Yang Berhormat Tengku Datuk Seri Utama Zafrul bin Tengku Abdul Aziz, Minister of Finance Malaysia, Tan Sri-Tan Sri, Puan Sri-Puan Sri, Datuk Seri-Datuk Seri, Datin Seri-Datin Seri, Datuk-Datuk, Datin-Datin, members of the 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 am also thankful to YB Tengku Zafrul for gracing us with his presence tonight, just as he did last year. More so, as I am sure he has a very busy schedule with the upcoming general election. Thank you.

Ladies and gentlemen, partners and friends,

This is the 13th annual edition of this award, which first started in 2010. Perhaps as I age, I find myself more often reminiscing about the past. Why was this award created in the first place and what exactly did we wish to achieve and for whom? There is certainly no shortage of recognition awards in the corporate world.

The aim of economic activities is to serve the well-being of the people. This often involves organising people and resources into business entities to produce goods and services and, with it, also create employment.

In my inaugural speech in 2010, I mentioned, “The economic performance of a nation is best accomplished by allowing the private sector to operate freely and competitively. It will translate to higher incomes and attract valuable human capital. This involves creating an environment where innovation, creativity, good decisions, hard work and success are rewarded.”

As all of us here today appreciate that the recognition of one’s achievement and contribution is an important part of this process, to bring out the best in each of us, to encourage businesses to strive for greater success in serving all of their stakeholders. But it works only if the awards given are based on genuine merit. Companies and individuals that win the awards must truly be deserving and critically acknowledged to be so by their peers. We live, increasingly, in a “post-truth” era, where people are rightly sceptical and cynical.

As leaders, it would be a mistake to dismiss such “group think echo chambers”. What is right and necessary is to win trust by being credible, factual and thoughtful. And this has always been the mission of The Edge.

It is the reason our awards methodology and evaluation criteria are transparent, verifiable and independently audited. It is also the reason our awards are multi-­dimensional, for returns to shareholders, profitability and ROE as pulling together a composite number will lose transparency.

As we evolve, I hope the BRC awards will also begin to factor in “sustainability”, not just environmental but also business sustainability, and address the challenges of “captive capitalism” from “rent-seeking and non-competitive” behaviours. After all, society has every right to expect that companies extracting limited resources have an obligation to society beyond profits for their shareholders.

It is therefore our hope that these awards will bring out the best in each and every Malaysian company and its management.

I am sure all the award winners tonight, including the CEO and the Company of the Year, are imbued with these values. I would like to congratulate all of you.

Tonight’s event is made possible by the contributions of many. In particular, our appreciation to OCBC Bank (Malaysia), the event’s main sponsor from its very inception. Thank you very much.

Thanks also to our supporting sponsor Cartier by Cortina Malaysia and to Mercedes-Benz, the official car.

Thank you again, YB Tengku Zafrul, for spending your valuable time with us.

And to all of you for your attendance and support, and please enjoy the evening. God bless.