Selamat petang dan salam sejahtera.
Yang Berbahagia Mr Albert Chiang
President of the Malaysian Retailer-Chains Association.
Members of MRCA and other retail associations.
Ladies & Gentlemen.
I would like to congratulate Mr Albert Chiang of Bonia Corporation for being appointed as the new president of Malaysian Retailer-Chains Association as well as the appointment of the new councils namely, Mr Lee Hwa Cheng of Sinma Jewellery as Deputy President, Mr Tay Sim Kim of Osim and Mr Nelson Kwok of Nelson’s Franchise as Vice Presidents, Mr Ham Hon Kit of Kumpulan Voir as Secretary-General, and Mr Au Kok Wah of NV Multi Corporation as Treasurer-General.
I would like to thank the Malaysian Retailer-Chains Association for their cordial invitation extended to me to be part of your MRCA Installation ceremony. It is an honour for me to address such a prestigious group of industry players. As captains of an industry belonging to one of the newer key drivers of the economy in the 21st century, you all should be proud to be considered as the “mould breakers”. Possessing the ability to think out of the box. Taking the giant leaps of courage, as well as risks to explore new areas of growth outside the borders of Malaysia.
Such efforts should and will have to be emulated in other industries as you have done, if Malaysia aspires to build sustainability in its economic growth and prosperity.
The business community, as a whole, must be able to evolve, adapt and change with the ebb and flow of the globalization. To move from a low cost economy to one that is based on innovation, creativity and competitiveness.
Your membership numbers and the brand names already tell a great success story about Malaysia and Malaysian entrepreneurship. MRCA’s 92 members have now more than 3,500 stores nationwide and abroad. Some members have even succeeded in setting up retail stores via franchising, dealership or distributorship in Brunei, Bangladesh, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Middle Eastern countries, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam.
You are also playing an important part to build Malaysia’s image as a tourist destination as we anticipate to receive at least 24.6 million tourists per year by 2010. The income from expected from tourism is expected enlarge from RM 5.19 billion to RM 59.4 billion by then. This represents a growth of 13.0% growth per annum.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Malaysia is a fortunate country because our leaders have always adopted a liberal, business conducive environment. As a result of it, industries such as yours are able to flourish. Our rising overall purchasing incomes, household expenditures, and high employment rates have helped to maintain the large domestic spending that is currently keeping the economy buoyant.
Distributive trade has been identified as one of the key industries in the services sector under the 9th Malaysia Plan. Quite rightly so because the distributive trade as a whole grew from RM 159.6 billion in 2000 to RM 205.6 billion by 2005. Shopping complexes saw an encouraging annual growth rate of 7.0% in the last five years. While franchisor businesses grew by 17.8%.
Hence, it is indeed very encouraging to see that our Prime Minister, Dato’ Seri Abdullah Badawi being committed to grow more entrepreneurs in the distributive industry. I am also in agreement that the industry should be made even more robust, more modern and to be more knowledge based. However, like all businesses, the industry must also be conducted in a manner that is professional in order to better equip ourselves to take on the challenges of new global economy. As such, I am also certain that any new initiatives for the retail trade will retain the spirit of economic liberalism in line with the current global trading framework.
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Bearing this in mind, it is crucial that MRCA also play a role to nurture more and more new players in the market place. An increased number of companies need not necessarily represent direct competition for you but a flourishing of synergistic business opportunities. As the saying goes, “ no man is an island”. Today’s competitive business environment coupled with the integration of markets and porosity of trade borders, it is essential that industry players not only learn to work with each other, but possess the ability to move laterally across industries as well. This is not limited to just the local markets but also internationally.
Due to the nature of your industry, retail sub-sector is actually most suited for these types of crossings of cultures, innovation and creativeness. With an anticipated growth rate of 6.8% per year for the overall distributive trade under the 9th Plan, the MRCA must spearhead the growth in the retailing industry by lifting the standards of operations and customer service of your industry. On top of it, to seek wider business opportunities through the formation of more joint ventures with other communities so to take advantage of the boundless market prospects that are being offered.
Here, I hope that the new office bearers of MRCA will continue to play a vital role in assisting and supporting the government’s efforts to promote Malaysia as one of the leading international shopping destination. I also hope that the Association will continue its effort in enhancing the shopping environment in Malaysia by working together with other related associations such Branding Association of Malaysia (BAM), Malaysian Franchise Association (MFA), Malaysian Retailers Association (MRA), Persatuan Pengurusan Kompleks Malaysia (PPK), Persatuan Usahawan Muda Malaysia (PUMM) and so forth.
Keep up the good work! Thank you.