(Kuala Lumpur)The US-ASEAN Business Council held a gala dinner celebrating the culmination of its 25 th anniversary year of advancing the business relationship between the United States and ASEAN. The Council presented an award honoring Malaysia for its leadership and vision in transforming its economy and creating and strengthening ties between the US and Malaysia, creating innovative programs such as the New Economic Model, and creating a robust environment for economic growth. The event also honored ASEAN “Rising Stars”, outstanding young individuals chosen by Council member companies as representative of those most likely to be vital figures in the future of the U.S.-ASEAN business relationship.
“ASEAN has grown from a bystander on the world stage to a vital economic power and participant in world forums like the G20,” said Muhtar Kent, US-ASEAN Business Council Chairman and Chairman and CEO of the Coca-Cola Company. “Those of us who have supported the US-ASEAN Business Council throughout its first 25 years are proud of having some small part in the story of ASEAN’s growth and progress.”
“The Council has helped ASEAN-US trade grow nearly seven-fold during our 25 years,” said Council President Alexander Feldman. “ASEAN may not yet be a household name in the U.S., but it is far and away the top destination in Asia for U.S. Foreign Direct Investment, surpassing China by three times and India by nearly ten. U.S. investment will continue to grow as ASEAN moves closer to regional integration. We look forward to working with strong, visionary partners like Malaysia to continue to strengthen our relationship and grow trade and investment on both sides of the Pacific.”
The Council began its 25th anniversary year last November with a dinner in Washington celebrating the growth of the US-ASEAN relationship during the Council’s tenure. H.E. Lee Kuan Yew , Singapore’s Minister Mentor and first Prime Minister, was presented with the First Council Lifetime Achievement Award. In April, the Council hosted major events in honor of Malaysian Prime Minister Najib and another in honor of Vietnam Prime Minister Dung during their visits to Washington. In September, The Council was honored to host the ASEAN Leaders for breakfast before their historic second summit with President Obama this September in New York.
As a capstone to the year, the Council looked to the future and presented an award to Malaysia in recognition of the outstanding efforts made to transform the national economy and create a vibrant business environment. The award was accepted on behalf of Prime Minister Najib by Tan Sri Dato' Nor Mohamed Yakcop, Minister to the Prime Minister.
“Just recently, Malaysia announced its intention to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership. This participation will be critical to the development of a future Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific. These and many other actions have helped create a strong foundation for sustainable growth in this vibrant nation,” said Muhtar Kent. “And this is exactly why The Coca-Cola Company has announced investments in Malaysia totaling nearly $300 million dollars.”
Council members showed great enthusiasm for exploring business opportunities in Malaysia this week during a business mission to Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya. Executives of 15 member companies, led by the Chair of the Council’s Malaysia Committee Joseph Alhadeff of Oracle, along with Vice-Chairs Mark Wheeler of ConocoPhillips and Stuart Dean of General Electric, explored further possibilities for investment in Malaysia. The delegation met with members of the Malaysian government including the Minister of Energy Dato' Sri Peter Chin, the Director General of the Economic Planning Unit Dato' Noriyah Ahmad, Chief Secretary of the Government Tan Sri Sidek Hassan, and Bank Negara Governor Tan Sri Dr. Zeti Aziz, as well as U.S. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton.
In addition to the award given to Malaysia, Council members nominated “Rising Stars” from across ASEAN to be honored during the dinner. Those designated as “Rising Stars” represent the next generation of leaders in the US-ASEAN Business Relationship.
Rising Stars included:
ASEAN: Jesse Price of Kraft Foods
From Cambodia: Hor Serey Vath of the Ministry of Commerce
From Indonesia: David Hutagalung of General Electric, Tigor Siahaan of Citi, Desy Unidjadja of bp, Clementino Lamury of Freeport
From Laos: Mai Sayavongs of the Embassy of the Lao PDR in Washington
From Malaysia: Agustinus Gunadharma of the Coca-Cola Company, Evarine Low of ACE Insurance, Norasmi Bin Yussof of Motorola, Suryani Md Hanipah of Microsoft, Jo Huang Yee Keng of WPP, Yeong Kit Yee of Dell, Emil Bahari of Phillip Morris
From Singapore: Libby Lee and Jeffrey Salleh of Oracle, Shiumei Lin of UPS, Linda Lim of Dow Chemical, Kumaran Vadivelu-Pechai of GlaxoSmithKline, Dirk-Peter van Leeuwen of Red Hat,
From the Philippines: Quintin Pastrana of Chevron, Hans Bayaborda of Oracle
From Thailand: Rupinder Malik of Baker & McKenzie, Fuadi Pitsuwan of The Cohen Group, Adichai Srithanyarat of Chevron
From Vietnam: Michelle Le of Procter & Gamble
The Council’s dinner was sponsored by member companies including The Coca-Cola Company, Oracle, ConocoPhillips, General Electric, ExxonMobil, Murphy Oil Corporation, ACE Group, IBM, Motorola, and Procter & Gamble. Additional support was provided by MIDA.