Sunday, September 25, 2011


Thursday September 15, 2011





Assalamualaikum W.B.T. Good Morning and Salam 1Malaysia.

Yang Berbahagia Datuk Mah Siew Keong,
Chairman of Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE);

Yang Berusaha Dr. Wong Lai Sum,
Chief Executive Officer of MATRADE;

Distinguished Guests,

Members of the Media,
1. First and foremost I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to MATRADE for inviting me to this Media Conference on the Fifth KL International Trade Forum (KLITF), which will be held on the 24th of November in conjunction with INTRADE 2011.

2. I commend the effort and commitment of MATRADE for hosting this forum since 2007. My sincere thanks also go out to the members of the media and friends of MATRADE for their presence here today and their continued support.

3. For your information, the KLITF is one of a number of activities which MATRADE organises to promote Malaysian exports. MATRADE has all year round of activities consisting of trade fairs and exhibitions held in many parts of the world for this purpose. Some of the trade fairs that have generated good opportunities for Malaysian companies are:

• Malaysia Services Exhibition 2011 held in Abu Dhabi, UAE;
• MIHAS 2011 held in Kuala Lumpur;
• Arab Health 2011 held in Dubai, UAE;
• CEBIT 2011 held in Hannover, Germany
• Gulfood 2011 held in Dubai, UAE

4. KLITF however is held in Malaysia with the same objectives of promoting Malaysian products and services and to help Malaysian companies establish business linkages with foreign parties.

5. This year’s KLITF theme is ‘Game Changer’. It reflects MATRADE’s vision and mission of how Malaysia needs to reposition to compete and thrive in the volatile international marketplace.

Distinguished Guests,

6. Europe’s sovereign debt crisis and a soft US economy is affecting confidence and dampening the outlook for global trade.

7. Challenging market conditions, along with increasingly discerning consumer demands, rapid developments in technology and environmental concerns continue to pose challenges to businesses. Thus, we can no longer conduct our economic affairs without attitude changes or policy improvements.

8. The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) through agencies such as MATRADE has been focussed on ensuring that Malaysian companies sustain itself from the impact of the current global economic slowdown. MATRADE as the national trade promotion agency has so far undertaken more than 200 programmes in the areas of ‘Exporters Development’ and ‘Export Promotion’. Our ongoing participation in overseas promotional activities have continuously focused on retaining our share in traditional markets while expanding into fast growing ones as well as diversifying into the emerging markets of West Asia, Central Asia and Africa.

9. In hosting events such as the KLITF we hope to be able to offer greater opportunities for Malaysian companies to forge new alliances and collaboration towards gaining a competitive edge with partners from various parts of the world. I am confident that this year’s KLITF will deliver just that and help bring about significant Malaysian business presence in the global marketplace.

10. This year marks the fifth consecutive year that we are hosting the KLITF. In the past, we have been fortunate to hear top business leaders speak about their business experiences and how they rose above expectations during trying economic times. Speakers such as HRH Raja Nazrin Shah, the Regent of Perak, YABhgTun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, Malaysia’s fourth prime minister and the king of shoes himself, Dato’ Jimmy Choo have brought intellectual depth and insights to this forum.

11. This time around, I am pleased to share with you that a number of sought after speakers will be addressing this year’s forum. Among them is Mr Hermawan Kartajaya, a renowned Indonesian marketer who is the President of the World Marketing Association. Joining him is our very own New York based designer, Mr. Toi See Zang, the founder of the internationally renowned brand ‘Zang Toi’.

12. Other notable panellists include Dr. Pawan G. Agrawal, the President of the Mumbai Dabbawala Education Centre in India who will be talking to us about the unique business model of the Dabbawalas. Also, YM Tengku Farith Rithauddeen will share his experiences and travails on nurturing Skali Group to success. Not forgetting, YM Tengku Rozidar Tengku Zainol Abidin, Co-Founder and Executive Chairman of 1901 Hotdogs Malaysia. She has agreed to relate to us the ups and downs in her quest to make 1901 hotdogs a flourishing business.

Honourable Guests,

13. Networking provides an excellent opportunity for you to broaden your contacts which is vital in your business operations, especially so if you are in international trade. There are numerous methods of networking in this day and age; from social networking websites to networking organisations boasting of members from the pool of who’s who in the business world. Furthermore, as the meeting place for businesses that are export ready, forums like KLITF offer more than just a networking platform for local and foreign business leaders to interact. This forum held in conjunction with INTRADE 2011 offers participants a greater breath of opportunities.

14. I believe that prominent events such as KLITF and INTRADE have taken on greater roles in relation to the evolving marketplace. If anything, recent world economic events have taught us that only businesses based on a strong foundation of integrity and commitment to excellence are capable of competing in a dynamic business environment.

15. In Malaysia’s instance, SMEs play an important role in developing our economy and providing jobs. In this context, Malaysian companies need to be in touch with the latest in business trends and equipped with cutting edge technology while armed with the necessary expertise. Therefore forums like KLITF could offer such insights and break to acquire these gains and keep one jump ahead of the competitors.

16. SMEs must play their parts in germinating new concepts and challenge existing methods or norms. This starts with the business community thinking beyond existing frameworks whether it is in terms of the technology available or acceptance of economic doctrine for example. So, the success of Malaysian companies depends on whether they are able to discard inefficient methods and devise novel effective strategies.

17. I believe that Malaysian and foreign SMEs will find this forum of great value. Perhaps things could prove fortuitous here and turn these SMEs into high growth and innovative companies that will in turn allow them to become global players. Such a transformation is important for Malaysia as SMEs will have the ability to eventually increase their contribution to GDP up to 40% from the current 31% by 2020.

18. So please mark your calendars for the KL International Trade Forum on the 24th of November 2011 and encourage others to do the same. All indications are that KLITF 2011 will match if not exceed your expectations.
19. On that note, I would like to once again thank you for your presence at this media conference and I look forward to seeing you at KLITF 2011 this November.

Thank you.

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