Report of the 41st ASEAN-Japan Business Meeting (AJBM) in Singapore on 12 October 2015

1.0 The 41st ASEAN-Japan Business Meeting (AJBM) was successfully held at the Fullerton Hotel, Singapore on 12 October 2015.

2.0 The theme of the Conference was “Thoughts Connected, Futures Connected” in line with the future of ASEAN and Japan in the next 50 years.

3.0 The Japanese side was led by Mr Toshiyuki Shiga, Co-Chair, Asia/Middle-East-Japan Relations Committee of Keizai Doyukai and concurrently, Vice-Chairman of Nissan Motor Co. Ltd, together with Mr Koichi Kawana, Co-Chair of Asia/Middle East-Japan Relations Committee, Keizai Doyukai concurrently, President and Representative Director of JGC Corporation.

The Chairman and Co-Chair of the 41st AJBM was Mr Cecil Leong, CEO of Mayer Brown Consulting, Singapore.


Mr Cecil Leong, Chairman and Co-Chair of the 41st AJBM and CEO of Mayer Brown Consulting, Singapore delivered the Opening Remarks at the 41st AJBM

4.0 Opening Ceremony

  • Welcome Remarks were delivered by:
  • Dr Robert Yap, Chair, ASEAN Business Advisory Council, Singapore Chapter; Chairman, ASEAN Business Group, Singapore Business Federation (SBF)

Dr Robert Yap, Chair, ASEAN Business Advisory Council, Singapore Chapter and Chairman, ASEAN Business Group, Singapore Business Federation (SBF) delivered the Welcome Remarks at the 41st AJBM

  • Mr Toshiyuki Shiga, Co-Chair, Asia/Middle East-Japan Relations Committee, Keizai Doyukai

Mr Toshiyuki Shiga, Co-Chair, Asia/Middle East-Japan Relations Committee, Keizai Doyukai delivered the Welcome Remarks at the 41st AJBM

  • The message from Prime Minister Abe was delivered by H.E. Haruhisa Takeushi, Ambassador of Japan to Singapore.

H.E. Haruhisa Takeushi, Ambassador of Japan to Singapore delivered a Message from the Prime Minister of Japan, Abe

  • There was no Special Guest of Honour from the Singapore Government.

5.0 Panel Session 1 – Winning in an ever-changing ASEAN: The Future of the Regional Operating Model.

The keynote speaker was Ms Alison Kennedy, MD, ASEAN, Accenture Strategy and the Moderator was Mr Chikatomo Hodo of Accenture, Japan.

• This panel was tasked to address the immediate opportunities facing ASEAN, Japan and the region and sought to examine and discuss the solutions that can help us to respond to challenges in our supply chain.

• ASEAN is changing rapidly.  ASEAN is growing and will become the world’s 6th largest GDP by 2020 through consistent economic growth with a projected population of 680 million by 2020.  The diversity of ASEAN demographics is a favourable asset, with rising disposable incomes fueling rapid urbanization. This will in turn, fuel consumption growth drivers.

• The challenges before ASEAN include different economic models and political systems and different currencies.  With ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) in place on 1 Jan 2016, there are many opportunities but also many issues to navigate.

• Japanese businesses continue to expand across ASEAN and we have witnessed their switch from China back to ASEAN, with a focus on promoting regional-wide operations.

• In order to take advantage of the emerging opportunities in ASEAN, companies need to focus on 5 key capabilities and leverage on them. These include:

1) Local market strategy – localize market and consumer offerings through deeper understanding of individual customer needs, preferences and lifestyles.

  • How do we use customer analytics to understand the customer, what they want/how fast they want it and if investments are working to drive customer retention, loyalty and growth?
  • How do companies develop the right combination of digital and traditional investments needed to deliver a multi-channel/ omnichannel customer experience?

2) Agile operations – Flexible operations to sense and quickly respond to the market changes and optimize inventory, asset footprint, etc. regionally.

  • How can our operations respond quickly to demand, both in facilities and across a global network? How can we reduce product and operations complexity?
  • What operating model will help us quickly respond to business and market volatility? How can we leverage ecosystem collaboration? What is the role of M&A in our operating model?

3) Leverage workforce diversity – leverage ASEAN workforce diversity (cost, demographic, skills) to optimize operations.

  • What should ASEAN talent strategy for our core workforces (engineering, manufacturing, planning) be? How do we manage change within the organization? What new roles/skills will be needed? How do we attract “digital natives”?
  • How will digital impact ASEAN talent strategy? How can we virtualize my talent pool? (e.g. crowdsourcing)?

4) Digital innovation – drive new level of customer engagement and competitive advantage through disruptive and innovative ideas.

  • How do we fuel technology-led innovation and frugal innovation? How can digital boost our innovation strategy to create market differentiation?
  • How can organisations respond to the digital disruption that is impacting their growth agenda from digital customers to create a digital strategy?

5) Optimal Cross-border operations – compliant, cost effective cross border product flow through an optimized regional network.

  • How does the trading play a critical role in the ASEAN business?
  • How do you see the future state of trade facilitation operations by leveraging digital?

(left to right) Mr Chikatomo Hodo, Mr Kerry Mok, Mr Kensaku Konishi, Ms Jennifer Han, Ms Chian Voen Wong, Ms Alison Kennedy (Keynote Speaker at Session I) and Mr Eddie Siow


Tan Sri Azman Hashim, President of MAJECA asking a question during the Panel Session I

6.0     Panel Session 2 – Business Integration : Closer ASEAN & Japan Partnerships

  • The keynote speaker was Mr Kazumi Nishikawa, Executive Director of JETRO Singapore and Special Advisor to the Minister, Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).  The moderator was Mr Paul Theiss, Chairman, Mayer Brown.
  • This session aimed to explore opportunities for greater regional business integration and collaboration via platforms such as the AEC, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the Trans Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA).
  • ASEAN Economic integration will continue towards AEC 2025.  The speed and quality of Asian integration will determine the ‘success’ of AEC 2025. Foreign MNCs have been looked upon to raise the level of ambitions of AEC 2025.
  • The old image of industrial structure of ASEAN countries include:
    • National flagship businesses (SOE, conglomerate) e.g. Singapore Airlines, Maybank, Singtel
    • Regional/global business : MNC and affiliated SMEs e.g. Toyota, GE, Dannon.
    •  Infrastructure, real estate, retail, services e.g. Central, Ayala.
  • Industrial structural reform is important and needed as this will encourage new movements via:
  1. Strategic alliances among different nationalities as well as among different corporate culture.
  2. Conglomerate expansion with/including region wide SME partnerships.
  3. To note the increasing expansion of Chinese companies to Asia (especially in the finance, real estate and services sector).
  4. The emergence of young entrepreneurship especially in IT, e-commerce, healthcare, tourism.
  5. Emergence of “ASEAN Company” or “Asian Company” e.g. AirAsia, CIMB, Jebsen & Jessen.
  • Government-led market integration (sub-regional, ASEAN-wide or Asian-wide) can provide the momentum and/or accelerate company-led business integration (be it intra-ASEAN, Asian-wide, MNC/SME) and vice-versa.

(left to right)Mr Paul W. Theiss, Mr Tetsuya Iguchi, Mr Kazumi Nishikawa (Keynote Speaker at Session 2), Mr Sony B. Harsono, Mr Manu Bhaskaran, Dr Bunluasak Pussarungsri and Mr Bruce Nicolas Delteil

7.0 Panel Session 3 – Regional Opportunities in Selected ASEAN Countries

The moderator of this Session was H.E. Teng Theng Dar, Singapore’s Non-resident Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman.  This Session aimed to look at country specific initiatives and possibilities covering dynamic and evolving economies in the region.

7.1 Ascendas – Singbridge (Singapore) – a leading provider of integrated and sustainable urban business environments.

The world today is faced with:
– slowing global economy (inspite of a vibrant ‘shadow’ economy – what else is driving the economy that has yet to be captured?
– China effect – OBOR (One Belt One Road – the new silk road), rising Chinese entrepreneurship
– Anticipated rising interest rates, oil and commodity price
– Security threats and migrant crisis issues.

7.2 Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation in Indonesia.

  • SMBC aims to become a global financial group to lead Asia’s development.
  • It provides a wide range of financial solutions to existing corporate clients, and expanding target to include new medium sized clients.
  • SMBC gave example of its services in Indonesia.

7.3 PT Catur Yasa (Indonesia)

  • Indonesia faces the challenge of connectivity, due to its large geographical spread of many islands.
  • These challenges present opportunities for infrastructure development in the areas of:

a) Roads and rail construction
b) Energy infrastructure (petrol, coal, and gas, renewable energy)
c) Maritime facility infrastructure – development of 7 key major ports.

7.4 ANCO Group (Cambodia)

  • Special economic zone in Poipet – border of Cambodia and Myanmar. Border town Poipet has an economic zone with Japanese investments, creating many jobs for the locals.
  • Much more foreign investment and infrastructure development is needed.

7.5 Mayer Brown (Myanmar)

  • Mayer Brown is assisting Myanmar to develop a number of power projects, besides infrastructure such as telco tower financing, hotel management agreements and international/Myanmar JVs.
  • Myanmar’s laws are still at infant stages and still developing.

(left to right) Mr Ryuji Nishisaki, H.E. Teng Theng Dar, Mr Kusumo A. Martoredjo, Mr Phu Sae Tong and Mr Nathan Dodd

8.0     Closing

Japan Keizai Doyukai announced that the 42nd AJBM will be held in Japan in 2016.


Group Photo after the end of 41st ASEAN-Japan Business Meeting (AJBM)

9.0   42nd Steering Committee Meeting

The next Steering Committee Meeting for the 42nd AJBM will be held in Cambodia.

6th ASIAN BUSINESS SUMMIT ON 12th AND 13th JULY 2015 IN TOKYO, JAPAN – Malaysia’s “Look East Policy” Gets Asian Recognition

Malaysia’s “Look East Policy”, which has helped Malaysia’s industrial development programme over three decades was given recognition at the 6th Asian Business Summit held in Tokyo, Japan on 12th and 13th July 2015.  “This is a tribute to Malaysia and is being looked at as a model for some Asian countries,” said Datuk Seri Mohamed Iqbal Rawther, Vice-President of MAJECA – Malaysia-Japan Economic Association and Director of the Look East Policy Centre, Malaysia.  Datuk Seri Iqbal was Malaysia’s representative to the 6th Asian Business Summit, which was attended by fourteen Economic and Business Federations from twelve countries.  The Summit was hosted by KEIDANREN, the Federation of Corporate Executives of Japan.

The Summit addressed some of the key challenges faced by Asian economies and how businesses should position to face the global volatilities as well as take advantage of the rising importance and influence of Asia on the world arena.

Regional integration issues, especially the prospect of the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) initiatives were discussed. Infrastructure development prerogatives and the financing of large-scale projects for transportation and port facilities for increasing trade flows between countries within Asia and linkages to the rest of the world, were given special focus.

The outcome of the Summit and the recommendations, endorsed by the delegates, were contained in a Joint Statement presented by the Chairman of KEIDANREN, Dr. Sadayuki Sakakibara to the Prime Minister of Japan, Mr Shinzo Abe, at the Special Session of the Summit.

Photo No. 1

(Note: Datuk Seri Mohamed Iqbal Rawther with the Prime Minister of Japan, Mr Shinzo Abe at the Special Session of the 6th Asian Business Summit on 13 July 2015 in Tokyo. Photo courtesy of KEIDANREN)


38th Annual General Meeting (AGM) of MAJECA on 27 May 2015

MAJECA held its 38th Annual General Meeting (AGM) at the Banquet Hall, 26th Floor, Bangunan AmBank Group, Jalan Raja Chulan, Kuala Lumpur on 27 May 2015.

Tan Sri Azman Hashim, President of MAJECA chaired the MAJECA AGM upon obtaining the required quorum from MAJECA members at 4:00pm.

The President welcomed all members and the Executive Committee members and proceeded with the business of the AGM.


(Centre) Tan Sri Azman Hashim, President of MAJECA chairing the 38th Annual General Meeting of MAJECA with (left) Datuk Seri Mohamed Iqbal, Vice President & Hon. Secretary, MAJECA and (right) Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Lodin bin Wok Kamaruddin, EXCO Member MAJECA


(left to right) Datuk Peter Lim Siong Eng, EXCO Member MAJECA, Mr Ong Ka Thim, Master Builders Association Malaysia, Mr Muhammad Hakimi Abu Othman, PNB Equity Resource Corporation Sdn Berhad and Mr Muhammad Farhi bin Zuber, Port Klang Authority


(left to right) Mr Isham Ishak, SME Corp Malaysia, Mr Mohd Najib Mohd Seth, Boustead Holdings Bhd, Mr Sivadasan A/L Narayanan Nair and Encik Shahril Sharif, both Auditors from Azman, Wong, Salleh & Co

After delivering his address, the meeting proceeded to unanimously adopt the Annual Report and the audited accounts of the Association for the year ended 31 December 2014.

The Office Bearers and Members of the Executive Committee for the term 2015/2016 were elected.   They are as follows:-


 President                        :  Tan Sri Azman Hashim
Vice President              : *  Tan Sri Datuk Seri Utama Thong Yaw Hong
Vice President              :  Tan Sri Datuk Abdul Hamid Egoh
Vice President              :  Dato’ Md Taib Abdul Hamid
Vice President &         :  Datuk Seri Mohamed Iqbal
Honorary Secretary
Honorary Treasurer  :  Dato’ Annuar Senawi


 Tan Sri Datuk Asmat Kamaluddin
Tan Sri Datuk Mohamed Khatib Abdul Hamid
Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Lodin bin Wok Kamaruddin
Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Michael Yeoh Onn Kheng
Mr Jason Tai Hee
Datuk Peter Lim Siong Eng
Mr Yeonhang Chuah
Dr. Juita Muhammad

The meeting noted that at this AGM, Dr. Stephen Leong Mun Yoon retired as EXCO member of MAJECA, having served the association since 1994.

On behalf of MAJECA members, the President thanked Dr. Stephen Leong Mun Yoon, who represented the Institute of Strategic & International Studies Malaysia (ISIS) for his immense contribution to the Association.

The Association extends its best wishes for his continued good health and happiness in the years ahead.


(left to right) Mr Yeonhang Chuah, Tan Sri Datuk Mohamed Khatib Abdul Hamid, both EXCO Member MAJECA and Datuk Seri Mohamed Iqbal, Vice President & Hon. Secretary MAJECA


(left to right) Mr Yeonhang Chuah, EXCO Member MAJECA, Mr Isham Ishak, SME Corp Malaysia, Tan Sri Datuk Mohamed Khatib Abdul Hamid and Dr. Juita Muhammad, both EXCO Member MAJECA

Tan Sri Azman Hashim also welcomed Dr. Juita Muhammad from the Institute of Strategic  & International Studies Malaysia (ISIS) as the new EXCO member of MAJECA who replaced Dr. Stephen Leong Mun Yoon.

The President thanked the Office Bearers and Executive Committee for their continuing support and MAJECA members for their participation in MAJECA events and activities.


(left to right) Dato’ Md Taib Abdul Hamid, Vice President MAJECA, Ms Ng Su Fun, Executive Secretary MAJECA and Dr. Juita Muhammad, EXCO Member MAJECA


(left to right) Mr Chuang Chee Hin, Lonpac Insurance Bhd and Mr Ong Ka Thiam, Master Builders Association Malaysia


*  YBhg Tan Sri Datuk Seri Utama Thong Yaw Thong  demise on 28 May 2015.

 N O T I C E

Thong Yaw Hong Photograph


YBhg Tan Sri Datuk Seri Utama Thong Yaw Hong, Vice-President of MAJECA since 1989 passed away on 28 May 2015.  Tan Sri has been instrumental in the founding of MAJECA in 1977.  He devoted much ideas, commitment and time to nurture and grow the association, especially in its formative years.  As Vice-President, the Executive Committee had benefited from his wisdom and steadfast support to realize the vision of expanding and deepening the economic and business relationship between Malaysia and Japan.  He will be deeply missed.

The Association wish to express its deep appreciation to the late Tan Sri Thong for his dedicated services to MAJECA, and our deepest condolences to Puan Sri Datin Lem Foong Ying and family members.

33rd MAJECA-JAMECA Joint Conference on 13 November 2014 at Hilton Hotel, Kuching, Sarawak


1)    Report on the 33rd MAJECA-JAMECA Joint Conference on 13 November 2014 at Hilton Hotel, Kuching, Sarawak

2)    Speeches and Presentations

3)    Newspaper Articles 


Speeches and Presentations


  1. Message from H.E Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan
  2. Message by The Right Hon. Dato’ Sri Najib Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia
  3. Welcome Address by The Honourable Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan, Minister of Industrial Development, Sarawak
  4. LEP 2.0 Updates by Datuk Wong Seng Foo, Senior Director, Economic Trade Relation Division, MITI
  5. Remark on LEP 2.0 by Ambassador of Japan to Malaysia, H.E Dr Makio Miyagawa
  6. Remark on LEP 2.0 by Datuk Seri Mohamad Iqbal, Vice-President & Secretary-General, MAJECA
  7. Malaysia – Briefing on Sarawak by Datu Ose Murung, Deputy State Secretary (Operation), Sarawak
  8. Malaysia – “Investing in SCORE” from the perspective of a Sarawak investee company by Dato’ Richard Curtis, Group, Group Managing Director, Cahya Mata Sarawak Berhad-Richard-Curtis
  9. Japan – Japanese Experiences in Reneable Energy &/or Resource based Industries by Mr. Hiroshi Harunari, Executive Vice President, Mitsubishi Motors Corporation
  10. Malaysia – Business opportunities in the Argo-food Based and Halal Sector of Sarawak by Tuan Haji Samad bin Junai, Director, Halal Hub Unit, Chief Minister’s Department
  11. Japan – Japanese R&D in Argo-food Sector by Mr Gung Yeh Tzeh Andrew, President, Leave A Nest Singapore Private LTD
  12. Japan – JACTIM -Mr. Takuji Harada, Chairman of Trade & Investment Committee, JACTIM / Country General manager, Kuala Lumpur Branch, Marubeni Corporation
  13. Japan – Tokuyama Malaysia Sdn Bhd – Mr Takeo Suzuki, President
  14. Speech by The Right Honorable Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri (Dr) Haji Adenan bin Haji Satem, Chief Minister of Sarawak