Welcoming Speech by the Hon. Tun Musa Hitam, Chairman, WIEF Foundation


Jul  13th

13 JULY 2017

I would like to welcome and to thank all members of the media for being present at the Press Conference here this morning.

On behalf of the WIEF Foundation, I am happy to officially announce that the 13th WIEF will be held in Kuching, Sarawak at the Borneo Convention Centre on 21-23 November 2017.

This is the second time that Malaysia will be hosting the Forum outside Kuala Lumpur, the first being the 8th WIEF in Johor Bharu in 2012.

We are honoured that the State Government of Sarawak, with the full support of the Federal Government, will be hosting the Forum.

Sarawak is certainly well placed to host the Forum, given the facilities and attractions available in the State and the commitment placed by the State Government to ensure its success.

We are grateful for the support given by the Sarawak State Government as represented here today by the Deputy Chief Minister, Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan, and the relevant Senior Officials present.

I am sure Datuk Amar Awang Tengah will have more to say about the significance of the holding of the Forum in Sarawak and what the State Government expects to see in hosting the Forum in Kuching.

We just had a very good and useful inaugural Coordinating Meeting to prepare for the Forum.

I must say that preparations for the Forum are moving ahead very well in all aspects with both the WIEF Secretariat and the State Government working very hard at the working level to ensure a meaningful outcome beneficial to all participants.

We are preserving the overall structure of the Forum at the 13th WIEF so as to ensure wide and diversified participation at the Forum.

All the major components – Panel Discussions, Masterclasses, Exhibition, Business Exchange, IdeaPad, Complementary Programmes, Business Networking Breakfast, are retained together with a new Session introduced for the first time this year called Initiative Room.

The Initiative Room is intended to get a small group of participants to discuss specific issues with the objective of coming out with recommendations that could be incorporated into the WIEF Kuching Statement at the end of the Forum.

We expect some 2000 participants to attend the Forum this year in Kuching, including several Leaders who have indicated their positive response to the invitations extended by our Prime Minister, who is also the Patron of the WIEF Foundation.

These Leaders will be in addition to our own Prime Minister, the Chief Minister of Sarawak and the IDB President – Dr. Bandar M. H. Hajjar, who have all confirmed their attendance and who will speak at the Opening Session of the Forum.

Considering the current global trends, we have chosen “Disruptive Change: Impact and Challenges” as the theme of the 13th WIEF.

Based on the above theme, specific focus will be given to discussions relating to Disruptive Science, Technology and Innovation, Halal Consumables and Services, Islamic Finance and Law, Arts, Culture and Design as well as Entrepreneurship and Emerging Spaces.

We believe that every nation, every business and every community has something to share in facing the rapid pace of global disruption which comes in many forms – from opportunities offered by new technologies and new partnerships, to threats of rising economic and political uncertainties.

Our basic objective is to open up conversations between nations, driving common business agendas forward and bringing true value and impact to communities across the globe.

In short, the Kuching Forum, against the backdrop of the theme, will hopefully provide an inclusive platform:

  • to promote regional cooperation, especially within ASEAN,
  • to drive business opportunities especially those involving SMEs and startups and,
  • to bring about a positive impact on communities.

Sarawak has been at the forefront in championing the impact and challenges of disrupting change including putting together a plan to turn the State into a cyber powerhouse. A Development Bank of Sarawak has also been set up to move the State ahead towards the digital economy. And there are plans to establish a Digital Village and an E-Commerce transformation Plan to 2030.

On the heels of this bright outlook, the holding of the 13th WIEF in Kuching couldn’t be more crucial as Sarawak forges ahead in its mission of driving continuous growth with the potential to impact not only Malaysia but also the neighbouring countries in the region.

Thank you and I will be happy to take questions together with Datuk Amar Awang Tengah after his brief remarks.