Confucius Institute at SEGi University, a non-profit educational body that promotes Chinese language and cultural exchanges, organised the 3rd Belt & Road (BRI) Forum to commemorate the 45 Years of Malaysia-China diplomatic relations today.

The event was jointly launched by Mr. Yu Jun, Political Affairs Counsellor of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Malaysia and Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz, Senior Independent Non-Executive Chairperson and Director, AirAsia X Bhd who also delivered a keynote address titled ‘The Impact of the Belt & Road Initiative on Malaysia-China Diplomatic Relations’ that provided a perspective on BRI advantages and how it impacted critical business decisions in various fields. Tan Sri Rafidah also shared high-impact possibilities and practices that helped revolutionise the way we do business.

The forum has been a significant event in the SEGi calendar particularly in establishing partnerships with Chinese enterprises in fuelling and sustaining a strong cultural and trade exchange in education, training and career opportunities for Malaysians.

The University finds it crucial to establish such industry partnerships to enhance its portfolio and nurture future talents with the right skills and knowledge that will not only meet industry needs but also encourage them to actively contribute to the social, cultural and economic growth of Malaysia, China and other participating Belt and Road nations.

Such industry partnerships was materialised at today’s forum with the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between SEGi University and two Chinese enterprises, Yonyou Malaysia and Vivo Malaysia, that are now enlisted as SEGi’s Valued Corporate Partners.

The partnerships will not only strengthen industry standards and raise the bar on industry-driven curriculum, but it also presents a window opportunity for research collaborations and new market ventures apart from enhancing employ-ability and marketability for graduates.

The bilateral ties between Malaysia and China has played a primary role in improving the country’s social and economic growth especially in terms of employment, tourism, infrastructure, property, retail, financial and trade networking since 1974.

From iconic properties and technology-intensive goods to world-class rails and education investment, China has been instrumental in transforming and growing the business landscape as well as economic, financial and geopolitics impact in the country.

“Malaysia has seen tremendous growth in outward direct investments (ODIs) from China. Partnerships between the two countries have grown in the areas of infrastructure building, energy, and information technology, as well as the new growth areas such as tourism, food and beverages, hotel, recreation, education and healthcare,” said Professor Dr. Patrick Kee, Vice Chancellor, SEGi University.

“The volume of bilateral trade has reached US$100bil, with China being the biggest trading partner for Malaysia for 10 consecutive years. Chinese foreign direct investments (FDI) in the manufacturing sector in Malaysia has grown more than four times, from US$0.92bil in 2013 to US$4.75bil in 2018. Chinese companies had also invested in 422 projects in the manufacturing sector, creating about 73,000 jobs in Malaysia,” said Professor Kee.

The one-day forum also dived into the topic of human capital development through an insightful panel session that analysed how the Belt and Road initiative impacted the local workforce and helped develop a competitive workforce while pushing for excellence. Participants also got a peek into the Chinese corporate culture through the eyes of industry professionals such as Professor Dato’ Dr. Chua Hock Hoo, Founder of Cheng & Co; Chong Khai Siang, Business Development Director of Austin Heights Sdn Bhd and Ir. Dr. Wang Hong Kok, Vice President, IEM.

In addition to exhibitions by Confucius Institute and forum collaborative partners such as The Institution of Engineers Malaysia and Institute of Marketing Malaysia, China Southern Airlines, Yonyou Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Vivo Malaysia, Shang Shu Yuan Publishing House and SEGi University, participants and students also benefitted tremendously from special talk by philanthropist entrepreneur and motivator Tan Sri Dato’ Paduka Dr. Fng Ah Seng, Founder and Managing Director of Epic Valley Holdings Sdn Bhd.

The forum which was held at SEGi University Kota Damansara was supported by The Institution of Engineers Malaysia and Institute of Marketing Malaysia and attended by over 250 local and international participants.