skilled resources that these companies require.

“Malaysia has a long history of ties with Swiss companies and Sicpa has added to that base. The country can benefit from the introduction of new technologies and the transfer of knowledge which can enhance the skills and productivity of Malaysians,” he said.

Sicpa said its Asia-Pacific centre in Malaysia places the company at the heart of the region and cater to the local markets.

“The regional centre in Malaysia stands out as a centre of excellence for the development of mobile apps for the global market. Sicpa’s products authentication technology will be made available to the public via mobile apps and will empower consumers in the Asia Pacific to make smart choices. This technology is already available to the public in Malaysia through a mobile app to distinguish the authenticity of imported alcohol,” it said.

Sicpa Product Security Sdn Bhd general manager Alain Augsburger said the centre encompassed a new office, a test lab, servers, IT infrastructure and a coding centre.

“Currently, we have a team of 35 highly skilled individuals based at this regional centre. Over the next 24 months, we plan to double both our staff strength and our investment to extend our engineering scope and the coding centre capacity.

Ready to operate: Mustapa and Amon cutting the ribbon at the opening of the RM5mil Sicpa Asia Pacific Centre.
Ready to operate: Mustapa and Amon cutting the ribbon at the opening of the RM5mil Sicpa Asia Pacific Centre.

“As we grow, we will continue to expand our capabilities and also create new job opportunities for Malaysians who want to make a difference.

“The centre will support Sicpa Asia Pacific in terms of business development, coding, engineering, as well as, solutions deployment, and will engage in R&D and innovation projects specific to the region,” he said.

Ausburger added that the efforts of the Malaysian government and Sicpa’s partner entities to provide a good environment to operate in was one of the key factors in the company choosing Malaysia as the base of the regional centre.

The new centre follows 11 years of Sicpa’s involvement in Malaysia, and comes in response to the growing demand for the company’s security solutions to combat illicit trade in Asia Pacific.

Sicpa said its security solutions were used on 75 billion products annually.

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