Australian Alumni a Conduit for Trade and Investment in Asia

2016-11-04 14:47 1665

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia, Nov. 4, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Education has always been a key component of the bilateral business and investment narrative between Australia and Malaysia. The export of educational services from Australia to Malaysia has evolved to the point that several leading universities have now invested into Malaysia with the establishment of campuses in various parts of the country. Now Australian companies are looking to set up regional operations in Malaysia to cater to the growing demand for vocational training and high end skills training.

Leigh Howard, Australian Business Asia Chairman joined by Ms. Pat Yeoh, Chairman of the Malaysia Australia Alumni Council
Leigh Howard, Australian Business Asia Chairman joined by Ms. Pat Yeoh, Chairman of the Malaysia Australia Alumni Council

Australian graduates too are set to increase their impact on the Malaysian market as the demand for talent increases as Malaysia and the region look to move up the economic ladder. These aspects of the Malaysia-Australia relationship will be a key area of discussion during the upcoming Australia Business Asia regional conference TRADING UP "Accessing Business Opportunities in Asia" this November.

Speaking to the media the Chairman of Australian Business Asia, Leigh Howard stated, "I would like to see more Australian Alumni at the ABA regional conference, the relationships that are forged while studying can last a life time, relationships make all the difference when developing business and we need to leverage off these linkages to grow business in the region.

"More importantly, Australian Alumni can be a conduit for trade and investment in Asia, Australian companies need to develop strategies for regional expansion that include Australian Alumni."

The Australian Business Asia, a regional gathering which is designed to addressing the evolving business dynamic between Asia and Australia has become increasingly important as the businesses looks to compete for increased market share. 

Mr. Howard continued, "The Australian government has committed AUD100 million over the next five years to the New Colombo Plan. As the centrepiece of the Australian Government's education engagement, it aims to lift knowledge of the Indo Pacific in Australia by supporting Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the region."

"More importantly, only with a highly skilled workforce can the desire of increased regional integration under various multilateral agreements become a reality. If it is implemented properly, the further deepening of the services sector integration through ongoing liberalization coupled with mobility of skilled labour will allow countries in the region to compete globally in the service sector in a completely different way, education is key enabler of this goal," continued Mr. Howard who is also the Chairman of the Malaysia Australia Business Council.  

Australian expertise in education and training is highly regarded in Malaysia and education has always been a key component of the bilateral business and investment narrative between Australia and Malaysia. In 2015, Malaysia ranked third as a source country for international students in higher education in Australia and fifth overall across all sectors.

Malaysian-Australian alumni are estimated to number over 300,000. The Malaysian Australian Alumni Council (MAAC) the national organisation for Malaysian alumni associations of Australian universities and other institutions of higher learning has strived to raise the profile of this group.

"Part of the strategic vision of The MAAC which was officially formed in November 1999, is to be a prestigious, influential and respectable national organisation of Malaysia alumni associations of Australian universities and institutions of higher learning," stated Ms. Pat PW Yeoh, President of the Malaysian Australian Alumni Council.

"The Malaysian Australian Alumni Council spearheads the Malaysia Australia Colombo Plan Commemoration (MACC) Scholarship initiative, which provides for a two-way exchange of scholars between Australia and Malaysia and our role has evolved further with the launch of the New Colombo Plan as this has helped develop the education between the two countries further. This will not only aim to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific in Australia but also strengthen people-to-people and institutional relationships and balance the two way flow of students between the two countries.

"We will continue to promote and foster bilateral relations between universities and institutions of higher learning, alumni associations, graduates and other relevant entities of Malaysia and Australia, in the areas of education, culture, commerce, industry, investment, scientific research, and training.

"Australian Alumni are playing a leading role in the development of the country, the education experience that Australia arms them with are now in demand from employers who are looking for the next level of talent to build stronger corporations in Malaysia to compete across the region. Malaysian graduates from Australia are set to increase their impact on the Malaysian market," concluded Ms. Yeoh, who is also the Managing Director of PM Resources Sdn Bhd, a leading Human Resource outsourcing company in Malaysia.

Kate Harden who is the CEO of the International Alumni Job Network, CEO Kate Harden echoed these statements when she said "Asia's top employers are looking for innovation, flexibility, critical thinking and a global perspective.

"After years of working in HR in Asia, I had faced time after time with the challenge of finding talent with the best mix of local and international knowledge. This was one of the driving forces behind starting the Australian Alumni Job Network, which inspired the International Alumni Job Network.

"As the region continues to face unprecedented economic growth, internationally qualified employees provide the bridge to this exciting new era, as Asia, SE Asia in particular, not only competes on a global scale but becomes a force to be reckoned with," concluded Ms. Harden who is also one of the speakers at this year's conference.

Joining the conference will be delegations from the 17 AustCham from around Asia and delegations from Australia looking for investment opportunities, business partners, distributers, agents and new market opportunities in Malaysia and around the region.

"Australian Business Asia has put together a host of international speakers who have practical experience driving business in Asia, this not only represents an excellent opportunity to learn for industry leaders but to network and engage directly with them, after the conference delegates will be able to enjoy a performance from Kate Cerebano at our gala dinner," concluded Leigh Howard who is also the Chairman of the Malaysia Australia Business Council.  

The keynote speaker YB Dato' Sri Mustapa Mohamed, Minister of Trade & Industry, Malaysia who is an Australian Alumni himself, will be joined by a host of speakers including; Benyamin Ismail, Chief Executive Officer of AirAsia X Berhad, Derek Kidley, Chief Executive Officer of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Consulting, South East Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Stuart Mendel, Managing Director of Tun Razak Exchange Lifestyle Quarter, Lendlease and Jonathan Yabut, The Apprentice Asia Winner.

The Australian Business Asia regional conference TRADING UP "Accessing Opportunities for Business in Asia" gets underway in Kuala Lumpur on the 9th of November with a welcome reception followed by two days of conference, industry workshops, business matching and site visits. The delegate fees for attending the conference are AUD330/MYR990 and conference plus gala dinner with Kate Ceberano AUD430/MYR1,300 only. To sign up for the conference visit

The joint media statement was issued following the media lunch hosted at the newly opened Oakwood Hotel & Residence Kuala Lumpur which was attended by over 25 members of the media.


Ms. Farra Alia
Media Relations 
Australia Business Asia & MABC Secretariat:
C-26-3A, 3 Two Square, No 2 Jalan 19/1, 46300 Petaling Jaya, Selangor Darul Ehsan
Tel (603) 7960 9490 Fax (603) 7960 9489, Email:  

Conference website:, website:

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Source: Australian Business Asia