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CABA Series 2021 – Outlook for Malaysia: Overcoming challenges and emerging stronger – Virtual Forum

August 17, 2021 @ 10:00 am - 12:15 pm


Look past the grim headlines of Malaysia’s immediate challenges in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic and you’ll find a brighter long-term outlook. Despite a slow start, Malaysia now boasts one of the fastest vaccination rates in the world in an effort to break the cycle of lockdowns which has disrupted economic activities.

As Malaysia moves ahead on its road to recovery, investors are taking a long-term view on the country’s prospects. In June 2021, Singapore’s GIC announced its US$180m investment in Malaysia’s healthcare sector. Other recent bright spots include Malaysia’s rubber glove and palm oil industries.

Looking further ahead, the Twelfth Malaysia Plan for the 2021-2025 period will encompass economic empowerment, environmental sustainability, and social re-engineering to set the way forward. In addition to ongoing ASEAN economic integration, Malaysia is expected to ratify both the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Comprehensive Economic and Progressive Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) to gain market access to nearly a third of the world’s population and a range of other benefits.

What does it all mean for businesses and investors? In this event, we unpack the challenges Malaysia faces at home and abroad as the world emerges from the Covid-19 crisis:

  • What are the possible scenarios moving forward in Malaysia for 2H 2021 and 2022?
  • How will the rise of protectionism and unilateralism impact Malaysia’s exporters?
  • Does the newly signed RCEP provide new trade opportunities to Malaysia? How does it fit amidst US-China tensions?
  • How will the global transition to green energy impact Malaysia’s energy exports? Will it give rise to silver linings of new sustainability opportunities –carbon exchanges, sustainable technologies, electric cars etc?



  • Opening Address – “Outlook for Malaysia – Overcoming Challenges and Emerging Stronger”
    H.E. Dato’ Dr. Azfar Mohamad Mustafar, High Commissioner – designate of Malaysia to the Republic of Singapore
    (15 mins)
  • Presentation – “Investing in Malaysia amidst COVID-19”
    Ms Umarani Muniandy, Counsellor (Investment) High Commission of Malaysia in Singapore cum Director of MIDA Singapore
    (40 mins)
  • Presentation – “Riding the Challenging Covid-19 backdrop – Macro-Economic Outlook of Malaysia”
    Manu Bhaskaran, CEO Centennial Asia Advisors
  • Panel Discussion – “Economic Bright Sparks amidst Challenging times – What’s installed for Businesses?”
    (60 mins with Q&A)



  • H.E. Dato’ Dr. Azfar Mohamad Mustafar is an Administrative & Diplomatic Officer in the Malaysian Civil Service and has served in various capacities. Amongst others, his past assignments include service as an Assistant Director, Institute of Diplomacy and Foreign Relations (IDFR), and as an Assistant Director, National Security Council, Prime Minister’s Department. He was the Director General, Department of Maritime Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Malaysia from 2015–2018. He served as the Ambassador of Malaysia to France, with concurrent accreditation to Portugal and Monaco, from September 2018–May 2021. He is currently the High Commissioner–designate of Malaysia to the Republic of Singapore. He holds a BA (Hons.) in South East Asian Studies from University of Malaya, an MSc in Maritime Administration from the World Maritime University (Sweden), and PhD in Maritime Law from University of Wales (United Kingdom).


  • Ms Umarani Muniandy is currently the Counsellor (Investment) for the High Commission of Malaysia in Singapore cum the Director of the Malaysian Investment Development Authority (MIDA) office in Singapore. MIDA is the principal government agency for the promotion and coordination of industrial and services development in Malaysia. She joined MIDA in 1991 as an Assistant Director. Throughout her years with MIDA, Ms. Umarani has been instrumental in analyzing and recommending strategic projects of great value to the nation and facilitated investment projects of various industries/sectors, namely Chemicals (both upstream & downstream), Pharmaceuticals , Biotechnology, Medical Devices and also Regional Operations. Ms Umarani also led and engaged in targeted Missions all round the globe to promote investments into Malaysia. She also played a pivotal role in assisting the government in terms of formulating policies and strategies for the industrial Master Plan, the Malaysia’s Economic Plan as well as sectors which were under her purview.


  • Datuk Noraini Soltan is the Founder and Managing Director of Sipro Plastic Industries Sdn Bhd (SPISB). She holds a Bachelor of Economics from University of Malaya and Master of Business Administration from Ohio University, USA. SPISB was incorporated in 1992 and is a leading plastic injection molding company in Malaysia, manufacturing components for automotive, electrical and electronics industry. Under her leadership, SPISB has received numerous awards for its achievement in quality and delivery including UMW TOYOTA, Perusahaan Otomobil Kedua Sendirian Berhad (PERODUA) and Perusahaan Otomobil Malaysia (PROTON). Among her achievements and recognition received include Women Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young and National Women Entrepreneur Award by Deloitte. Datuk Noraini serves numerous positions in government agencies as well as for non-profit organizations. She is a Committee Member for Employment Insurance Scheme (EIS), under Social Security Organization (SOCSO) and a Board of Trustee for Steinbeis Malaysia Foundation. Datuk Noraini holds position as Vice President for Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM), Vice President for Malaysian Plastic Manufacturers Association (MPMA) and Deputy President for Kelab Vendor Perodua, Malaysia (KVP). Datuk Noraini has been appointed as the industry advisor for Material Technology Programme, 2020-2022, Universiti Malaysia Pahang (UMP) and committee member for Pengajian Program Bacelor Sains dan Teknologi Alam Sekitar, 2020-2022, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM).


  • Mr. Manu Bhaskaran is a leading Asian economist based in Singapore with close to 40 years of experience in studying economic, political & security issues that shape the business environment in Asia. He co-ordinates the Asian business of Washington DC-based strategic advisory firm, Centennial Group, directing its Asian economic research practice which provides in-depth analysis of macro trends in Asia. He works extensively with investment institutions, government agencies & corporations. Mr. Bhaskaran regularly presents his views on the economic, political and business environment in Asia at business conferences and in-house briefings. He has conducted studies on a wide range of subjects including: consumer finance in Asia; Asian integration; regional and country-specific political and economic outlooks; the Impact of China on Asia; portfolio capital flows in emerging markets, amongst many others. Mr. Bhaskaran is a regular columnist for The Edge (Singapore) and holds positions in think tanks including being Adjunct Senior Research Fellow at the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS); Vice President of the Economics Society of Singapore, and Council Member of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs (SIIA). He is also a member of the Regional Advisory Group for Asia and the Pacific of the International Monetary Fund as well as the Competition Appeals Board in Singapore. Mr. Bhaskaran serves on the boards of CIMB Investment Bank and Japfa Limited.


  • Mr. Daniel Loh has been in the Chemicals Industry for the last 17 years, of which 15 years was with BASF in the region, including  Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Daniel has held several positions including the Head of a Regional Business Unit, Country MD, as well as sub-regional Head for Malaysia-Singapore and for Indonesia-Philippines. In those roles, Daniel has been involved on re-structuring of the country and regional operations, including new asset investments. In Aug 2019, Daniel joined HELM AG as the Head of Asia to spearhead and extend their growth in Asia. Setting up HELM Thailand in 2020 was perhaps the most challenging and unique experience with a totally remote execution from the hiring of the MD to the startup of commercial activities. More recently, Daniel is actively involved in M&A activities for HELM which included travel during COVID times to Malaysia. Daniel graduated from NUS with a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) and later went on to obtain his MBA with High Honors at the Oklahoma City University.


  • Mr. Victor Tay – Stout Limited is the 3rd largest US-based Independent Valuation and Investment Banking firm. Victor Tay is the Managing Director within the Investment Banking group and is based out of Stout’s Singapore office focusing on South East Asia office. His areas of expertise include corporate strategic development, market entry and expansion strategy, direct investment, M&A and corporate finance advisory, and transaction support. He has assisted a number of Asian companies in going public successfully. Victor was Chief Operating Officer of Singapore Business Federation, with an in-depth understanding of global strategic developments, including in China, the United States and Asia. He was also Group Director of Singapore Economic Development Board and SPRING Singapore, where he oversaw eight industry sectors comprising of Transportation, Logistics, Environmental, Engineering Services, Biomedical, Chemicals, Education and Business Services in which he had assisted Singapore enterprises in a variety of areas such as M&A advisory, technological R&D, private equity investment and internationalization. Victor has developed deep understanding of future science and technology trend and sustainable development strategies as the Chief Development Officer of Nanyang Technological University. His previous board appointments include Vice President of the United Nations Global Compact Network Singapore, Chairman of the Environmental and Water Centre for Innovation at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, and Independent Director of the Franchising and Licensing Association (Singapore). He was appointed by government as the Singapore representative at the ASEAN Young Business Leader Committee. He also sat at a series of government committees including SME Committee, REACH, Tripartite, PDPA Appeal Committee, as well as, a series of awards committee like Enterprise 50, SME 1000, E&Y Entrepreneur of the Year Awards, Singapore Productivity Awards, Singapore Sustainability Awards. Victor also has previously served as Principal of Management Consulting Services at PWC (Asia Pacific), Director of Advisory Services at KPMG (Asia Pacific), Chief Development Officer at Nanyang Technological University, Chief Technology Officer at Pacific Internet. Victor attended Executive Management Programme with Harvard Business School, MIT Sloan School of Management, Oxford University and University of Cambridge. He lectures at Civil Service College International and speaks regularly to the regional media on various topics on future trends, business issues, innovation and technology, growth strategies, market expansion and merger and acquisitions.



August 17, 2021
10:00 am - 12:15 pm

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