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VOL3 / NO. 1 / 2017 / RM10



Aimed At Creating Highly-Skilled Local Talent Pool

KDN NO: PP18646/10/2014 (034058)

ISSN 2289-8832


Potential to double growth rate of Malaysian SMEs & create 60,000 jobs by 2025


A-2, Block A, Level 2, Sunway PJ51A, Jalan SS9A/19, Seri Setia, 47300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Malaysia.

Greetings to all our readers! Moving into the second quarter of the year, we all have much to look forward to. Recently, the world’s first Digital Free Trade Zone was launched in Kuala Lumpur by the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Razak, together with Jack Ma, the founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group. This is set to provide physical and virtual zones to facilitate SMEs to capitalise on the convergence of exponential growth of the internet economy and cross-border e-commerce activities. The good news for us is, it is expected to boost Malaysia’s eCommerce and increase the GDP contribution to RM211 billion. Turn to page 4 to read more about how DFTZ will help the nation achieve developed status, among others. Also, in a bid to place more importance on Malaysians, the government is keen on investing in both education, as well as re-skilling and up-skilling of local talent. They are aware that it is pivotal towards improving social mobility and the wellbeing of the people, as a whole. Read about how companies can look forward to more funding by HRDF to meet this upskilling need. The latest and most current trend of automation and data exchange leaves an untapped training market with more companies seeking to train in Industry 4.0. As this new training module finds its place and companies are finding their footing with it, this seamless interaction is a most welcomed step into the future. KnowledgeCom is spearheading the quest to bring Industry 4.0 to Malaysian industries. Currently, we have designed courses for 4.0 comprising 12 tracks spanning Big Data and Cloud, among others. These modules were designed in collaboration with our partners from Germany and the USA. Find out more about Industry 4.0 and how we can help your company whether you’re from the manufacturing, production, automobile, technology and services industries as well as for both SMEs and SMIs, in our feature story. I would like to take this opportunity once again to thank all those who contributed to this issue of UP Magazine. We are yet again delighted to present a knowledge packed issue for your reading pleasure. I will leave you with a quote from Jack Ma, most notable as the richest man in China, innovative entrepreneur and philanthropist. Perhaps we can all take a page out of his book, building on the younger generation, placing an importance on building on their strengths for a better tomorrow. “Help young people. Help small guys. Because small guys will be big. Young people will have the seeds you bury in their minds, and when they grow up, they will change the world.”

ST Rubaneswaran


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PUBLISHER S.T. Rubaneswaran SENIOR MANAGER Cheong Hom Tai OPERATIONS MANAGER Kanchana Nanda Kumar DISTRIBUTION MANAGER Ravin Rajalingam ASST. DISTRIBUTION MANAGER Syarifah Syaidatul Izzati PROJECT MANAGER Dylan Gurunathan MARKETING MANAGER Karmini Eswaran ASST. MARKETING MANAGER Jesu Arockia Xavier UP Magazine is produced for Global Strategic Partners Sdn. Bhd. by

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PRINTED BY United Mission Press Sdn Bhd (755329-X) No. 25 & 27, Jalan PBS 14/14, Taman Perindustrian Bukit Serdang, Seri Kembangan, 43300, Selangor. Tel: 603-8941 6618 Fax: 603-8945 5168 All rights reserved @2017 by Global Strategic Partners Sdn Bhd. and Harini Management Services Sdn Bhd. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without prior written permission from the publisher. The views expressed in the article are those of the writers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Global Strategic Partners Sdn Bhd. and Harini Management Services Sdn Bhd. All writers automatically agree to indemnify Global Strategic Partners Sdn Bhd. and Harini Management Sdn Bhd. Services against any loss, costs, expenses (including legal fees) damages and liabilities that may arise from their own incapacity, negligence, breach of contract or other civil deeds. All trademarks, service marks, trade names, trade dress, product names and logos appearing in the magazine are the property of their respective owners.


04 MDEC, Fuelling the Digital Free Trade Zone Dato’ Yasmin Mahmood, Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) talks about the government’s mandate on the implementation of the Digital Free Trade Zone.

PSMB NEWS 10 Human Capital Strategic Initiatives to create a high-skilled local talent pool.


HRDF Trailblazing In 2017: New perspective on assessing funding and financial benefits.


HRDF’s 1MalaysiaGRIP graduation ceremony in Sarawak.

20 24

HRDF Conference & Exhibition 2016. Perhebat to harness the potential of Armed Forces veterans.

FEATURE 30 PHCDC: Empowering Perak’s workforce. 32 Johor Skills drives state-wide talent development.

38 42

Re-solving the rewards conundrum.

44 46

The Art of Creative Thinking.

1MINE: Walking down the path less travelled.

Polytechnic-MBAM partnership in workbased learning.


Collaboration between the Department of Polytechnic Education & Shenzhen Polytechnic.


PIKOM: Fuelling the growth of e-commerce in Malaysia.


PERSPECTIVE 34 Microsoft & Digital Transformation. 56 Succession Planning in Business. INSIGHT 26 Setting Industry 4.0 in motion: Embarking on a vision for the future.



Knowledgecom CEO wins Ernst & Young Emerging Entrepreneur Of the Year Award 2016.




2017, a promising and “disruptive” year for Malaysia’s Global Business Services industry.


10 Workplace Trends you will see in 2017.


LIFESTYLE 62 Gadgets 64 Training Venues 66 Book Review 68 Words of Wisdom










Dato’ Yasmin Mahmood, Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) talks about the government’s mandate on the implementation of the Digital Free Trade Zone through MDEC.

• DFTZ has the potential to double the growth rate of Malaysian SMEs’ goods export by 2025.


• It is also estimated to support US$65 billion worth of goods moving through DFTZ and is expected to create 60,000 direct and indirect jobs by 2025.


he world’s first Digital Free Trade Zone was launched in Kuala Lumpur by Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Razak, together with Jack Ma, the founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group, on 22 March 2017. DFTZ is set to provide physical and virtual zones to facilitate SMEs to capitalise on the convergence of exponential growth of the internet economy and cross-border e-commerce activities. It is expected to boost Malaysia’s eCommerce and increase the GDP contribution to RM211 billion by 2020. “Malaysians have embraced the internet economy and eCommerce in a big way. We are now leading the eCommerce market in the region generating revenue of US$2.3billion in 2015. With the launch of the world’s first Digital Free Trade Zone, Malaysia will serve as a regional eFulfillment center, and also become the regional hub for SMEs, marketplaces and monobrands,” said Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib. Dato’ Yasmin said that the DFTZ is about empowering SMEs to do crossborder trade. “The DFTZ will provide an eco-system for Malaysia to be the best of class logistics hub in the world; and will act as a microcosm to support internet companies to trade goods, provide services, innovate and co-create solution.” DFTZ, she said, is bringing into reality the vision of 2 individuals. “On one hand we have the vision of our Prime Minister who truly believes in digital innovation and a digital economy to transform the lives of Malaysians from all walks of life; and on the other hand we have Jack Ma who believes in 30:30:30, which simply means that the next 30 years belongs to the young people in their 30s who own businesses or SMEs with 30 people. These young people will define the new agenda of globalisation which is driven by inclusive globalisation.” Dato’ Yasmin explained that the DFTZ will boost Malaysia’s e-commerce

“The DFTZ will provide an eco-system for Malaysia to be the best of class logistics hub in the world; and will act as a microcosm to support internet companies to trade goods, provide services, innovate and co-create solution.” ~ Dato’ Yasmin Mahmood, Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation



roadmap that was introduced in 2016, and it consists of three main components that combine both physical and virtual zones. The physical zones comprise the eFulfillment Hub and Satellite Services while the virtual zone consists of the eServices Platform. “DFTZ has the potential to double the growth rate of Malaysian SMEs’ goods exports by 2025, and is estimated to support USD65 billion worth of goods moving through the DFTZ. Additionally, DFTZ is also expected to create 60,000 direct and indirect jobs by 2025,” she said. “The DFTZ is the first digital free trade zone outside of China, whereby two countries will be connected. The top line vision of the DFTZ initiative is really about bringing SMEs together


and empowering them through the electronic world trade platform; as well as becoming a global e-commerce hub to serve ASEAN. “This is a long-term plan, and it will take several years to realise this vision. In the next one year we have a few deliverables to achieve,” she revealed. The implementation of DFTZ’s physical and virtual zones will be carried out in phases. The first e-Fulfillment Hub will be at the KLIA Aeropolis. KLIA Aeropolis development is centred on the key clusters of air cargo and logistics, aerospace and aviation. This initial phase will be rolled out before the end of 2017 by Alibaba, Cainiao, Lazada and POS Malaysia, leading to the formal launch of Alibaba’s facility at the end of 2019.

The other physical component of the DFTZ is the Satellite Services Hub which will be located in Bandar Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur Internet City (KLIC) will be the first satellite services hub of DFTZ and will be developed by another strategic partner, Catcha Group, Southeast Asia’s leading internet group. KLIC is set to be the premier digital hub for global and local internet-related companies targeting Southeast Asia. It will comprise key players within the internet eco-system to facilitate end-to-end support, networking and knowledge-sharing that will drive innovation in the internet economy and the eCommerce industry. The virtual zone, which is the e-Services Platform, will be made available in time to support the goods

DFTZ will provide SMEs, marketplaces and monobrands a holistic e-commerce trading experience through these benefits: Strategic location and global best-in-class facilities

• Gateway to the region and proximity to sea and air ports • High efficiency modular eFulfillment warehouse • Satellite services hub to support eCommerce ecosystem • Employee-centric infrastructure


• Unified government services platform • Integrated digital eServices platform to access leading global service providers • Presence of global logistics and fulfilment service providers

Regulatory processes

• Improve regulatory processes leading to faster customs and cargo clearance




This is the first DFTZ in the world outside China. We have proven to the world that the Malaysian government can make it happen in just 4 months. When I started talking with Jack Ma, we discovered that we have common thoughts – efficiency and inclusivity.

• The DFTZ and the Economic World

movement within DFTZ. The e-services platform will also offer integrated ser vices that will help deliver a streamlined and efficient experience to the users operating from the DFTZ. “Alibaba has a very comprehensive platform in China for e-commerce which is the One-Touch platform. This platform has enabled the kind of facility to take away the complexities of crossborder trade. The One-Touch platform will provide end-to-end seamless facilities to connect with the e-Services platform. We are looking to learn from Alibaba on the technology they have to implement wholesome integrated systems,” explained Dato’ Yasmin. The independent satellite support services will complete the whole DFTZ facility for cross-border trade, and this facility will be based in Bandar Malaysia comprising 500,000 square feet. This will be a place for SMEs to come in and get on-boarded as well as a place for start-ups who want to innovate in the area of e-commerce innovation. Here, they will be put into one community, said Dato Yasmin who added that her team has been working with the Alibaba team to put the whole plan together. “The intangible benefits that we are getting out of learning from a global leader like Alibaba are tremendous. 08 | UP MAGAZINE

Trade Platform (EWTP) have one common goal, which is to help SMEs overcome the complex regulation, processes and various other barriers. We want to continue to encourage businesses and traders to connect and collaborate as much and as

• MDEC and Alibaba Group for

conveniently as possible, in crossborder trading.

• 500,000 square feet space in Bandar Malaysia is given for businesses to be set up there. SMEs, entrepreneurs and venture capitalists will be under one roof.

• MDEC will be working with Alibaba

to develop One-Touch, a holistic e-ser vices platform that allows e-commerce to happen faster and seamlessly. We believe that this will not only strengthen the collaboration between the public and private sectors, but it also facilitates financial transactions and finance-related support.

Malaysia Airports Holdings strategic collaboration in the Berhad and Cainiao Network for development of DFTZ in Malaysia, the development of a regional consistent with the objective of e-Commerce and Logistics Hub the Electronic World Trade Platform in KLIA Aeropolis as part of the (eWTP); and the development of Digital Free Trade Zone Initiative. a Regional Hub for e-Commerce business, trade facilitation, SME on-boarding, cloud services for The launch enterprises and an ceremony also e-Fulfilment and witnessed the logistics hub.

MDEC and Catcha Group for the collaboration for the establishment of Kuala Lumpur Internet City (KLIC).

exchange of Memorandum of Understanding between four parties.

Alipay and Maybank / Alipay and CIMB for the collaboration in launching Alipay barcode payment in Malaysia. This partnership will enable mainland Chinese tourists to make payment using their favourite payment method – their Alipay e-wallet. For Malaysian merchants, this will give them exposure to the vast China market.


Alibaba is a global leader who shares a vision and shares the values that are very important to us – a vision of empowering SMEs, a vision that talks about partnership, a vision that talks about mutual respect. This is the kind of partnership that we truly appreciate. In the area of e-commerce logistics, Alibaba is the undisputed best in the world right now. We are looking at how our local logistics providers can partner with those in China,” said Dato’ Yasmin. The concept of the e-hub, according to Alibaba’s definition, is to be an e-fulfillment centre that is optimised for e-commerce transactions which uses both physical as well as the virtual platform. Malaysia is the first e-hub that will be connected to China and the immediate plan is to have it connected to Hangzhou, where Alibaba’s headquarters is located. “During the discussion between our Prime Minister and Jack Ma, Jack gave us a very interesting vision, which is the growth potential of Islamic trade or halal products. This is really an opportunity for Malaysia to tap into using e-commerce and the virtual trading platform,” said Dato’ Yasmin.

Four months ago, Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak and I were in Beijing and we talked about doing something in Malaysia – to launch the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ). My team and I questioned whether it could be done in 4 months, because we have been discussing that project with many countries in Europe and Asia. It looked almost impossible. It took us only 10 minutes to agree on this project, although I had been thinking about this for more than 10 years.

• Malaysia inspires me. When I started my internet business in 1995, I read

about the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) in Malaysia, and it made me think that there is a great idea brewing in that country for the digital world.

At that time, globalisation was not welcomed and people did not like it. It set me thinking on how we can do globalisation in a better way. That was in 2001.

I am a strong believer of globalisation. I think that globalisation is still in infancy. We should make it inclusive. In the past 15 years, the world trade has been controlled by 60,000 big companies – the small businesses did have these opportunities. It is possible to make 90% of small businesses and developing countries benefit from globalisation.

The first globalisation started on the Silk Road. At that time, they used traditional ways to do business. Today, I believe we should transform it from the Silk Road to the e-Road. The e-Road is to connect every country and provide inclusive opportunities to everybody. For this we need an e-hub which will empower everybody to do trade.

We will work together to improve DFTZ. This is only the beginning. This symbolises that business and government can work together. Currently 97% of small businesses control less than 40% of the country’s GDP. I believe that it is possible for 90% of small businesses to control 80% of GDP. More small businesses means more jobs, making the country’s economy more sustainable.



Human Capital Strategic Initiatives To Create A High-Skilled Local Talent Pool Initiatives to boost the up-skilling of the Malaysian workforce and reduce dependency on foreign workers.


ddressing the call for more skilled workforce in the Malaysian economic landscape, HRDF launched its Human Capital Strategic Initiatives in March 2017, in an effort to raise the country’s skilled workforce by 2020. This strategic programme comprises four key initiatives which include the 1Malaysia Outplacement Centre (1MOC), the Train and Replace Programme (T&R), the Graduates Enhancement Programme for Employability (GENERATE) and the Rural Accelerated Industrial Skill for Employment (RAISE). The launch was officiated by the Minister of Human Resources Dato’ Sri Richard Riot Anak Jaem, who said that investments in both education, and re-skilling and up-skilling of local talent are pivotal towards improving social mobility and the wellbeing of the people, as a whole. The initiatives are funded via the 30% HRDF Pool Fund, government allocation as well as private partnerships, and will run on a continuous basis based on industry requirements. Alongside other programmes, the initiatives’ core objectives include reducing Malaysia’s dependency on foreign workers in both skilled and semi-skilled areas; reducing the country’s unemployment rate and related social ills; increase local household income as well as national per capita income; and to produce skilled Malaysians for employers with businesses in the country. This is expected to simultaneously increase


productivity and boost wages among Malaysian workers. Dato’ Sri Richard added that currently there are four million skilled workers out of the total workforce of 14.8 million working adults in Malaysia. “We hope to increase it by 7%, which is about 4.3 million workers by next year, and 35% by the year 2020.” Dato’ CM Vignaesvaran Jeyandran, Chief Executive of HRDF pointed out that it is the local talent that will provide the country with a strong platform to sustain the rapid growth of the economy and enhance our global competitiveness. “HRDF will continue the mandate of catalysing the development of a competent Malaysian workforce that is effective, efficient, productive and innovative; helping us to achieve our end goal of becoming an advanced and inclusive nation by the year 2020.” UP MAGAZINE | 11


He said that there are now over 17,000 employers from the manufacturing, service, and mining and quarrying sectors who have registered with HRDF. The numbers are expected to rise through the Expansion of the PSMB Act, 2001 that has come into effect on 1 April 2017. The Expansion of the PSMB Act will see more employers from subsectors within the three main sectors being liable to register with HRDF, thus benefitting from the training funds; and will also increase the number of Malaysians who are eligible for training under HRDF from the current 1.77 million to 2.8 million by 2020. The event was attended by about 1,000 guests including top government officials, employers, employers’ associations, training providers, retrenched workers as well as trainees who participated under the strategic initiatives. A Job Showcase was also featured at the launch where employers put up job opportunities and vacancies. The participating companies included eight selected employers – Finisar Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Serba Dinamik Sdn Bhd, Sentoria Group Berhad, Mctronic Industries Sdn Bhd, Prasarana Malaysia, Mydin Mohamed Holdings Bhd, Sophic Automation and Johor Petroleum Development Corporation Berhad.


The four key initiatives launched under the Human Capital Strategic Initiatives are: 1Malaysia Outplacement Centre • To act as a one-stop centre for Malaysian retrenched workers to gain (1MOC) employment. • To assist retrenched workers by up-skilling or re-skilling them with the required competencies to enhance their employability and assist them to secure employment either within the same or different industries; and • To reduce the burden of retrenched workers by providing career *counselling and planning, platform for job applications and job matching through the 1MOC Portal and mobile application as well as to prepare them for the next career move.

Target Group: All Malaysian workers who have been retrenched due to economic downturn.

(*) applicable only for employees who were retrenched by HRDF registered employers

Rural Accelerated Industrial Skills for Employment (RAISE)

• To provide access for rural youth to undergo specific skills training based on the operational requirements of the employer before being absorbed into the job market upon completion of training; • To increase supply of skilled workers to the industry through strategic partnerships with HRDF registered employers, and employers covered under the PSMB Act 2001 in order to support manpower requirements of Regional Economic Corridors; and • To reduce unemployment rate, especially among rural youth that will eventually support Government Aspiration in achieving 35% of skilled workforce by the year 2020.

Train and Replace (T&R)

• To equip local workers with specific skills needed by employers to replace existing foreigners/ expatriates; • To assist employers find qualified skilled workers especially in knowledgeintensive industries while enhancing the company’s competitiveness on an on-going basis; and • To reduce the country’s dependency on foreigners/ expatriates, especially skilled workers and thus contribute to the achievement of the targeted 35% skilled workers by the year 2020.

Target Group: • Malaysian future workers who strive to upgrade their skills to enable them to replace existing foreigners (low and semi-skilled)/ expatriates (skilled); and • Existing employees in management level to improve their career advancement to regional and global office.

Graduates Enhancement Programme for Employability (GENERATE)

To equip, develop and assist unemployed graduates with; • High-end skills and competencies that are required by the industries • Relevant working experience • Exploring new route path for their careers • To obtain job placement

Target Group: GENERATE programmes are open to all unemployed Malaysian graduates whom have successfully acquired their Diploma, Degree or equivalent.



HRDF Trailblazing In 2017:

New Perspectives On Assessing Funding And Financial Benefits


n a recent interview with BFM89.9, the Business Radio Station, Dato’ CM Vignaesvaran Jeyandran, Chief Executive of Human Resources Development Fund, talked about the Human Resources Development Fund’s (HRDF) Strategic Thrust. Recognising that human capital is a critical enabler in the creation of economic value and in enhancing an individual’s quality of life, education and training have been adopted as key elements in the 11th Malaysia Plan, which is premised on the statement that “an efficient and effective labour market is necessary for local, regional and global competitiveness which will attract foreign direct investments and propel Malaysia towards economic growth”. Malaysia is amongst 20 top economies on the Global Competitiveness Index (GCI) and will need to embrace solutions that will help the nation address challenges which include skill shortages, talent mobility and talent retention, said Dato’ Vignaesvaran. “Up-skilling and re-skilling of our inherent talent and resources will not only fuel our high-priority sectors, creating high-income jobs, but will help Malaysia transition from a developing to developed economy,” he added. In order to gain a competitive advantage in the new economic order, which is driven by powerful forces of


the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), up-skilling and re-skilling of talents have become a prerequisite to meet the challenging demands of the dynamic global business and trade. “Local talents will need to possess qualities that will help them achieve global competitiveness and put them on a level playing field with their competitors,” explained Dato’ Vignaesvaran.

HRDF Evolves To Fit The Changing Business Landscape In 1993, HRDF was established with the aim to develop a world-class workforce in order to achieve a high-income economy by 2020 based on knowledge and innovation. HRDF is administered by Pembangunan Sumber Manusia Berhad (PSMB), an agency under the Ministry of Human Resources, via the Pembangunan Sumber Manusia Malaysia Berhad Act, 2001 – an act which enforces employers to pay 1% of their payroll per month and save it in a training fund run by the Ministry of Human Resources. HRDF has since evolved in line with the Malaysian business landscape from just managing a sizeable fund to become a one-stop centre for providing human resource development solutions to its registered employers. Today, HRDF has a membership of over 17,000 employers, 81% of which are small and

medium enterprises (SME). HRDF today has established 19 Sectorial Training Committee (STC) with the objective to identify training needs that correspond with the advancement of technology, as well as system and processes in the sub-sectors that are covered by the PSMB Act 2001. Currently, employers who are registered with HRDF are utilising this platform to propose and provide industrial inputs in the form of up-todate knowledge, expertise to assist the industries to identify skills gaps and to provide specified courses required by the industry.

HRDF’s Plans For The Future In talking about HRDF’s plans for the future, Dato’ Vignaesvaran shares, “Recognising that about RM300million (per annum) worth of training takes place within the industries covered by HRDF, the Prime Minister in his 2016 Budget has mandated HRDF to allocate 30% of HRDF Funds as a consolidated fund to implement several strategic initiatives to empower the quality and employability of the Malaysian human capital through re-skilling and up-skilling programmes.” In ensuring the success of these strategic programmes, HRDF is collaborating with employers and relevant employers’ associations in identifying training courses that are pertinent to their business needs. Several key strategic initiatives have



“Up-skilling and re-skilling of our inherent talent and resources will not only fuel our high-priority sectors, creating high-income jobs, but will help Malaysia transition from a developing to developed economy.” ~ Dato’ Vignaesvaran

HRDF As Employer Of Choice – A Happy And Inclusive Workforce

been identified, which include the 1 Malaysia Outplacement Centre, the Train and Replace (T&R) Programme, the Up-skilling and Re-skilling Programmes for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), the Future Workers Training Programme, and the Certification/ Value Added Programme Identified by Sectorial Training Committees (STCs)/ Special Fund for Industrial Association Programme. Aside from the strategic initiatives, HRDF is also embarking on driving training and up-skilling of employees for the imminent industry 4.0. Introduced by Germany and widely adopted by numerous development countries over a short period of time, this new industrial 16 | UP MAGAZINE

movement is expected to bring back the longed-for-efficiency acceleration. Dato’ Vignaesvaran explains, “We are making it mandatory for SMEs with 10 and more employees from the manufacturing sector to be registered with us. This will enable us to help more Malaysian employees get trained as we can only utilise the pooled fund for employers registered with HRDF.” “Essentially, I hope to see SMEs increase their productivity and contribution to the nation’s GDP. In the event of a global downturn, if our SMEs are robust enough, they can innovate and remain relevant, thus lessening the impact on the nation’s economy,” he added.

“To me, happy employees are productive employees. As such, I have implemented policies which include ‘dress-down’ Fridays, subsidised gym memberships, ergonomic office furniture for all levels of staff, and a personal chat with newly promoted or confirmed employees to listen to their honest feedback. In our upcoming office refurbishment, I encouraged the staff to design their office space, suited to their tastes and needs,” said Dato’ Vignaesvaran. “This year, we want 2% of our employees to consist of people with disabilities. We need to give everyone an opportunity and an avenue to be productive, contribute to society and earn a living with dignity. It is part of our responsibility as humans to create an inclusive society. “We should do more soul searching; stop blaming others for our challenges, and work on creating a conducive workplace. Small changes can make a big and positive difference – personally and professionally,” stated Dato’ Vignaesvaran.

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HRDF’s 1MalaysiaGRIP Graduation Ceremony in Sarawak Event celebrates 300 local employees who have up-skilled themselves through 1MalaysiaGRIP.


h e H u m a n Re s o u r c e s Development Fund (HRDF) recently held its convocation ceremony for 300 graduates of the 1Malaysia Globally Recognised Industry and Professional Certification Programme (1MalaysiaGRIP) in Kuching, Sarawak. Dato’ Sri Richard Riot Jaem, Minister of Human Resources, who presented the certificates to the graduates, said that Malaysia is set to become a developed and a high-income nation by 2020. “One of the keys to attaining this goal is to have a 35% skilled local workforce, in which programmes such as 1MalaysiaGRIP play a pivotal role.”


Malaysia’s share of skilled workforce now stands at 28%. He also commended the agency for its efforts in developing quality local human capital and boosting the government’s ambition of realising the developed nation status. The Chief Executive of HRDF, Dato’ CM Vignaesvaran Jeyandran, who addressed the graduates said, “In our race towards becoming a knowledgeintensive economy, it is crucial for Malaysian workers to be highly skilled as a better skilled local workforce will enable Malaysian employers and businesses to explore higher value business opportunities and to remain competitive in the global marketplace.” The graduates underwent training with 15 training providers in the state

under the Programme. Among the courses they upgraded themselves in were Human Resource; Information Technology; Maintenance or System and Control; Management or Strategic Management; Process and Operation; Language; Quality and Productivity; and Safety and Health. The event also saw 20 companies in Sarawak receiving their Certificate of Appreciation for their support to HRDF through their initiatives towards propelling Malaysia towards becoming a high income and knowledge-intensive nation. The Programme was implemented in July 2015 to up-skill and re-skill about 20,000 employees in Malaysia. It was opened to both registered and nonregistered employers of HRDF and over

23,000 employees of HRDF registered and non-registered employers have participated. 1MalaysiaGRIP was announced by the Prime Minister Datuk Sri Najib Tun Razak in 2014, and it was implemented with an allocation of RM200 million in matching grants from the government and HRDF. Under the 1MalaysiaGRIP programme, more than 1,0 0 0 certification courses were offered. The courses were selected by a Selection Committee made up of industry experts, government representatives and HRDF management. The courses were identified to support the needs of the economic sectors under the 12 National Key Economic Areas (NKEAs) of the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP). UP MAGAZINE | 19


HRDF Conference & Exhibition 2016 HRDF holds flagship event to enhance human capital development & create global competitiveness.


h e H u m a n Re s o u r c e s Development Fund (HRDF) recently held its flagship Conference and Exhibition 2016, which attracted more than 2,000 Human Resource professionals from Malaysia as well as the Asia Pacific region and Britain. With 19 interactive, content-rich sessions, the two-day event, held at the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre from December 6 -7, highlighted global human capital trends that focused on four learning tracks – leading, engaging,




reinventing and reimagining. This is in line with the government’s move to gear up for globalisation. Twenty local and international industry experts led key roles as speakers, panellists and moderators at the conference which was officiated by Dato’ Sri Adenan Bin Ab. Rahman, Secretary General of the Ministry of Human Resources. Among the key speakers at the conference were Dilip Boury, Managing Consultant of IBM and Workforce Science and Analytics, APAC, Laura Harrison, Director, People and Strategy, Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD), and Prakash Chandran, Chief Executive Officer of Siemens Malaysia. Dato’ CM Vignaesvaran, the Chief Executive of HRDF said that the availability of a highly skilled workforce that has global competitiveness is pivotal to support a knowledgeintensive economy and improve labour productivity that is expected to increase by 3.7%. “Through our flagship event we will be able to bring down Malaysia’s unemployment rate, reduce the nation’s dependency on foreign expertise for skilled jobs, and equip Malaysian workers with skills that are in demand by the industries,” he added. HRDF, he stated, will continue to support the National Development Agenda of achieving a 35% skilled Malaysian workforce by the year 2020.


HRD Awards 2016 Winners


HRDF also held its annual HRD Award event alongside its Conference & Exhibition, to recognise exemplary HRDF-registered employers and training providers who have put in place strategic and concerted efforts to drive a world-class training culture within their organisation. The Award, introduced in 2001, is recognised and supported by the Ministry of Human Resources, Malaysia. It is given to employers who have made significant contributions in the field of human resource development in their organisations, and who promote enculturation of learning and development environment to enhance the competencies of their employees. The Award is also given to training providers who have consistently provided and delivered quality training programmes to HRDF and non-HRDF registered employers, and who have adopted systematic methods of developing training curriculum and programmes.

• Emerson Process Management Valve Automation (M) Sdn

• Perodua Manufacturing Sdn Bhd (Large Employer Category – (Manufacturing)

• Tan Chong Ekspres Auto Servis Sdn Bhd (Large Employer Category – (Service)

Bhd (SME Employer Category – Manufacturing)

• Max-Aiplay Sdn Bhd (SME Employer Category – Service) • Neville-Clarke (M) Sdn Bhd (Training Provider Category) PSMB AWARD

• NXP Semiconductors Malaysia Sdn Bhd (Large Employer Category –Manufacturing)

• Penang Specialist Hospital Sdn Bhd (Large Employer Category – Service)

• EPCOS Sdn Bhd (SME Employer Category – Manufacturing)

• WSS Sdn Bhd (SME Employer Category – Service) • Peoplelogy Development Sdn Bhd (Training Provider Category)

PEARL AWARD Honda Malaysia Sdn Bhd


• CTRM Aero Composites Sdn Bhd



HRDF Teams Up With Perhebat To Harness The Potential Of Armed Forces Veterans


n line with its strong commitment to the welfare of veterans of the Royal Malaysian Armed Forces, the Ministry of Defence has various initiatives in the pipeline this year for veterans and its personnel, under the 5 Strategic Thrusts of the Ministry of Defence for 2017. One of the initiatives is the Recognition Prior Experiential Learning (RPEL) which was launched on 2nd February 2017, under the banner of the National Blue Ocean Strategy. The programme was launched in collaboration between the Ministry of Defence and the Human Resources Ministry through the Ex-Serviceman Affairs Corporation (Perbadanan Hal Ehwal Bekas Angkatan Tentera or PERHEBAT) and the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF). A Memorandum of Understanding was recently signed by Dato’ Dr Abdul Razak bin Abdul, Chairman of HRDF and Lt Gen (R) Dato’ Sri Abdul Aziz Ibrahim, Perhebat chairman. Witnessing the event were Defence Minister Dato’ Sri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein, Minster of Human Resources Dato’ Sri Richard Riot Jaem, Chief Executive of HRDF Dato’ CM Vignaesvaran Jeyandran and other senior officials of the two Ministries. The programme was launched in recognition of the experience, contributions, skills and expertise of veterans from the B40 group (comprising

Defence Minister Dato’ Sri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.


those with an income of less than RM3,900), through the award of Level 4 certifications in Sijil Kemahiran Malaysia. The key focus of the programme includes recognising the skills, expertise and experience of veterans holding formal certificates below the diploma level; reducing the financial burden of veterans in enhancing their skills; assisting veterans to obtain better paying

Minster of Human Resources Dato’ Sri Richard Riot Jaem.

jobs as well as providing opportunities to further their education; and contributing towards the government’s aspiration for 35% of the workforce to be skilled by 2020. A total of 600 army veterans stand to benefit from the programme in the first year. The candidates will go through a skills development course after which they will be awarded certification. The programme offers 10 options namely Automotive, Tailoring, Electrical, Electronic, Building and Construction, Welding, Air-con Servicing, Computer System and Networking, Food Manufacturing and Preparation, Bakery and Pastry as well as Food and Beverage. The Ministry of Defence will continue to provide courses and upskilling programmes to assist and equip veteran army personnel for the workforce.

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S.T. Rubaneswaran, CEO of Knowledgecom shares about the advent of Industry 4.0 and the need for skilled workers to meet the demands of this new era in industry.


ver the last few decades or rather centuries, industry has evolved – first came steam, then came electricity which saw the birth of the assembly line and mass production. The third era of industry, or in contemporary jargon ‘Industry 3.0’, entered the picture with the advent of computers and automation. Today, the world is setting its sights on the fourth era or what is now known as ‘Industry 4.0’.

WHAT IS ‘INDUSTRY 4.0’? ‘Industry 4.0’ is the integration of computers and automation in an entirely new way, alongside robotics and with very little input from human operators. Dubbed the ‘smart factory’, ‘Industry 4.0’ is where the physical systems become Internet of Things, communicating and cooperating with each other as well as with humans in real time via the wireless web. ‘Industry 4.0’ entails interoperability, information transparency, in-depth technical knowledge and synergy. It has been stated that five related technologies – the mobile internet, Big Data, the Internet of Things, the


automation of work and cloud technology will modernise sectors across Malaysia and drive major productivity improvement. These technologies will produce billions in revenue for Malaysia annually and from that will make it able to achieve a technologically industrious nation, Industry 4.0.

KNOWLEDGECOM MAKES IN-ROADS FOR INDUSTRY 4.0 Knowledgecom, a home-grown Malaysian company is at the forefront of driving the entry of ‘Industry 4.0’ into Malaysian industries, as a provider of training programmes to prepare industries for 4.0. Talking about 4.0, S.T. Rubaneswaran, Chief Executive Officer of Knowledgecom puts it simply, “Industry 4.0 is where we use technology to automate processes. At the moment, industry 2.0 is labour intensive. This is where the manufacturing industries require large numbers of foreign labour.” “4.0 is where we look at the whole supply line and where everything is integrated creating seamless interaction – the perfect synergy to drive productive and modern industries,” he adds. Currently, no industry has achieved

4.0 fully, however there are companies working towards it. On the question of whether employees will be out of jobs with the advent of 4.0, S. T. Rubaneswaran is quick to dispel such fears with a quickwitted response, “Yes and no. In the Malaysian context, every year the need for foreign workers increases, while there are Malaysians who are jobless. “This indicates a clear mismatch of skilled and unskilled labour. When 4.0 comes into the picture, there will be lots of jobs for Malaysians, because the dependency on foreign workers will be reduced.” He adds, “For example, the manufacture of a smartphone under 2.0 might cost RM1,000 due to labour, supply and materials, but if I were to use 4.0 to produce the same smart phone, it might only cost me RM500. I am able to reduce the cost of manufacturing the product, which means I am able to sell it to the market for a cheaper price. This also makes me more competitive on an international front.” By applying 4.0 in industry, better products can be produced while aligning with customers’ requirements as well as

“4.0 is where we look at the whole supply line and where everything is integrated creating seamless interaction – the perfect synergy to drive productive and modern industries.” ~ S.T. Rubaneswaran



keeping prices low compared to other countries that still depend on a labour workforce. Currently, most Malaysian industries are still on 2.0 while a handful have embarked on 3.0, with Japan making significant headway on achieving 4.0. According to S. T. Rubaneswaran, Industry 4.0 will lead to countries being self-dependent on their locals. “Currently our dependency is on foreign workers because we have built such a structure. The only way to move out of this is through technology. Technology is an enabler which allows us to steer away from labour-intensive conditions,” he stresses.

THE IMPACT OF 4.0 ON HUMAN RESOURCE SKILLS DEVELOPMENT Through 4.0, new jobs will be created requiring different skills sets. Once dependencies on other areas are gone, new areas will open up, explains


S. T. Rubaneswaran. The idea is for HR professionals to look at more productive ways on how to skill their workforce to manage different areas. With the entry of 4.0, more people will need to be trained to get things done faster and better. Today, there is a demand for skilled workers in technology in the Malaysian environment, which calls for organisations to capitalize on this scenario and realign their human resources. On 4.0’s role in driving Malaysia to be a high income nation, he says, “Highincome nation fundamentally takes place when companies do well and are able to pay their staff well, as well as pay more taxes. Using technology as an enabler, companies are able to perform better, earn more revenue and enhance their competitive advantage both locally and internationally.” Today the Malaysian government is cognizant of the need to drive 4.0 and has introduced awareness programmes. However, the onus is on companies to

implement 4.0 and make it work. “In Germany, companies are beginning to embark on 4.0. For example, customers can actually choose the type of car they wish to have and it is manufactured according to their requirements,” shares S. T. Rubaneswaran.

KNOWLEDGECOM DRIVES 4.0 Ta l k i n g a b o u t t h e c o m p a ny ’s involvement in preparing the Malaysian industry for 4.0, S. T. Rubaneswaran explains, “We have opened up Centres of Excellence in Technology (CoETs) in 5 states namely, Johor, Perak, Penang, Sabah and Sarawak. The CoETs will work with the state government skills development centres to train workers in the Malaysian industry.” “We have designed courses for 4.0 comprising 12 tracks spanning Big Data and Cloud, among others. These modules were designed in collaboration with our partners from Germany and the USA. Companies in the states mentioned who wish to upskill their employees can enroll with the state skills development centres,” he adds. The courses include both online and classroom-based programmes. Launched in 2016, the classes began on the second week of March 2017. The target is to train 1,000 employees in 2017 in various industries such as manufacturing, production, automobile, technology and services, for both SMEs and SMIs. “We are trying to roll these programmes out in other states as well as. Currently, we are getting students from universities and polytechnics to participate – especially those who are about to enter the workforce,” says S. T. Rubaneswaran. “We are now targeting 3 segments, namely the technical workforce, the professional workforce and the current workforce. In the next 5 years, we hope to produce 4.0-ready industries. Presently, we are one of the training providers driving 4.0 and to-date, we have five states participating in this drive,” he shares.


Knowledgecom CEO Wins Ernst & Young Emerging Entrepreneur Of The Year Award 2016


he Chief Executive Officer and Director of Knowledgecom Corporation Sdn Bhd, S. T. Rubaneswaran Thevasenabathy, was named Ernst & Young Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 Malaysia at the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2016 awards gala event event officiated by the Minister of Finance II, Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani. About 600 people comprising Malaysian entrepreneurs, leaders of corporate Malaysia and partners of EY were present at the event held in December 2016. S. T. Rubaneswaran was among the 10 nominees in this category. S. T. Rubaneswaran helms K n ow l e d g e C o m C o r p o r a t i o n (KCOM), a company specialising in Up-Skilling the workforce for the nation by training and certifying public and private universities students, fresh graduates, government ser vants and professionals. With over a decade of experience in designing and delivering top quality programmes, KnowledgeCom is committed to contributing towards the achievement of Malaysia’s highincome status through the provision of a skilled and competent workforce. Under the leadership of S. T. Rubaneswaran, KnowledgeCom has received several prestigious awards and industry recognition which include the Human Resources Award 2015, SME 100 Fast Growing Company Award 2015, SAP Training Partner of the Year 2011 and 2013 and YIEA 2015 and Young Indian Entrepreneur Award. This is the 15th year that Ernst & Young is presenting the Top Nominees for the award programme in Malaysia.

The award identifies and recognises the achievements of outstanding entrepreneurs behind successful, growing and dynamic businesses. The EY Entrepreneur of the Year award is the world’s most prestigious business awards programme for entrepreneurs. The programme makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those

with potential and recognises the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. Over the last 14 years that the programmes has been held, 171 Top Nominees have been recognised with 35 of them being women entrepreneurs. In 2016, the awards presented the highest number of Top Nominees in the history of the programme, accompanied by inspiring personal stories demonstrating the high calibre of Malaysian entrepreneurs. As the first and only truly global awards programme of its kind, Entrepreneur Of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognising them through regional, national and global awards programmes in more than 145 cities in 60 countries. The panel of judges comprised corporate leaders, experienced industry experts and veteran entrepreneurs. UP MAGAZINE | 29



The CEO of Perak State Human Capital Development Centre, Thillainathan Subramaniam shares with UP Magazine readers how the Centre is empowering its workforce with the relevant skills needed by the various industries to uplift the state’s and country’s economy.

Please give us a brief background of PHCDC and why and when was it established. What are the objectives of establishing the PHCDC? PHCDC was established in June 2014 as a one of its kind, Holistic Human Capital Development Centre focusing on skills and empowerment training registered as a Perak State Human Capital Development Centre. It aims to promote skill development by catalysing the creation of high quality human resource for the state, nation and also globally. PHCDC’s mandate is to transform the current workforce into a high skilled workforce. PHCDC also develops appropriate models to enhance, support and coordinate high impact industries in the state.

“As a non-profit organisation, we help the academically challenged school leavers, unemployed people to get jobs, and help those already in employment to expand their career opportunities by providing vocational skills training and development programs.” ~ Thillainathan Subramaniam, CEO of Perak State Human Capital Development Centre


In Perak, what are the areas that PHCDC is focusing on more and why? In Perak, the PHCDC focuses on 3 main core group – the Rakyat, the SMEs and the Industries. On the rakyat front, we are focusing on empowering our workforce with the relevant skills needed by the industry to uplift the community further. This has been done in areas such as TVET education for schools leavers and customised upskilling for the community. Regarding the SMEs, we work closely with them by understanding their needs and providing holistic solution so that SMEs can flourish in the state. We constantly promote and propose cutting edge technology, processes and

customise training to help our SMEs accelerate their growth. As for the industries, PHCDC aspires to be the go-to centre in Perak for human capacity solutions - be it optimising processes or generating skilled workers. Currently, we are identifying high impact cluster industries and working with them to identify and address human capacity challenges. This is also to attract more larger MNCs from the region and globally to setup their operations in Perak because of our high quality human capacity solutions. How does PHCDC support the growth and development of the talent market in Perak? As a non-profit organisation, we help the academically challenged school leavers, unemployed people to get jobs, and help those already in employment to expand their career opportunities by providing vocational skills training and development programs. We regularly consult with industry players about the design and delivery options for our training programs. Our aim is to provide vocational training to meet the skills needs of tomorrow’s workplace. What are the challenges that PHCDC has been facing in driving talent development in the state of Perak? The young population can be transformed into a productive workforce going by the Perak state economy demography. Currently, a major proportion of this population is not productively engaged in economic activities due to a ‘skills vs jobs requirement’ mismatch.

One of the major challenges faced by PHCDC in skill development system is the lack of industry participation and ownership in training. A majority of firms constitutes SMEs and their investment in training can still be increased. To this end, PHCDC is working closely to address the gap that arises due to the lack of training and up skilling the workers. How does PHCDC plan to support and upskill the industrial and manufacturing sectors of Perak? PHCDC plan to set up a regional Human Capital Development Hub in Ipoh as an industrial training centre that collaborates and works together with the local industry. Our focus and plan are very much aligned with the state’s Industrial development plan and we are very focused on the human resource element. We want to ensure sufficient supply of skilled workers to support the needs of the current and upcoming industries in the state. We are constantly engaging all stakeholders to understand the type of skill workers and also processes that can be put in place to further support the growth of the industrial and manufacturing sectors in Perak. How many people does PHCDC hope to train on a yearly basis? What are the projections? Under our skills training initiative, we aspire to train and place 500 (mainly school leavers and from the Bottom 40 group) yearly. Under our industry programs, we are projecting to involve 50 SMEs in our “Accelerating SMEs

Visit by Aachen German to PHCDC.

Ahead” Program, and train a total of 500 industry personnel. Under the Community Empowerment program, we plan to train 2,000 people on various skills that will enable the community to be more self-sufficient and increase their household incomes, in line with the state’s goal to eradicate poverty in the state by empowering the people. Who are PHCDC’s partners in driving skills development in Perak? PHCDC partners with various stake holders, primarily, the State government agencies, the state GLCs, universities, other skills centres, professional bodies in the state, international certification bodies and the industries. What does PHCDC hope to achieve over the next 5 to 10 years? We hope to be the leading Human Capital Development Centre providing high quality human capacity solution to the state and the region. This will attract more foreign investments into the state which in turn will provide more high paying job opportunities for the people of Perak. We aspire to boost the state’s economy by focusing on developing high quality human capacity in the state. UP MAGAZINE | 31


JOHOR SKILLS DEVELOPMENT CENTRE DRIVES STATE-WIDE TALENT DEVELOPMENT Ja’apar bin Samat, Managing Director of Johor Skills Development Centre, also known as Johor Skills, speaks to UP Magazine on the centre’s focus and plans for the future.


ohor Skills is a state skills development centre which was established in 1993 to provide continuous technical skills training and skill upgrading to the state’s workforce, school-leavers and fresh graduates. The centre plays a critical role in providing skills development in the state by enhancing retraining initiatives and increasing skilled manpower in all industries. Johor Skills also partners with the government to overcome the mismatch of skills and to bridge the gaps in skills in various industries across the state. Located in Pasir Gudang Industrial Area, Johor Skills has successfully trained 59,523 workers of which 54,453 are from the industrial sectors, while 3,148 are fresh graduates and 1,922 SPM school leavers. “Programmes offered at Johor


Skills include short and long-term courses run on a full-time or part-time basis as well as on weekends or even evening classes to accommodate the schedules of participants. We also develop and accommodate in-house courses according to the needs of specific industries. The courses mainly comprise industrial skills training modules to accommodate the state of Johor’s robust industrial sector,” explains Ja’apar. “We have more than 100 types of short-term courses offered in the areas of industrial automation, maintenance technology, AutoCAD, CNC machining, electrical and electronics technology, welding technology, safety and health, NDT technology, plastic technology and information and communication technology,” he adds.

The long-term courses offered are mainly targeted at SPM school leavers and fresh graduates, especially in specialised skills required by the industry. The programmes offered include Graduate Industrial Skills Enhancement Programme and the School Leavers Technical Transformation Programme.

GRADUATE INDUSTRIAL SKILLS ENHANCEMENT PROGRAMME (GISE) On the GISE, Ja’apar says that it was designed to retrain fresh graduates, especially those who are already employed, in order to improve their skills and provide opportunities to secure employment based on the skills acquired from these programmes. To-date, Johor Skills has organised 12 graduate programme. They are Plant

Ja’apar bin Samat, Managing Director of Johor Skills Development Centre.

Inspection and Management, Steam Plant Engineer, Welding Inspection, Calibration and Instrumentation Technology, Engineering Operation and Maintenance, JAVA Specialist Programmer, Painting and Corrosion Inspector, NDT Inspector, NDT Auto UT and Phased Array, Safety and Health Officer, Vibration and Maintenance Technology, as well as ElectroMechanical and Instrumentation. “The programmes are development and executed with the co-operation of industries and their feedback on the skills gaps needed for their operations. Factors such as skills and expertise required and the latest technological developments are t aken into consideration when developing these programmes,” explains Ja’apar. The duration of these programmes range from 6 to 8 months inclusive of a 3 to 4-month on-the-job training period. “Certification awarded after completion of the programmes are recognised by local and international professional bodies,” he adds.

ALIGNING WITH THE INDUSTRY In an effort to align itself with the needs of the industry and to offer flexible solutions, Johor Skills also undertakes ‘in-house’ programmes in collaboration with several large companies operating in the state. “The programmes are

designed according to the company’s requirements whereby training modules are formulated to suit the scope of work and the work environment within the company. These courses are usually conducted on a ‘hands-on’ basis for a duration of 4 months,” he adds. Often workers who have completed these courses stand a chance to be promoted or upgraded in their job roles.

A STRONG COMMITMENT TO QUALITY Ja’apar stresses that if the local workforce is left untrained, it would be impossible to meet the government’s agenda to reduce the dependency on foreign labour. In its commitment to ensure quality programmes and competent talent development in the state, Johor Skills has the recognition and certification of various agencies namely, the Ministry of Finance, the Economic Planning Unit, the Prime Minister’s Office, the Ministry of Human Resources through the Skills Development Fund Corporation (PTPK), the Department of Skill Development (JPK) and the Human Resources Development Fund (HRDF), SIRIM Bhd, NIOSH, the Energy Commission, the British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing (BINDT), The Welding Institute of UK (TWI), the Institute of Corrosion UK (ICORR) and Mobius Institute of Vibration.

SCHOOL LEAVERS TECHNICAL TRANSFORMATION PROGRAMME Johor Skills also offers programmes for SPM school leavers who are unable to continue their studies, with opportunities to earn a living by equipping them with technical skills. “This programme is designed and developed to suit the needs of the industry based on the Malaysian Skills Certificate (SKM) requirements by the Department of Skills Development,” states Ja’apar. The courses offered under this programme include Shielded Metal Arc Welding Process (MC-024-3:2012); Industrial Maintenance Operation (ME-0103:2012); Machining Operation (MC-050-2:2012); Machining Operation (MC-050-3:2012); Single Phase Electrical Installation & Maintenance (EE-320-2:2012); and Three Phase Electrical Installation & Maintenance (EE-320-3:2012). The course spans between 12 months and 18 months, and upon completion the students receive the Malaysian Skills Certificate Level 2 or Level 3, depending on the programme.



Digital Transformation Microsoft’s role in helping Malaysia transform into a high-income nation through digital transformation.


ith the government’s strong focus on accelerating Malaysia’s digit al economy Microsoft Malaysia’s Managing Director, K Raman, gives an insight into the company’s commitment to drive it further and build a partnership anchored in growth and innovation. What is the nature of Microsoft’s business in Malaysia? Microsoft has been in Malaysia for 25 years, working to empower every person and every organisation to be successful through the digital transformation journey. We work with enterprises, businesses and the government to leverage the power of information technology and harness its potential in the digital ecosystem of Malaysia. As we live in the mobile-first, cloudfirst world, it is crucial for organisations to implement a digital transformation strategy to keep up with the evolving times. In fact, as per the Microsoft Asia Digital Transformation Study, 80% of Malaysia business leaders believe that thinking and acting like a digital business is the key to future growth. Fundamental to the robust digital ecosystem is security and privacy, and Microsoft is committed to ensuring to strict compliance of these principles. As a trusted innovation and technology partner, Microsoft Malaysia will continue to partner the Government in economic initiatives to ensure stateof-the-art public service delivery; to transform education by expanding quality and accessibility with technology; and to drive digital transformation of 34 | UP MAGAZINE

businesses, workforce development and SME empowerment. Can you share with us how technology is changing the world and businesses? Technology is one of the key building blocks to foster a competitive nation. Malaysia is embarking on a journey of innovation-led growth, with a technology ecosystem in place to drive momentum and growth for the country. Malaysia’s digital economy currently contributes 16.3% to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and is expected to increase to 20% by 2020. Digital technologies are changing the face of business, accelerating their transformation, fundamentally affecting how companies operate. With help of cloud technologies such as Azure, businesses can upscale rapidly and effectively at a low cost, without significant investment in expensive technology or the need for massive skills upgrades. Tools such as Office 365 and Teams encourage cross collaboration and can also significantly improve productivity and efficiency amongst employees in organisations. In a recent Microsoft survey, Malaysian youth said that the Internet of Things, Nanotechnology and Artificial Intelligence are the technologies they are most excited about in the near future. Leveraging the potential of AI for data analytics, speech recognition, and problem solving can help empower people to achieve more. Digital technologies are also expected to facilitate better infrastructure, better education systems, along with creating new jobs and industries. We’re

partnering with Malaysian businesses and government to ensure the benefits of these technologies can be shared with all. As Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said, “Artificial Intelligence is not about beating humans in games, it is about helping everyone to achieve more.” What is Microsoft’s role in this and how is it bringing about this change? At Microsoft, we will continue to focus on partnering Malaysia in her journey to become a developed nation. This is a statement of our commitment and ownership of the role that we play as a corporate citizen in Malaysia, to contribute in a meaningful and concrete way as a catalyst for growth in alignment with the country’s national agenda. Our driving paradigm is for us to invest in the economic well-being of the country as well as a way to give back to the community and the nation as a whole. As the nation prepares to thrive on digital economy, it is vital to recognise the countless opportunities that technology offers, such as big data, cloud computing, artificial intelligence and IoT, amongst others. We are working closely with the Malaysian government and businesses to encourage the adoption of digital technologies and data, as well as more advanced computing such as coding for organizations, businesses and individuals alike. Our mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more, and we remain committed to helping organisations upscale and implement their digital strategy. You can see this in the many things that we have done to date. For example,

all sizes have been using data analytics to seek out opportunities, create new products, change business models, reduce costs, create efficiencies, and ultimately increase customer experience, which also translates to better decision-making and better strategies. Ultimately, companies are seeking the type of technology that helps them serve their customers better and inform them on what their customers want most. Real-time information and data analytics are also critical for guidance on decision-making, execution, and performance measurement metrics.

K Raman, Managing Director, Microsoft Malaysia.

Microsoft has the largest local partner ecosystem in Malaysia today with 5,000 partners. Our philanthropies program is dedicated to improving individuals’ job skills and work-force opportunities by focusing on providing technologyrelated. Since 2004, Microsoft has given cash and software grants amounting to more than RM15.5 million to various organisations in Malaysia. Our various SPARK programs, such as BizSpark which aims to help build capacity and accelerate growth amongst Malaysian start-ups developers. We have various partnership agreements with MDEC, SMECorp Malaysia, and TM that will further enable Malaysian businesses to become strong GDP contributors. What is Digital Technology and its role in shaping businesses? Digital technologies are impacting businesses on every scale, from the way they are operate, to the way they reach out to their audiences. Companies of

What are the main areas that technology can change the way businesses operate in relation to: a. Engaging with customers Consumers are savvier than ever before, with access to data ensuring they are often educated on a product or service before engaging. To stand out, organizations will need to deliver a new wave of deeply contextual and personalized experiences, while balancing security and user trust. Technology enables customization of engagement based on the ability to understand and interact with customers as individuals. Business leaders are turning their focus to improve customer engagement by investing in breakthrough devices and technologies that harness data and advanced analytics to understand customers, predict behaviour, and personalize engagement. Companies can also explore new ways of interacting with customers across computing channels or different platforms, and then deliver intelligence that fuels new forms of experiences, such as IoT, smart machines and sensors, computer vision, digital agents, bots, and language and speech recognition. b. Empowering employees By adopting digital technologies, organisations have a great opportunity to empower their people, to help them

do their jobs better by re-engaging them in their work and transforming the workplace environment itself. This is increasingly important as individual and group workstyles are diverse and shifting with the ability for people to be mobile instead of tied to a single location. Using the right tools and technology allows you to protect your organization, data and people, while creating a productive workplace to embrace diverse workstyles. For instance, successful businesses leverage the power of mobility to empower employee collaboration from anywhere, on any device, providing easy access to the apps and data they need, while mitigating security risks. They draw insights and make decisions based on business metrics in living, dynamic dashboards, and leverage the power of social conversation to take the pulse of employee sentiment. c. Optimising business operations Technology disrupters such as IoT are accelerating the potential for businesses to optimise their operations and cut costs. This can be done by gathering data across a wide, dispersed set of endpoints, drawing insights through advanced analytics, and then applying those learnings to introduce improvements on a continuous basis. As such, organisations in manufacturing, retail, and even healthcare can shift from merely reacting to events to respond in real time, or even pre-emptively anticipating and solving customer issues. An excellent example is how manufacturing companies can connect to field equipment (once isolated) on a continuous basis, enabling the business to gather data across a wide, dispersed set of endpoints, draw insights through advanced analytics, and then apply those learnings to introduce improvements on a continuous basis. d. Transforming products The opportunity to embed software and UP MAGAZINE | 35


technology directly into products and services is evolving how organizations deliver value, enable new business models, and disrupt established markets. Preconfigured solutions for core IoT scenarios help uncover new business models and revenue streams, while the availability of devices allow one to visualize their data and subsequently interact with stakeholders and customer data in new ways. Lastly, new technologies allows features such as cognitive understanding that makes apps “smarter,” such as facial and vision recognition, speech and language understanding, learning, and emotional perception. How is Digital Technology perceived in Malaysia and what are its benefits? With the country focused on being a strong digital economy contender in ASEAN, the government has reinforced the importance of adopting digital technologies, with initiatives such as the Digital Free Trade Zone, the Malaysia SME Masterplan 2012-2020, and the

ENGAGING CUSTOMERS Give them new experiences they love

Malaysia Education Blueprint 2013-2025 all imparting technology as one of the main components. Besides businesses, we have seen even government departments adopting digital initiatives to boost efficiency and productivity. For instance, the Finance Ministry of Malaysia implemented innovative technologies to enhance public service delivery and provide role-based training for civil servants. Initiatives like this paves way for Malaysia to embark on a journey of innovation-led growth, with a technology ecosystem in place to drive momentum and growth for the country. We are confident that organisations, from SMEs to big multinational companies will benefit from adopting digital technologies. Some of the benefits of adopting technologies and having a data-driven culture within organisations include: • Ability to make real-time decisions • Efficiency in operations • Improved processes • Better business continuity • Improved customer satisfaction and retention

OPTIMIZING OPERATIONS Modernize portfolio, transform processes and skills

ENPOWERING EMPLOYEES Reinvent productivity and enable a datadriven culture



Are companies in Malaysia receptive to this? Yes, they are. In our recent Microsoft Asia Digital Transformation Study, we found 80% of Malaysian business leaders surveyed agree that the key to future growth is to think and act like a digital business. However, only 34% of Malaysia business leaders said they have a full digital transformation strategy in place and this is the change we want to drive. We have already started driving that change with companies who are proactively embarking on the digital transformation journey, an example in case, UEM Edgenta Berhad. UEM Edgenta, one of the region’s largest Total Asset Solution entities, is among the leading innovators in Malaysia who is adopting Microsoft’s stateof-the-art technology to transform its business model and products. It has developed Smart Facilities Management Solution that is based on advanced tools of Azure IoT Hub and Machine Learning and delivers real-time insights for enhanced value to their customers. Other than this

TRANSFORMING PRODUCTS Innovate products and business models

Solution, a virtual facilities manager is being explored on Microsoft’s Cognitive Services that will act as an intelligent helpdesk to interact with customers in a personal manner. What are the challenges in getting more businesses to embrace Digital Technology? According to the Microsoft Asia Digital Transformation Study, the barriers cited by organisations to embrace digital technology boiled down to two main factors: security, and having a digitally skilled workforce. In the face of cyber threats and security concerns, there is a perception among business leaders in the region that cloud is less secure. However, the truth is that the cloud can be more secure than what most customers can invest in their own operations. We recognized that ultimately, people will only use technology that they trust, and have investing a billion-dollars globally to ensure security, privacy, and compliance across various industries are being met. By delivering a holistic approach to address the security needs of both the public and private sectors, it helps organisations better anticipate and react to security issues. In doing so, we have created a trusted and secure computing environment, so that it is no longer a barrier to their digital transformation ambitions. Not having a digitally skilled workforce is another reason why businesses are not able to embrace digital transformation. Business leaders need to urgently address the skills gap in their workforce, starting with building data and digital capabilities in the organisation. This will enable them to adapt to digital processes and the increasing need for people to work in a more collaborative manner. Organizations could also consider making resource investments in hiring talents such as a Chief Digital Officer or data scientists

to help steer their digital journey in a more data-driven and dedicated way.

the goal of being a high-income nation shall be within our reach.

How can Microsoft help enterprises and small businesses help transform Malaysia into a highincome nation? We are well equipped to transform organizations from where they are today to where they need to be tomorrow, to meet the changing needs of customers and capture new business opportunities. We do this through agile platforms and solutions designed to change and adapt, an amazing breadth of technologies that prioritize flexibility, integration, and trust. We are accelerating the growth of Enterprises and SMEs through digital transformation and our best in world cloud solutions. Some of the key products announced this year, for instance Microsoft Teams, will become more essential to further spur innovation, productivity, value creation and competitiveness. Microsoft is enabling Malaysian businesses to take advantage of the growth opportunities in the digital economy powered by new ways of collaborative networking where productivity and competitiveness are enhanced. When businesses are achieving high growth, we believe that

What is your vision for Microsoft in Malaysia and where do you see Microsoft in the next 5 years? In line with our mission to empower every person and every organization in Malaysia to achieve more, we want to continue to accelerate digital transformation and drive societal impact worldwide and as well as in Malaysia. We are taking it a step further by empowering the future generation and nurturing the youth to embrace the technological revolution. From providing opportunities to learn coding at our annual Hour of Code sessions, to training teachers to impart digital education in classrooms, we are very keen to expand our reach to bring out the best in our future leaders and professionals. Microsoft is also supporting developers and start-ups in technology, by being partners in digital transformation and accelerating their digital transformation journey. We will continue to build strong partnership with Malaysian government and businesses to provide customised, innovative cloud technology, as key building blocks to foster a competitive nation in the next five years. UP MAGAZINE | 37



The Rewards


In business today, the bigger picture may mean more than just talent market dynamics, in fact economic headwinds and the national agenda have to be given consideration while keeping in sight talent and performance.


n today’s global business environment, “return on people investment” is one of the biggest challenges faced by Chief Executive Officers. As the global economic landscape continues to be volatile with unpredictable changes, organisations that remain strong are those that can deliver new capabilities and sustainable performance through sound talent actions. In achieving business goals and delivering results, there is increasing pressure to justify investing on talent. With an increasing focus on talent and performance, AON Hewitt recently held a conference on “Re-solving the Rewards Conundrum”. During the conference, which featured a panel of speakers from va r i o u s i n d u s t r i e s a d d r e s s i n g employee benefits, rewards and

employee engagement, the results of AON’s 2016 Total Compensation Measurement (TCM) Survey on salary increases was shared. The survey indicated that there was a decline in salary increases by 0.4% to 5.2% in 2016. The survey indicated that with GDP growth steady at 4.2% but CPI at 1.8% higher in November 2016 compared to the same corresponding period in 2015, the decline in salary increases translates to real wages diminishing for the Malaysian workforce. As a result, employers are pressured to rework their compensation packages to engage their talent more effectively. Performance-driven rewards systems will also become a norm, and place a premium on an organisation’s most effective performers.

Ridhima Khanduja moderating a panel on the construct of a high-performing CHRO. On her left are Nadiah Tan Abdullah, Marcela Mihanovich and Paul Cooper.


TECHNOLOGY-SAVVY GRADUATES ARE MORE VALUED BY MALAYSIAN EMPLOYERS Salary trends remain optimistic for fresh graduates as Malaysian employers are expected to continue paying premium salary for high-tech and engineeringrelated fields. The gap in pay for specialised talent will also shape the way employee demographics are structured in the future of work. Roles in Engineering, R&D and Project Management offered the highest starting salaries compared to fresh graduates – more than RM3,500 per month – while fresh graduates in high-tech industries are paid 27% more than those in property and construction. Nationwide, more than half of the fresh graduates entering employment earned less than RM2,500 per month. In his welcome address, Prashant Chadha, Managing Director of AON Hewitt Malaysia said, “Fresh graduates, while inexperienced, are digital natives who have relevant skills in today’s market, and will be key to success in the future of work. Furthermore, these economically challenging times have placed great pressure on Malaysian businesses to redefine their talent needs. The workforce demographic is being reshaped year on year, and employers don’t hesitate to pay for critical talent.”

HIGHLIGHTS OF WHAT THE SPEAKERS SAID: Rahul Chawla spoke on Designing the New Deal in Malaysia • There is a need for Malaysian organisations to re-think and reevaluate their employee offerings. • The “new deal” has to be crafted by HR professionals while keeping the prevailing macroeconomic conditions in view as well as the ever changing employee preferences. • Stressed on the importance of compensation and how it is delivered, as Malaysia moves toward a high income nation status and up the value chain.

Rachel Jaya Prakash, Senior Consultant – Performance & Rewards, Aon Hewitt Malaysia spoke on Adding ‘Value’ to Employee Engagement. • She expounded on employees’ engagement impact on productivity and business performance. • Drivers of employee engagement can vary with economy, geography, company and even employee demographics. • Total rewards is a key lever for improving engagement.

Prashant Chadha, moderated a session with panelists, Azmir Rahman, Group CEO, True Vox Asia; Dato’ Chang Khim Wah, President & CEO, Eco World Development Group; and Ramesh Kumar, Managing Director, FedEx Malaysia. They spoke on Rewards as a Lever for Organisation Success: A Leader’s Vision. • The panel reflected on their organisations’ journey and vision on rewarding employees. • They provided insights on how a mix of career, compensation and benefits have nurtured employee commitment and placed their organisations on the Best Employer list. • They also highlighted the challenges posed by the volatile economic environment, competitive talent market, shareholders and the board.

Surendran Ramanathan, Head of Retirement & Investment, Southeast Asia, Aon Hewitt, spoke on the Evolution of Employee Benefits on the back of escalating costs. • He noted that often employers in Malaysia are challenged with increasing employee benefit spending. • Employees are still dissatisfied, even though benefits spending represents a significant percentage of payroll costs which continues to rise. • He noted that with a multi-generational workforce, companies also have to solve the conundrum of providing benefits that meets employees’ heterogeneous needs.

Ridhima Khanduja, Practice Leader, AON Hewitt Malaysia led a panel comprising Marcela Mihanovich, Director, Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO), Citibank Malaysia; Nadiah Tan Abdullah, Divisional General Manager, Group HR, SP Setia; and Paul Cooper, Managing Director, Michael Page Malaysia. They spoke on Total Rewards Imperative of a CHRO. • The panel discussed the dynamics of the C-suite roles of CHROs over the last few years and how it has evolved to be one of the most important partners for CEOs. • The CHRO is tasked with the responsibility of delivering capabilities, through an engaged workforce, for the success of the organisation. • Using levers like cash, benefits and an energised work environment, high performing CHROs are busy crafting compelling employee value propositions to hire and retain the best talents in a competitive market place.



OTHER FINDINGS OF AON’S TCM SURVEY INCLUDE: • Strategic planners in managerial positions earned RM2,500 more than all other managers across functions in Malaysia – demonstrating the

commitment of Malaysian employers to innovative problem-solving and entrepreneurial acumen. • Finance managers in the high-tech industry were paid 16% more than the market midpoint, while HR managers

received 21% more. This is further evidence that this industry as a whole more readily invests in their people as an invaluable asset to the organisation. Rahul Chawla, Practice Lead of Aon Hewitt Malaysia, said that the Aon Hewitt Malaysian 2016 TCM survey had lifted the lid on emerging trends, in pay as well as total rewards and their connection to employee performance and engagement. “The Malaysian economy and its businesses are at an inflexion point as they face challenges posed by the fourth industrial revolution. Amidst these disruptive times, the HR function needs to step up to develop new capabilities, reward high performance sustainably, and build a workforce for the future.” The conference featured a panel of speakers who addressed various aspects of talent, performance and total rewards.

Prashant Chadha (on his left) moderating panel of CEOs. On his right are Azmir Rahman, Dato’ Chang Khim Wah and Ramesh Kumar.







• HR must endeavour to move their

• Total rewards strategies provide

people up the value chain through lateral and vertical upskilling. • Re-educating employees on career planning and progression will increase visibility on the right mix of qualities needed to accelerate professional advancement. • HR and business managers alike should reward their people with salar y increments more c o n s e r va t i ve l y, w h i l e m o r e proactively paying lucratively for the right skill and talent. These types of efforts can enable an effective workforce staffed with people who make conscious efforts to own their careers.

a platform to inculcate efficiency amongst employees. • Through the careful and meticulous design of scorecards, accompanied by rewarding incentive plans, the stage is set to stimulate productivity across the workforce. • Long-term incentives and company stock options are increasingly being awarded to Middle Management employees to familiarise this group with substantial earnings through collective performance. • More than 30% of organisations progressively practice the option of “Flexible Benefits” with their employees, a movement which is an appealing development to millennials entering the workforce today.

Source: Aon Hewitt White Paper: Total Rewards for Galvanising Malaysian Organisations.



A restructured rewards scheme for performance recognition can potentially cultivate a “high-drive culture” and encourage healthy competition in the workplace. • These practices promote transparency and fairness in pay communication and performance evaluations, which translates into trust between employee and management. • Non-cash recognition plans can be enforced to advocate holistic encouragement for employees who are punching above their weight. Initiatives championed by leaders such as peer awards can emphasise an appreciation for “going the extra mile” if executed effectively.

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Walking Down

The Path Less Travelled Dato’ S. Gopinath, President of the Malaysian Indian Network of Entrepreneurs Association (1MINE) shares about his passion to increase the equity of Indian entrepreneurs in the Malaysian business landscape. By Christina Thomas Photos by V. Chanthiran


ith the equit y of Malaysia Indian entrepreneurs hovering bet ween 2% and 2.4% in the country, Dato’ S. Gopinath, who is also an entrepreneur, is keen to raise that figure up to a more significant number. Group Chief Executive Officer of Rakyat Group of Companies, Dato’ S. Gopinath is the mastermind behind the formation of 1MINE, a non-governmental organisation aimed at helping Malaysian Indian entrepreneurs gain a stronger footing in the country’s business environment. Having worked in the insurance industry for several years, Dato’ Gopinath ventured into entrepreneurship in the early 2000s, forming the Rakyat Group of Companies which provides managed care and clinical benefits for 95,000 employees of more than 100 companies in Malaysia. On his foray into his NGO activities, Dato’ Gopinath shares, “While I was in business, I joined MIBA (Malaysian Indian Business Association) in 2009 as an ordinary member. That was when I noticed that people really needed help in business. I was soon promoted to Chairman of MIBA Selangor.” “Through MIBA I was able to send upcoming entrepreneurs to Astro TV


programmes to introduce themselves and their businesses. However, I could not go further due to lack of funding. The committee came up with the idea to set up 1MINE in 2011,” he adds. The main purpose for 1MINE is to get Indian entrepreneurs to network and build business relationships. “There was no networking going on among Malaysian Indian entrepreneurs,” he laments. With the establishment of 1MINE in 2011, Dato’ Gopinath requested for an allocation of funds for Malaysian Indian entrepreneurs from the government. “This matter was brought up to the Prime Minister’s Department and funds were allocated to 1MINE through TEKUN,” beams Dato’ Gopinath. Today, 1MINE is creating impact among Malaysian Indian entrepreneurs through monthly events which include talks, seminars and dialogues on various topics such as logistics, printing, information technology, and e-commerce, among others. “During the first 3 years, we used our own money. At the end of 2013, we got a one-time funding of RM150,000 from the government. Today, we raise funds through donations and sponsorships by our members as well as external parties,” he states. “We now have 200 members and so

far we have conducted 61 networking programmes, reaching out to 7,000 Malaysian Indian business people,” he shares. Not known to rest on his laurels, this achievement has only spurred Dato’ Gopinath to raise the bar and increase his efforts. He has been negotiating opportunities with various parties to help Indian entrepreneurs increase the visibility of their products and services in the market. One such negotiation is with Bernama where he has engaged the national news agency to assist Malaysian Indian business people with free advertising opportunities on Bernama TV. He also submitted a proposal on a Malaysian Indian Investment Holding entity to then Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Tan Sri Wahid Omar. This proposal requested for RM500 million funding to increase Malaysian Indian equity in the country. “I am still pursuing this proposal as I believe that this will create job and business opportunities,” he shares. Together with his team at 1MINE, Dato’ Gopinath has been engaging with the country’s top leaders to share insights with Malaysian Indian business people. Some of the most successful events include sessions with Tun Mahathir Mohamad, former

Prime Minister of Malaysia, Tan Sri AK Nathan, founder of Eversendai, Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, former Minister of International Trade & Industry, Tan Sri Wahid Omar, former Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department and current Group Chairman of Permodalan Nasional Berhad, and Tan Sri Irwan Serigar Abdullah, the Secretary General of Treasury. “We have monthly functions, and that’s not all, we have also invited Malaysian Indian entrepreneurs to engage with MIDA,” he explains. Dato’ Gopinath wants to keep the fire going and is now concentrating on building the brand of 1MINE by creating greater visibility for the organisation. “We have been distributing flyers, Nanyang newpaper has carried our programmes on their pages, and so has Harian Metro. We have also been talking on TV and we were also given 30 minutes’ air-time on Trax Radio,” he says. On his plans moving forward, Dato’ Gopinath says that this year 1MINE plans to engage speakers from ASEAN countries to share on the potential business opportunities that exist in their respective countries for Malaysian Indian entrepreneurs to capitalise on. “We want to play a global role and ensure people understand our purpose. One NGO alone is not enough, we need to create greater synergy,” he adds.

“Today, 1MINE is creating impact among Malaysian Indian entrepreneurs through monthly events which include talks, seminars and dialogues on various topics such as logistics, printing, information technology, and e-commerce, among others.” ~ Dato’ S. Gopinath




Creative Thinking Creative thinking is an open thinking approach which explores novel ideas and great possibilities which can result in innovations such as new products or services in the workplace and marketplace. By Dr Victor SL Tan


ompanies are limited by external resources such as money, machines, materials, manpower and methods (the 5 “M” s). However, companies who train their people to think creatively can tap into a powerful and limitless resource – creativity. Creative thinking brings great benefits to individuals as well as organisations. According to a college-educated professionals survey conducted by Adobe in 2012, 85% of respondents agreed that creative thinking is critical for problem solving in their career and 68% believe that creativity is a skill that can be learnt.


• Through creative thinking, teams in organisations can come up with innovative products and services to compete better. • Creative thinking enables individuals to achieve extraordinary results and help boost their self-esteem.

• Creative thinking is an effective way for organisations to gain competitive advantage and sustain it. • Creative thinking can provide solutions for seemingly impossible situations or problems.


In a May 1970 issue of Popular Science magazine, Arthur Clarke predicted that satellites would one day “bring the accumulated knowledge of the world to your fingertips”. Of course, to think original requires one to analyse and synthesize whatever information or data is available and come up with totally new and bold ideas. Our company put this “think original” concept into reality when my book,The Secret of Change got into the Malaysian Book of Records as the first motivation book written in poems with every sentence that rhymes.


Thinking outrageously is exploring things that are out of this world which are bold and shocking. If there is anyone with the most outrageous thinking in the corporate world, it is Sir Richard Branson. In 1985, while dressed as “Spiderman”, he dropped down a London skyscraper just to raise £50,000 for a local hospital. His idea of intergalactic space travel, outrageous and dangerous as it may seem, (even with the crash of the Virgin Galactic Spaceship 2 in 2014) may become a reality as he has not abandoned his dream of promoting space tourism venture. In fact, he has more than 700 passengers queuing up and willing to pay USD250,000 per seat to take the first flight.


Thinking omnipotently is about thinking that one has unlimited source of power and influence and believing that all things are possible. In Napoleon Hill’s classic bestselling book, Think and Grow Rich, he pointed out that, “whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve”. It was said that Thomas Edison, in inventing the light bulb, tried 1,600 different filaments before finding the one that worked. Such is the power arising from thinking omnipotently which culminates in the breakthrough results. Sir Winston Churchill said it best, “the empires of the future is the empire of the mind”, for such power comes from thinking omnipotently. Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, you can achieve the goals.


A box is a metaphor for a frame, a perspective or mindset that limits one’s thinking. To think out of the box requires one to rid outdated rules or assumed barriers to enable one to achieve a breakthrough result. A good example of a box is the high jump sports. When the high jump changed from a hard landing pit to softer foam, many continued to use the old styles of jumping – the “scissors ” or the “western roll”. Then came Dick Fosbury who thought differently from the rest. Instead of jumping the old way with his face towards the bar, Fosbury turned his body, arched his back, and went over the bar backwards while landing on his neck and shoulders. He used the “outside the box” approach to invent the “Fosbury flop, which enabled him to break a record jump of 2.24 metres in front of 80,000 spectators at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico. Companies can use the Five “O”s Creative Thinking approach to boost the creativity of their staff and introduce innovations to help them stay competitive and win.


Thinking opposite is being illogical and counter-intuitive. It is about thinking of the benefits and advantages that can come from taking the 180º degree view of things. Here are some examples of think opposite ideas: • It is a good thing that one is fired from his or her job. Now’s the time to explore being an entrepreneur. • The recycling business is turning someone’s “rubbish” into someone else’s treasure. • Failure is a good opportunity to start again and this time to be better. • If we want our interests to be served, serve the interests of others. • Before things get better it has to get worse; and then it is improvement all the way By thinking opposite, one can turn a disadvantage into an advantage. A case in point is is Nic Vujicic who was born without arms and legs but he leveraged on this to become a successful motivational speaker. He married a beautiful girl of his dreams and has 2 sons.

Dr. Victor SL Tan is the CEO of KL Strategic Change Consulting Group. He undertakes change management consulting and training. He is also the author of 10 management books. UP MAGAZINE | 45


Polytechnic-MBAM Partnership In Work-Based Learning


he collaboration between Polytechnics in Malaysia and Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM) started since 2009 with the participation of MBAM in the Polytechnic Industry Advisory Council. This collaboration was further strengthened with the Signing of Notes of Collaboration between Politeknik Ungku Omar (PUO) and member companies of MBAM to establish WorkBased Learning (WBL) was held for the second time on January 10th, 2017 at the MBAM Training Centre, Desa Business Park, Kuala Lumpur, following the success of the first cohort of students of Bachelor in Civil Engineering Technology (BCT) undergoing Work-Based Learning with the construction industries. The Work-Based Learning (WBL) programme is designed with the aim to produce human capital that meets the needs of the construction industry. These students will be exposed to real work situation during their training period with the member companies of MBAM. With the WBL mode, students will be placed at the construction companies for 2 semesters or 10 months in their final year to fulfil the planned learning outcomes of 5 courses which are derived from the experience of performing a work role or function. WBL differs from conventional education since it involves conscious reflection on actual workplace experience. Among the advantages to be gained by BCT students are improving classroom learning by having a rich experiential learning in the real-world context and increasing the understanding of the skills required for career advancement. Through the programme, the industry will also be able to establish a closer cooperative relationship with institution of higher learning. In addition, the programme can contribute to the progress of the national construction


industry. A total of 20 students from the Bachelor in Civil Engineering Technology (BCT) programme have successfully completed their Work-Based Learning (WBL) at seven member companies for the 1st cohort of the programme. The 2nd cohort of the WBL programme which commenced on the 6th of February 2017 involved 22 students at eleven MBAM member companies. MBAM member companies that signed the Notes of Collaboration on the 9th of December 2015 to participate in the WBL for the 1st cohort of BCT students were Bina Puri Sdn Bhd, Sunway Construction Sdn Bhd, Trans Resources Corporation Sdn Bhd, Mudajaya Corporation Berhad, Putra Perdana Construction Sdn Bhd, MITC Engineering Sdn Bhd and Premier Construction Sdn Bhd. Four more MBAM member companies joined them by signing the Notes of Collaboration on the 10th of January 2017 for the 2nd cohort of BCT students. They are Fajarbaru Builder Sdn Bhd, Ocned Water Technology Sdn Bhd, Syarikat Pembenaan Yeoh Tiong Lay Sdn Bhd and Pembinaan Mitrajaya Sdn Bhd Throughout the 1st cohort of WorkBased Learning programme, there were a lot of active interaction between the students and their mentors which included sharing of knowledge and experience through the ‘industrial guidance’. WBL’s objective is to enable the student’s ‘experience’ to become

‘knowledge’ through the student’s ‘reflection’ which will then be assessed by the polytechnic supervisors. MBAM has fully supported PUO throughout the programme and the outcome of the first cohort of BCT students was highly successful with 100% passes for the WBL programme. MBAM and all of the participating companies are commended for the joint effort in educating and equipping BCT students with the latest knowledge and skills applied in the actual and current situation. The appointment of Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Sufri Bin Hj. Mohd Zin, Vice-President of MBAM in the CEO Faculty Programme, has also benefited Polytechnics in Malaysia. The Department of Polytechnic Education is confident that the programmes and activities conducted will benefit the students with the handson experience of the industry with the technical know-how. This is will enable them to become dynamically competent to fulfil the needs and requirements the community and industries.

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A Decade of Collaboration:



he recent visit to Shenzhen, China, in March 2017 by the Minister of Higher Education and Director General of Department of Polytechnic Education was due to the strong collaboration between the Malaysia government and Shenzhen Polytechnic since 2007. An MoU was signed to encourage and promote technical cooperation in various areas such as exchange of academic staff, experts and students; training of polytechnic administrators and lecturers; feasibilities studies of credit transfers between the institutions; exchange of educational literature, aids and information on curriculum and as well organisation of relevant exhibitions and seminars; and undertake other forms of cooperation as mutually agreed by both parties. A Chinese Language & Cultural Centre in collaboration with Shenzhen Polytechnic (SZPT) of China was launched on 21st October 2016 in Politeknik Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah (PSA). The setting up of this Centre is the culmination of years of continuous


collaborative efforts by both parties since the signing of the MOU in the field of technical education and training. Located at PSA campus in Shah Alam, the Centre is co-hosted at the PSA Language Centre, a well-equipped language lab with conducive environment and with a capacity for up to 40 participants at any one time. The Centre will be used as the focus point to increase the students’ competency in taking up Chinese language as the third language and to enhance their employability and career growth in the future. One of the roles of the Centre is to promote the learning of Chinese language and culture in China for the benefit of PSA students and staffs as well as the general public. The setting up of such a language and cultural centre is timely and aligned with the stronger bilateral relationship between the two countries and its national leadership. For the first year of operation, the Centre plans to run at least one Chinese language class per semester to benefit the students and lecturers community in PSA. The first Chinese language class was conducted in early October, lectured by Dr Liu Hong Fan who is specially assigned by SZPT for this collaboration, with the participation of 25 PSA final year students. In addition, as part of the programs and activities under the scope of MOU, PSA also sent a team students and lecturers to SZPT in November last year, under the Students Exchange Program to acquire and expose to

the latest digital technologies and companies in Shenzhen – well-known as the “Silicon Valley of Hardware” in China. The launching ceremony was graced by Datuk Dr. Mary Yap Kain Ching, the Deputy Minister of Higher Education, and Professor Dr. Li Yue, Vice President of Shenzhen Polytechnic, together with the delegation from Shenzhen. The initiative of this Centre setup was facilitated by a local delivery partner of

SZPT in Malaysia - Gtex Asia Sdn Bhd, a talent solution company. The Centre is now open to enrolment for all students and staff of PSA who wish to learn the Chinese language and culture, lectured by native bi-lingua lecturers from Shenzhen Polytechnic of China. In future, there will be public Chinese language classes to be offered to working professionals and residents in Shah Alam and its vicinity. UP MAGAZINE | 49


Fuelling The Growth Of E-Commerce In Malaysia UP Magazine speaks to Ganesh Kumar Bangah, Deputy Chairman of the National ICT Association of Malaysia (PIKOM) and founder of MOL Global, Inc. on his foray into the IT industry as a technopreneur and his role in PIKOM.



alling himself a serial entrepreneur, Ganesh Kumar Bangah started HIS first IT internet-based business in the year 2000 when he was 20 years old. “I founded MOL, an online payment gateway,” he explains. “At that time, Tan Sri Vincent Tan of the Berjaya Group invested in my company. I continued to build it and I successfully listed it on the MESDAQ in 2003 and became the youngest CEO of a listed company in Malaysia,” reveals Ganesh. The company continued to grow and in 2007, decided to grow regional as it wanted to partner with large internet companies that wanted to penetrate the region. “After that we took it private and continued to build the company. In 2010 we acquired Friendster, the social networking site,” says Ganesh. True to his claim of being a serial entrepreneur, Ganesh did not stop there – he went on to purchase companies in Thailand, Vietnam and Indonesia, and eventually he bought companies in Turkey, Brazil and the USA. However, in 2013, he encountered health issues, but even that did not douse the flames of entrepreneurship. “I had a stroke in October 2013 and despite that, I still carried on the listing exercise of the company. I listed the company in October 2014 on the NASDAQ becoming the first Malaysian company to list on the American Stock Exchange. In order to do this, I travelled around the world within a year of my stroke, because when you list a company in the USA, you are required to conduct international roadshows,” he explains. “After the listing, we encountered a few issues and because of that we faced a lot of pressure from shareholders and investors. To focus on the recovery from my stroke, I stepped down as CEO several months later and became the Chairman of the company,” he reminisces. At this point, Ganesh had young and upcoming entrepreneurs coming to him for advise and guidance. This sparked a new passion in this seasoned

Ganesh Kumar Bangah, Deputy Chairman, National ICT Association of Malaysia • Ganesh is the Founder of MOL Global Inc. (“MOLG”),

and the co-founder of MOL AccessPortal (MOL). Ganesh was certified by the Malaysia Book of Records as the youngest Chief Executive Officer of a public listed company in Malaysia when MOL was originally listed on the Malaysian Stock Exchange in 2003. He is also the Founder and Director of MOL Ventures, an investment holding company that is a shareholder of MOLG and which has made private investments in global social media and mobile internet companies such as Facebook, Friendster and Kakao. • He is a Member of the Special Task Force to Facilitate Business (PEMUDAH), a unit of the Prime Minister of Malaysia’s office, entrusted to improve the global ranking of Malaysia in efficiency of doing business. • He was the Ernst & Young Technology Entrepreneur of the Year Malaysia in 2012 and the Overall Top Award Winner for the Prestige Top 40 2012 Awards (Under 40 Category). He was also the Winner of the JCI Creative Young Entrepreneur Award 2009, Winner of the Technopreneur Excellence Award at the PIKOM ICT Leadership Awards in 2009 and Winner of the Young Indian Entrepreneur Award in 2009. Top 10 of Malaysia listed Ganesh as among the 10 most inspiring Malaysian technology entrepreneurs, and Society Magazine 2015 has recognised him as one of Asia’s most influential people. • Prior to founding MOL, Ganesh was the Technical Director of Cyberfield where he was involved in various software development, project management, internet infrastructure and internet commercialisation efforts. He is a Microsoft Certified Professional and has 20 years of experience in website, portal development and e-commerce operations. entrepreneur. “I started to help them through my role in PIKOM. I was always involved in PIKOM – for almost 10 years,” he said. In 2015, he was appointed Deputy Chairman of PIKOM, and also took on the role of Chairman for two other Chapters in PIKOM, namely the Angel Chapter and the e-Commerce Chapter. “The Angel Chapter helps facilitate investment in companies, while the e-Commerce Chapter is to create a unified voice for e-commerce merchants in Malaysia as well as to help them engage with government agencies,” say Ganesh. PIKOM has always been known as a PC retailer focussed association due to the success of PC Fair. However, as the IT landscape evolves, PIKOM is also transforming and embracing change.

Several months ago, PIKOM launched its E-commerce Malaysia chapter to enable e-commerce merchants to become a part of the association. Commenting on e-commerce among SMEs, Ganesh laments, “Out of half a million SMEs in Malaysia, roughly 10% are online. We have a lot to do to take that to the next level.” With the announcement of the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ), Ganesh is serious about ramping up PIKOM’s efforts in driving e-commerce among Malaysian business owners and to contribute towards the company becoming an e-commerce net exporter. “In order to drive e-commerce, we need to educate our SMEs. We have a PIKOM Academy which may look into training SMEs on how to sell online,” he explains. UP MAGAZINE | 51


A Promising and “Disruptive” Year for Malaysia’s Global Business Services Industry Despite prevailing weakness in the global economy and various macro-challenges, GBS sector to further strengthen and “position Malaysia as a world-class, highvalue based location for outsourcing services via ‘disruptive’ measures”.


hile the global and national economy continues to face various external pressures, the Global Business Services (GBS – formerly known as “SharedServices & Outsourcing Industry” or “SSO”), industry is likely to buck the trend and register stronger growth in 2017. Th e p r o j e c t e d g r ow t h i s underpinned by various factors. These include increasing pressure on global companies to reduce cost in the wake of a moderating economy, the attractive incentives and infrastructure within the local GBS sector, the strong US Dollar and various geo-political developments 52 | UP MAGAZINE

that could potentially see companies relocate existing GBS operations to Malaysia. According to Outsourcing Malaysia Chairman, Cheah Kok Hoong, the various policies and strategies put in place over the years have created long-term value for the GBS sector. Outsourcing Malaysia is an initiative of the outsourcing industry and a chapter of PIKOM – the country’s national ICT industry association. The GBS industry was worth US$670 billion in 2014 with Asia Pacific having the largest market share at 36% or US$240 billion. Malaysia’s GBS Sector will see a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10%-15% for

the next five years. In 2016 alone, more than 6,000 skilled jobs were created for a total of 85,000 jobs – surpassing the target set by 2017. “We face stiff competition from countries as India and the Philippines, on a linear grid such. Outsourcing Malaysia together with the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) and other partners have worked towards developing a comprehensive GBS eco-system with strong emphasis on supporting the needs of buyers, endusers and service providers. “We will continue to employ new ideas and means to disrupt the status quo – shifting from a “low-cost” value proposition to a high-value based

Cheah Kok Hoong, Outsourcing Malaysia Chairman.

service provider. We are beginning to see the fruits of our efforts. This will be more evident in 2017 – giving us an edge in 2017 despite the many challenges and stiff competition faced from other countries,” said Cheah.

KEY STRATEGIC THRUSTS FOR 2017 Leveraging on Malaysia’s existing strengths, for 2017, Outsourcing Malaysia will continue developing a highvalue based GBS sector in attracting foreign investments. Other initiatives include the opening of Outsourcing Malaysia’s satellite office in Iskandar Malaysia, in collaboration with i2M Ventures Sdn Bhd, to support the growth of the fledgling GBS sector in the region. “A high-value based model consists of knowledge, talent pool, top class technology enabled Infrastructure and

“Malaysia’s GBS Sector will see a compounded annual growth rate of 10%-15% for the next five years. In 2016 alone, more than 6,000 skilled jobs were created for a total of 85,000 jobs – surpassing the target set by 2017.” ~ Cheah Kok Hoong

a comprehensive legal framework on intellectual properties. It will also include access to comprehensive knowledge base, risk mitigation strategies, rapid reengineering of key business processes and access to specific talent resources. “The talent eco-system plays an important role in delivering high value

to your clients by filling the gaps in talent employability for the industry. OM will be focusing on the GBS (IT, HR & Finance) training and upskilling of the workforce in this space. We look forward to forging strategic partnerships and collaboration with various agencies, public and private partnerships,” he added. UP MAGAZINE | 53

II FEATURE INSIGHT II Malaysia’s first Smart Tourism themed hackathon attracts scores of young innovators and software developers to create computer or mobile applications.


Over 100 young students, s o ft w a r e designers, developers and programmers from all over the country came together recently in Penang at a hackathon to pit their skills at developing a computer or mobile application that can be used by the general public. The threeday event, themed Smart City and Smart Tourism, was held at the KDU Penang University College from March 10-12. Fifteen teams comprising students and professionals, from all over Malaysia competed for cash prizes and fun. There were also multiple teams from local institutes of higher learning such as Universiti Sains Malaysia, Quest International University Perak, Asia Pacific University, Unimap and KDU Penang University College. The event was organised by I Tech Train Sdn Bhd. Being the first hackathon to have Smart Tourism and Smart City as its theme, participants had to develop an application or solution to address or enhance tourism experience in Penang or Malaysia. Working around the clock, participants had a choice of using Open Source Platform or IBM’s Bluemix, the multinational technology company’s latest hybrid cloud development platform, to develop a Minimum Viable Product (MVP). At the end of the third day, a panel of judges from various background such as IT, Tourism, Education, Research and tech founders, selected the winners based on creativity, marketability, uniqueness and social impact the MVP can have. hackFEST was co-founded by IT veterans K.Nantha and K. Vel Muruga, and R. Balan as the advisor. Vel Muruga said that the Malaysian IT industry, although vibrant with many youths coming into the industry, it remained as a user market as 54 | UP MAGAZINE

very limited new innovation or products are being produced here. “We are looking to change that by encouraging a competitive environment for youths to come together to design and develop applications or solutions that will have global impact,” he said. Through hackFEST they hope to create an environment for Malaysian youths to learn from competitive environment, build their creativity, critical thinking, presentation skills and ability to perform under pressure. “The Malaysian job market is very challenging now as employers are looking for people with such skills. Companies in the USA and

hackFEST provided a great environment for local developers to compete amongst each other by exploring new ideas and developing applications in a short period of time.” ~ Mr. Selva, Managing Director of Knowledge Group of Companies

Europe are conducting hackathons to recruit new candidates. A Singaporean company recently conducted a hackathon as a part of their recruitment process. “hackFEST is looking to create a platform where local companies can recruit our participants or our participants can create a solution that can be attractive for venture capitalist.” Several follow-up programs have been scheduled for hackFEST participants. “We are discussing with a few investors and government agencies to commercialise or fund the products our participants created. “A hackFEST Club is being formed to keep our participants updated with job vacancies and other opportunities that will be beneficial for them. We are also working with MDEC to conduct hackFEST Bootcamp for our participants as well. There are also a few other initiatives being taken to make hackFEST a truly unique and effective program in Malaysia,” said Vel Muruga. Three more hackFEST are scheduled for July, September and November this year. Each will have different theme such as Cyber Security, Human Resources and Banking Solutions, among others. The recent hackFEST in Penang also attracted the attention of several organisations and think tanks. “They were impressed with the way we conducted the event and they are keen for us to conduct a hackathon for them. We are very excited with this development as our vision to be the most productive and innovative hackathon in the country,” said Vel Muruga. Five Knowledge and Information Sharing Sessions (KISS) conducted by industry veterans, were also held during hackFEST. These sessions were helpful for the participants who learnt more about current industry practices, requirements and development. “hackFEST provided a great environment for local developers to compete amongst each other by exploring new ideas and developing applications in a short period of time,” said Selva, Managing Director of Knowledge Group of Companies.


1st PRIZE RM3,000 cash & merchandise Team: Fortra Sriram s/o Ramasamy Lim Ting Wei Muhammad Bin Lokman Ye Htut Lwin

2nd Prize, RM2,000 & Merchandise Team Turbo X Arshaad Mohiadeen

3rd PRIZE RM1,000 & merchandise Team: #TEAMTYRONE Adrian Teo Wei Hong Eng Cheng Kai Andrew Tan Oong Jie Xiang



Succession Planning,

A Human Capital Challenge Faced By Many Companies In Asia Pacific, Including Malaysia


uccession planning is crucial to sustain confidence of key business stakeholders and ensure business stability. Research has shown that companies that take a longer time to announce a leader during a succession crisis will have a negative impact on overall business performance. According to Harvard Business Review (December 2016), it was estimated that an average of USD1.8 billion in shareholder value were forgone due to failure in replacing departing CEOs based on a study of 2,500 public listed companies. “A well-structured succession planning helps in addressing knowledge gap and brain drain, and it is a proactive measure to retain and develop high potential performers,” says Anthony Devadoss, Managing Director & Vice President Asia Pacific, of BTI Consultants, a leading global consulting firm that specialises in board and executive search, talent management, and leadership development. He shares with UP Magazine the importance of having a structured succession plan for companies.


• Each year about 10% to 15% of corporations must appoint a new CEO due to resignation, retirement, health issues or dismissal, according to Harvard Business Review. • In Asia Pacific, 85% of companies are family-owned and they are one of the crucial economic contributors. It is estimated that 70% of family businesses will not survive into the second generation. • A survey by PwC found that only 16% of family run companies in Asia, including Malaysia, have a more structured succession planning that was being discussed and documented.

Strategies organisations can adopt to ensure a successful pipeline • Succession planning and business needs must be aligned, and they must integrate into the corporate strategies. • Strategies must be practical, flexible and implementable. The processes built-in to the succession planning must enable the companies to identify potential talent objectively, and to enhance leadership bench strength. • Vital to align corporate talent development programmes with the succession strategies. • A good succession planning should also be supported with robust performance metrics, predictive analytics, and clear and transparent communication to key stakeholders. How to identify the right talents that are deemed fit to be part of the succession planning process? • There are different approaches that can be applied to identify talents. Commonly, promising internal talents are selected as potential successors; and usually performance appraisal will be used to select the ‘right’ talents. • In addition to performance appraisal, use a more robust and holistic approach comprising scientific profiling and assessment, undertake specific projects and assignments and rigorous interview. • Organisations can also combine their approach with relevant predictive analytics where applicable. It is also critical to ascertain if the potential talents’ career aspiration and motivation are aligned with the organisations’ goals during the selection process. • Benchmarking identified talents with external talents, especially for key positions, is a good practice.

Why do so many organisations still struggle with CEO succession planning? • The key reasons for the struggle are lack of commitment from the board; succession management investment is


Create Development Process Succession Plannning

Evaluate Candidates Identify LeadershipRequirements Strategies & Objectives Develop Business

Clarify the Organization’s Vision

significant yet not producing immediate returns hence lesser priority is given; and HR leaders do not have full capacities to drive succession planning initiative. • Concept still remains a sensitive issue and is not openly discussed which hinders smooth execution. What are the different stages of succession planning process that potential leaders need to undergo to ensure a successful transition? • The 3 major stages are business needs identification, as-is and to-be talent requirements and talent development requirements. • Successful transition requires high level commitment from the senior management, extensive transition and onboarding support, competent HR to drive the initiative, supportive infrastructure and clear communication. • More importantly, the stakeholders must be realistic in setting the succession planning goals. How does succession planning differ for the corporate world and family owned-business? • Family businesses would usually have influences of “family factors”.

• Succession planning matter is rarely communicated, and the successors can only take over the leadership role as and when the founder/incumbent steps down. • In corporate environment, especially in multinationals, a more comprehensive succession planning policy governs the process and a more matured infrastructure with resources are available to manage the succession planning. What are the consequences for organisations who fail to execute a proper succession plan? • Succession planning is critical to sustain key stakeholder’s confidence and business continuity. Companies that have challenges in naming a CEO will observe decline in their shareholder value. A classic example was HP where over the last 15 years, there were 7 different CEOs with different strategies and approaches. Confidence level was clearly reflected in the stock value with 32% decline over a few months with new changes. • Family businesses that failed to have proper succession planning also got into family feud and takeovers. UP MAGAZINE | 57


10 Workplace Trends YOU’LL SEE IN 2017 By Dan Schawbel

Between 2016 and 2017, the job market will continue to improve causing both job seekers and employees to have more leverage, which will cause salaries to increase and employers to invest more in job advertising, staffing firms and employee benefits. The demand for a more flexible work environment will continue and you will see an emergence of HR practitioners with new skills, including people analytics, Internet marketing, branding and knowledge on new technologies like virtual reality and wearables. The major economic and business themes over the past year have been focused on the war for talent, creating an employment experience for job seekers and candidates, overtime and compensation, the end of the annual performance review, the continued skills and leadership gap, the rise of Generation Z and the shift to the on-demand workforce. These trends have all impacted how companies recruit, retain, train and structure their workforce for the future.




Companies have always created marketing experiences for customers, and prospects, in order to delight them, increase loyalty and grow their revenues. You will see the walls come down between your HR, marketing 58 | UP MAGAZINE

and customer service departments in order to develop experiences for both candidates and employees. A recent study found that nearly 60% of job seekers have had a poor candidate experience and 72% of them have shared their experience on an online employer review site such as When employers don’t notify candidates of their application status, they are discouraged from ever applying for another job at that company again, which limits their future talent pool. Furthermore, a bad candidate experience can turn away customers who may be your candidates, thus resulting in a loss of potential revenue. Virgin, for instance, created a new candidate experience for the thousands of people they are unable to hire out of the 150,000 applications they receive

annually, and have created a new USD7 million rev enue stream by creating a better experience for them. Aside from candidates, employee retention and engagement have become some of HR’s top issues as top talent has numerous employment options and productivity is key to growth. In another study, it was discovered that 83% of HR said that “employee experience” is either important or very important to their organisation’s success, and in order to enhance the experience, they are investing more in training (56%), improving their work space (51%) and giving more rewards (47%). IBM has used people analytics to predict retention risk for employees in key job roles, and notifies managers so they can prevent them from quitting, which has saved the company over USD130 million dollars.



In the past five years, the gig economy has become a major trend impacting the global workforce, and has created a new kind of diversity, with full-time permanent employees working side-by-side with freelancers. A study exploring the gig economy found that 93% of companies already identify the blended workforce as they’re seeing freelance workers teaming up with employees to work on projects together. In addition, the top reason why outperforming employers are benefiting from the blended workforce is “more flexible teaming”. As more companies hire on-demand to solve key problems and cut costs by removing healthcare coverage,



2016 marked the first year that Gen Z is in the workplace, while a third of Millennials are in management roles, some of whom have direct reports. 2017 marks the first full year that Gen Z will be settled into the workplace, with a new outlook on business, new demands and widening the technology gap even more between younger and older workers. A new study found that 78% of Gen Zs and Millennials said that their expectations of their current



and other employee benefits, more freelancers and full-time workers will need to work together. With many freelancers working at remote offices, the ability to manage without borders is going to become a critical skill globally.

workplace have been met, and their education actually did prepare them for the working world. A different study found that 36% of Millennials have a manager title or above, yet the Harvard Business Review found that only 7% of companies have accelerated leadership programs to nurture them. Just like with all generations studied, Millennials negatively stereotype Gen Zs as being lazy, which will cause some friction. Both generations will continue to put pressures on companies to transform the office, reward employees, embrace flexibility, and align the companies’ interests with a cause.

One of the biggest discussions in HR circles is performance reviews, how to transform them and implement something new that ser ves both managers and employees. Professionals today desire instant feedback, a behaviour they’ve adopted from the instant gratification they receive on social networks like Twitter and Facebook. Younger generations are especially impatient and are unwilling to wait a whole year to learn about their strengths and areas of improvement. One-fifth of employees feel that annual performance reviews don’t help improve their performance. Two of the largest companies in the world, GE and Adobe, have already abolished their annual review process in exchange for regular feedback. Adobe, the first major company to step away from annual performance reviews, created a “Check-In” system, where expectations are set annually but feedback is given regularly, resulting in a 2% decrease in voluntary attrition. GE followed suit by created “Touchpoints,” where there is a daily development focusing on results and changing business demands, which has resulting in a five times increase in productivity in the past year.







While there has been a lot of hype around new forms of reality in 2016, companies are going to take it a lot more serious in 2017 as new equipment, programs and use cases surface. Virtual reality hardware revenue is set to reach over USD8 billion in the next two years and the amount of money invested will be over USD400 million with 25 million users by that time. In addition, with Facebook’s acquisition of Oculus, Apple’s patent on a 3D display system and the current success of Pokémon GO’s augmented reality app, there is no doubt that 2017 is a massive year for these technologies. We’ve found that one-fourth of Gen Z and Millennials want their companies to incorporate virtual reality into the workplace and I predict that this will increase this year as more adopt VR consumer technology. The technology that employees are experiencing outside of work will naturally influence them to desire the same tech at the office. Virtual and augmented reality can help close the experience gap for job seekers and allow employee training to be more engaging, less expensive and free of distractions. For instance, The British Army is already using VR in their recruitment process, General Mills has a virtual reality tour of their offices and GE implements VR at career fairs where students wear headsets to explore their oil-and-gas recovery machines.



The average tenure for employees, regardless of age is a mere 4.6 years in the United States and based on


One of the most fascinating trends, despite the rise of the gig economy, is the emphasis of teamwork regardless of employment situation, industry or politics in a company. While individuals have their own career agenda, companies are now structured with teams because high performing teams will enable them to compete for the future. Organisations are restructuring for several reasons, including the rise of Millennial and Gen Z workers who grew up playing team sports and have the same expectations at the office and the fact that organisations are trying to better align to customers so they must be agile due to market volatility. Nearly all (92%) of companies rate “organisational design” as their top priority and three-fourths of Gen Z’s and Millennials said they are well prepared to work effectively in a team. Cisco was one of the first companies to embrace this trend, creating “Team Space,” a platform that delivers intelligence on how teams can work best to win together.

numerous studies we’ve conducted, Millennials leave after two years. Employers have recognised that there is no lifetime employment contract and some companies have incorporate strategies from the book The Alliance as they implement “tours of duty” to appease employees. Through hardware, including smartphones and wearables, and social networking sites, talent is more freely available and talent has more opportunities to choose from. Seventysix percent of full-time workers are either

actively looking for a job or open to new opportunities and 48% of employers are unable to fill their job vacancies because of the skills gap and high attrition rates. With all of this competition for talent, an entire 90% of employers anticipate more competition for talent, especially in emerging markets such as India, North America and Asia. This is why you will see an even greater emphasis on the employee experience in 2017 because companies are being forced to focus more on corporate culture and values than pay in order to retain employees.


WORKPLACE WELLNESS, AND WELL-BEING, BECOME CRITICAL EMPLOYEE BENEFITS FOR ATTRACTING TOP TALENT Companies are using wellness programs to lower absenteeism, attract talent, and save on healthcare costs, while employees have become more health conscious in the past several years. Companies realise that workplace stress is the biggest health issue that employees face so they invest in creating a more relaxing and healthier environment for them.



Several years ago, Virgin Founder, Richard Branson, was on the cover of Forbes magazine with a scissors cutting off his tie, calling for the end of business formal attire. With the rise of younger generations, and more employees working remote, there’s no doubt that the workplace is increasingly casual. This year will see a continuation of this trend, with more employees demanding to drop their suits and ties in exchange for jeans and shirts. About one-third of American employees do some or all of their work from home, and as someone who has worked from home for years, I can tell you that I’m not wearing a suit here! Today, 50% of managers say that employees wear less formal clothing than they did five years ago and nearly one-third would prefer to be at a company with a business casual dress code.



Fair compensation is most important to all age groups, genders and ethnicities almost unanimously around the world based on several studies that I’ve conducted over the years. Once you get past pay, then the two most important employee benefits are healthcare coverage and work flexibility, a benefit that wasn’t mainstream a decade ago but is today because of the sheer demands of work and our “always on” society. In a recent study, we found that compared to two years ago, work

flexibility is the top employee benefit (over healthcare in 2014) globally yet only a third of companies offer it. Even the companies that offer at least some degree of work flex aren’t actively promoting those programs to employees or job seekers, who are spending more time researching companies before applying for jobs.

Dan Schawbel is a partner and research director at Future Workplace, an executive development firm in the US, dedicated to rethinking and reimagining the workplace. He is the author of The New York Times bestselling book, Promote Yourself, and Me 2.0. In 2012, he was among those in the Forbes magazine 30 Under 30 List. Every year Schawbel gives his top 10 workplace trend predictions for the upcoming year. These trends are based on hundreds of conversations with human resource executives and workers, a series of national and global online surveys and secondary research from more than 160 different primary and secondary research sources, including think tanks, consulting companies, non-profits, the government and trade associations.



BONJOUR, SMART ALARM CLOCK WITH ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE Want a reimagined morning experience? Bonjour is an alarm clock with Artificial Intelligence and the Internet of Things. It taps into all your apps and services and provides vocal interaction and visual messaging. Through its AI algorithms, Bonjour learns your preference ranging from weather and music to even the traffic on the road. It will wake you earlier if the traffic on your morning commute is heavier than usual (or vice versa), play your “Happy Weekend” Spotify playlist every Friday morning and show you who is at the door through your Nest Doorbell Camera, among others.

B&O’S LOVE AFFAIR Celebrating its 90th anniversary, Bang & Olufsen recently released its impressive new “Love Affair” collection. The line-up features six current pieces showcasing various speakers and headphones, and a seventh component – a limited edition BeoLab 19 wireless subwoofer. The aesthetic and construction are both just as important as the technical sound quality, and there are lots of rose gold trim and warm walnut woods used in the commemorative range.


GENEVA’S TOURING S DAB RADIO ENTERS THE MUSIC SCENE Geneva’s brilliant Touring S DAB radio has made a debut presenting 20 hours of audio playback – the ideal music companion for home office, garden, bedroom and travelling. When not enjoying the hundreds of FM/ DAB+ radio stations in digital quality, users can connect smartphones and more via Bluetooth or directly with a 3.5 mm jack to enjoy legacy music from older MP3 players. The Touring S broadband neodymium speaker drivers offer excellent wide frequency range and low distortion, thus presenting rich and powerful sound.


Apple unveiled its first red coloured variant of its special edition iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus to commemorate its 10-year partnership with RED, an organisation that fights against AIDS. The special edition phone features a bright red rear panel with a matte finish and a silver apple logo while the front is white. The matte finishing on the rear appears brighter or warmer shade of red depending on how light falls on it. The antenna bands lining the top and bottom of the phone are in a warmer shade of red while the area around the dual camera setup also has a different shade of red when the light falls at a different angle.

KURI, THE ROBOT “NANNY” & SECURITY CAMERA This cute device which chirps and nods (no, it cannot talk), is a mobile security camera with loads of smarthome control capabilities. More importantly, it will roam your home checking on your kids and pets when you’re not home. Kuri, which was introduced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas recently, can send you reminders and using its Wi-Fi connection, it can update you on the weather forecast, play podcast, music and tell stories. It also has LEDs built into its chest that can change colours.

SAMSUNG’S GALAXY S8 & MORE NEW DEVICES The new Galaxy Tab S3 and the Galaxy Book are two stylishly designed tablets with advanced computing technology offering a premium mobile experience. The Galaxy Tab S3 delivers video and gaming experiences along with versatile usage as a productivity tool while the Galaxy Book gives professionals enhanced computing power for work and play. Tab S3 provides a cinema-like experience with 4K video playback and a stunning Super Amoled display. It is also the first Samsung tablet to feature quad-stereo speakers tuned by AKG by Harman for premium visual and listening experiences.

The latest Galaxy C9 Pro with its sleek and modern look has a mind-blowing 6GB of RAM – Samsung’s first of that magnitude. The device features a 6-inch full HD Super AMOLED display – great for watching videos and playing games, combined with excellent colour and sharpness. The C9 Pro offers a true dual SIM experience with dedicated dual SIM card tray slots for accepting microSD cards. The device runs on Android 6.1 Marshmallow; and has the ability to handle games well, such as Modern Combat 5 and Asphalt 8. The large processor and memory allow it to easily handle graphic intensive games. The phone comes with a 4,000 mAh battery, with fast-charging capability.

Samsung’s Galaxy S8 and Galaxy S8+ were recently unveiled in New York City and London. The Galaxy S8 has a 5.8-inch QHD Super AMOLED display while the Galaxy S8+ features a 6.2inch panel of the same resolution. Each phone has 4GB RAM and 64GB storage and features 12 megapixel rear cameras, 8 megapixel front cameras, and USB Type-C ports, among others. The other feature that the water resistant phones have is Bixby, Samsung’s new homegrown digital assistant that allows you control everything on your phone with your voice. The phones have three biometric security features – fingerprint, iris scanner and facial recognition. They can also dock (using Samsung’s DeX) with a monitor, keyboard, and mouse and act as a lightweight desktop computer.

The Samsung Gear VR with Controller powered by Oculus also made its debut at the Expo. For optimal play and convenience, the Controller features an ergonomic, curved design, offering convenient onehand control and better motion interaction with minimised head movement for a comfortable user experience.

The Galaxy Book is lightweight and its versatile form enables it to transform from a tablet to notebook. It is available in two sizes –12-inch and 10.6-inch. The Galaxy Book 12-inch has a 7th Generation Intel® Core™ i5 processor and Dual Core 3.1GHz while the 10.6-inch comes with an Intel® Core™ m3 processor and Dual core 2.6GHz.



THE DANNA LANGKAWI The Danna Langkawi is the perfect setting for a meeting, or any corporate outing coveting a backdrop of immense tropical beauty. Located on the third floor are the Stateroom and Peninsula rooms, ideal for a board meeting or a small seminar, conference or banquet. The meeting rooms offer state-of-the-art facilities, natural light and luxurious interior coupled with personalised services, flexible arrangements, quality food & beverage items and comfortable accommodation.

CAPRI BY FRASER Capri by Fraser, located in Bangsar South, Kuala Lumpur, is fully set up for small gatherings and huge functions or training events. With lots of natural daylight in the seven function rooms, coupled with catering support required to host seminars, business events and team building session, Capri by Fraser is an ideal choice for hosting corporate events in KL. The function rooms, ranging in size from 46sqm to 108sqm, are well appointed with top conference facilities.

SHANGRIL-LA HOTEL, KUALA LUMPUR The Grand Ballroom and 13 function rooms, spread across three floors of the Shangri-La Hotel in the heart of Kuala Lumpur, reflect luxury and splendour and elegance. These event spaces are ideal for hosting local and international conventions, weddings, and social and corporate events. The pillarless Grand Ballroom which 1,509 sqm and has flexible partitioning features. The function rooms, ranging in size from 45sqm to 905sqm, are equipped with audio-visual and communication systems, advanced lighting systems, complimentary Wi-Fi connections and multi divisible partitioning features to create flexibility of space.

DOUBLETREE BY HILTON KUALA LUMPUR Located strategically in the heart of Kuala Lumpur with easy access to Petronas Twin Towers, the award-winning DoubleTree by Hilton, offers a total of 37,000 sq. ft. of flexible space for large and small scale meetings, conventions and seminars and banqueting. Comprising a Grand Ballroom and 14 meeting rooms, each comes with state-ofthe-art A/V features. The meeting rooms have three separate meeting areas with easy centralised accessibility: The pillar-free ballroom is designed to host up to 1,300 people theatre-seating. Its divisible partitions are suited for flexible spaces and unique themed events.


ISPACE, SELANGOR Strategically located at the PJ Trade Centre in Damansara, the iSpace Venue is a premier event space for public training programmes, workshops, product launches and many exciting categories of events. The rooms range in size from the 224-sq. ft. Osaka to the 150-pax Chicago room. iSpace also has training classrooms and theatres designed to suit various client requirements. Each innovative venue comes with modern training facilities, stylish décor, and a fascinating blend of cityscape and greenery beyond its exterior.

THE SAUJANA HOTEL Set in a serene, immersive environment, the Saujana Hotel in Shah Alam offers a pillarless ballroom and 10 meeting rooms located at Block 1 that are named after gemstones, perfect to host your seminars, meetings, events and conferences. These meeting rooms offer a view of the lake, and a well-manicured garden. The meeting rooms are well-appointed with state-of-the-art conference facilities. The sprawling garden is also idea for team building exercises and outdoors activities within the resort grounds.

WISEED MEETING CENTRE The Wiseed Meeting Centre is the answer for companies seeking a quiet, learner-friendly space without breaking the budget. Inside Petaling Jaya’s very own Merchant Square, this cleverly set-up Meeting Centre has up-to-date facilities and floor plans necessary for corporate functions, workshops and marketing events. Positive reviews attest to the comprehensiveness, convenience, and comfort of the rooms and facilities at Wiseed Meeting Centre, which makes it an ideal location for sharing and learning.

SETIA CITY CONVENTION CENTRE (SCCC), SHAH ALAM Setia City Convention Centre is a colossal “fresh take on business”. From award-winning property developer S P Setia, the Convention Centre can host anything from a business meeting to a large function – it has more than 150,000 sq. ft. of event space (indoors and out), each accented with appealing themes and technological cadence. Only 40 minutes from the Kuala Lumpur City Centre it is a welcome respite from the bustling capital city.



UNSHAKEABLE Author: Tony Robbins ISSN: 9781501166884 / 9781471164934 Building upon the principles in Money: Master the Game, Robbins offers the reader specific steps they can implement to protect their investments while maximising their wealth. It’s a detailed playbook designed for investors, articulated in the common-sense, practical manner that the millions of loyal Robbins fans and students have come to expect and rely upon. Few have navigated the turbulence of the stock market as adeptly and successfully as Tony Robbins. His proven, consistent success over decades makes him singularly qualified to help investors (both seasoned and first-timers alike) preserve and add to their investments.

THE UPSTARTS: HOW UBER AIRBNB & OTHER KILLER COMPANIES OF THE NEW SILICON VALLEY ARE CHANGING THE WORLD Author: Brad Stone ISSN: 9780593076354 / 9780316554565 In the spirit of iconic Silicon Valley renegades like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, a new generation of entrepreneurs is sparking yet another cultural upheaval through technology. They are among the Upstarts, idiosyncratic founders with limitless drive and an abundance of self-confidence. Young, hungry and brilliant, they are rewriting the traditional rules of business, changing our day-to-day lives and often sidestepping serious ethical and legal obstacles in the process. This book is the definitive account of a dawning age of tenacity, creativity, conflict and wealth. In Brad Stone’s highly anticipated and riveting account of the most radical companies of the new Silicon Valley, we find out how it all started, and how the world is wildly different than it was 10 years ago.

JUMPSTART YOUR PRIORITIES: A 90 DAY IMPROVEMENT PLAN Author: John C. Maxwell ISSN: 9781455588367 Based on his Businessweek bestseller Today Matters, John Maxwell offers his roadmap for success by helping you seize the present. The way you prioritize and spend your time each day impacts your ability to reach your goals. Whether you are a new leader or looking to expand on your success, this book will help you focus by exploring how to maximise the potential of the most important day of your life – today. Offering inspiring quotes and lessons, thought-provoking questions, and space for reflective notes, over the course of three short months this book will help learn to master the moment and set you on the path toward fulfilling your aspirations.

CHAOS MONKEYS: OBSCENE FORTUNE & RANDOM FAILURE IN SILICON VALLEY Author: Garcia Martinez Publish 9780062669797 Tech entrepreneurs are society’s chaos monkeys, disruptors testing and transforming every aspect of our lives, from transportation (Uber) and lodging (Airbnb) to television (Netflix) and dating (Tinder). One of Silicon Valley’s most provocative chaos monkeys is Antonio Garcia Martinez. After stints on Wall Street and as CEO of his own startup, he joined Facebook, turning its users data into profit for COO Sheryl Sandberg and Chairman and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Forced out in the wake of an internal product war over the future of the company’s monetisation strategy, Garcia Martinez eventually landed at rival Twitter. Chaos Monkeys lays bare the hijinks, trade secrets, and power plays of the visionaries, grunts, sociopaths, opportunists, accidental tourists, and money cowboys who are revolutionising our world. The question is, how will we survive?”

HOW MONEY WORKS: THE FACTS VISUALLY EXPLAINED Author: DK ISSN: 9780241225998 Get the answers to hundreds of financial questions with How Money Works, including how to invest for the future, how to maximise your income, how financial markets work, and how governments control money. Discover essential know-how on everything from debt management to online fraud, and learn to manage your own money from payments to pensions. This intriguing guide breaks down the jargon of the financial world, with insights into personal, business, and governmental finance, and giving you the definitions to cash flow, bonds, superannuation, the open market, and hundreds more. Fully up-todate with the latest financial developments, including quantitative easing and cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, How Money Works is your indispensable guide to the world of money.

THE MALAY LEADERSHIP MYSTIQUE Author: Vaseehar Hassan Abdul Razack ISSN: 9789670536842 The Malay Leadership Mystique is a pioneering and exploratory effort to understand the Malays and their leadership qualities through the clinical lens. The author’s multi-method approach draws on cultural studies, focusgroups, expert panel interviews, and theories of large-group psychology to explain how the historical contexts of feudalism and colonialism have shaped Malay leadership qualities in politics and business. This study provides an empathetic assessment of the Malays’ lack of success in business and offers some preliminary recommendations for improvement.

All the above books are available at major MPH bookstores or 66 | UP MAGAZINE

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Words of Wisdom Smart quotes to live by when hiring and managing your company.

“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do.” – STEVE JOBS, COFOUNDER OF APPLE

“Success in business requires training, discipline and hard work. But if you’re not frightened by these things, the opportunities are just as great today as they ever were.” – DAVID ROCKEFELLER, FORMER CHAIRMAN & CEO OF CHASE MANHATTAN CORPORATION




“Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.” – THOMAS A. EDISON, INVENTOR & BUSINESSMAN


Profile for Harini Management Services Sdn Bhd

UP Magazine|Vol 3|No 1|2017|MDEC  

UP Magazine is the premier quarterly magazine in Human Resource (HR) Management, the first of its kind to incorporate HR Management with dev...

UP Magazine|Vol 3|No 1|2017|MDEC  

UP Magazine is the premier quarterly magazine in Human Resource (HR) Management, the first of its kind to incorporate HR Management with dev...