Malaysia Retailer Vol 9 No 2_ Inovar Tam Pak Cheong

Page 1

Vol 9 No 2 2021

Inovar Trailblazing Laminated Flooring In Asia Tam Pak Cheong, Founder and Managing Director of Inovar Industries Sdn Bhd

Retail Group Sees Lower Growth in 2021

WM RM9 / EM RM11

Surviving Challenging Times: A Guide on Government ‘s Pemulih 2021 Scheme & Grants For SMEs

Products Signage Shops Displays Shelving Fully knock down fixtures & furniture

Services Design Construction Renovation Project management

Digital LED and display screens with content management and all supporting services

e l g n i s rce u r o e s pli p u s

CONTENTS / VOL. 9 NO. 2 MARKET INFO 18 Retail Group Sees Lower Growth in 2021

20 Toppen Shopping Centre Extends Its Retailtainment Space With A Lifestyle RoofTopp on A Multi-Storey Car Park

22 Alibaba’s Cainiao Cuts Lazada’s SEA Shipping Time to 3 days

23 TFP’s Grocery Discount For


Toppen Shopping Centre Extends Its Retailtainment Space With A Lifestyle RoofTopp On A Multi-Story Car Park


INOVAR – Trailblazing Laminated Flooring In Asia

Tam Pak Cheong Founder and Managing Director of Inovar Industries Sdn Bhd and Jason Tan, Executive Director of Inovar Resources Sdn Bhd share about the company’s 25 year track record in the flooring industry delivering innovative products with superior quality to meet the diverse requirements of customers


AmBank Launches Country’s First Full End-to-End Digital On-Boarding for SMEs

10 Sunway Malls Commits To A #Safer community together with Reinforced Safety Measures And Initiatives

11 Razer Merchants Services Powers Shopeepay In All Burger King and Speedmart Across Malaysia Tam Pak Cheong Founder and Managing Director of Inovar Industries Sdn Bhd

12 Pace Forms Exclusive Regional Partnership With Valiram

14 MRCA Updates/News

Healthcare Workers Extends After Overwhelming Response, Resulting in Over RM200,000 of Discounts Passed on So Far

24 Halal Certification Meets Market Demand For Ethically & Sustainably Sourced Products

25 Reopen All Trades In The Malls 26 Don’t Charge Business For COVID-19 Vaccines, Selangor State Government Urged

27 HIDE System Unfair Says Retail Associations

28 Surviving Challenging Times: A Guide on Government ‘s Pemulih 2021 Scheme & Grants For SMEs

30 Program Strategik Memperkasa Rakyat & Ekonomi Tambahan – PEMERKASA

MRCA UPDATE/NEWS 32 The Star Outstanding Business Award (SOBA) – Bolstering the Digitalisation of SMEs

34 MRCA In The News 35 MRCA New Member

2 Cover Story

INOVAR – Trailblazing Laminated Flooring In Asia Tam Pak Cheong, Founder and Managing Director of Inovar Industries Sdn Bhd, and Jason Tan, Executive Director of Inovar Resources Sdn Bhd, share about the company’s 25-year track record in the flooring industry, delivering innovative products with superior quality to meet the diverse requirements of customers.

Tam Pak Cheong, Founder & Managing Director of Inovar Industries Sdn Bhd.

tarting in 1996, Inovar is the brainchild of Founder and Managing Director, Tam Pak Cheong. With its first factory established 25 years ago in Malaysia, the company’s initial business was focused on original equipment manufacturing (OEM) of laminated flooring products, exporting to more than 40 countries across the world. “I have been in the wood-based materials industry all this while – in fact, when I started this company 25 years ago, we were pioneers in laminated flooring in the whole of Asia,” beams Tam. “I discovered that in Europe laminated flooring was rapidly being introduced, and I saw great potential for this product,” he adds. Since then, Inovar has come a long way in the flooring industry


Malaysia Retailer Vol 9 No 2

Jason Tan, Executive Director of Inovar Resources Sdn Bhd, with the company’s product samples.

in Malaysia and regionally, and has established its own distinct brand. Apart from being a leading brand in Malaysia, today the company has established an extensive international network in ASEAN markets including the Philippines, Indonesia, Thailand and Vietnam. At the time Inovar began its foray into the market, laminated flooring was becoming increasingly popular in Europe, Tam saw great potential in the product due to its distinct characteristics, such as the use of high-density fibre boards, from recycled remnants of the furniture and wood industries. As competition set in, Tam shares that Inovar embarked on business strategies to strengthen its market position and branding. “Fifteen years ago, as a manufacturer we decided to take on the marketing and distribution activities on our own and not rely on distributors. We set up our very own showroom in Jalan Penchala.”

DURABLE AND ENVIRONMENTALFRIENDLY FLOORING This contributed to the production of durable and environmental-friendly flooring materials. Inovar’s first source of raw materials was from Miri, Sarawak. “Miri had one of the best HTF boards in the world from tropical hardwood,” Tam explains. Recognising the harsh conditions that flooring is subjected to, Inovar empathised with customers on the daily challenges faced with

Cover Story


maintaining flooring, especially in a tropical country such as Malaysia. “In Europe it is quite alright to use softwood because of less contact with water as floors are mostly vacuumed. However, in Asia, there are many issues encountered with European floor boards due to mopping and washing of floors regularly. This leads to the swelling of floorboards and other damages,” he elaborates. Tam points out that in addition to that, European wood is dry in nature, and when it is used in humid and moist environments in Asia, the floorboards absorb moisture resulting in boards expanding and warping.

STRONGER BRAND PRESENCE In 2003, China started to manufacture laminated flooring, however the quality was poor

Nano Shield Laminate Flooring, an anti-bacterial flooring solution.

leading to complaints from consumers. In addressing this situation in the market, Inovar decided that it was time to strengthen its brand and create greater awareness of the differences between the better-quality tropical hardwood and imported temporal wood from China. Tam explains that the Inovar brand is synonymous for 3 distinct qualities namely, the most superior water-resistant laminated flooring in the world; customers are promised direct warranty from the factory; and, the company is a one-stop flooring solutions provider. In fighting the pricing war, Tam swears that upholding brand promise is key to staying above the competition. “We must offer customers value for price,” he says. With exhibitions becoming more popular in the early 2000s, Inovar took the opportunity to directly

Inovar Deckshield, a wood-polymer composite decking system, a cost-effective alternative to timber decking.

Malaysia Retailer Vol 9 No 2

4 Cover Story

PRODUCTS Explaining about Inovar’s products, Tam says, “Laminated flooring has two types of thickness – 8mm, the original series, and 12mm, the highergrade product which is referred to as the traffic zone. The length of the planks vary between 4 feet and 6 to 7 feet.” Inovar’s production capacity is 4.5 million square metres per annum.


engage with customers through these avenues, to promote the benefits of Malaysian laminated flooring. “In 2007, we decided to scale down our OEM business and go regional using our very own Inovar brand. We started out in countries such as Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, India, Taiwan, and went on to Australia, Cambodia and all of ASEAN. We became a regional player,” shares Tam. “Our approach to engaging the market is through networking. We got involved with institutions such as the Malaysian Retail Chain Association (MRCA), FIABCI, Persatuan Akitek Malaysia (PAM), and the Malaysian Institute of Engineering Design (MIED) as well as other associations. We also reached out to universities and raised awareness on laminated flooring with students from local universities, and embarked on building dealerships throughout Malaysia,” he adds.

MARKET EXPANSION In speaking about the company’s journey in expanding its market reach, Jason Tan, Executive Director of Inovar Resources Sdn Bhd, explains that in the early years, the company was only retailing Malaysia Retailer Vol 9 No 2

laminated flooring to end-users. However as it expanded its reach across markets, the company started taking on larger projects with developers. With the cost of production and installation of parquet and solid timber flooring rapidly rising in the market, Inovar saw great potential for the propagation of laminated flooring. The company took to promoting and approaching housing developers to install its flooring in development projects. While the developers were hesitant at first, Inovar managed to convince several large developers on the quality, ease of installation and the environmental benefits of laminated flooring, thus breaking into the housing market. Since then, Inovar’s products have become a popular choice among several prominent developers in the Malaysian market. As the popularity of parquet fizzled out gradually, Jason explains that 75 per cent of wood-based flooring used in housing projects are now laminated flooring. “Inovar products are now commonly used in medium-cost to high-end housing projects,, with developers using laminated flooring in many of their projects. We have about 50 percent of the housing development market in Malaysia today,”he explains.

Five years ago, Inovar collaborated with a local partner to come up with an innovative anti-bacteria laminated flooring product called Nano Shield, using Nano Titanium Oxide (Nano TIO2). This product comprises a surface coating that provides anti-germicidal, anti-fungal and anti-bacteria protection – a first in the world. “With the current COVID-19 pandemic, this product has become a popular choice for customers. The Ministry of Health’s (MOH) disease control department endorsed this product even before the pandemic began,” Tam explains. The nano-size particles of Nano TIO2 settles into the pores of the laminated flooring material and creates a surface that is nonporous to bacteria and viruses. Nano TIO2 is durable and can only be removed from the surface with abrasion. With titanium being a heat-sealing material, when germs drop onto the surface and come in contact with Nano TIO2, a lowdensity light, generated from normal room lighting, kills the germs and disintegrates the bacteria. “An independent lab has tested and proven that our Nano Shield product is able to kill COVID-19 virus,” says Tam.

INOVAR’S FUTURE Tam shares that despite the current pandemic situation and challenges


faced, Inovar is in a strong position in the market. “In fact, amidst this pandemic our brand has become more prominent, as we continue to maintain a strong presence in Malaysia and in all the other countries we operate.” “We hope to continue to build our brand and presence across the world as a Group. We are not only selling Malaysian-made products, in fact we are collaborating with other partners to offer other distinguished flooring products from Japan, Europe, Korea and China; and we hope to grow this business. In future, Inovar will offer other product lines such as decking, vinyl, engineered flooring, and various other types of flooring, complemented by great service, warranty and support,” he adds. As Inovar plans for its future, Jason believes that branding and innovation are important in sustaining Inovar’s presence in the market. “We will continue to develop new and better products to meet market demands and needs. Although there are many new products coming into the market, some of these products are cheap

and are bound to fail due to poor quality materials,” he says. “Flooring products must last at least 8 to 10 years. At Inovar, we have faith in our products and continue to champion our top-notch laminated flooring,” Tam highlights. In talking about the market for flooring products, Tam continues, “Flooring is an essential product that is always needed. It is all about how we innovate and deliver superior quality products to customers. We are set to position Inovar strategically to appeal to diverse markets. Nevertheless, we have to also look beyond Malaysian borders – emerging markets such as Indonesia and Vietnam are rapidly growing and offer good business opportunities.” “We are working with manufacturing partners in Japan to promote carpet tiles and flooring products for the commercial markets,” he adds.

AWARDS Inovar has been recognised as the Brand of Distinction – Best Brand in Floor Covering Solutions by The

Brandlaureate, for 11 consecutive years. The brand was also awarded the Platinum Business Awards 2016 for Product Excellence by SMI Association Malaysia. In 2017, Inovar won the Sin Chew Business Award for Product Excellence. In 2020, the company received the Most Outstanding Malaysian Brand 2019 Award by the Brand Association of Malaysia. Inovar’s products are technically certified by SIRIM and the Forest Research Institute of Malaysia (FRIM), and is also Green Label certified for LVT by the Singapore Environment Council. The company’s products are produced under the Quality & Environmental Management System – ISO 9001:2015 and ISO 14001, in compliance with international quality standards. Inovar’s commitment to quality has ranked the company as the No.1 Brand for LPM Laminate Flooring in Japan 2009-2013 (by market share) as reported by the prestigious Yano Research Institute of Japan, and the first laminate flooring brand to be certified with the Japan International Standard (JIS) F-4-star compliant. Malaysia Retailer Vol 9 No 2

AmBank supports the development and growth of SMEs with its seamless digital business current account opening service.

mBank Group recently made a quantum leap for SMEs when the bank launched Malaysia’s first comprehensive end-to-end electronic business current account opening service for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Amidst movement restrictions, SMEs now enjoy a contactless experience for digital on-boarding with AmBank’s latest offering.


Dato’ Sulaiman Mohd Tahir, Group Chief Executive Officer, AmBank Group.

This new value-added service by AmBank offers business sustainability and helps SMEs to focus on growing their businesses while seeking new opportunities amidst these challenging times. SMEs can now leverage on AmBank’s digital capabilities to continue business operations. Under this new service, when a representative of the company submits an application to open a current account, all the company’s owners or directors will be alerted to perform digital verification using their mobile phones. “As part of AmBank’s digital transformation journey, we are continuously curating seamless customer experiences by introducing digital innovations with our customers in mind – to enhance their banking experience with us, making it convenient, fast, secure and truly digital.” said Dato’ Sulaiman Mohd Tahir, Group Chief Executive Officer, AmBank Group. “We believe that banking institutions play an important role in supporting the development and growth of the SME segment. Our end-to-end digital on-boarding solution will allow SMEs to fast track their digitisation journey, especially in the wake of the current pandemic. This is fully in line with our government’s effort to digitise SMEs and establishes our commitment to ensure SMEs are equipped to deal with the new normal,” added Datuk

Datuk Iswaraan Suppiah, Group Chief Operations Officer, AmBank Group.

Iswaraan Suppiah, Group Chief Operations Officer, AmBank Group. With this new digitally driven service, SMEs can also enjoy instantaneous registration for AmAccess Biz – the bank’s digital banking channel for SMEs. This solution is currently in its pilot phase and will soon be available to New Partnerships and private limited companies in the first phase, and sole proprietorships in the second phase. In line with the bank’s innovative roadmap, digital account opening is aimed at empowering SMEs with mission-critical tools to better manage their finances, gain greater access to working capital, as well as grow and digitalise their business models online. Malaysia Retailer Vol 9 No 2


AmBank Launches Country’s First Full End-To-End Digital On-Boarding For SMEs


PCA Group Delivering Engineered Solutions Globally HQs in Malaysia, established in 1991 with four main factories : Nilai Malaysia; Zhongshan China; Ahmedabad India, Mexico City Mexico, with 14 service centres around the world. 75% of products is exported to 105 countries in all continents around the globe.

Single Source Solution Provider From design, conceptualisation, manufacturing, supply, installation, construction, renovation, to maintenance.

Clientele Global super major multinational, regional brands to local multiple sites retail chains. Covering Petrol Retail, QSR, Automotive, Telecommunication, Health & Beauty, Multiple Retail Chain Stores.

Made For Retail Brand equities elements(signage), shops and display, POP, shelving & fixtures, furniture, LED light source, digital screens, all other elements to enhance customers journey and experience.

Export Awards Winning Company Gold award Export Excellence(mid tier) year 2018; Gold Award for Best Global Market year 2019; Asian Export Award by Asia Business Review Year 2020.

Value propositions General construction & renovation for retail outlets; Brand Equity Elements (Signage); Total shop fit out; Modular building & shop furniture systems; energy saving LED light source; Nationwide installation & maintenance; End to end single source provider.

Core Strengths Total Retail Solutions : Conceptual design, manufacturing, project management, construction, installation and maintenance. Manufacturing: Design, Value engineering, R&D from conceptual design to detailed engineering, prototyping and manufacturability. Certification: ISO 9001:2000, ISO 14001, UL and CE compliance. TNB Grade A Electrical Contractor. Innovation: Sustainability applications using energy conservation solutions including LED, Solar and advanced materials.

Proprietary flat pack fast assembly furniture systems.

Customer Journey & Experience Total solution involves creation of innovative retail solutions focused on the customer journey and experience in all retail outlets, shops, restaurants and kiosks. Our services include conceptual design, prototyping, submission drawings, roll out documentation, project management, construction, renovation, installation and maintenance.

Operation Efficiency Latest design and supply of kiosks, modular buildings, containerised fuelling kiosks and flat packed, fast assembly store furniture for best operation efficiency.

Digitalisation We help our customers to compete with latest digital technologies. . PCA supply LED and digital screen display products, with our software, integration, CMS and content development, relevant and effective in the retail environments.

Sustainability We provide EV charging stations to retail outlets sites; modular buildings, kiosks, containerised fuel stations and packed fast assembly furniture with minimum time on site location, capable to be refreshed and re-located to other sites in future; environmentally friendly construction materials and methodologies; high efficiency energy saving LED light source.

Malaysia is our base, the world is our home. Contact Mr. Kalvin Ooi Executive Director +6017-876 7727

Contact Mr. Keith Brljevich Creative Director +6012-369 5360

PT 3266 Jalan Mutiara Arab - Malaysian Industrial Park 71800 Nilai Negeri Sembilan, Malaysia




Sunway Malls Commits to A #Safercommunitytogether with Reinforced Safety Measures and Initiatives Shoppers who have been vaccinated will be able to enjoy various rewards and deals through Sunway Malls’ #CucukDeals incentives

n line with the nation’s goals to achieve herd immunity and reinvigorate the economy, Sunway Malls has launched the #SaferCommunityTogether campaign across its malls to present a safer and more secure environment for their shoppers. Beginning 15th September, the malls in Klang Valley will be part of the campaign that will encompass all who enter the malls, including shoppers and retailers alike. With more economic sectors receiving the green light from the government to operate in Phase 2 of the National Recovery Plan (NRP) for Klang Valley, presently Sunway Malls in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor is seeing 95% shops opening, up from the 85% previously during Phase 1. Mall traffic is also on the rise recording 50-60% range normality compared to 35% normality previously in its early September figures. The mall group operator hopes for a return to a cumulating 80% range normality in Q4 2021. Sunway Malls acknowledges the importance of keeping the malls safe and is making this a priority for everyone. The remaining malls in Penang and Johor will commence


Malaysia Retailer Vol 9 No 2

this campaign at a later date in line with the progression of herd immunity in the states. Sunway Malls & Theme Parks CEO, HC Chan shares, “As more businesses re-open for the community, it is important that heightened safety continues to be a key agenda in driving assurance and confidence. The #SaferCommunityTogether initiative aims to collectively raise the safety bar higher. This includes introducing fully vaccinated entry only in Klang Valley’s Sunway Malls alongside other safety protocols working together for a safer place. For categories not qualified for vaccination, exceptions will be allowed.” Upon entry, shoppers will have to undergo the necessary MySejahtera and temperature checks to confirm that they have received both doses of the vaccine and are considered low-risk. Those exempted from the vaccination requirement are children between the age of 12-17, or those with medical conditions that do not allow them to receive the regulated vaccines. In terms of the working population, all of Sunway Malls’ employees and retail staff targets 100% herd immunity and are ready

to serve the shoppers as more sectors begin to reopen and more retailers can now operate. Each Sunway Mall employee and retail staff is checked on their vaccination status and will be sporting a personalised “I’m Vaccinated” badge with their own names and serial numbers to provide greater assurance to the shoppers when they are in the malls. The employees also undergo stringent daily checks to ensure that they do not pose a risk to the shoppers and one another. As keeping each other safe is a combined effort, reminders are placed in the malls to help shoppers do their part. Social distancing officers and visual reminders are positioned around the malls to remind shoppers to do their part. Although only fully vaccinated shoppers will be allowed entry, everyone still has to carry out the responsibility to stay safe by adhering to good hygiene practices such as handwashing, mask wearing and sanitising to create safer spaces together. For more information on Sunway Malls’ #SaferCommunityTogether campaign or to redeem the ongoing #Cucukdeals, please visit each mall’s respective social media platforms.

11 Trending

Razer Merchant Services Powers Shopeepay in All Burger King And 99 Speedmart Across Malaysia Razer Merchant Services enables ShopeePay mobile wallet payment option in 2000 Burger King and 99 SpeedMart outlets across Malaysia.

azer Merchant Services (RMS), the B2B arm of Razer Fintech has partnered with mobile wallet ShopeePay. The partnership will enable ShopeePay to become an accepted payment option for all Burger King and 99 Speedmart branches in Malaysia, in a bid to expand cashless offerings to consumers nationwide. Along with RMS’ network of over 50,000 merchants, the collaboration aims to expand ShopeePay’s offering to drive foot-traffic into merchant’s physical stores. This announcement is timely as reports showed increased point of sale (POS) payments using mobile wallets worldwide, rising from 19.5% in 2019 to 25.7% in 2020. This surge is expected to continue globally as POS payments made with mobile wallets are expected to reach 33.4% in 2024. “The preferred payment options in Malaysia are shifting as mobile wallets adoption rates are increasing, while cash payments are declining. We are positive that our partnership with ShopeePay can be a game-changing initiative to boost contactless transactions offline, especially among their e-commerce users,” said Lee Li Meng, CEO of Razer Fintech. “RMS’ powering of ShopeePay in


all Burger King and 99 Speedmart outlets is just the beginning. We will work with ShopeePay to continuously enable them on RMS’ network of offline and online merchants.” As ShopeePay is integrated in the e-commerce platform, Shopee, it already serves tech-savvy, onlinefirst customers. Head of ShopeePay Malaysia, Alain Yee said “ShopeePay has a strong online presence and we are working closely with Razer Merchant Services as part of our focus to scale our offline presence aggressively nationwide this year. As such, this partnership with household names like 99 Speedmart and Burger King is a step in the right direction. Being able to engage with digital natives easily and establish the right partnerships as well as our cashback programmes, we are confident that ShopeePay is poised to capture the Malaysian market.” The cashless payment solutions partnership aims to give Shopee’s large base of customers ease of use and accessibility at retail outlets. Burger King and 99 Speedmart, the first retail businesses in RMS’ network that have adopted this payment option have more than 2000 outlets nationwide combined. The advantage of having multiple touchpoints with customers will

drive higher sales and benefit offline retailers over their competitors. Razer Merchant Services serves as a leading Online to Offline (O2O) digital payment network, expanding additional O2O offerings to its merchants with features such as Razer Cash and the Virtual Terminal Application. The Razer Cash feature enables RMS’ merchants to offer consumers without bank cards or accounts to pay for e-commerce goods by paying with cash at selected convenient stores. This feature looks to benefit students, teens, foreign workers, and elders. RMS’ Virtual Terminal (VT) also pushes the envelope with its merchant offerings with an all-inone payment processor in the f orm of a mobile app. With the VT app, RMS’ merchants can create and accept payments at any time with real-time payment status updates from the convenience of a mobile phone application. The VT app allows businesses to transact payments with various payment options, including credit cards, online banking, cash, and mobile wallets. In celebration of this partnership, ShopeePay users will be entitled to a one-time RM4 cashback when they spend a minimum of RM20 at Burger King from 1 July 2021 till 31 August 2021. Malaysia Retailer Vol 9 No 2



Pace Forms Exclusive Regional Partnership With Valiram Through this partnership, Valiram’s brands in the region will offer Pace’s Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) solution to all its customers, allowing them to split their purchases over three interest-free installments. ace Enterprise (Pace), AsiaPacific’s fastgrowing fintech solutions provider, recently formed an exclusive regional partnership with luxury goods and retail specialist, Valiram. The partnership will extend Pace as an alternative payment option to over 20 international brands represented by Valiram in the region, including popular consumer brands such as Michael Kors, TUMI, Victoria’s Secret, Bath & Body Works, Steve Madden as well as Nike in Thailand and Pedro in Malaysia. The roll out will progressively extend to include more brands. Payment via Pace will be available upon checkout across all points-ofsale, including websites, mobile apps, and over 200 points-of-sale in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and Macau. “We are indeed excited with this partnership which will allow us to extend a new flexible payment option to our customers. Through this partnership, the brands under our group will be able to unlock a new segment of consumers. With Pace’s simple, accessible and transparent interface which gives users control over their budgeting and expenditure, we also hope to empower our customers to practise sustainable spending,” said Mukesh Valiram, Executive Director, Valiram. Pace’s success is attributed to its


Malaysia Retailer Vol 9 No 2

Turochas “T” Fuad, Founder and CEO, Pace.

ability to boost merchant sales by as much as 25% and increase basket sizes by up to 80% across various industries, including fashion, beauty, and fitness. Its collaboration with banking leaders OCBC and UOB in Singapore has also helped accelerate sales for merchants by creating access to new customer segments.

DEBT FINANCING ROUND To fuel its rapid growth, Pace has secured an eight-figure debt financing round led by Genesis Alternative Ventures, Southeast Asia’s leading venture lender. The new debt financing facility will be

used to grow Pace’s business in the region, where it has already seen a 1,300% growth in users and 200% growth in merchant partners since January this year. Beyond Valiram, Pace has also secured multiple local and regional merchant partnerships, with brands such as ALDO, Miniso, Swee Lee, OG, Benjamin Barker, and Motherswork. Pace remains committed to strengthening and expanding existing partnerships with OSIM, FJ Benjamin, and Wonderscape group. “We are very impressed with the incredible growth that Pace is experiencing. As one of the newer entrants, Pace has quickly captured the fintech market in the region. With a powerful vision for financial inclusion across Asia-Pacific and a strong, talented founding team—we believe in Pace’s transformational impact,” said Jeremy Loh, Managing Partner, Genesis Alternative Ventures. “Our aim is to change the way consumers in Asia-Pacific shop, and we are proud to be partnering with remarkable brands and institutions to serve a traditionally underserved segment of customers. With over 900 points-of-sale and over 550% growth in gross merchandise value (GMV) since January, we’re encouraged by the exponential growth we’re experiencing,” said Turochas “T” Fuad, Founder and CEO, Pace.

Updates / News


SAMENTA Launches Series of International Business Matching Programmes to Boost Trade & Business Recovery The Small and Medium Enterprises Association (SAMENTA) Malaysia kicked-off a series of international business matching programmes to widen the scope of business opportunities for Malaysian SMEs. The first virtual trade mission, the 2021 Anyang Online Export Business Meeting, was

Mayor of Anyang City, Choi Dae-ho (left), witnessed the MoU signing between SAMENTA Malaysia National President, Kam Lian Hooi (centre), and Director of Anyang Creative Industry Promotion Institute Korea, Kim Hung-Kyoo (right).

MR DOLLAR Offers Aid in Support of White Flag Project MR. DOLLAR, a subsidiary of MR D.I.Y. Group (M) Berhad, recently stepped up its humanitarian efforts to support the White Flag project via its initiative ‘#KibarkanBenderaKamiBantuSegera’. Through this initiative, MR. DOLLAR distributed 1,000 food packages daily to those living within a 2-km radius of MR. DOLLAR stores throughout Peninsular Malaysia. All 42 MR DOLLAR stores participated in this campaign which ran from July

Malaysia Retailer Vol 9 No 2

held over two days, 7th and 8th July, with Anyang City of South Korea. The virtual trade mission was a follow through after Malaysian Minister of International Trade and Industry, Dato’ Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali’s, visit to Seoul in April this year and a subsequent announcement that South Korea and Malaysia had agreed to expand economic ties. In his welcome remarks during the launch of the 2021 Anyang Online Export Business Meeting, SAMENTA Malaysia National President, Kam Lian Hooi, expressed hope that Malaysian SMEs would leverage on this opportunity to expand their business offerings within and beyond Malaysia. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was inked between sixth Director of Anyang Creative Industry Promotion Institute Korea, Kim Hung-Kyoo, and SAMENTA Malaysia for the two organisations to broaden and strengthen business relationships between SMEs in the two nations towards postpandemic recovery. Mayor of Anyang City, Choi Dae-ho and the Special Chairman of the Democratic Party of Korea for Human Resource Competency Improvement, expressed hope that the virtual trade mission would be successful for both Malaysia and Korea. Kam added that SAMENTA Malaysia continues to push for business opportunities in the international arena to help local SMEs expand opportunities in international trade. “We hope these virtual business matching programmes will help speed up business recovery for Malaysian SMEs,” he explained.

1-14. The food package consisted of cooking oil, instant noodles, tea and coffee, biscuits, sweet creamer, and condiments. The White Flag Project was started by concerned netizens to urge struggling households to raise a white flag, as a signal for help. MR D.I.Y Group’s Vice President of Marketing, Andy Chin said, “With #KibarkanBenderaKamiBantuSegera, we hope that we can do our best to help affected Malaysians weather the storm. By coming together as one, we can make a huge difference in each others’ lives. As a homegrown enterprise, MR. DOLLAR will reach out to those in need as much as where and when needed.”


TAITRA Leads Taiwanese ICT Businesses Venture Into Markets of Malaysia, Brunei, New Zealand and Australia To promote industrial cooperation between the ICT industries of Taiwan and those of Malaysia, Brunei, New Zealand, and Australia, the Taiwan External Trade Development Council (TAITRA), commissioned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, held the 2021 AsiaPacific Information and Communication Technologies Industry Online Conference and Seminar in May. In addition to ICT industry leaders from the four countries and 20 other potential buyers, the conference also included five prominent Taiwanese ICT businesses that had won the Taiwan Excellence Award. These companies include the internet of things (IoT) and the smart application company Advantech,

Launch of Aladdin1 Malaysia Aladdin Commerce Sdn Bhd recently held the launch of Aladdin1 Malaysia together with a signing ceremony for several local celebrities as shareholders. The event was witnessed by Deputy Minister of Entrepreneur Development and Cooperatives. Datuk Wira Hajah Mas Ermieyati binti Hj Samsudin. The local celebrities were Raf Yaakob, Mawar Rashid, Aeril Zafrel, Wawa Zainal, Hisyam Hamid, Intan Serah and Jeryl Lee. More celebrities, influencers, artists, sports and e-sports personalities are expected to come on board. The company anticipates post signing to garner a combined social media following of over 25 million.

the network communication equipment company D-LInk, the online learning and education solution provider AVer Information, the surveillance monitoring solution provider Vivotek, and the video streaming solution provider CyberLink which has held over 50,000 online seminars. The seminar was aimed at helping potential buyers within the Asia-Pacific market gain a deeper understanding of the ICT industry in Taiwan. It was also to boost space for buyers to promote relevant products from Taiwan to the markets of Malaysia, Brunei, New Zealand, and Australia. There was also an online discussion session aimed at increasing industrial collaboration. Despite the current COVID-19 pandemic which continues to ravage the globe, cross-industry integration solutions powered by key technologies like IoT, big data, and artificial intelligence, will continue to significantly alter lifestyles and industrial operations of various countries. “Despite the pandemic, Taiwan’s total electronic exports reached a record high of USD49.1 billion, marking 15.4% annual growth,” said Eva Peng, Director of Taiwan Trade Centre Inc., Kuala Lumpur. She added that between January and March 2021, exports were valued at 13.2 billion USD.

Aladdin1 is a social commerce platform offering consumers premium and quality halal-focused, authentic and lifestyle products and services. Leveraging on influencers and celebrities can help to spread the word, said Dato’ Dr Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor, Co-founder of the Aladdin Group. He said the main target of the group is to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to grow domestically and begin international operations. The Aladdin Group plans to set up its operations in more than 45 countries with each having its own domestic platform. These countries have a market access of 5 billion consumers of which x01.45 billion are Muslims.

Malaysia Retailer Vol 9 No 2

Updates / News


Adient aims to Make Malaysia a Hub for Automotive Seating Foam Adient Automotive Seating Sdn Bhd (Adient), a subsidiary of Adient, a global leader in automotive seating, said its latest foam plant in Alor Gajah, Melaka, has started exporting headrests to Thailand and Indonesia. The new RM10 million plant is equipped with state-ofthe-art foam manufacturing technology to serve both the local market and for export. Adient Managing Director, AJ Dabydin, said that through this initiative, the company will drive parts localisation, develop local suppliers, and create more job opportunities and export revenues for Malaysians and Malaysia. “Leveraging on Adient’s global manufacturing best practices we provide the joy of driving with the safest, most comfortable and most entertaining mobility solutions that truly care for people and respect our planet.” Adient’s environmental responsibility shaped the new Alor Gajah foam plant operation strategy with the implementation of rainwater harvesting system to reduce the dependency on town water and installation of solar panels to produce electricity that powers various pieces of equipment. The factory is also equipped with fivestar power rated and low carbon emission equipment,

has LED lighting installed across the entire plant, and manages risks through environmental management systems and appropriate certification such as ISO14001. Dabydin said that even though a technology-centered approach was adopted, people were at the centre of designing the automation. “There was a need to re-skill and up-skill the operators for effective man-machine interaction and then keeping them safe through a plant layout that allows for one-meter physical distance and carefully planned logistic route,” he explained. In recognition of its contribution to the nation’s economy in using innovative and sustainable foam technology and best practice manufacturing, the Alor Gajah plant recently emerged the winner in the Automotive Services category at SBR’s Malaysia International Business Awards 2021.

Mydin Ventures Abroad Through e-commerce Retailer Mydin Mohamed Holdings Bhd is expanding its offerings overseas through e-commerce with Singapore as its first market abroad. It was reported in the Star newspaper that the company’s venture will be supported by the Shoppee International Programme (SIP) which will also provide it with end-to-end cross-border services including logistics, customer service and payment solutions to market its house brands MyRasa and My Home as well as other products. The company said in a statement it has ambitions to expand and gain regional exposure and has a chance to do so through e-commerce. Mydin’s Managing Director Datuk Wira Dr Ameer Ali Mydin said e-commerce is an important part of the company’s business which saw a 73% increase in online sales last year compared to 2019. “This signals that a growing proportion of online-first customers seeing that more people are relying on e-commerce to get their essentials during movement restrictions brought on by the pandemic. With this programme, we are able to extend our reach to Singapore and it will be a step to look at how we grow our business within ASEAN through e-commerce,” he said.

Malaysia Retailer Vol 9 No 2


AmRewards Campaign

Mah Sing Founder and Group Managing Director Tan Sri Leong Hoy Kum (right) receiving a box of gloves.

Mah Sing Begins Glove Production in May Mah Sing Healthcare Sdn Bhd has received its business licence and other relevant licences and permits, with operations starting in the second quarter of 2021 at its Kapar facility in Klang, The first shipment of gloves is expected to be delivered in May/June 2021, Mah Sing Healthcare said in a statement. The company has received an export licence from the Malaysian Rubber Board, as well as two Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Establishment Licences for Polymer Nitrile Patient Examination Glove and Latex Patient Examination Glove from the US FDA, which enable Mah Sing Healthcare to export its gloves to the US. It is progressing well in obtaining other certifications such as the Conformitè Europëenne Marking for the export to the European region. “This new milestone places Mah Sing amongst the first few new glove entrants in Malaysia to commence glove production to meet immediate market demand,” it said. Six production lines are on track to being operational in the second quarter of 2021 (2Q21), followed by another six production lines in the following quarter, it added. Meanwhile, Mah Sing Group Berhad has acquired a new piece of prime land of approximately five acres, for RM89 million in Mukim Setapak, Kuala Lumpur. This new acquisition which will be named M Astra is close to the Group’s well-received M Adora in Wangsa Melawati and is targeted for registration of interest in the third quarter of 2021. The proposed mixed development will comprise two blocks of serviced suites. The project is planned to have 3-bedroom and 4-bedroom units, with indicative built-up area ranging from 850sq ft to 1,030sq ft, and will be affordably priced with indicative starting price from RM399,000.

During the recent Hari Raya season, from 1 May 2021 to 31 May 2021, customers of AmWafeeq Savings Account-i were entitled for double entries for every RM100 incremental in the Monthly Average Balance (MAB). This is part of the initiative to reward customers who participate in the AmRewards Campaign and to encourage further savings into AmWafeeq Savings Account-i. The Campaign reflects the bank’s commitment in fostering savings habit while enabling its customers to enjoy attractive rewards. Eqhwan Mokhzanee, Chief Executive Officer, AmBank Islamic, said that the Hari Raya Special was aimed at providing its customers an opportunity for greater chances of winning cash prizes under the AmRewards Campaign. Running from 1 January 2021 to 31 August 2021, the AmRewards Campaign is open to all individual primary account holders with active AmWafeeq Savings Account-i accounts.

Malaysia Retailer Vol 9 No 2

Market Info


Retail Group Sees Lower Growth Rate in 2021 The Retail Group Malaysia (RGM) has revised Malaysia’s annual retail industry growth rate for 2021 from 4.1% to 4.0% due to the re-introduction of the Movement Control Order (MCO) on May 3 as well as the latest Full Movement Control Order (FMCO) nationwide on 1 June 2021.


he first phase of FMCO which was supposed to last until June 14 was extended until June 28.

(Table 1) During this period, a majority of retailers suffered from poor sales when Malaysian shoppers avoided enclosed places. RGM, in its June report, added that any extension of the two- week complete lockdown will damage the retail industry further and delay on the re-opening of non-essential retailers after two weeks will lead to more closures. The report by RGM was based on inputs by the Malaysia Retailers Association (MRA), Retail Group Malaysia (RGM) and MRCA. The second quarter growth estimate of 18.4% given by members of MRA and MRCA is no long attainable, the report stated. A majority of retailers gave their estimates before the announcements of MCO 3.0 and FMCO. In addition, RGM revised the growth rate for the second quarter of 2021 from 7.0% (estimated in March 2021) to 5.6%. “The Malaysian government will continue the lockdown beyond the 2-week FMCO with revised movement restrictions and ban on the opening of certain retail trades. Retail sales during the third quarter of 2021 will be affected as well. RGM revises the growth rate from 4.1% (estimated in March 2021) to 3.5% for this quarter,” it added. Malaysia Retailer Vol 9 No 2


Growth Rate%


(e) -13.4


(e) +7.0


(e) +4.1


(e) +13.9

Whole Year

(e) +4.1

(e) - Estimate Source: Retail Group Malaysia

It pointed out that interstate travel ban was also expected to be enforced for longer period of time and it has been affecting domestic tourism spending. “Travel bubbles with selected countries is likely to begin towards the end of this year. Malaysia will witness rising foreign tourist arrivals only from the first half of next year. Vaccination on majority of the population will take a while. Thus, movement restrictions and social distancing measures will remain until end of this year.” RGM expects the retail industry to begin its gradual recovery by the end of this year. For the fourth quarter of 2021, the retail industry is expected to grow by 12.7% instead of 13.9% estimated in March 2021, as compared to the same period a year ago.

For the first quarter of 2021, Malaysia’s retail industry recorded a negative growth rate of 9.9% in retail sales, as compared to the same period in 2020. (Table 2) This latest quarterly result was better than the estimate made by members of MRA and MRCA at -13.4% in March 2021. During the implementation of MCO 2.0, shopping traffic in major shopping malls in Malaysia dropped by 90% as compared to December 2020. During this lockdown, many nonessential retail shops were allowed to open but with few customers during peak shopping hours. Shopping traffic recovered when MCO 2.0 ended on 5 March this year. Shopping malls in all major cities received large crowds on the first weekend after MCO 2.0 was lifted. Some tourist areas had

19 also received good crowd during the weekends. (Table 3) For the first quarter of 2021, Malaysia’s national economy recorded a contraction of 0.5% as compared to -9.9% for retail sales (at current prices). The high demand for export products, especially E&E products, contributed to the economic growth during this quarter. The relaxation of the Movement Control Order since February also led to higher domestic demand for goods and services. After three consecutive quarters of declines, the average inflation rate during the first quarter of 2021 turned positive at 0.5%. During the quarter, Malaysian consumers were faced with higher prices of Food & Non-Alcoholic Beverages (1.5%) as well as Miscellaneous Goods & Services (1.5%). Private consumption declined by 1.5% during the first quarter of 2021 due to MCO 2.0. During the latest quarter, the Consumer Sentiment Index (by MIER) achieved a 10-quarter high of 98.9 points. However, it was still below the 100-point threshold level of optimism. Unemployment rate during the first quarter of 2021 remained unchanged at 4.8%. On the Food & Beverage sector, the report added that it recorded a negative growth rate of 6.2% during the first quarter of 2021, as compared to the same quarter a year ago. Those that focused on take-away and delivery, recorded a drop in business as well. (Table 4) With the introduction of FMCO that required a majority of Malaysians to stay home, cafe and restaurant operators are foreseeing their businesses to maintain for the second 3 months of this year. They expect their food business to grow marginally by 0.5% as compared to the same period last year. “On the other hand, food and beverage kiosk and stall operators are pessimistic of their business



% Growth

Retail sales

Jan-Mar 2020


Oct-Dec 2020


Jan-Mar 2021


Source: MRA/ MRCA/ Retail Group Malaysia


4th Qtr 2020

1st Qtr 2021

GDP (%)



Inflation rate (%)



Private consumption (%)



Retail sales (%)



Consumer Sentiment Index



Unemployment rate (%)



Source: Bank Negara/ Department of Statistics/ MIER/ Retail Group Malaysia




4th Qtr

1st Qtr

2nd Qtr (e)

Cafe and restaurant




Take-away, kiosk and stall





• Cafe and restaurant include fast food restaurant, cafe, coffee cafe, bakery cafe, restaurant, full-service restaurant and caterer.

• Take-away, kiosk and stall include food outlet caters for takeaway only, bakery without seating, kiosk and food stall. (e)- estimate Source: MRA/ MRCA/ Retail Group Malaysia

performance during the second quarter of 2021. They had projected sales to drop by 11.6% prior to the introduction of MCO 3.0. The final results are likely to be worse off,” the report said. Malaysia Retailer Vol 9 No 2

Market Info


Toppen Shopping Centre Extends Its Retailtainment Space with A Lifestyle RoofTopp on A Multi-Storey Car Park oppen Shopping Centre has unveiled its plans for an extension to its retailtainment space with a lifestyle RoofTopp, which offers a unique experience for the community visiting the destination. Staying true to its name ‘Topp’, the lifestyle RoofTopp is built on a nine-storey structure that provides the community with more parking spaces, as well as an exciting retail mix at the top two floors. The construction of the multi-storey car park started in April 2021 and is expected to be completed by Q3 of 2022. Over a year has passed since the pandemic hit, and Toppen, together with its anchor IKEA Tebrau, continue to provide visitors with a safe and accessible meeting place where


communities can build memorable experience at its one-stop shopping destination. As the world corresponds to new habits and lifestyles, the shopping centre has also adapted to the idea of social distancing with the multi-storey carpark and lifestyle RoofTopp designed to further evenly distribute visitors and allow tenants to create their own crowd within the different large spaces available. The centre’s crown jewel rooftop known as The Topp is the pride of Toppen Shopping Centre. Since its launch, The Topp has been pivotal to the meeting place of the Johor Bahru community, creating a space where people of all ages can enjoy the various activities organised by the centre. Therefore, a similar concept will be developed for the

multi-storey carpark, with a retail space on the rooftop offering F&B, entertainment, health and fitness, as well as co-working spaces at the lifestyle RoofTopp. “This development is a testament of our dedication to growing Toppen. Following its successful launch in November 2019, the retail market underwent significant challenges as a result

Adrian Mirea, Shopping Centre and MixedUsed Director, IKEA Southeast Asia.

Multi-Storey Car Park launch gambit. From left, Adrian Mirea, Shopping Centre and MixedUsed Director, IKEA Southeast Asia; Vasilisa Kuznetsova, Centre Manager of Toppen Shopping Centre; Arnoud Bakker, Head of Leasing, IKEA Southeast Asia.

Malaysia Retailer Vol 9 No 2

Arnoud Bakker, Head of Leasing, IKEA Southeast Asia.


Artist impression of the 617,000 square feet and ninestorey space.

of COVID-19. However, Toppen remained resilient, with us working closely with our tenants to ensure their success. As restrictions eased, we were inspired by the eagerness of the Johor community as they returned to our centre. With the increasing number of Toppen and IKEA visitors per year, the plan was to create a better experience for our visitors coming from near and afar,” said Adrian Mirea, Shopping Centre and Mixed-Used Director, IKEA Southeast Asia. Adding on to the experience factor, Toppen’s addition to its retailtainment allows tenants to explore the possibility of extending operating hours beyond the regular shopping centre hours. The lifestyle RoofTopp will be seamlessly integrated on-top of a 9-storey, 617,000 sq ft car park space with approximately 1,600 parking bays to provide visitors easy access from Toppen, IKEA Tebrau and the surrounding areas. The RoofTopp retail component is 48,000 sq feet with high ceilings and is connected to the main Toppen building for a smooth customer flow. In line with the shopping centre’s vision to enhance seamless customer experience from different customer touchpoints, the idea

Artist impression of the lifestyle RoofTopp.

Groundbreaking of Toppen Shopping Centre’s Multi-Storey Car Park and lifestyle RoofTopp.

of building Lifestyle RoofTopp on a car park space will also help accommodate the high volume of shoppers who are visiting Toppen to either shop, dine, wall climb with friends, or cool down at the splash park. “Now, more than ever, we know how important it is to encourage community-building and create a better everyday life for the many people visiting our meeting places. We rearrange our spaces according to what the community needs, and co-create events and unique experiences for them to enjoy. This cannot be done without the tenants

who have been fully supportive of us since the beginning. This is just one of the many ways to improve ourselves as we continue to make Toppen the heart and hub of the Johor Bahru community,” said Mirea. Toppen Shopping Centre is owned and operated by Ikano Centres and is also one of the five anchored-by-IKEA shopping centres in Southeast Asia. A onestop destination with four levels of unique retailtainment experiences and the first-of-its-kind rooftop community hub, The Topp, Toppen prides itself in being the heart and hub of the community. Malaysia Retailer Vol 9 No 2

Market Info


Alibaba’s Cainiao Cuts Lazada’s SEA Shipping Time to 3 Days Customers in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines can get their parcels as fast as three days.

ainiao, the logistics arm of Alibaba, announced that it has enhanced Lazada’s cross-border logistics efficiency by 50% with the launch of distribution centres in China’s export-focused cities of Yiwu, Shenzhen, and Quanzhou. This means buyers in Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines will receive their parcels after placing an order on Lazada’s eCommerce platform as fast as three days. Previously, the shipping was much longer. The shipment status will be synced in real-time through Cainiao’s parcel tracking system. In order to ease first-mile delivery woes, especially during peak shopping seasons, Cainiao is also offering doorstep pickup for merchants. This would eliminate the need to deliver goods to warehouses, which involves time-consuming activities such as queuing and scanning products.


Malaysia Retailer Vol 9 No 2

Furthermore, Cainiao has also introduced community-based parcel consolidation stations in April this year to support 11,500 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in 20 cities. The initiative allows local SMEs to deliver goods to the nearby stations where the consolidated parcels would then be transported by Cainiao to one of its distribution centres. “Today, consumers have greater expectations when it comes to logistics efficiency, especially for trendy products popularised by social media and influencers,” said Executive General Manager for Cainiao and Chief LazGlobal Logistics Officer, Shawn Louis. “This year, we have commenced trial operations for cross-border express delivery services in Southeast Asia, with a focus on Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines and Malaysia, to enable consumers to receive their parcels in as fast as

three days. We believe that efficient and comprehensive logistics network is key to facilitating global trade and supporting small businesses and online merchants to tap on a booming Southeast Asian market.” In March 2021, Cainiao partnered with Hong Kong Air Cargo to launch cargo flights to Southeast Asia. The new logistics route shaves off delivery time by 60%, 28% and 42% for goods shipped to the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand respectively, shortening the time that Lazada customers in these countries take to receive parcels from Mainland China. Lazada which has operations in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, offers logistics, retail technology and payment services solutions to its sellers. Lazada’s branded destination LazMall, the region’s largest virtual mall houses over 32,000 international and local brands.

Healthcare workers get to enjoy an extra 10% grocery discount when shopping at all Village Grocer, Ben’s Independent Grocer (B.I.G.), BSC Fine Foods, and Pasaraya OTK outlets.

alaysia’s fastest-growing premium supermarket group, The Food Purveyor (TFP), has decided to extend the 10 per cent discount offered to all healthcare workers across all of its stores, untill the end of July 2021. This decision comes after receiving an overwhelming response from the nation’s healthcare workers and surpassing RM200,000 worth of discount giveaway. The grocery discount was first introduced as a Sunday-only offer from April 5 2020, and ran successfully for a 6-week period. When, at the beginning of 2021 the country was once again faced with thousands of Covid-cases, TFP decided to re-launch the discount offer from January 18 2021. In April 2021, TFP extended the discount to all week long, rather than just every Sunday. The extension allowed many more healthcare workers to utilise the offer. To date over 10,000 healthcare worker transactions have enjoyed the discount, with a total discount rising to over RM200,000. All doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and medical staff are entitled to enjoy the 10 per cent discount when purchasing in-store at all Village Grocer, Ben’s Independent


Grocer (B.I.G.), BSC Fine Foods, and Pasaraya OTK outlets. All that is required is proof of employment via ID at the checkout counters. “It has been over a year since the first lockdown gripped our country. We understand and see that healthcare workers are working tirelessly to tackle and beat COVID-19. Whether it’s through testing, treating the sick, or vaccinating to protect - healthcare

workers are defending the nation daily,” said Chief Executive Officer of The Food Purveyor, Geoff King. “The 10 per cent discount offer is our small token of thanks to all Healthcare workers who are giving their incredible service to the people and this nation,” added Geoff. For more information on the appreciation discount, visit www., my or Malaysia Retailer Vol 9 No 2

Market Info

TFP’s Grocery Discount for Healthcare Workers Extends after Overwhelming Response


Market Info


Halal Certification Meets Market Demand for Ethically & Sustainably Sourced Products A recent market report on the forecast for the global plant-based food and beverage market for 2021–2028 expects a compound annual growth rate of 9.29% over the next six years. orth America held the largest share of the pie, but markets could see a drastic shift in the next couple of years, as the plant-based market in Asia Pacific is projected to experience a 200% surge by 2025. MATRADE Chief Executive Officer, Mohd Mustafa Abdul Aziz said plantbased trend offers opportunities for halal brands to flourish as the Islamic values and Sharia laws that govern the certified products correspond with key aspects of the vegan consumer market. “These include quality and hygiene standards, environmentfriendly and cruelty-free practices, as well as ethically sourced materials. Islamic values have a universal appeal making many halal products and services equally attractive to non-Muslim consumers, particularly in light of current global consumer concerns about food safety brought on by COVID-19. “MATRADE envisages more Malaysian halal certified companies to take advantage of technology and innovation to venture into such segments in order to tap into this rising trend,” Mohd Mustafa added. Asia has already seen steady growth in the plant-based market. in 2019 it was worth US$15.3 billion. The figure saw a significant surge when COVID-19 struck, as more people in Asia turned towards a plant-based diet due to concerns over food safety. As a result, it was projected that the market value in the region would be worth US$17.1 billion in 2020, an 11.6% increase from the previous


Malaysia Retailer Vol 9 No 2


year, according to online research platform, GMO Research. This growing demand was also noted by homegrown Malaysian conglomerate and leading producer of coconut-based products, LINACO Group, when participating in Food and Beverage (F&B) exhibitions in New York two years ago. According to LINACO, while other dietary options were driven by health complications for the most part, veganism stood out as a conscious lifestyle choice that took into consideration both personal health and an entire ecosystem, including the environment. The global halal market will soon converge at the largest halal exhibition – the Malaysia International Halal Showcase (MIHAS) from 9 to 12 September 2021. This year MIHAS is designed as a versatile hybrid showcase with digital capabilities to bring patrons,

Malaysia International Halal Showcase (MIHAS) is the halal industry number one business platform. It brings with it international visitors and traders to the same forum. MIHAS delivers opportunities across the global halal markets; Food & Beverages, Pharmaceuticals, Cosmetics & Personal care, Logistics, Muslim-friendly Tourism, Islamic Finance, ECommerce, Education, Modest Fashion, Food Technology and Franchise and Services & Enablers (e.g. Logistics).

investors and trade partners the best of both worlds while facilitating highvalue Halal trade. The largest group of participating exhibitors at MIHAS continues to be the food and beverage segment. Apart from traditional ready-to-eat products, opportunities are rising for Malaysian brands to be part of the global halal supply chain in various areas such as frozen food, organic or vegan and natural consumables, and innovative packaging.

In an open letter to Prime Minister Tan Sri Haji Mahiaddin bin Haji Mohd Yassin, associations representing the shopping mall and retail industries nationwide in Malaysia say their members have been “unduly penalised”. n a joint statement they said that the extension of the Full Movement Control Order (FMCO) from 1 June to 28 June 2021 for the entire country is drastically and tragically damaging to business and the economy. “The announcement of the National Recovery Plan based on the threshold of absolute numbers of COVID cases is too broad brushed and imprecise resulting in unnecessary losses. With the upcoming deadline to review the next course of action, we appeal to the government to judiciously research the data and incidences of COVID cases by economic sector and by locality,” they said. The joint statement was issued by Malaysia Shopping Malls Association, MRCA, Malaysia Retailers Association, Bumiputra Retailers Organisation and the Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan (KL) Electrical Home Appliances Dealers‘ Association. They pointed out that the Ministry of Health (MOH) data revealed that retail and shopping sector contributed merely 0.8% of all cases in May 2021, even prior to the FMCO lockdown which started on 1 June 2021. ”This significantly improved and extremely low figures testify to the retail and mall industries’ strict adherence to the SOPs and should not be unduly penalised with closure from operating. “Thus, we believe the retail and shopping sector should be re-opened immediately to provide


URGENT 22 June 2021




employees at risk of being laid off”. “Once these international brands exit from our country, it will be doubly difficult to attract these brands to return. With these massive lay-offs and shop closures, the entire retail and shopping mall industries will be grievously and critically damaged and will need massive efforts and time to re-build the malls’ ecosystem or the malls themselves will permanently close, and the retail supply chain will be deeply fractured,” they said. The statement also stated that malls are very safe places to be and serve as avenues for some relief, both physically and mentally, whilst doing the necessary shopping chores for food and necessities. Furthermore, only those people whose MySejahtera status is “Low-Risk” and whose temperatures do not exceed 37.5°C are allowed in malls. “We appeal to the government to take all positive factors into account in the upcoming review and allow the immediate re-opening of all trades in the malls (except for those in the Negative List). “Any prolongation in re-opening will cause irreparable damage to both the retail and shopping mall industry which may not recover for the next few years, leaving us far behind in the economic recovery process. Therefore, we seek the government’s urgent consideration to mitigate the catastrophic but real scenario as predicted above,” the statement added.

DATO TO YB TAN SRI OPEN LETTER Malaysia mall and of ing the shopping Prime Minister ciations represent following asso s the view of the sent repre r as follows: This open lette ciation) e in Malaysia Asso n-wid Malls natio s ping ysia Shop retail industrie (PPK) (or Mala pleks Malaysia Pengurusan Kom  Persatuan :// https A) y/ http://ppkm.or (MR rg.m n ://www.mrca.o ilers Associatio n (MRCA) https  Malaysia Reta Chain Associatio n We app il eal to ers‘ Associatio ) (BRO  Malaysia Reta Go nisat revion e Appliances Deal verl nm Hom iew and the trica ent Retailers Orga alloElec to take all uan (KL) w the imm  Bumiputra Neekut gative these po ia/ ediate & Wilayah Pers Lis damalays ngor t). sitive facthe /swe Sela reThe opening  for tors into ://www.faceboo June all 2021 28 of acc tra to des (SWEDA) https June 1 Presently, the malls ount in the upcom (FMCO) from economy. inThe Orde alre (except for ady r20ing Control ess and the pasntt 16 covid eme g toof busin those in agin30% monthdam shops inof absolute numbers of of the Full Mov s, and cally the malls hav thattragi The extension and threshold in the evebase 30% onhthe d wit e been clo is drastically ofary stalosse s. Plan nt the ff very bei sed beg entire country Reco ng cess nal ma inning of lting in unne due to the laid off, this ll and reta t of the Natio resu July 202 adverse am ecise il ind oun impr inc announcemen ust 1, and lud con ts there ry includ ing pro to 300,00 d brushed ing stre 0 person ditions of the to laid off. On minent domestic will be another 50% cases is too broa et-fntron rnme nel. We fore t shops andn,inte ce these al to theofgove appe the remity. see werna are not internaof brands to tional reta ainder clo by local tionactio r and retunext course al il bra sing their re-opened by ndsomic nds wit econ exit secto to review the rn. covid cases bybra from our doors for ming deadline s of country, it h more employee good, With the upco and incidence s at risk will be dou data the arch of being bly difficu judiciously rese With these merely 0.8% lt to attract ed ribut cont r these shopping secto grievously massive lay 2021. This -off l and s and that retai and alscrit showhic started on 1 June stries' strict p clohsur data reve icallyOdam H)the lockd es, ma Health (MOor the mall ageown the entireindu l and dtoand msFMC priorllstothe The Ministry of thewillretai retail. and elves Thus, we need ma ating testif eswill May 2021, even mely low figur perymanen closu ssioper pping ma re from ve efforts ntialsho of all cases in lls indust Anextre and timand ide esse y prolon be unduly penalised withtly close, oved and prov and impr to ries e tly tely to the not will gat fican reedia ld reta signi ion in re- re-opened imm bui be il supply mallshou industry the SOPs and ld be opening wil chain will ld malls’ ecosystem sector shou adherence to which ma tivity be deeply l cau ping . eco nomic rec l and shop fractured. risk of infecy not recove se irreparable dam ding withoutove believe the retai mun mit for the agecrow igaity irements and to the com te the cat ry process. There r ncing to bowith requ nex t few other services ent th the retail astrophicthe social dista fore, we exist yea nonnow rs, leavin and shopp are but real cong see comply with regate k the to res g able cent sce to t ing us not go men ities nar vernment far beh LIVES that are io as pre entertain anddic List. Opportun tive ’s not LIV urgent con ind in the Firstly, activities listed in theand Nega ELIHOOD are also y-making in pubs attra abo ds ve. crow ctted and merrTT sideratio have already been as, gyms, spas, dancing S MA n to e and . halls that concoursER cinem ally held in the the closure of Thats al even nknorm you. etc. All promotion malls have the at visits their allowed. the duration of shoppers are and e Yours fait se Thes brow s. 2 hour hfuto llylinger and merely 1.5 to s. PEcious cons RSATnot 3 to 4 hours to with mask wearing at all time UAnorm N PEalNG The public is also well URUSplyin ced from the AN gKO significantly redu social distancing and com MPLEKS tising MALAYS res diligently prac IA (PPwhos K) e temperatu and " -Risk "Low tera status is whose MySejah entry of those Malls only allow oC. 37.5 and do not exceed ically f, both phys for some relie e as avenues s. s to be and serv es for food and necessitie very safe place chor 1 Malls are thus ssary shopping nece the g t doin TA mentally, whils N SRI DATO TE O CHIAN G KOK  Econom ic Planning ATTN: YB Un DATO SR it, Prime Minister's I MUSTAP Departme nt A MOHA  Ministr MED, Min y of Interna ister in The tional Tra ATTN: DA Prime Min de and Ind TO’ SERI ister's De ustry MOHAME partment D AZMIN  Ministr ALI, Ministe y of Dome r of Interna stic Trade ATTN: YB tional Tra and Consu de and Ind mer Affairs Consume DATO SRI ALEX ustry ANDER r Affairs NANTA LIN GGI, Min  Econom ister of Do ic Action mestic Tra Council, de and ATTN: YB Prime hg PROF Director TAN SRI Minister’s Office Pu DATO SE RI DR NO trajaya OR AZLA N GHAZ ALI, Exe cutive


essential and other services to the community without risk of infectivity.” The statement added that currently, about 20-30% of shops in malls have been closed due to the adverse conditions of the past 16 months, and with 30% of staff being laid off, this amounted to 300,000 personnel. “We foresee that in the event the mall and retail industry including street-front shops are not re-opened by beginning of July 2021, there will be another 50% of the remainder closing their doors for good, including prominent domestic and international retail brands with more

Malaysia Retailer Vol 9 No 2

Market Info

Reopen All Trades in the Malls


Market Info


Don’t Charge Businesses for COVID-19 Vaccines, Selangor State Government Urged A coalition of shopping mall and retail associations have called upon the Selangor government not to charge businesses for vaccinating their employees against COVID-19.

he Malaysia Shopping Malls Association, Malaysia Retailers Association, Malaysia Retail Chain Association, and Bumiputra Retailers Organisation, in a joint statement, said that while they are supportive of the Selangor State Development Corporation’s (PKNS) efforts to vaccinate the state’s populace via Selgate Healthcare Sdn Bhd, they are not in favour of being charged. “We are given to understand that the Selgate programme will charge businesses for the vaccinations which are supposed to be funded by and provided on a complimentary basis to both Malaysian citizens and non-citizens alike. This would be contrary to the original commitment and intent previously declared by our federal government,” the joint statement said. It further added that the Selangor state government had announced that RM100 million will be allocated for this vaccination programme. A further charge of RM380 per course has been


Malaysia Retailer Vol 9 No 2

proposed to be levied. “The RM380 per course charge by itself appears to be exorbitant as the global cost of vaccines are widely published and known in the public domain. “In this critical situation of saving lives and livelihoods, the main objective is to explore all avenues to source adequate supply and ramp up the vaccination and we are confident our rakyat should not have any qualms for the authorities to draw from the State’s financial resources to achieve this,” the associations added. The funds, it pointed out, “are from the taxpayers and expending for a just cause is acceptable”. The associations stated that in the current situation where “all businesses are still struggling to survive, any further financial burden imposed, especially when it is deemed unfair, will handicap many businesses which can ill afford it despite the Selangor government promising free vaccine for traders and small factories and small and medium industry (SMI)”.

The associations said that they will support any parallel programme to increase the vaccination processes in the country, “But it must follow the original commitment and intent, that is, in principle, vaccinations must be provided free as promised. “In our earnestness to speed up the vaccination process, shopping malls and retail businesses have proposed that vaccinations be carried out on-site for more efficiency. “We are glad that the Ministry of Science Technology and Innovation (MOSTI) has heeded our plea and are currently discussing the programme with business owners to sponsor venues and provide any logistics for on-site vaccination centres. “This will bring the vaccination centres to the business premises, reduce any down time and be more productive. We fully encourage such joint efforts to hasten the vaccination programme so that we can combat this pandemic and start to rebuild our business and the nation’s economy.” the associations stated.

27 Market Info

HIDE System Unfair, says Retail Associations A joint statement by the Malaysia Shopping Malls Association, MRCA and Malaysia Retailers Association (MRA), said the Science, Technology, and Innovation Ministry (MOSTI) should suspend announcing information from HIDE until a clear, accurate, and precise basis can accompany the information released. he associations said that the first release of the HIDE information have immediately and unfairly created more uncertainty, panic and fear among the public. “The data from the Ministry of Health clearly shows that the top 3 incidences of COVID-19 involve factories (48.06 %), Community Spread (12.5%), Construction (11.56%) while Shopping/shop areas only comprise 4.78%. “Clarification needs to be accurately provided as to the incidence of infections between shopping malls and shopping areas. “We believe that the HIDE assessment is grossly unfair to shopping malls and retailers who have invested so much on safety and control and adhered closely to standard operating procedures (SOP) as determined by the authorities,” the associations said in the statement. The associations said as HIDE data uses information from the MySejahtera application, places and venues with higher incidences


of patrons who are inclined more to use manual registrations are automatically not taken into account and further distort the accuracy of the HIDE information on hotspots. “Thus, those without records are even more risky locations and potential hotspots and these should be highlighted for public awareness. It would be a complete irony and a huge peril if HIDE is unable to identify these places, simply due to the lack of such data. “Ironically, this will inadvertently direct and encourage the public to patronise such poorly regulated places with the misguided belief that these places are much safer,” the statement said. On the announcement by Senior Minister (Security Cluster) Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob that premises listed under HIDE will be required to close for three days for sanitisation, the associations said it was a premature decision. “This would cause irreversible damage to perception and business recovery and survival. This proposed closure should be held in abeyance

until the data used in HIDE has been confirmed accurate and the hotspot locations are accurately identified.” The associations also reiterated that the safety of shoppers was a top priority at shopping malls and with all required SOP in place including enhanced and regular cleaning and sanitisation measures, malls are safe places to visit. “The earnest and diligent adherence to the SOP at shopping malls would appear to have, unfortunately, backfired and inadvertently punished the malls.” The associations also stated that they have also taken the initiative and pro-active step of working with the COVID-19 Immunisation Task Force (CITF) to collaborate with private hospitals/ doctors in private practice to administer vaccination to their employees and staff on-site. “This will enable mass vaccination in the shortest possible time without loss of productivity and unnecessary disruptions to business operations and contribute towards the national objective of herd Malaysia Retailer Vol 9 No 2

Market Info


Surviving Challenging Times: A Guide On Government’s Pemulih 2021 Scheme & Grants For SMEs Dato’ Seri Raymond Liew, Founder President and Jason Boey, Tax Director, from McMillan Woods, shared about the government’s PEMULIH 2021 scheme, grants for SMEs and business survival skills. atuk Seri Raymond shared key pointers on tax benefits, PEMULIH 2021, the availability of grants and other salient factors for the survival and health of businesses during these trying times. He highlighted that the government is trying to get businesses to go digital. “The implementation of the SMEs and Micro-SMEs e-Commerce Campaign has an allocation of RM300 million. Through this campaign micro-entrepreneurs will receive business coaching, and on-boarding on e-commerce platform, while buyers will enjoy savings online. The objective of this initiative is to support entrepreneurs and businesses in generating income through online sales or the e-commerce platform,” he shares. “There is a government tax deduction for COVID-19 screening for employees and business owners – a double-deduction for employers who fund the cost of COVID-19 screening employees for the whole of 2021,” he adds. Dato’ Seri Raymond also noted that there is a special rental reduction given to property owners under the PEMULIH initiative, and that tax accountants will be able to work this out for property owners. “The Special Prihatin Grant has been extended and is expected to benefit more than 1.2 million microSMEs. Micro-SMEs will receive a oneoff GKP 3.0 assistance of RM1,500, an increase from the previous RM1,000,” he explained.


Malaysia Retailer Vol 9 No 2

PEMULIH 2021 Jason Boey explained the key highlights of PEMULIH 2021 which was announced on 28 June 2021, which consists; • RM150 billion package with the objective to help businesses and people who have been affected by the pandemic and EMCO. • Bantuan Prihatin Rakyat (BPR) announced in July 2021, with RM500 assistance for individuals who have lost their jobs and the needy. • A job-seekers allowance of RM300 is given to non-contributors of SOCSO allotted for new graduates and informal sectors. • Bantuan Khas COVID-19 (BKC) is available for several categories namely; o the hardcore poor with a household income of RM1,300 will be given a few payments of RM500 in August and November and RM300 in December 2021. o Singles will receive RM500, of which RM200 will be disbursed in August and RM300 in November.

o B40 segment with a household income of RM800 per month, will receive RM500 in August and RM300 in December; while singles will receive RM200 in August. o In the M40 segment, households will receive RM250, and singles will receive RM100. o A discount in electricity bills of between 5% to 40%, given based on certain criteria, and is expected to save approximately RM346 million in electricity bills over the next 3 months. o EPF has a new withdrawal scheme called iCitra, enabling a withdrawal of up to RM5,000, whereby RM1,000 per month will be disbursed up to 5 months, subject to members’ total EPF savings. This is expected to channel RM30 billion to people for their daily needs. o A 6-month automatic moratorium for all income categories are available, whereby approval will be given automatically by the bank once applications are made. o Targeted 3-month moratorium

29 for PTPTN borrowers from June to October 2021, for those who have lost their jobs or experienced a reduction in income. o Volunteers at COVID-19 vaccination centres will be given RM100 per day o From July 2021 onwards, there will be a special monthly allowance given to 14,000 healthcare frontliners serving during the pandemic, increased from RM200 to RM600. o There is a budget of RM1 billion to expand the immunisation programme, whereby the government will allow companies to resume full operation if employees have completed 2 doses of vaccination. Employers registered under HRDF can use up to 10% of remaining current levy for the cost of managing and purchasing the COVID-19 vaccines. o Economic sectors that have been badly hit such as hotels, convention centres and theme parks, shopping malls and tour operators will get a 10% discount on electricity bills from October to December 2021. o RM100 million allocated for SME digitalisation, which includes the reimbursement of up to RM5,000 for the purchase of digital equipment. o RM3,000 will be given to nursery operators, RM1,000 one-off payment to all registered school canteen operators, RM3,000 one-off payment to sports centre operators such as gyms, bowling alleys, futsal courts. o RM3,000 one-off payment to tour operators registered with MOTAC, when the third phase of the National Recovery plan commences. o Tax deduction for contributions made towards pandemic relief efforts. o Monthly tax instalments waived from April to December 2021 for tourism, cinema and spa industries. o Waiver of service tax for hotel operators up to December 2021.

o PENJANA KERJAYA programme – there is a reduction in the salary eligibility limit from RM1,500 to RM1,200 to encourage more companies to engage local workers. o Wage Subsidy 4.0 offers RM600 per worker for 4 months.


• For tax audits and investigation or letters received from IRB, if an extension of time is required, officers in charge must be approached and the extension will be considered on a case-to-case basis. • For the annual submission of Form C, IRB has given an extension from 31 October 2020 to 31 January 2021. • For individuals with business income, there is an extension up to 31 August 2021. • No extension for payments as they can be made online. Availability of Grants Market Development Grant • Introduced in 2002 to assist exporters and promote Malaysianmade products and serviced globally. • SMEs, professional services providers, trade and industry associations and co-operatives are eligible to receive up to RM300,000. • Applicable for the participation of physical or virtual events such as international trade fairs or conferences in Malaysia and overseas.

Selangor Information Technology & Digital Economy Corporation

• For Malaysian-owned companies registered in Selangor with a minimum paid up capital of RM100,000 and in operation for more than 3 years, or have successfully delivered digital solutions to at least 100 businesses. SME Digitalisation Initiative

• Key areas of the adoption of digitalisation include digital marketing, electronic point of

sales, HR payroll, procurement, e-commerce, remote working, ERP, and accounting & tax. • SMEs with a minimum annual sales of RM50,000 and at least 3 months in operations.

Business Survival Tips for SMEs Dato’ Seri Raymond explains that as SMEs continue to struggle and some are even closing down during these trying times since the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, the key downfall is cash flow. Other pressing issues include poor sales, high wages and salary, escalating costs, services charges, bank loans and unclear guidelines on SOPs during movement control periods.

What is Needed to Prevent Cash Flow Leakage?

• Check financial status, look at current bank accounts, and talk to your accountants. • Study where cash is leaking and companies will be able to survive the pandemic. • Bring financial accounts up to date for submission to the government. • Approach your accountants for instalment payments. • Perishable items have expiry dates, hence, evaluate stocks. • Check debtors and receivables to avoid bad debts. • Extend payment deadlines to trade creditors to improve cash flow without jeopardising business relationships. • Seek out new suppliers with more competitive pricing. • Renegotiate rentals or move to smaller premises. • Reconsider staff numbers or consider a pay-cut to stay afloat. Perks or employee benefits may have to cease for the time being. • Seek legal advice early for binding contracts. • Digitalise your business and consider a 24x7 business model. Online stores are easy to set-up. Malaysia Retailer Vol 9 No 2

Market Info


Program Strategik Memperkasa Rakyat & Ekonomi Tambahan By Dato’ Seri Dr Raymond Liew, Entrepreneur Tax Advisor & President of McMillan Woods, a global business advisory network

he economic aid comprises of three objectives: increasing public healthcare capacity, continuing the welfare agenda of the people and supporting business continuity. On 31 May 2021, the government


announced RM40 billion in economic aid known as Program Strategik Memperkasa Rakyat & Ekonomi Tambahan (Pemerkasa Plus) to assist the people as well as to deal with the economic consequences of the twoweek total lockdown, which began on 1 June 2021.

In addition, this package will also provide support to the healthcare industry during the next phase of the Movement Control Order known as MCO 3.0 to effectively combat the COVID-19 epidemic and maintain the nation’s healthcare system.


1. RM450 mil allocation to increase bed and ICU capacity for hospitals. 2. RM550mil to support COVID-19 related expenses by various agencies, including medicines, reagents, and contract workers’ appointments. 3. Increasing the service period for more than 14,000 contract medical officers and nurses until 2022. Reappoint over 500 healthcare personnel due to retire this year.

Malaysia Retailer Vol 9 No 2


OBJECTIVE 2: CONTINUING THE WELFARE AGENDA FOR THE PEOPLE 1. Households earning below RM2,500 will receive RM500. Households earning between RM2,501 and RM5,000, will receive RM300. Malaysians who are single will get RM100. 2. All B40 Groups, those who lost their jobs as well as smallmedium enterprises which are not allowed to operate during the Movement Control Order, are given the option of automatic approval of bank moratorium for three months or a 50% reduction in loan repayment for six months.

12 months and extend the loan period up to 36 months. 4. A 30% discount on the rental of business premises will be given for the month of May to July 2021 for MARA entrepreneurs affected by the economic closure.

5. RM1.5 billion for the Wage Subsidy Programme under SOCSO for all affected economic sectors, with a limit of 500 employees per application. 6. Employers registered with Pembangunan Sumber Manusia Berhad will be given a levy payment exemption for one month in June 2021.


3. Bus and Taxi Hire Purchase Rehabilitation Scheme to allow eligible bus and taxi operators to get a loan moratorium of up to

OBJECTIVE 3: SUPPORTING BUSINESS CONTINUITY 1. Extra RM500 payout for the Prihatin Special Grant (GKP), bumping up the total payout to RM1,500. 2. Businesses to get microcredit for working capital, with financing rates as low as 3%. 3. Extra RM2 bil in the Targeted Relief and Recovery Facility for affected SMEs.


4. One-off aid of RM500 to tourist drivers, taxi drivers, bus drivers and e-hailing drivers. 5. Inland Revenue Board (IRB) to consider postponing penalties to year 2022. 6. Extension of electricity bill discounts to affected sectors. Hoteliers, tourist agencies, shopping malls, convention centres, theme parks, local airlines can receive 10% electricity discounts for three more months from July to September.

7. Special tax cuts to owners of premises who offer at least 30% rental discounts for six more months until 31 December 2021. 8. The Home Ownership Campaign (HOC), which ended May 31, has been extended to 31 December 2021. 9. The Sales and Services Tax (SST) exemption for imported passenger vehicles has been extended to 31 December 2021. ded Exten


30% O P EN

Malaysia Retailer Vol 9 No 2

MRCA Update/News


The Star Outstanding Business Awards (SOBA) – Bolstering The Digitalisation of SMEs SOBA Lab Webinar presented thought-leadership on leveraging the innovative strategies and technologies, as well as using the right digital reinvention to transform the way SMEs bring customers, data and processes together to achieve mutually beneficial synergy. he SOBA Lab webinar presented five distinguished speakers who shared their thoughts on Malaysia’s digitalisation journey and the technologies behind it. The session, moderated by Stan Singh, Councillor of PIKOM, featured Rahim Raduan, Chief Corporate


Malaysia Retailer Vol 9 No 2

Officer, Credit Guarantee Corporation Malaysia Berhad (CGC); Kevin Lee, Head of SME, Maxis Business; Kuan Eu Jin, Chief Marketing Officer, PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd; Dev Raaj, Chief Digital Officer, RHB Bank Berhad; and George Lee, Chief Executive Officer, Innov8tif Solutions Sdn Bhd.

Organised by The Star Media Group, SOBA has made a mark of distinction among Malaysia’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) for its recognition of outstanding business achievements. “A business award, a networking platform and an innovative community – for the past 11 years, SOBA has recognised

33 more than 350 SMEs. Many are now leaders in their industry and some have even grown to become public listed companies,” says Alex Yeow Wai Siaw, Group CEO, Star Media Group in his welcome message. In setting the tone for the session, Stan said, “IDC and Microsoft said that in the next 3 years, the economies of Singapore and Malaysia are expected to grow by USD10billion each, thanks to digital transformation. With digital capabilities like IoT, AI and cloud computing, business is going to be thriving.” He added that these companies looking at IR4.0 and other business developments across the region. However, with the pandemic hitting the world, there has been disruptions to growth. Stan shares that despite these challenges, digitalisation still holds tremendous potential. The panel of speakers shared salient business insights on how SMEs can future-proof their businesses with digitalisation, among other key thoughts.

RAHIM RADUAN Explaining the involvement of mindset change of business owners amidst digitalisation, Rahim pointed out that close to 50% of CEOs of SMEs are millennials, therefore, they are very familiar with digital tools. The main focus among these CEOs would be understanding the needs of the business and the potential for growth that can be achieved through digitalisation. Rahim explains that at CGC, the key to driving change is how to reach out to more SMEs to help them; and the answer was to adopt digital transformation. Rahim notes that digitalisation is just an enabler and SMEs need to consider how to use digitalisation to expand the business.

KEVIN LEE On key elements that are preventing SMEs from taking the leap into

digitalisation, Kevin explains that cost of implementation and lack of expertise in driving digitalisation are main concerns among SMEs. Kevin adds that driving digitalisation requires the full commitment and support of top management. He explains that when people within the organisation are able to see digitalisation as a solution to existing problems, it is easier to obtain buy-ins. Kevin points out that SMEs need to first identify key aspirations and goals, and then implement a solution that will bring about the desired outcomes.

KUAN EU JIN Kuan shares that digitalisation can prevent duplication of tasks, reduce manpower, improve accuracy, hence he advises SMEs to identify areas or tasks that can be streamlined through digitalisation. He adds that business owners or leaders have to be actively involved in creating synergy between digitalisation, business processes and strategies. Talking about concerns on job losses as a result of automation, Kuan points out that conscientious business owners will focus on re-skilling employees instead of reducing headcount. He encourages SMEs to consider simple solutions first before embarking on more complex digital transformation.

DEV RAAJ On kick-starting digitalisation, Dev Raaj shared that his recommendation to SMEs would be to first look at the entire business operations, and the end-life cycle of it, and then identify friction points or challenges – and, subsequently choose the right solution. He adds that with regards to getting internal buy-in when driving change, it is important to identify key stakeholders and solutions to address existing problems. Key to this is that customers must experience the positive impact of

change. Dev explains that executing digitalisation can be a challenge, and organisations need the right team, the right partner and the right solution to achieve the ROI for the investment and positive business outcomes.

GEORGE LEE On sharing his experiences on digitalisation, George explained there is a need to find new ways in carrying out business processes. He adds that considering various tool to achieve digitalisation is important. The main challenges faced by SMEs is that there is a lack of expertise to drive digitalisation, hence there is a need to understand employees in order to work better with them. He added that in his company, his people needed to develop a sense of ownership. Therefore, the most effective approach was to embark on simple first steps that can positively impact the business. Key to this is to get people involved and pick their thoughts and ideas. When things work out, they are also very proud of it. Thinking about the future and the changes that come with it is crucial. He advised to think internally and externally, get the people involved, and consider how it affects customers.

MANAGING DISRUPTIONS SUCCESSFULLY In concluding the session, Stan shared about Coca Cola and Kodak which were top brands in the past. He pointed out that when Kodak started the business, they were market leaders, however they encountered competition in Fuji Film. Not long after, both companies were disrupted by another company who offered completely new and innovative offerings. Hence, Stan urges that when an organisation takes on disruption, it is important to ensure that they have the right tools, solutions and strategies in place to manage the disruption successfully. Malaysia Retailer Vol 9 No 2


34 A MRC

Malaysia Retailer Vol 9 No 2


MRCA New Member


A HEALTHIER LIFE BEGINS WITH CHUNGHO Established in 2018, ChungHo Malaysia is the second overseas sales subsidiary of ChungHo NaisCo Ltd, established in 1993 in Korea. As one of the most trusted names in Asia for Environmental Appliances, ChungHo NaisCo’s corporate vision is to improve quality of live, and to create clean and healthy home and office environment. With factories in Korea and exports to over 60 countries around the globe, ChungHo NaisCo is the first Korean business entity to achieve UL Mark. ChungHo Malaysia offers patented high technology products including water purifiers, all-in-one combination of water purifier with ice makers and coffee machines, air purifiers, water softeners, and bidets. Designed to cater to the current minimalist trends, ChungHo’s products are the result of extensive research and development activities, and are suitable for both indoor and outdoor

spaces. The company is committed to delivering excellent products and services to satisfy its customers and drive healthy living. “I am honoured to be a member of MRCA to harness business networking opportunities and to gain a greater understanding of Malaysian business trends, through the guidance of the association’s prominent leaders and distinguished members.” – MD/CEO of ChungHo Malaysia.

TARGET MARKET Business community interested in the retail, franchising and branding industry.


MALAYSIA RETAILER magazine is MRCA’s official publication that provides news, relevant information and market reports on the evolving retail, franchise and branding landscape in the country and the region.

DISTRIBUTION • More than 500 Members Companies & Associates in Malaysian and abroad. • Top Management of companies. • Relevant Government Ministries & Agencies, including the Malaysian Overseas Trade Office. • Relevant Business Organisations & Major Shopping Malls. • MRCA Events. • Sold in all leading bookstores nationwide.




Frequency: Quarterly Issues: • March • June • September • December Material Requirement: PDF Format

Trimmed Size: 210mm (W) x 275mm (H) Typed Area: 190mm (W) x 250mm (H) Bleed Size: 216mm (W) x 286mm (H)


1X 2X 4X

Inside Front Cover

RM5,500 RM5,000 RM4,500

Inside Back Cover

RM4,500 RM4,000 RM3,500

Full Page (Run-of-Book)

RM3,500 RM3,250 RM2,800

Half page (ROB) 1X

RM2,000 RM1,800 RM1,600

Above rates subject to 6% SST.

ADVERTISING ENQUIRIES HARINI MANAGEMENT SERVICES SDN BHD (609031-W) W-9-12, Menara Melawangi, Amcorp Trade Centre, 18, Persiaran Barat, 46050 Petaling Jaya, Selangor. Tel: 603-7932 3259 Malaysia Retailer Vol 9 No 2 Email: