BCG WEF 01 June Breakfast

Boston Consulting hosts talk at WEF to discuss next generation of ASEAN growth

Just earlier this week during the World Economic Forum 2016 held in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) hosted a breakfast session to discuss the Unlocking the Productivity Paradox: Powering our Next Phase of Growth.

Opened by BCG Chairman Hans-Paul Burkner, the breakfast session also included a Keynote address delivered by Y.B. Dato’ Sri  Mustapa Mohamed, Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI). In attendance was also a panel of high profile speakers including: Tan Sri Dr. Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria, Secretary General, MITI, Dato’ Yasmin Mahmood, CEO, MDeC, Michael Foong, Group Chief Strategy Officer, Maybank Group, Alois Hofbauer, MD, Nestlé Malaysia Berhad and Dato’ Sri Shazalli Ramly, CEO, Celcom Axiata Bhd.

Over the past 25 years, the ASEAN region has achieved great progress and has demonstrated its aspiration to remove barriers to the free flow of goods, services and people while improving sustainability, infrastructure and livelihoods. But, it also faces many serious challenges. As the chair of ASEAN in 2015, Malaysia successfully ushered in the arrival of ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and this year the country plays a host to the World Economic Forum. This will be an ideal platform to facilitate greater collaboration between industries, government and civil society, and to address regional challenges.

Malaysia is now at a turning point. Its overall productivity level may be higher than many of our neighbours in ASEAN, but productivity growth is slowing. Several economic sectors in Malaysia today have yet to reach productivity levels reflecting that of a growing, modern economy.

Challenges Ahead

Under the current 11th Malaysia Plan (11MP), the Malaysian government is targeting national average productivity growth at 3.7% p.a. This means, by the end of 2020, labour productivity, as defined by incremental value to GDP from one worker, will reach an estimated USD 22,000. However, this journey cannot be achieved without the collaboration between the private and public sectors. It is only via such collaboration can we create effective and sustainable solutions towards higher productivity. It is the learning and feedback between private and public sectors that can ensure productivity rises not only within one firm but for all businesses across the country.

“Productivity sits high on our agenda. Our transition towards becoming a high income and developed economy will only be viable if we focus on innovation, technology as well as improvement in productivity. The Government is committed in accelerating sector governance reform in healthcare, telecommunications, construction and education services to address key regulatory concerns held by both industry players and regulators,” said YB Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed, Minister of International Trade and Industry.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) chief executive officer Dato’ Yasmin Mahmood said that local companies should not view technology as a cost, but as an investment.

“Technology when properly applied is a business enabler to realise greater productivity and operational efficiencies,” she said.

Celcom Axiata Berhad chief executive officer Dato’ Shazalli, meanwhile, said that “productivity is about the people”, before remarking that technology adoption rate among consumers tend to be faster than that of organisations.

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