Yang Berhormat Dato’ Sri Mustapa Mohamed, Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI), APO Governing Body Chairman Mr. Kazuo Sunaga, Asian Productivity Organization (APO) Secretary-General Shigeo Takenaka, Tan Sri-Tan Sri/Dato-Dato’,
Ladies and Gentlemen:
Assalamualaikum, salam Sejahtera, and a very good afternoon. On behalf of APO Director for Malaysia Yang Berbahagia Tan Sri Azman Hashim, I would like extend a warm welcome to all our international guests to Malaysia. Our appreciation goes to our Minister of International Trade and Industry, Yang Berhormat Dato’ Sri Mustapha Mohamed, for gracing this occasion with his presence despite his busy schedule.
I am also pleased to welcome all APO Directors and their advisers from 19 member countries, observers from various national agencies and international organizations, APO Secretariat staff, and Heads of National Productivity Organizations (NPOs) who are present this morning. The MPC is honored to host the 52nd Session of the APO Governing Body from today until 22 April 2010.
Among the objectives of this GBM, we will elect the new APO chair and vice chairs, receive the Secretary-General’s report and the auditor’s financial report, formulate the direction for programs in the ensuing fiscal year, and approve the budget and our financial guidelines. Some important agenda items for the 2010 GBM in Kuala Lumpur include determining the total APO membership contributions for the 2011−2012 biennium and electing a new APO Secretary-General, who will assume the position in September this year.
This meeting will also act as an avenue for exchanging views and ideas on regional productivity issues at the highest level. The APO has made significant contributions to increasing opportunities for cooperation and greater socioeconomic development in the Asia-Pacific region in the areas of productivity and quality enhancement, environmental protection, community development, and public-sector productivity. The APO has likewise provided avenues to link not only member countries but also nonmember countries and other international organizations. These have all been made possible by the tireless efforts of the APO Secretariat, headed by the Secretary-General and supported by the NPOs.
Not merely satisfied with past achievements, the APO Secretariat has gone through a physical and organizational restructuring to attain greater efficiency and effectiveness in its operations. Innovations in the delivery of programs and projects have also been introduced to optimize the benefits for all participating countries. Such innovations include e-learning courses and national programs that address the particular needs of member countries. I believe that with the full participation and continued cooperation of the Heads of NPOs, specific directions will be generated in this GBM, thereby enabling member countries to position themselves to face bigger challenges and contribute to inclusive growth in the region.
The APO has made significant progress in Asia, and a notable contribution has been the strengthening of the focus of NPOs on human capital development as the key component in nurturing productivity, competitiveness, creativity, and innovation. Malaysia actively supports all training courses, playing a role to contribute through its hosting and participation in APOprojects. In 2009, a total of 148 Malaysian participants attended 60 APO projects at various NPOs. In line with this, the MPC also hosted several projects for various member countries, five of which were training courses and three Bilateral Cooperation Study Missions between NPOs, involving 113 international participants.
To strengthen linkages among participants, we publish the MPC International e-Newsletter to share best practices learned in APO projects held in Malaysia. You can find a copy of the newsletter in your folder for reference. To create a multiplier effect for productivity initiatives to cascade at a faster rate, five e-learning courses were held in 2009, involving 89 local participants from various agencies and industries. To continue to enhance productivity, competitiveness, creativity, and innovation among NPOs, Malaysian technical experts have been deputed to countries like IR Iran, Fiji, South Africa, and Vietnam.
Our Honorable Prime Minister, YAB Dato Sri’ Mohd. Najib Tun Abdul Razak, said, “The government will transform Malaysia through a comprehensive innovation process, comprising innovation in public- and private-sector governance, societal innovation, urban innovation, rural innovation, education innovation, healthcare innovation, transport innovation, social safety net innovation, and branding innovation.” This is testimony that the Malaysian government is committed and serious in undertaking total innovation to elevate Malaysia to a more advanced economic status.
In line with the above aspirations to transform Malaysia into a “One United, Innovative Malaysia,” the MPC, an agency under MITI, has made significant progress and become a full-fledged productivity, innovation, and competitiveness organization with international linkages. This is duly reflected in the MPC’s new corporate slogan of “Transformation, Innovation, Partnership” that signifies its expanding scope, in tandem with the government’s aspiration to transform the nation into a high-income economy. The MPC emphasizes process and social innovation to strengthen a culture that will lead to business innovation and excellence.
Among efforts to transform businesses, the MPC implements the Business Excellence Framework, Innovation and Excellence Development Programs, Innovation and Excellence Audit, and Certifications and Model Companies. To provide value-added information and enhanced outreach, the MPC embarked on a series of publications and case studies with the establishment of its Publication House and Case Study Clearing House.
I would like to express my sincere respect and appreciation to the APO Secretary-General Shigeo Takenaka for his transformational leadership and reforms that have successfully moved APO to a higher level. During his term, he has brought change to the APO, and this includes the Secretariat Reform Plan, efforts to balance administrative and project costs, and continuing efforts to improve APO programs. Let us give him a round of applause.
I am sure this three-day meeting will bring about fresh and innovative ideas for the betterment of the APO and its members. I hope that all of you will take some time after the meeting to enjoy the beauty and various attractions of Kuala Lumpur. I wish all of you a pleasant and enjoyable stay in Malaysia.