Welcome address by Yang Berbahagia Tan Sri Tong Kooi Ong, chairman, The Edge Media Group

Yang Berhormat Senator Tengku Datuk Seri Utama Zafrul bin Tengku Abdul Aziz, Minister of Finance, Tan Sri-Tan Sri, Puan Sri-Puan Sri, Datuk-Datuk, Datin-Datin, Members of The Edge Billion Ringgit Club and the media, our partners, friends and colleagues.

On behalf of The Edge, I wish you all a warm welcome and thank you for joining us this evening. I wish to also express my appreciation to YB Minister for gracing us with his presence at the 2021 The Edge Billion Ringgit Club and Gala Dinner. Thank you, YB Minister.

Ladies and gentlemen,

After not having a gala dinner in conjunction with the BRC awards last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are glad to be able to have one tonight, to celebrate the success and resilience of Corporate Malaysia before 2021 comes to an end.

The past 18 months have been challenging and proved to be a true test of resilience for many businesses. The Covid-19 pandemic has adversely affected global economies, including Malaysia, as lockdown and travel restriction measures were implemented to contain the virus and reduce the infection rate.

Public fear, closure of borders and ongoing market uncertainties resulted in a drastic contraction of the economy. Companies, particularly SMEs and MSMEs, were forced to cease their business, resulting in loss of jobs and rising household debts.

With vaccination seen as the only hope for an economic recovery, the race to inoculate its population as quickly as possible became the priority for many countries, including Malaysia. The success of our vaccination programme has paved the way for an earlier reopening of the economy.

After a sluggish 2020, this is a relief for Corporate Malaysia, as we are finally seeing some signs of market recovery, albeit at a slow pace, as the economy reopens.

Ladies and gentlemen,

A robust private sector contributes to the economic development of the nation, creates jobs, increases incomes and reduces poverty.

It is to this end that The Edge initiated the Billion Ringgit Club awards in 2010 to honour the best and the biggest of Corporate Malaysia. Our objective is to encourage Malaysian companies to be more successful and competitive, to grow, to invest, to create jobs and at the same time to be socially responsible.

Like all other The Edge awards, we take pride in ensuring that the BRC award methodology and evaluation criteria are transparent and independently audited.

I think it is important that awards given have genuine merits and companies are rightly honoured. In law, we say “justice must not only be done, but must be seen to be done”. I think companies winning the awards must truly be deserving and generally acknowledged to be so by their peers. This is the reason that our awards, which measure performance over a three-year period, are coveted by Corporate Malaysia.

Tonight, a total of 55 awards will be presented to 43 companies, encompassing various categories. There are repeat winners as well as new ones. My congratulations to all of you for your outstanding performance in your respective sector as well as your focus on Corporate Responsibility initiatives.

Here, I must add that Corporate Malaysia rose to the occasion when The Edge started a campaign to raise money to support our hospitals and healthcare workers when the pandemic hit last year. Within three months, we raised RM25.8 million to buy equipment for our hospitals and to provide financial support to healthcare workers infected by the virus while treating Covid-19 patients.

Well done, Corporate Malaysia, and also to the many individuals who donated.

Before I end, I wish to thank financial advisory website, Absolutelystocks, for tabulating the financial performance data obtained from annual reports; Deloitte for verifying the computation; and our panel of judges for the corporate responsibility component.

A big thank you to our partners for tonight — Main Sponsor, OCBC Bank; Official Car, Mercedes Benz; and Supporting Sponsor, Cortina Watch. Congratulations once again to everyone and may you have an enjoyable evening celebrating your achievements.