Petronas Gears Up For The Future Of Work

Engineers being trained for the future at PETRONAS Technology Center at Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP).

Amid the rising tide of digitalization and deployment of robotics and artificial intelligence capabilities across industries, companies are adapting to the revolutionary changes by upskilling their workforce in an effort to minimize job losses and prepare their organizations for the future.

A recent study by PricewaterhouseCoopers suggests that specialist jobs will be highly prized as companies embrace digitalization to boost productivity and decrease workforce size. While jobs won’t be insulated from redundancies resulting from technological advancements, organizations do have a responsibility to train their people to adapt to the new normal.

Anticipating this, PETRONAS has been building an agile, innovative, and resilient workforce. This will enable the company to fully realize its potential as a progressive energy and solutions partner, with a vision for a sustainable future.

Knowledge is Power

PETRONAS’ commitment to its workforce stems from over two decades of dedication towards sustainability. It has been developing and investing in talent to create a highly knowledgeable and skilled workforce to support growth and drive Malaysia’s energy industry forward.

With this in mind, PETRONAS has established Institut Teknologi Petroleum PETRONAS, Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) and Akademi Laut Malaysia. These institutions offer specific expertise to support PETRONAS’ technology and sustainability agenda. For example, PETRONAS has activated 53 projects with UTP geared towards subsurface imaging, unconventional resources, improved oil recovery, carbon dioxide removal technology, and future sensors. All these efforts are aimed at producing excellent technology-driven and economical solutions.

Complementing this is an expanding network of academic collaborations with more than 15 Malaysian universities and 10 foreign tertiary institutions. The deep rooted synergy between the industry and the academe has pushed knowledge and innovation frontiers in the areas of sustainability, while fortifying the capabilities of all involved to thrive amid a challenging era that calls for the rapid transition of the energy industry into net zero emissions.

To support this transition, PETRONAS had established three global technology centers: the PETRONAS Technology Center at UTP, Malaysia; the PETRONAS Center for Engineering of Multiphase Systems at Imperial College London; and the PETRONAS Center of Excellence in Subsurface Engineering and Energy Transition at the Institute of GeoEnergy Engineering at Heriot-Watt University in the U.K.

Malaysia Unveils Blueprint To Accelerate Growth In Healthcare Tourism

Malaysia’s Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin (rightmost) spearheads the launch of the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Industry Blueprint 2021-2025 on a virtual platform.

As international travel gradually resumes post-pandemic, Malaysia is pulling all the stops to speed up the growth in medical tourism, guided by a new blueprint unveiled last month by the Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC).

Founded in 2009 under the purview of the Ministry of Health, MHTC works with industry players and service providers to grow the health travel sector by promoting the Malaysia Healthcare brand globally. Its new blueprint aims to highlight the country’s healthcare travel ecosystem with a focus on enhancing the traveler experience in the next few years as economies around the world recover from the negative impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

To enhance and elevate the traveler experience, the blueprint will highlight five areas: quality, affordability, safety, hospitality and seamless journey. The country aims to maintain high quality healthcare services at affordable prices, while equipping highly trained specialists with the latest medical technologies.

The plan also calls for the cooperation among stakeholders to rebuild the industry, amplify the Malaysia Healthcare brand and increase global awareness of the country’s niche offerings such as the Fertility Hub of Asia, the Cardiology Hub of Asia, and the Cancer Care Center of Excellence.

Charting a New Course

“The emphasis will be on providing the best ‘Malaysia Healthcare’ travel experience with world-class medical services at an affordable price, great hospitality and an overall seamless journey for the traveler,” says Mohd Daud Mohd Arif, CEO of MHTC.

Malaysia to enhance the healthcare traveler experience.

“By 2025, we hope to achieve a targeted US$400 million in receipts from healthcare travel, with a significant positive spillover effect into the rest of the Malaysian economy.” That will potentially equal or surpass the hospital receipts generated from healthcare travelers in 2019, just before the pandemic upended the global economy.

Medical tourism has had a significant contribution to the country, with the government estimating the spillover of such medical receipts to the broader economy at US$1.5 billion in 2019 when 1.2 million medical tourists visited the country. The industry achieved an average annual growth of 16% between 2015 and 2019.

While Malaysia’s popularity as a leading healthcare travel destination in Southeast Asia has grown in the past decade, its value propositions of quality, accessibility (to top specialists and medical facilities) and affordability, has grabbed the attention of the international media. Last year, the International Medical Travel Journal in the U.K. named the country “Destination of the Year” while the U.S.-based International Living magazine ranked Malaysia as the “Best Country in the World for Healthcare” from 2015 to 2019.

Anticipating pent-up demand among travelers seeking medical treatments in Malaysia in the post-pandemic years ahead, the country has positioned itself as a safe and trusted destination with a wide range of hospitality choices such as spa resorts, wellness centers and health-centric getaways. It will leverage technology to make the traveler experience even more seamless.

“For every plan and aspiration articulated today, we must bear in mind that the end goal is to build a sustainable future for the healthcare industry,” Health Minister Khairy Jamaluddin said during the launch of the blueprint last month.

Recovery On The Horizon

Malaysia is on track for a resilient recovery after the disruption caused by the pandemic.

Buoyed by a high vaccination rate that has surpassed 90% among the country’s adult population, and the pledge by the government to boost the economy, Malaysia is on track to recover strongly from the disruption brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic.

In its latest report on Malaysia’s economy, Bank Negara Malaysia noted that the economy grew by 16.1% in the second quarter compared to a contraction of 0.5% in the first quarter of 2021. It also said that the economic performance was supported mainly by the improvement in domestic demand and continued robust exports performance.

Bank Negara Malaysia says the Malaysian economy is projected to expand by between 3% and 4% in 2021. It believes that the expected reopening of the economy will support a gradual recovery in the fourth quarter this year, with higher global growth and sustained policy support providing a further lift to economic growth.

“Malaysia’s growth recovery is expected to broadly resume in the latter part of the second half of 2021 and improve going into 2022,” says Nor Shamsiah Mohd Yunus, Governor of Bank Negara Malaysia.

Meanwhile, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development says that Malaysia remains a business-friendly country that attracts large flows of foreign direct investment and is well-integrated in global value chains.

According to its Ministry of Finance, Malaysia is registering net foreign capital inflows thanks to the positive progress on the National Recovery Plan. “For the month of August, a total of US$1.8 billion was registered in terms of foreign portfolio flows, marking the highest monthly net inflow since June 2020, and offsetting the declines in the two preceding months,” it said.

Seizing Opportunities

Many businesses had to adapt to changes as a result of the pandemic, and one company that did well was MedTech startup BookDoc. The six-year-old startup pivoted to help Malaysia cope with Covid-19 and at the same time diversified its business.

The company adapted its BookDoc app to become a booking platform that supported 500 government clinics and helped them manage queues and practice social distancing when Malaysia was going through its lockdowns.

Malaysia has gained an international reputation as a safe and trusted healthcare destination.

It also introduced innovative services such as “lab uberization”—conducting real-time PCR tests by going to people’s homes and offices instead of waiting for them to come into test centers. This helped BookDoc to diversify and weather the storm during the tough months.

As the economy continues to open up in 2021 and 2022, Malaysia Healthcare Travel Council (MHTC), an agency under the Ministry of Health, will continue to move forward with greater industry resilience to enhance the health tourism sector.

There is great potential for Malaysia’s medical tourism market as it has grown from around US$130 million to nearly US$400 million, an average of 16% in annual growth, between 2011 and 2019.

MHTC continues to actively promote medical tourism as it believes Malaysia is not only a safe and trusted healthcare destination but also offers strong value propositions. These include hospital fees being regulated by the government, world-class medical facilities that are easily accessible with a short waiting time, and specialty fields ranging from fertility, cardiology and oncology to orthopedics, neurology and health screenings.

Capitalizing on Technology

Malaysia has always been quick to capitalize on the power of technology, and one company at the forefront of developing smart cities is Cyberview, which is currently building three technology clusters centered on Smart Mobility, Smart Healthcare and Digital Creative spread across four zones in Cyberjaya. The project is estimated to contribute US$60 billion to Malaysia’s GDP and potentially create 87,000 job opportunities by 2045.

An aerial view of Cyberjaya, Malaysia’s premier smart city, where plans are in place to transform it into a global technology hub.

Cyberview believes that it has all the ingredients, from infrastructure to talent and policies, to strengthen Cyberjaya’s position as a global technology hub. After all, the likes of China Mobile International, Dell, Ericsson, HTC Global, Huawei and Modality Systems have made Cyberjaya Malaysia’s premier technology investment destination for decades.

Another company capitalizing on technology is Silverlake Axis, which is taking on newer, nimbler, fast-growing financial technology (fintech) companies at their own game. The company has just won a major digitalization project from a bank in Thailand that involves transforming a traditional operating model for banks into a digital one without affecting its legacy infrastructure.

This will help the Thai bank embark on their digital transformation with peace of mind as Silverlake Axis has the expertise to understand how banks work and is suited to helping them to transform through their digital journey.

Recognized Globally

Internationalizing Malaysia as a brand is one of the key strategies in reviving Malaysia’s economic fortunes for 2022. This is why the Halal Development Corporation (HDC) and the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation are co-hosting the Halal Cluster Week at Dubai’s World Expo in November in a quest to attract US$80 million in potential trade and investment.

HDC plans to take its initiatives global through the introduction of its new Muslim Friendly Guidelines, a set of standards and regulations for the halal industry covering the retail, tourism and medical sectors. It also plans to undertake a halal ecosystem assessment in 22 countries in collaboration with the Islamic Development Bank. The study will help to identify key components of the halal industry in the countries involved, including best practices and gap analysis.

Meanwhile, the world’s largest glove maker, Top Glove, is setting its sights on going further by focusing on Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) goals.

Top Glove realizes that it cannot just be good at producing gloves but also needs to be the best at producing these products in a sustainable way. With its emphasis on ESG, the company plans to reduce its carbon emissions and water consumption by 25% and 34%, respectively, by 2025, and reduce waste being sent to landfills by 10%. It has also committed to consulting experts on labor issues such as the worker recruitment process, employment terms, training and workplace safety, among others.

Looking Ahead

As Malaysia continues to look to the future, RHB Bank’s quarterly economic outlook report notes that a few key events are likely to support increase in consumption by the end of 2021 into early next year.

With working capacity increasing to 100% and business operating hours normalized as states recover, broader industries that were deemed non-essential and high-risk should gradually be reopened.

Coupled with the opening of international travel, which will support tourism-related segments, mobility should improve, which lends support to the labor market and private consumption recovery.

“Consumer spending is already well positioned to capitalize on the reopening of the economy. Household savings have significantly built up during the pandemic due to mobility restrictions, moratoriums and cash support. The increased savings are arguably involuntary, and mostly in liquid assets, which may likely be drawn upon when consumer confidence improves,” the report noted.

Hong Kong: China’s Financial Gateway To The World

As the most important gateway to China, Hong Kong is constantly strengthening its connectivity to enhance cross-border transactions. With its free port status and an autonomous customs territory, the city is building financial linkages across Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau, which together comprise the Greater Bay Area (GBA).

Hong Kong facilitates about two-thirds of China’s inbound and outbound foreign direct investments and provides a channel for the global trade of Chinese goods and services. The financial hub has helped boost the international usage of renminbi (RMB), which is now the world’s fifth most active currency, accounting for 2.2% of international payments as of August, data from Swift shows.

Banks in the city currently handle 75% of RMB flows around the world and that figure is poised to grow with China and Hong Kong promoting cross-border RMB investments and financing activities. Mainland enterprises are also issuing green and sustainability related products in Hong Kong, aiming it to become a hub for green finance within the GBA.

“Different stakeholders have been engaging in conversations and preparatory work to enhance Hong Kong’s connectivity as well as standards of financial services and product offerings,” says Laurence Li, Chairman of the Financial Services Development Council (FSDC), a high-level cross-sectoral advisory body set up by HKSAR Government in 2013 to promote Hong Kong’s financial services industry. “With some favourable measures being introduced and implemented in an orderly manner, the industry believes the ever-improving connectivity of financial markets will lead to uncharted market potentials.”

Capturing Opportunities

To help Hong Kong’s financial services industry capture market opportunities in the GBA, the FSDC has recommended and advocated for connecting cross-border payments and transfer infrastructure; enhancing the convenience of remote account opening procedures; and fostering cross-boundary mortgage financing, insurance and wealth management businesses.

The recently launched Wealth Management Connect scheme will help mainland investors diversify investment portfolios through exposure to overseas markets via retail funds domiciled and regulated in Hong Kong, while attracting offshore investments to onshore wealth management products in Mainland. It will also allow Hong Kong investors to broaden their mainland exposure.

Accelerating Internationalisation

Coming after the Hong Kong stock connect with Shanghai in 2014 and Shenzhen in 2016, the scheme will deepen the linkages between the two markets. These significant developments in the liberalisation of China’s capital markets would accelerate RMB’s internationalisation and strengthen Hong Kong’s position as a global offshore RMB hub, KPMG said in a recent note to clients.

The new southbound leg of China’s Bond Connect programme will further stimulate demand from mainland Chinese investors for Hong Kong and U.S. dollar-denominated bonds, boosting liquidity and facilitating a more efficient price discovery process. It could also broaden the investor base for both Hong Kong dollar and offshore RMB bonds.

The constant improvement of Hong Kong’s financial market linkages to China will help establish the territory as the future hub for fintech and digital assets across the GBA. As more cross-border products and services become available, Hong Kong will steadily march towards its vision of becoming the world’s premier wealth and asset management centre.

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Beximco Health: Beximco Adopts Cutting Edge Technology In The Fast Changing Textile And Garment Industry

Global textile and apparel makers are accelerating their digital transformation amid intensifying competition from online fashion brands and booming demand for e-commerce in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic that has kept consumers at home as cities around the world went into lockdowns to curb the coronavirus from spreading.

With the pandemic upending the fashion industry, Beximco—Bangladesh’s leading textile and apparel maker—is leveraging innovative technologies to gain global market share and deepen relationships with customers in the fashion and retail industries.

“Global competition is increasing with the rise of fast fashion and digital only players,” says Syed Naved Husain, Group Director and CEO of Beximco. “Traditional retailers are under financial pressure and players such as Amazon and Primark—are fast moving and at the forefront of the digital economy and are gaining market share. Retailers that can adapt and change quickly, such as Zara and Target, are doing well, but they want to work with suppliers who can also change and adapt quickly.”

Beximco has been quick to adapt technological innovation, one of its hallmarks since it began operations over 26 years ago. The company employs advanced design, manufacturing and distribution solutions to add value to its customers’ businesses across the entire value chain. It’s a one-stop shop that gives clients best in class service with flexibility, agility and speed.

“We’ve taken a very proactive approach to the implementation of production technologies and processes that have the greatest impact on efficiency and product quality,” says Group Chairman of Beximco, A. S. F. Rahman. “We collaborate closely with our customers across the entire value chain. Beximco also invests in the education, training and skills development of all its employees, enabling them to support the production of differentiated value-added garments.”

Smart Fabrics

One area Beximco has excelled in is its use of “smart fabrics,” or textiles that leverage technology for fashion or design purposes. About 45 percent of apparel companies surveyed by McKinsey in February 2020 are looking to integrate more innovative materials into their products, a trend McKinsey describes as “materials revolution.”

Beximco makes use of performance fabrics that can be engineered to integrate features such as thermal management, quick drying, extra durability, antimicrobial, odor free, or UV protection. In partnership with brands such as Zara, U.S. Polo Assn, Land’s End and Marks & Spencer, the company makes garments that look stylish for work, but wearable for outdoor and sports activities because of features such as all-way stretch, temperature regulation and reinforced seams.

3D Design Solutions

Beximco also utilizes 3D design technology to efficiently showcase samples to clients. The digital solution—developed by fashion design software firms CLO and Browzwear—enables realistic garment simulations.

Using the software, designers can make virtual samples, see how the designs fit on models and show them to buyers at different locations, without cutting any fabric. This speeds up the design process and enables the designers to save time and resources, while identifying potential issues with the fit and pattern.

“3D processes will result in reduced approval timelines and less fabric wastage, enabling Beximco’s designers to be more creative and have closer collaboration with their counterparts at the brands,” says Husain.

SmartLab New York

Beximco customers in the U.S. can even access the company’s cutting edge technology at its SmartLab in New York. Designers and product developers who visit the SmartLab are able to develop garment washes that fit their requirement on the spot, and digitally transfer their chosen wash recipe to Beximco in Dhaka for bulk production.

The company is also building a network of “urban factories” that will help designers develop and produce a small batch of orders for trials or test marketing. These facilities can make up to 1,000 pieces of garments for quick-to-market and pre-bulk-buying runs.

“This will save customers travel and shipping time and provide them with many of the same capabilities in New York as would be available in Dhaka,” says Husain. “The SmartLab New York also allows fashion design students in the U.S. to practice creating washes and looks using the SmartLab software and immediately see their designs in actual fabrics.”

Beximco’s technology initiatives help to slash manufacturing lead times and retailers’ time to market, allowing the company to cater to fast evolving fashion trends. Recognizing the firm’s capabilities, Zara Women exponentially boosted its orders with Beximco.

Fighting Covid-19

The company’s agility and flexibility was put to the test as Covid-19 spread rapidly last year. At the height of pandemic, Beximco quickly pivoted to make fabrics for the manufacture of personal protective equipment (PPE).

The company leveraged its existing strengths in technical fabric, sewing and large scale manufacturing to launch Beximco Health—a new division dedicated to making PPE materials for the production of surgical and isolation gowns, coveralls, as well as N95 masks. The new division built a new facility, with clean room and PPE testing lab, on the group’s 20-acre (80,900-square meter) campus in a very short period of time.

Since advanced PPE testing facilities were limited in Bangladesh, Beximco formed a strategic partnership with Intertek UK to create an on-site laboratory. The 12,000-square feet (1,100-square meter) Centre of Excellence PPE Lab conducts physical, chemical and microbiological testing, enabling Beximco to obtain PPE certifications fast. Following its launch, one of the first shipments was the delivery of 6.5 million PPE gowns to the Federal Emergency Management Agency in the U.S.

“The new Beximco facility marks an important step in the diversification of the global supply chain, especially for healthcare equipment,” says Earl R. Miller, the U.S. Ambassador to Bangladesh, who personally witnessed the shipment of the PPE gowns to the U.S. from the airport. “Beximco instantly saw the dangers of this dependence and invested to meet the challenge, and it’s not the first time Beximco has risen to the challenge posed by a disrupted supply chain.”

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HSBC Global Private Banking Aims For Mainland China Market Leadership

Jackie Mau, Head of Global Private Banking, Mainland China at HSBC

With a substantially bigger and better-resourced presence in mainland China than any other foreign bank, HSBC has made no secret of its ambition to establish its private banking business as the country’s foremost international wealth manager, a key milestone in its mission to achieve a similar dominance across the wider Asian region.

To achieve this, HSBC has committed one third of its total planned Asia-focused private banking development spending to expand its onshore resources in China. HSBC Global Private Banking is set to extend its presence in mainland China well beyond its current Shanghai, Beijing and Guangzhou hubs in the next five years.

As part of this strategic expansion, a massive pan-Asian recruitment drive is underway, a move that will add 5,000 client-facing wealth management and private banking staff by 2025. With the hiring of relationship managers, investment counsellors and specialists, HSBC can better support affluent, high-net-worth (HNW) and ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) clients in mainland China, Hong Kong and Singapore. This commitment will also double the size of HSBC Global Private Banking’s wealth management staff in the mainland.

Key Strategic Appointment

Perhaps the most crucial move with regards to achieving the bank’s aspirations is the appointment of Jackie Mau in August as Head of Global Private Banking, Mainland China at HSBC.

Previously Regional Head of UHNW for HSBC’s Global Private Banking Team, Mau believes the time is right to further enhance the group’s private banking and wealth management services in China.

“While it’s fair to say that the market has been quite volatile, a development that has made many of our high-net-worth clients take a defensive stance, we are now at what I’d term the mid-cycle phase,” Mau says. “This is the point where risk diversification becomes highly advisable, something we can clearly help with. At the same time, China’s domestic consumption is surging. Shopping malls are teeming and demand for luxury goods remains impressively robust. For our global clients, a little exposure in China would definitely help bolster their portfolios.”

Mau also believes that mainland China’s ongoing macro-economic development will, ultimately, usher in increased demand for HSBC Global Private Banking’s diverse service offerings.

“HSBC Global Private Banking positions itself across a wide client continuum from high-net-worth individuals to their ultra-high-net-worth counterparts,” Mau says. “For our more affluent investors, we have a dedicated raft of professional consultants and investment advisers available. They can help with any arising wealth management issues, while also leveraging the support of our Hong Kong- and Singapore-based specialists from the philanthropy advisory and charitable service teams for those families or individuals looking for the most efficient and effective ways to give back to their communities, shaping a better and more sustainable future.”

Digitalisation, ESG and the GBA

Three factors are widely perceived to deliver significant changes to mainland China’s massive wealth management market. These are the growing preference for enhanced digital engagement channels, an increased commitment to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) aligned opportunities on the part of mainland investors, and the prioritisation of the huge Greater Bay Area (GBA)—comprising Guangdong, Hong Kong and Macau—as one of the country’s key growth drivers over the coming years. Mau sees all three as representing an opportunity for HSBC Global Private Banking to take a lead, distinguish itself from its competition and deliver clear benefits to its clients.

On the innovation front, the bank is heavily investing to develop a new generation of digital capabilities that will meet—if not exceed—the expectations of the country’s highly tech-savvy investors. “China’s second generation HNW individuals, as well as successful new economy entrepreneurs, all want to interact with their banks in quite a different way to the channels private banks have been accustomed to,” Mau says. “Looking to meet this challenge head on, we are developing a new generation of robust digital platforms that will allow our clients to access a host of online services, including virtual meetings with relationship managers, and the execution of any required transactions.”

In terms of ESG, HSBC Global Private Banking again prides itself on taking a proactive approach, anticipating its client requirements and evolving the required products, services and solutions in time to meet emerging demand.

Acknowledging the growing importance of ESG in investment portfolios, Mau says, “While our unparalleled global and regional reach allows us to onboard a comprehensive portfolio of ESG funds, our commitment goes beyond that. As a group, ESG is very much part of our DNA. This is reflected in our sustained support for a wide variety of related communities, education and environmental protection projects.”

The GBA is also very much a core element in HSBC Global Private Banking’s onward strategy. Recognising the opportunity offered by a region that is already home to one fifth of China UHNW individuals, plans are already in place to significantly expand the bank’s presence within its borders.

“In addition to our existing strengths in Hong Kong and our GBA Wealth Management Connect service, we’re recruiting up to 3,000 personal wealth planners within four years to scale the Group’s mobile wealth planning service in mainland China,” Mau says. “We are also looking to help meet the needs of entrepreneurs via such capital management initiatives as HSBC GBA Business Credit Connect. In short, we believe we have the key building blocks to emerge as the dominant player within the region.”

Talent, Talent, Talent

As to the wider challenge of securing an equally preeminent position across the mainland China market, Mau is confident that one key element of HSBC Global Private Banking’s strategy that would allow the bank to achieve its goal is talent.

“Recruiting, developing and retaining the right talent is at the very heart of our strategic growth plan,” Mau says. “As the wealth management sector in mainland China is still in its infancy, we will work with local talent and supplement with the best from Hong Kong and throughout Asia. We will also nurture a new generation of graduate trainees from local universities in mainland China as a sign of our long-term commitment to the country. In the end, whether you are a local client looking to go global or an overseas investor looking for an exposure in the China market, you can be confident that HSBC Global Private Banking’s depth of resources, experience and reach will more than exceed your expectations.”



The information contained in this article has not been reviewed in the light of your individual circumstances and is for information purposes only. It does not purport to provide legal, taxation or other advice and should not be taken as such. No client or other reader should act or refrain from acting on the basis of the content of this article without seeking specific professional advice. Issued by The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited.


Petronas: An Aspiration For A Sustainable Future

India’s largest single location open access solar farm of 175 MWp at Gadag, Karnataka.

There is no doubt that climate change is one of humanity’s greatest challenges. Its effects are detrimental and range from sweeping ecological damage and community impact to potentially trillions of dollars of losses in economic cost.

Cognizant of this, PETRONAS, as a global energy solutions provider, is guided by its Net Zero Carbon Emissions (NZCE) aspiration. The goals of NZCE are driven by a clear path to combat climate change and generate near-term macroeconomic payback for the Malaysian economy while delivering a sustainable future for the world, its people and the business.

To achieve NZCE, PETRONAS has identified four building blocks to balance the energy trilemma, defined as energy security (supply), energy equity (affordability) and environmental sustainability. These are building operational excellence, making cleaner energy more accessible, accelerating technology and innovation stewardship, and investing in nature-based solutions.

Driving Forward

With this clear vision articulated, PETRONAS has already begun to pursue more climate friendly solutions and opportunities in the broader energy space, while creating new sustainable values for the organization.

These new values include boosting energy efficiencies through the increased use of natural gas and renewable energy supply capacity such as solar power and hydrogen. Complementing these efforts is PETRONAS’ commitment to lower emissions from its operations through the reduction of hydrocarbon flaring, venting and fuel gas usage.

A testament to how the company is utilizing solar power in its own facilities can be seen in PETRONAS’ Rooftops and Assets Nationwide (also known as Project SINARAN), an initiative to generate clean energy from solar photovoltaic (PV) systems. To date, more than 100 sites have had their installations completed or are in various stages of planning and execution.

Besides addressing internal needs, PETRONAS leads the way with approximately 1,000 megawatts of solar capacity in operations and under-development projects across India, Dubai and Malaysia. PETRONAS’ notable projects include the 175-megawatt power solarization project, India’s largest commercial and industrial (C&I) open access solar farm in a single location. Meanwhile in Malaysia, PETRONAS has signed the largest solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) through its deal with Lotuss Stores (formerly known as Tesco), and has a wide variety of customers, from fabrication yards and research complexes to universities and utility companies.

PETRONAS has also made headway in the production of low-carbon hydrogen by looking into carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) technologies and renewable based hydrogen production pathways. In the near future, it plans to collaborate with key customers and hydropower suppliers to produce zero emission (green) hydrogen.

In addition, PETRONAS is currently looking into solutions for nature-based carbon offsets in order to preserve and restore these natural carbon sinks.

Malaysia Prepares For Post-Pandemic Resurgence In Medical Tourism

Before the pandemic struck in 2020, Malaysia’s medical tourism industry had been growing year over year, contributing US$400 million to the national economy in 2019. In that year alone, the country welcomed 1.2 million visitors seeking medical services and treatments ranging from fertility, cardiology and oncology to orthopedics, neurology and health screenings.

World-class Healthcare

“Our strength as a key player in the medical tourism industry lies in our easily accessible world-class healthcare services offered at a comparatively affordable price thanks to government-regulated ceiling rates,” says Mohd Daud Mohd Arif, the CEO of MHTC.

MHTC CEO, Mohd Daud Mohd Arif

“Once known as the ‘Hidden Jewel of Asia’ for medical tourism, we have since been recognized as the Destination of the Year for healthcare travel from 2015 to 2017, and most recently in 2020, awarded by the International Medical Travel Journal,” continues Mohd Daud.

“With over 200 private hospitals and many highly qualified physicians and specialists, waiting time for consultations and treatments is minimal. There is no barrier to communication as English is widely spoken and translators can easily be arranged for non-English speakers. For post-treatment options, Malaysia has a myriad of world-class spas and resorts, wellness centers and health-centric tourist attractions on offer, although this may be limited at the present time due to the pandemic,” he adds.

MHTC is an agency under the Ministry of Health tasked with promoting Malaysia as an international healthcare destination. The agency also serves as a one-stop center for all matters related to healthcare travel—ranging from handling of inquiries and business development to safeguarding regulations and facilitating applications.

Forging Resilience

The insigHT virtual conference held in Kuala Lumpur last year.

Malaysia, like most countries around the world, is emerging from the pandemic with a slew of initiatives to kickstart the economy, and “forging industry resilience” is one of the key strategies. In line with this, an upcoming virtual conference by MHTC with a similar theme, named insigHT2021, will be held from November 16 to 18. 

Held annually, the event is a medical travel market intelligence conference that gathers thought leaders and partners from within the country and abroad to collaborate and advance the healthcare travel industry in Malaysia and the region.

The conference will gather some of the top minds from around the world to discuss topics ranging from the future of healthcare and implementation of travel passports to the convergence of hospitality and wellness, and how the industry can work together to achieve common goals.

Besides hospital and healthcare administrators, the conference is expected to attract industry players, professionals and officials from travel, tourism, pharmaceutical, real estate, government and many other sectors.

“New global tourism trends will emerge in 2022, and the future of travel will be impacted by socio-economic shifts, digital innovations and new travel experiences. As professionals in the industry, we must be prepared for what lies ahead and forge resilience,” says Michel Julian, United Nations World Tourism Organization’s program officer and one of the key speakers at the upcoming conference.

Conference participants from around 40 countries will get the chance to exchange ideas and knowledge with peers through private online meetings and roundtable discussions. Participants will also get the opportunity to build their company’s visibility among industry players while brushing up on upcoming trends and post-pandemic recovery strategies. An e-business card download facility will be available to make it easy for participants to expand their networks and connect with their peers.

Redefining Purpose Beyond Profit

Corporates in Asia and the rest of the world are devoting more and more resources toward achieving socially responsible and sustainable outcomes as they seek to make a positive impact globally.

This trend has been accelerated by the pandemic, as remote work, changing consumer behavior and rising inequality have forced companies to rethink their priorities and adjust their strategies to adapt and thrive. Meanwhile, the challenges posed by the climate emergency continue to loom large on boardroom agendas.

According to a report by Deloitte, there is also growing evidence to suggest that companies with superior Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) performance will also do well financially over the long term.

This drive to demonstrate ESG performance has led to an upsurge in companies looking to establish sustainability targets, from measurably reducing carbon emissions and single-use plastics, to ensuring that new building projects meet globally recognized certification standards.

Leading the Way

In the wealth management space, more of Asia’s leading business families are seeking out advisors who can help them invest with purpose and social impact. This comes as they are poised to pass an unprecedented amount of wealth on to a new generation of more socially aware family members.

To address their needs, financial institutions such as HSBC Global Private Banking are incorporating sustainability considerations into their investment and advisory processes. With an extensive network of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the bank has also been supporting progressive clients in realizing their philanthropic ambitions, preserving their legacy and making long-lasting impact in the wider community.

Sustainability has also come to the fore in the real estate sector. For instance, Hong Kong-based Sino Group has been committed to making a positive impact through its vision of Creating Better Lifescapes, which aims to help communities thrive by embracing green living and wellness, pursuing meaningful designs, and seeking innovation while respecting heritage and culture.

Reflecting its commitment to this journey, Sino Group last year introduced its Sustainability Vision 2030, a blueprint charting the company’s path toward 2030 and beyond. This ambitious plan establishes goals that are in line with Sino Group’s three pillars of Green Living, Innovative Design and Community Spirit, and also aims to support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

Thanks to forward-thinking companies such as these, Asia is moving purposefully toward a more sustainable and socially responsible future.

Beximco LPG: Fueling An Energy Revolution

Beximco’s liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) business has been leveraging technology to accelerate the country’s transition into more sustainable energy systems. The company’s innovative LPG solutions provide a safe, reliable and environment-friendly energy source to meet the everyday needs of the country’s population of more than 160 million. More recently, the company became the first LPG operator in Bangladesh to start exporting LPG to India.

“We are proud that the combination of our downstream value chain and customer insights, together with our unparalleled strength and the expertise of our team, positions us to potentially become the largest downstream oil and gas company in Bangladesh,” says Shayan F. Rahman, Chairman of Beximco LPG. “We’re not just focused on the development of the critical infrastructure related to storage, bottling and distribution. We also have strong emphasis on establishing a differentiated position with our smart LPG solutions to make us the consumers’ preferred provider.”

Safer Fuel For Households

The company was the first to introduce and is the exclusive provider of fiber glass composite LPG cylinders in Bangladesh. These innovative cylinders are explosion proof, light weight, translucent and has a longer lifespan compared to traditional steel cylinders.

Such innovations help developing nations like Bangladesh to switch from using dangerous fuels such as coal and kerosene to LPG for household activities such as cooking. In such markets, individuals often have to physically carry heavy steel LPG cylinders across difficult terrain over long distances, making the task extremely challenging.

Beximco’s next-generation cylinders are very popular among consumers in Bangladesh. The company distributed a record of more than 1 million composite cylinders in the past 12 months. To date, the company has distributed more than 2 million composite cylinders, providing a safe environment to thousands of households and industries including hotels, restaurants and cafes across the country.

The company has also worked to ensure that this safe product is readily available to consumers through a robust distribution network that features home delivery and emphasizes rapid digital evolution through the establishment of an integrated e-commerce platform for convenient and timely purchases.

“Our key competitive advantage has always been to be on the leading edge of the innovation curve, and be able to deliver the greatest possible value and experience to our customers,” says Mrinal Roy, CEO of Beximco LPG. “The Beximco Smart Cylinder™ technology is far more cutting-edge as compared to the traditional steel cylinders.”

As a testament to its success in innovating, Beximco LPG was named “Master of Reinvention” by Bangladesh Brand Forum in 2019 for introducing composite cylinders and making homes safer.

“We are proud that the combination of our downstream value chain and customer insights, together with our unparalleled strength and the expertise of our team, positions us to potentially become the largest downstream oil and gas company in Bangladesh.”


Cleaner Fuel For Automobiles

Beximco also provides greener energy solutions for automobiles through autogas, a cleaner LPG alternative to petrol. Many developed countries such as Italy, South Korea and Japan have programs for conversion of private cars, taxis and other light duty vehicles to autogas as it is more economical, safer and eco-friendly.

In the long run, LPG is a more cost-effective solution that will allow users to travel a far greater distance compared to conventional compressed natural gas. Vehicles using LPG also produce much lower carbon dioxide emissions compared to traditional fuels. Today, Beximco LPG is licensed to operate over 500 autogas filling stations throughout the country. It also runs facilities that convert petrol cars into autogas-fed vehicles.

Driving Bangladesh’s Development

Home to more than 35 million households, Bangladesh is one of Asia’s fastest growing frontier markets. As the country diversifies its energy sources with development of cleaner fuels such as LPG and liquefied natural gas, Beximco is on a mission to establish a downstream network that ensures the nationwide availability of LPG and encourages more households to use LPG to improve their standard of living and well-being.

In support of its mission, Beximco continues to rapidly expand its LPG storage and bottling plant capacity, while scaling its distribution network and other associated infrastructure. The company also continues to develop effective strategies to accelerate the adoption of the Beximco Smart Cylinder™ by making it more accessible and affordable to all Bangladeshis.

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