Wednesday, 11 March 2015

MPC's Good Regulatory Practices Conference, 10-11 March 2015, The Westin, KL

The Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI), with the aid of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation Development (OECD), the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) and support from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office of the United Kingdom, organised a conference on 'Good Regulatory Practices'. The main theme of the conference was 'Regulatory Coherence for Regional Connectivity and Global Competitiveness'. On the ground, taking responsibility for the management, operations and logistics for the conference is the Malaysian Productivity Corporation (MPC), a statutory body under MITI.

The VVIP officiating the event was the MITI's minister, Y.B. Dato' Sri Mustapa Mohamed. The honourable minister provided words of encouragement and reflected on how Malaysia has progressed under it 'transformation plan'. Joining the minister on stage for the opening ceremony were Y Bhg. Tan Sri Dr. Ali Hamsa, Chief Secretary to the Government of Malaysia, and Mr. Rolf Alter, Director Public Governance and Territorial Development Directorate, OECD. Also present were VVIPs Datuk Rebecca Fatima Sta Maria, Secretary General of MITI and Dato' Razali Hussain, Director General of MPC.

The conference was divided into sessions for different themes. The main events were held in the Grand Ballroom of The Westin, Kuala Lumpur, whilst the remaining breakout session were in the Malaya 1 and Malaya 2 Rooms.

Participants of the conference were from very diverse backgrounds, for example, there were 10 ASEAN Member States (AMS), 10 OECD countries, the ASEAN Secretariat, 5 regional/international organisations (ADB, World Bank, ERIA), 5 regional/international business associations (ABAC, ASEAN Business Council, OECD BIAC, OECD TUAC), the OECD Secretariat, the OECD GRP experts and leading Malaysian officials. According to MPC, 'the Conference intends to target a mix of senior officials from AMS and OECD Member Countries responsible for overseeing and implementing GRP. Officials may come from the center of government, ministry of economy/finance, ministry of industry/business, ministry of law/justice or ministry of public administration, in accordance with the delegation for GRP in individual countries. In addition, a number of regional and international organisations with work programmes linked to regulatory reform will be invited to participate'.

MITRANS was invited to attend the conference because of its work with the Ministry of Transport in refining Malaysia's regulatory system for transport and logistics, as well as its role in the ASEAN Transport Facilitation Working Group (TFWG). Representing MITRANS at the conference were Dr Harlina Suzana Jaafar (Deputy Director of MITRANS), yours truly and three doctoral researchers: Ain Ibrahim, Anas Apandi and Noor Nadia. The research of all these three Ph.D candidates touched on various aspects of Malaysia's regulatory and institutional framework for conventional and halal supply chains.

Here are some scenes at the conference:

If you have reached this far reading this blog, here is a special shot: Yours truly with Dato' Razali Hussain, Director General of MPC.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

ASEAN - Japan Expert Group Meeting on Green Logistics, 5 March 2015,Renaissance Hotel, KL

The meeting was jointly chaired by both Japan and Malaysia. The Chairman from Japan was Mr Hitoshi Uchiyam, Director for International Cooperation Planning, whilst the co-chait from Malaysia was Tuan Mustapha Zainuddin, 'Ketua Bahagian Darat dan Logistik'. After short opening remarks from both chairpersons, the meeting began with each ASEAN member states making presentations as to the state of green logistics in their individual nations.

When it came to Malaysia's turn, there was a report from both the Ministry of Transport and also another from MITRANS. Prof Ir Dr Ruslan. Known as Malaysia's 'green guru', Prof Ruslan gave a run down of the various research projects under his care at MITRANS. For the uninitiated, MITRANS has a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with GreenTech Malaysia (a wholly owned company by the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water). Under this MOU, MITRANS conducts various green technology related research on behalf of the Malaysian Government.

After a tea-break, Japan presented the first half of its local green logistics plans as well as its intention for collaboration with ASEAN. This presentation, plus a discussion session as well as Q & A (Question and Answer) took place after the lunch break. During the afternoon session, participants were also treated to a presentation by Mr Masaru Hojo, the Deputy Director of Logistics Environmental Management Centre, Japan Institute of Logistics Systems.

The meeting ended at 5 pm. For the team at MITRANS, it was back to Shah Alam in the MPV through the usual traffic jam in KL.

The Co-Chairs.

The exchange of souvenirs.

The obligatory group photo.

Glyn James of Cardiff University Visits MITRANS, 3 March 2015

As part of the letter of understanding signed between MITRANS / UiTM and Cardiff University, Mr Glyn James dropped by for a talk on 'Postgraduate Opportunities in Logistics Available at Cardiff University'. It is great to have Glyn here again and the last time when he was in Malaysia, we arranged for him to speak to the undergraduates at Puncak Alam. This time, his session was with students in the main campus at Shah Alam, consisting mainly of postgraduates.

It is an honour hosting a member of staff from Yours Truly's alma mater and former place of employment. In the recent Research Excellence Framework 2014 exercise, Cardiff was ranked 5th in the UK, placing it in the Ivy League together with universities such as Cambridge, Oxford and London. Previously, Cardiff Business School (CARBS) was ranked in the top 5 for many years, but it is good news that the rest of the university has now caught up with the research excellence at CARBS. For the uninitiated, the famous Logistics Operations and Management Department (previously Maritime Studies and International Transport) is a division of CARBS and is a world leading school on transport and logistics research.

Not long ago, MITRANS / UiTM signed a letter of understanding (LOU) with Cardiff University. If all goes well under the LOU, we look forward to working officially with Cardiff University under the terms of an MOU which will be signed in the future.

Logistics Sharing Session at MPC's HQ, PJ, 3 March 2015

The Malaysian Productivity Corporation (MPC) organised a session for its staff and industry stakeholders to get a better perspective on the logistics problems in Malaysia. Mr Kenneth Tiong was the lead facilitator and shared his considerable knowledge from various industry viewpoints. If the good support continues, these sessions will become a regular feature at MPC. MITRANS was also asked to contribute in future sessions, especially its knowledge on the National Logistics Index (NLI). Thanks to MPC for making this useful session a reality and for being such gracious hosts.

For fans of this blog, if you have reached this far, here is a candid shot for you. It is yours truly and Tuan Zahid Ismail, Director of Smart Regulation at MPC. This 'wifie' has not been photoshopped! ;)

National Transport Blueprint Meeting at MOT, Putrajaya, 2 March 2015

This meeting was the first step in brain storming ideas for a way ahead in the formulation of a logistics blueprint for Malaysia. Y Bhg Datuk Ruhaizah Mohamed Rashid, TKSU (Bahagian Dasar) chaired the meeting, and also present was YBhg. Dato' Rohaini Binti Mohd Yusof, Ketua Bahagian Dasar. Others attending included Dr Harlina Suzana Jaafar (Deputy Director of Halal Supply Chain at MITRANS) and representatives from SUTRA, a transport research organisation from Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM). A workshop for developing the details of the blueprint will be held in due course.

Monday, 2 March 2015

Postgraduate Review and Briefing Session, MITRANS / iLearn Main Meeting Room, 2 March 2015

At the start of every semester, MITRANS organises a special session for its postgraduates. Traditionally, the session begins with a motivational speech by Prof Saadiah Yahya (Director of MITRANS). This semester, the learned professor encouraged postgraduates to target graduating within the terms set in the study plan, i.e. graduating on time. This means finishing the M.Sc with three semesters and a Ph.D within six semesters.

The second part of the session was conducted by Assoc Prof Dr Sariwati. She reminded all postgraduates about the necessary procedures that they would have to comply with during the course of their research for this particular semester. Specific advice was given to both M.Sc and Ph.D candidates on what to do and what not to do. In particular, postgrads were reminded to check their mode of study and also the semester in which they are in.

Postgraduates who have not yet defended their proposals, were reminded to attend the Research Methodology course conducted by the Institute of Graduate Studies (IGS). The certificate of attendance issued by IGS for this course is a pre-condition to a proposal defence. Without successfully defending a proposal, a postgraduate will not be allowed to carry on with the planned research.

Postgraduates were also reminded of the importance of presenting their progress at the postgraduate colloquium which is held every semester. Dates for the colloquium are given well in advance every semester (i.e. at least three months prior to the date of the colloquium). Therefore, postgraduates should not be able to use work commitments as an excuse not to attend the colloquium. Arrangements with employers can be made well in advance of the set date.

Dr Sariwati also gave useful tips on how to cut down the waiting time prior to submitting the thesis and also what to do during a viva. She also provided updates on the latest deliberations of upper management on the viva voce process. There was also a reminder to stick to all the deadlines post-viva so as to prevent difficulties arising for the management at MITRANS.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

MITRANS @ EPU's Logistics Profiling Workshop, Marriott Putrajaya, 26February 2015

The Economic Planning Unit (EPU) in the Prime Minister's Department commissioned a study to profile Malaysia's logistic's industry. Readers of our blog know that MITRANS has proceeded on a similar project for the last couple of years, following strictly the academic rigours required of publishable research. This workshop would be a good opportunity to see how consultants approach this problem and whether the methodology adopted would stand up to the usual high standards of peer review. The title of the workshop, 'Profiling of Malaysia's Logistics Industry: Methodology and Analysis' accurately described the contents of the sessions which started with a briefing / presentation in the morning, followed by a more interactive feedback session in the afternoon.

Two MITRANS postgraduates, Azlan and Bakhriah, also attended the workshop. Azlan's area of research is Logistics profiling and he has almost completed the final write up of his M.Sc thesis. Bakhriah just completed her M.Sc thesis on The National Single Window and Trade Facilitation. She has just registered for her Ph.D which will focus on Trade Facilitation in the Halal Supply Chain in ASEAN.