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Kuala Lumpur among top 10 cities in Asia Pacific seen as leading technology innovation hub — KPMG

Kuala Lumpur is ranked the ninth top city in the Asia Pacific and outside of Silicon Valley/San Francisco as a leading technology innovation hub over the next four years, according to the latest survey by KPMG.

In its global Technology Industry Survey 2021 involving more than 800 industry leaders, KPMG said this was based on several factors both at a local level such as infrastructure and demographics and at a macro level such as the regulatory environment and potential national tax incentives.

Guy Edwards, head of technology, media and telecommunications sector at KPMG in Malaysia, opined that this is not all that surprising considering several studies have already recognised and identified factors that make Malaysia an attractive investment opportunity.

“There is definitely continued global confidence in the country’s potential as a development hotbed, thanks to the Malaysian government’s dedication to advance the country’s technology infrastructure with the introduction of initiatives such as the National Fourth Industrial Revolution policy.

“While government impetus could be just the thing to amplify Malaysia’s potential as a tech hub, more is needed beyond simply introducing newer policies,” it said in a statement today.

The survey showed that 61% of industry insiders believed the pandemic has changed their opinions of which cities would become leading technology innovation hubs.

Only one third feel that Silicon Valley will maintain its innovation leadership position, while an equal number feel it will not.

Source: Bernama

Kuala Lumpur among top 10 cities in Asia Pacific seen as leading technology innovation hub — KPMG

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Malaysia has maintained its position as the best destination for Muslim travellers even amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The country once again came first in the list of best Muslim-friendly holiday destinations, according to the MasterCard-CrescentRating Global Muslim Travel Index (GMTI) 2021.

Malaysia has remained in the top destination since the launch of the index in 2015. The GMTI monitors the overall performance of the Muslim travel market.

Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nancy Shukri said Malaysia is committed to continue developing the Muslim-friendly travel segment, sometimes referred to as halal travel.

“We have developed Malaysia to be a Muslim-friendly tourism and hospitality destination, offering unique and meaningful experiences,” she said during her keynote speech at the Halal In Travel Global Summit 2021.

Nancy added that Malaysia is a place where Muslim travellers will feel comfortable in as the country caters to their basic faith needs.

“Malaysia, being a Muslim majority country offers many eateries that are certified halal, and feature many tourism related activities that does not contradict with Islamic principles.

“This has contributed towards making Malaysia being recognised as the top Muslim friendly destination,” she said.

Nancy also highlighted the contributions of the Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC), an agency under the Tourism, Arts and Culture Ministry in charge of Islamic tourism-related affairs, towards the recognition.

Keeping travel halal amid pandemic

The GMTI 2021 ranked 140 destinations that account for more than 95% of Muslim visitor arrivals.

Malaysia is followed by Turkey and Saudi Arabia in second and third place respectively. Indonesia and United Arab Emirates rounded off the top five destinations.

Meanwhile, Singapore remains the only non-OIC destination in the top 20 GMTI 2021 ranking.

CrescentRating founder and chief executive officer Fazal Bahardeen said GMTI 2021 will help the destinations prepare post-pandemic tourism recovery.

“The pandemic has had a colossal impact on the travel sector. Muslim (tourist) arrivals dropped to 42 million in 2020 from an all-time high of an estimated 160 million in 2019.

“As we start this recovery journey, we project that the Muslim travel market will return to the 2019 levels by 2023,” he said.

According to Fazal, the latest index took into consideration the evolving concept of travel bubbles and corridors.

Contactless travel

The GMTI 2021 also noted some shift in travel preferences due to the pandemic. One such change is the rise of “contactless travel”.

It’s a trend that is here to stay moving forward in a post-pandemic environment, said Mastercard division president (Southeast Asia Emerging Markets) Safdar Khan.

“The pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of the airline industry. Developing a digital-first, low-touch, contactless customer experience will be a pivotal driver in the travel industry’s recovery roadmap,” he said.

According to the Mastercard New Payments Index, 94% of consumers in Asia Pacific will consider using at least one new payment method, such as QR codes, digital or mobile wallets, cryptocurrencies, biometrics, and others in the coming year.

Safdar said digital payments will be instrumental in helping the travel industry recover once restrictions are lifted.

“Asia Pacific is renowned for its popularity with Muslim travelers. As the world begins to open again, understanding how best to meet the needs of this important demographic will be crucial to ensuring that the travel sector’s recovery is both sustainable and inclusive,” he said.

Source: The Star

Malaysia ranks first again in global Muslim travel index despite pandemic

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The World Competitiveness Yearbook 2021 has ranked Malaysia’s global competitiveness at 25th place from out of 64 economies, an improvement from the 27th position in 2020.

International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mohamed Azmin Ali said in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business 2020 ranking, Malaysia held second position among 190 economies in dealing with construction permits.

“Nevertheless, while this shows that reform initiatives are working, there is still more to be done to ensure that our regulations are agile enough to respond to changes,” he said in his speech during the virtual official launch of “Productivity Report 2021 ― Boosting Productivity: Reset, Reform, Rebound”.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Productivity Corporation (MPC) director general Datuk Abdul Latif Abu Seman said Productivity Report 2021 takes a different approach this year, focusing directly on the issues and challenges which impede productivity growth against the worst health and economic crisis and spotlighting the recommended solutions to manage these barriers.

“In addressing the pronounced challenges to productivity and in the effort to boost its growth, this year’s theme for the report summarises the journey ― reset and reform, which eventually leads to productivity rebound.

“The recommendations presented in the report align with the government agenda through its various economic stimulus packages and recovery plans. Aptly implemented, the solutions are expected to escalate productivity growth, and subsequently enhance business revival and recovery,” he said in his welcoming speech.

Within the business environment, Abdul Latif said, regulations play an important role to enhance the ease of doing business.

“Managing the regulatory concerns from the industry, especially from businesses affected by the pandemic, is more urgent now to facilitate their recovery.

“Regulatory reform is a must to reduce the unnecessary regulatory burdens on businesses and formulate policies which are more conducive to business efficiency. Pemudah or the Special Taskforce to Facilitate Business, working with MPC as the secretariat, has been steadfast in regulatory reforms,” he said.

Meanwhile, in his message in the report, Mohamed Azmin said the outlook is positive for Malaysia, underpinned by the National Covid-19 Immunisation Programme, which is progressing well to reach as many citizens as possible and as quickly as possible.

“The government has also launched and implemented several stimulus packages to ease the burden of the business community and the rakyat in general. Incentives and programmes are implemented to address issues on employment, loss of revenue, and business environment.

“Great attention will continue to be given to digitalisation and technology adoption as tools to accelerate economic recovery. With these synergistic efforts in place, there is certainly an air of optimism for 2021 to be an inflection point for both holistic health and economic recovery,” he said.

The minister said that Covid-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented health and economic crisis which has affected the lives and livelihoods of the people, resulting in a huge decline in productivity growth by -5.5 per cent last year due to the jarring disruptions.

“We have striven to overcome the various obstacles by setting in motion opportunities that have changed the trajectory of our lives for the better,” he said.

According to Mohamed Azmin, Bank Negara Malaysia, in its first quarter performance report published in May 2021, has forecast that Malaysia’s economy is to remain on track to achieve the projected growth of 6.0-7.5 per cent in 2021.

This, he said, denotes a rebound in labour and capital productivity being underpinned by broad-based economic recovery across most sectors.

“While 2020 saw the execution of brave but necessary measures to flatten the curve of infections, the government, armed with valuable virological data, implemented more prudent measures in 2021 to curb the virus from spreading exponentially, pivoted on the overarching objective to protect the lives of the rakyat and to simultaneously ensure the revival of the country’s economic growth,” he added.

Source: Bernama

Malaysia rises to 25th place in World Competitiveness Yearbook 2021

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Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings 2021 has given Sunway University the highest ranked private university in Malaysia.

For the first time, the university has entered the THE Impact Rankings 2021, which measures universities’ commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Sunway University is now credited to be within the Top 200 for SDG 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities – making it one of the world’s leading institutions in this category dedicated to creating career and business opportunities, safe and affordable housing, and building resilient societies and economies.

SDG 11 highlights Sunway University as a state-of-the-art modern campus that is connected to a wide range of social and community amenities by safe walkways at treetop level (the “canopy walk”) – giving a unique sustainable study, work and social environment for its students and staff within and around the campus.

Sunway City is a prime example of the new global movement of sustainable “15-minute cities” with hyper-connectivity and all amenities accessible within 15 minutes by walking.

Realising the need for health and safety, Sunway University strives to focus on pedestrian priority on campus with covered walkways that run between buildings and provide students and staff convenient access to all facilities within the campus.

The university was also one of just two universities that won a National Energy Award last year in recognition of its efforts on energy efficiency.

​“We are delighted now to be recognised as one of the world’s leading institutions for sustainability,” said Sunway University vice-chancellor Prof Graeme Wilkinson.

“We are a signatory institution to the SDG Accord and absolutely committed to aligning our educational and research efforts with the SDGs and this ranking demonstrates that our efforts are yielding results.

“We know that our students are very concerned about the future of the planet and sustainability issues, and we take very seriously our responsibility to educate them on these issues and to undertake research on policies and technologies that can make an impact in relation to the SDGs.”

The Times Higher Education Impact Rankings are the only global performance tables that assess universities against the UN SDGs. The rankings use carefully calibrated indicators to provide comprehensive and balanced comparison across four broad areas – research, stewardship, outreach and teaching.

The Impact Rankings was first launched by Times Higher Education in 2019 and now has almost triple the number of international premiere universities participating from nearly 100 countries/regions across the world – sharing invaluable data and presenting insights into the growing commitment to address global challenges and societal impacts.

“The education sector is a key driver in the whole-of-nation approach towards achieving the SDGs and I congratulate Sunway University for the well-deserved recognition by Times Higher Education,” said Stefan Priesner, UN resident coordinator for Malaysia, Singapore and Brunei.

“Academia has a crucial role to play in nurturing future SDG champions and developing thought leadership for a more sustainable world. As an organisation, universities can also contribute by walking the talk and being SDG compliant in their business operations as demonstrated by Sunway.”

Sunway University is dedicated to championing sustainability efforts within and around the campus by instilling sustainable practices into the various aspects of the university experience such as ensuring high standards in sustainability research, sustainable work practices and sustainable consumption.

Its “Last Straw” campaign to reduce single use plastic on campus was a major success and helped launch the #CampusWithAConscience – a theme very much close to heart of all Sunwayians.

In recognition of Sunway’s embrace of the sustainability agenda and commitment to advancing the SDGs in Asia, Sunway University recently joined New York City and Paris as the three UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) centres in the world to coordinate continent-wide sustainability initiatives in Asia, the Americas and Europe/Africa, respectively.

Source: The Star

Sunway University ranked Malaysia’s top private university

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KL International Airport (KLIA) has improved its ranking further to be the world’s ninth best airport in terms of service quality in the first quarter of 2021 for the category of over 40 million passengers per annum (mppa), according to a survey.

In the global Airport Service Quality (ASQ) survey by Airports Council International, KLIA achieved a score of 4.99 over 5.00, up from 4.98 in 2020. Last year, it was ranked one of the world’s top 10 airports in the same poll.

In a statement today, Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) group chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh said apart from KLIA, the group’s efforts to improve service levels saw Langkawi International Airport (LGK) named as the world’s third best airport in the two to five mppa category, scoring 4.97 over 5.00 in the ASQ survey during the same period.

He said the group continues to leverage on the lull period caused by international and domestic travel restrictions to carry out various initiatives to heighten passenger experience and ensure airport readiness when passenger traffic picks up again.

“Although we are facing an extreme contraction of traffic, we are not complacent when it comes to ensuring our services and facilities at the highest level.

“The encouraging results borne by the airport community’s efforts at both KLIA and LGK in upholding exceptional services and safety measures in the new travel norm will certainly help restore passenger confidence,” he said.

ASQ benchmarks the world’s best airports in terms of overall passenger satisfaction for terminal safety, facilities, services and cleanliness.

Last month, the total number of passenger movements for Malaysia Airports was about two million for its local network of airports as well as its Turkish asset, Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (ISG).

Mohd Shukrie said the country’s border remains closed and movement control orders continue to be imposed as daily COVID-19 cases have been on the rise again recently.

Nevertheless, total passenger movements for the local network of airports in April was registered at 630,000, which was close to 8.0 per cent increase compared to the preceding month.

This was borne by the pickup on airline operations for the domestic sector with an increase of 161 weekly flights or 19 per cent growth compared to March 2021, sustaining an average load factor above 57.0 per cent, he said, adding that AirAsia registered the highest average load factor of 60 per cent in April.

“(A total of) 1.89 million people in Malaysia have been vaccinated under the COVID-19 National Immunisation Programme so far with the majority being front-liners and senior citizens.

“The vaccine rollout planned for the year may help pave the way for gradual recovery,” he said.

As for Turkey, the country has recently announced lockdown relaxation allowing interstate travel during non-curfew hours.

In April, due to the previous partial border closure, ISG recorded 1.4 million passengers which was a 20 per cent drop from the preceding month.

“Despite the decrease, local airlines such as Pegasus and AnadoluJet remain optimistic with the former adding Shymkent, Kazakhstan, to its network of operations with a weekly flight that is expected to launch this month,” MAHB said.

To date, they are operating a total of 56 domestic and 79 international routes in 48 countries, the airport operator said.

Source: The Malaysian Reserve

KLIA moves up to be world’s top 9 airport in Q1 2021

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GEORGE TOWN: Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) has been ranked 39th in the Times Higher Education (THE) Impact Rankings 2021 on sustainability out of over 1,200 institutions across 98 countries around the world.

USM, in a statement, said the position, which is the highest in the country, represented a huge jump from last year’s rankings (65).

“This latest achievement further cements USM’s position as among the world’s best institutions when it comes to solving humanity’s greatest challenges,” it said.

The ranking puts USM above such renowned universities sa King Abdulaziz University (46), Trinity College Dublin (57), University of Liverpool (72), Massachusetts Institute of Technology (76) and Deakin University (79).

It is also the second highest institution to be ranked overall in Asean (behind Chulalongkorn University in Thailand at 23rd), while in Asia it is placed fifth highest.

USM said, in addition to being placed in the top 50 positions in the overall rankings, it was also ranked ninth in the world for SDG16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions).

SDG refers to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

As for other individual SDGs, USM is also the highest ranked university in Malaysia in the following: SDG1 (No Poverty) at 21st in the world, SDG2 (Zero Hunger) at 29th, SDG3 (Good Health and Well-being) tied at 40th, SDG7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) at 50th and SDG14 (Life Below Water) at 58th.

“This is the third year running that USM has participated in the THE Impact Rankings, that assesses actions relating to sustainability that are undertaken by universities around the world based on the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” it added.

The University of Manchester is ranked top in the overall rankings, but the Top 10 rankings are dominated by universities from Australia.

Source: NST

USM among top 50 institutions in world sustainability rankings 2021

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KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has become a more attractive destination for foreigners to relocate for work, reaching 19th position as a desired country in 2020 based on a study conducted jointly by the Boston Consulting Group, global recruitment firm The Network and JobStreet’s owner SEEK Asia.

Malaysia’s attractiveness to global workers jumped from 33rd spot in 2018 and 42nd position in 2014, JobStreet said in a statement today.

Kuala Lumpur’s ranking had also improved, rising to 18th place last year from 52nd in 2014 and 42nd in 2018, the online employment portal said.

Of those who preferred to work in Malaysia, JobStreet said the top 10 countries where they were from were Indonesia, Singapore, India, Pakistan, Yemen, Thailand, China, Syria, Nigeria and Qatar.

The survey also revealed that fewer Malaysians were willing to work abroad now compared with in the previous years.

“Only 40 per cent of Malaysian respondents expressed willingness to work abroad in 2020, down from 65 per cent in 2018 and 67 per cent in 2014,” JobStreet said.

It said those who were willing to relocate to another country for work purposes comprised of students (61 per cent), Malaysians involved in digitisation and automation (56 per cent), and media and information (52 per cent).

It added that Singapore ranked as the top destination for Malaysians who wished to work abroad, followed by Australia, the United Kingdom, New Zealand and Japan.

SEEK Asia chief marketing officer Ramesh Rajandran said while most Asian destinations improved their rankings last year in terms of their attractiveness for employment, Malaysia was a clear success story as an employment destination.

“The pandemic has proven to be a key factor that has drastically changed the way global talent think about employment preferences,” he said.

Titled “Decoding Global Talent”, the study was one of the world’s largest surveys, covering 208,805 respondents in more than 190 countries, including 5,649 respondents in Malaysia.

Source: Bernama

Malaysia among Top 20 countries for foreigners to relocate for work: Study

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The Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang, Selangor has been ranked among the top 10 in the world for the category of over 40 million passengers per annum (mppa) in 2020.

This is according to the latest Airport Service Quality (ASQ) survey, which benchmarks the world’s best airports in terms of overall passenger satisfaction for terminal safety, facilities, services, and cleanliness.

Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd (MAHB) group chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Shukrie Mohd Salleh said with the latest achievement, the company was further encouraged to continue with its pursuit for excellence.

He said as a global airport operator, MAHB was driven by the passengers’ confidence and satisfaction in its facilities and services.

“This year, passengers can look forward to an improved journey including shorter wait times and facial recognition technology that are part of our Airports 4.0 digital transformation.

“In fact, we recently announced that we will be introducing private health safety screening services for passengers to enjoy faster clearance upon arrival. We hope to restore passenger confidence with the Covid-19 swab test swiftly done within comfortable surroundings,” he said.

MAHB said the announcement made by Airports Council International (ACI) early this month was borne out by the airport’s continuous efforts in carrying out improvement initiatives despite being severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

It said the passenger traffic remained low due to prolonged domestic and international travel restrictions with only 1.6 million passenger traffic recorded in February.

Nevertheless the airport operator had still forged ahead with mission critical projects, it added.

“Among them were the washroom refurbishment, formation of the Operational Excellence teams that diligently identified and designed improvement initiatives and the introduction of the Exceptional People Practice Playbook, a dual language manual to guide our front liners in their interaction with passengers.

“This had resulted in KLIA improving its score significantly and achieving an annual score of 4.98 over 5.00 in 2020. In the previous year KLIA ranked 17th with a score of 4.76,” it said.

Last month, Malaysia received the first batch of vaccines for the immediate roll out of the Covid-19 National Immunisation Programme targeted at front liners.

MAHB said while borders remained close, local passenger movements for its network of 39 airports continued to be impacted by the re-imposition of travel restrictions and movement control orders due to the resurgence of cases.

As for Turkey, the country received its first batch of vaccine in January and more than 2.8 million population has received the first dose to-date with health care workers receiving the second dose in February.

“However, despite the restricted curfew over there, our Turkish operations at Istanbul Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (ISG) has managed to sustain 1.3 million passenger movements for two consecutive months.

“ISG continues to be the majority contributor to the total 1.6 million passenger movements for the group in February,” it said.

Shukrie said MAHB remained optimistic on the resiliency of the demand in air travel.

“We have seen strong revival when travel restrictions were lifted in previous times, and for that, we will continue to enhance our offerings. Staying cognisant with the evolving demands of passengers and the aviation industry will help us stay ahead of the competition as we aim to be in the top five airports this year,” he added.

Source: NST

KLIA among world’s top 10 airports

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 10): Malaysia has been named among the top ten attractive nations to logistics providers, freight forwarders, shipping lines, air cargo carriers and distributors.

In a statement yesterday, freight forwarding and contract logistics provider Agility said Asia-Pacific nations led all emerging market regions with China, India and Indonesia being the world’s top emerging markets in the 12th annual Agility Emerging Markets Logistics Index, a broad gauge of competitiveness based on logistics strength and business fundamentals.

It said the Index ranks 50 countries by factors that make them attractive to logistics providers, freight forwarders, shipping lines, air cargo carriers and distributors.

Agility said that among ASEAN countries, Vietnam climbed three spots to No. 8 overall. Indonesia (3), Malaysia (5) and Thailand (11); the Philippines rose one spot to No. 21.

Agility said China and Vietnam were virtually alone in the world in 2020, posting positive gross domestic product growth for the year after being hit early by economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The firm said early 2020 supply disruptions in China prompted some to question whether the country would experience an exodus of manufacturing by multi-nationals seeking to diversify sourcing and production.

But the 1,200 logistics industry executives surveyed for Agility’s Index indicate little desire to uproot from China or other markets, preferring by a two-to-one margin to protect their supply chains by accelerating adoption of digital tools and technology (41.3%) as opposed to pursuing multi-shoring, near-shoring or reshoring strategies (21.9%).

Of those who would consider moving out of China, more respondents chose Vietnam as a preferred production hub than any other country (19.6%).

Other Asian markets – India (17.4%), Indonesia (12.4%), Thailand (10.3%) and Malaysia – are the next leading choices.

Only 7.8% of industry executives say relocating production from China would mean reshoring to their home countries.

Asia-Pacific is the region that more respondents believe will recover from the global pandemic by the end of 2021. Of those surveyed, 55.9% predict an Asia-Pacific economic recovery in 2021; 53.1% believe Europe will rebound.

Agility Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing Asia Pacific, Andy Vargoczky said Asia Pacific experienced great turmoil in the beginning of 2020 due to the COVID-19 crisis, but it has rebounded strongly, led by the powerful performance of China and Vietnam.

He said the region is on track for a full recovery this year.

“India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam continue to improve their supply chain infrastructure and capabilities, showing why they are leaders in domestic and international logistics,” he said.

Agility said across 50 countries, China, India and Indonesia rank highest in the Index for domestic logistics.

It said China, India and Mexico are on top for international logistics with Vietnam 4th, Indonesia 5th, and Malaysia 7th.

UAE, Malaysia and Saudi Arabia have the best business fundamentals, it said.

Source: The Edge Markets

Malaysia listed among top ten in global logistics ranking

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KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s status as Asia’s preferred destination for business events has been recognised at the 13th China MICE Industry Golden Chair Awards, as the country was named as the Fourth Most Expected MICE Destination for 2020.

MICE is an acronym for the meetings, incentives, conventions and exhibitions tourism segment.

In a statement today, the Malaysia Convention & Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB) said the award marked the fifth consecutive year that Malaysia has won the title.

“This award is a strong testament of MyCEB’s strong performance and its branding efforts in promoting Malaysia as a preferred business events destination while highlighting Malaysia’s diverse offerings in terms of connectivity, state-of-the-art facilities, first-class infrastructures and great hospitality,“ said MyCEB chief executive officer Datuk Seri Abdul Khani Daud.

The Golden Chair Award was initiated and established in 2007 by the China MICE Magazine, a leading high-end tourism and conference and exhibition publication representing China.

It aimed to recognise teams and individuals who made outstanding contributions to China’s MICE industry and set pioneering examples for the development of China’s MICE industry.

“The year 2020 has been very challenging for Malaysia’s business events industry due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.

“Nevertheless, MyCEB has worked closely with the Malaysian Association of Convention and Exhibition Organisers and Suppliers (MACEOS) and Business Events Council Malaysia (BECM) to formulate MICE standard operating procedures endorsed by the Malaysian government,“ he said.

Abdul Khani said MyCEB has also launched the Meet in Malaysia campaign to further boost the business events industry and entice more international stakeholders.  

Source: Bernama

Malaysia named as 4th most expected M.I.C.E destination in 2020

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