In the second part of the iNNOVATE Tech Show Supporting Partners interview series, we interviewed InvestKL Chief Executive Officer, Muhammad Azmi Zulkifli.

1. The 12th Malaysia Plan stated that there is a focus on ensuring growth in several strategic and high-impact activities. What is InvestKL’s role? How does the agency support this plan?

InvestKL is the investment promotion agency for Greater Kuala Lumpur (GKL) under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry. Guided by the National Investment Aspiration (NIA) framework, InvestKL is focused to attract and facilitate the establishment of global services hubs by the world’s leading companies.

Muhammad Azmi Zulkifli, CEO, InvestKL

As a partner in early project implementation to post-investment services, InvestKL aims to complement Malaysia’s plans towards a technology-driven green nation through quality investments, transfer of knowledge, and creation of high-skilled executive jobs for Malaysians.

We align to the 12th Malaysia Plan by attracting high value, high-impact and high-tech investment, especially in global services which is one of the 8 strategies and high impact industries for the 12th Malaysia Plan.

This type of investments is aligned with National Investment Aspiration (NIA), which focuses in increasing economic complexity, creating high value jobs, develop industries clusters, extend domestic linkages, increase inclusivity, and enhance ESG practices. This will bring balance to the economic development and environmental sustainability.

2. The world is moving towards driverless transportation to intelligent containers, smart warehousing, smart ports, smart shelves to the human and information exchange in all possible logistical chains and contexts. What trends and opportunities do you see for Greater KL in the next 5 years?

GKL has a thriving and vibrant digital ecosystem. Apart from the fundamentals such as robust infrastructure, access to talent, GKL is an ideal base for digital and technology type of companies. Over the last few years, many companies have accelerated digital adoption, empowering industries and boosting Malaysia’s digital economy agenda.

Leading global technology companies can design, develop, and innovate their products and offerings in Greater KL to cater for emerging economies’ needs. In our effort to achieve the vision, InvestKL has developed Greater KL Live Lab initiatives (GKL Live Lab), which acts as a catalyst for leading multinational companies to land and expand their innovative solution in GKL.

The success of the GKL Live Lab initiative is reflected in 2 projects involving an Edutech startup and a Dronetech project.

The AI-backed Edutech startup from Japan, stepped forward to provide a solution for all children to discover their skills and potentials as well as seek relevant help and support when in need. The company’s digital screening programme is the first in the country and is made available through a smartphone device designed to assess children’s development in five domain areas – gross motor, fine motor, speech and language, cognitive development, and social/adaptive behaviour.

Another company is currently conducting a proof of commercialisation (POC) for its drone technology to demonstrate the commercial viability, which involves first-, mid- and last-mile maritime logistics mission.

These innovative projects proves that Greater KL is on the right direction to become the hotbed for innovation in the region.

3. A digitalised and connected infrastructure across supply and manufacturing value chains is critical to foster a seamless movement of goods, data, and services; drive efficiency and resource optimisation and support joint development efforts. Currently, several processes are still not digitalised across many ministries and Government agencies, ranging from various approvals, licensing, certification, to clearance of goods and other processes.

Service providers will play an essential role in helping Malaysian companies accelerate their transition to Industry 4.0, particularly in developing people, transforming processes, and adopting technologies. As such, involving service providers and linking them to manufacturing firms, especially SMEs, is important to create a holistic and effective Industry 4.0 ecosystem. How is InvestKL facilitating this?

There is no doubt that Industry 4.0 plays an important role in revolutionising the way companies manufacture and distribute their products and services. Many leading global companies are integrating new technologies such as the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud computing and big data analytics, AI, and machine learning throughout their operations.

As part of InvestKL’s continuous efforts in enhancing the domestic linkages, we have proactively attracting high-impact investments that will improve local system capabilities through the transfer of technology and knowledge as well as global best practices, to ensure that local SMEs are not lagging in digitalisation and innovation.

Through GKL Live Lab initiative, we required foreign innovative technology-based companies to collaborate with local academia and companies. This has the positive spillover effect of upscaling local capabilities and expanding their value input into the global business supply chain.

4. The Greater KL Live Lab now has 7 labs since the launch of the programme in 2021. Tell us a little about this programme and how does a company qualify to be part of it.

InvestKL’s GKL Live Lab is an accelerator initiative that aims at strengthening Greater KL as an innovation and ideation smart city. Under the initiative, foreign companies can bring their idea to life while collaborating with local players to create high-value and future-ready jobs, as well as deepen the local ecosystem with sophisticated and complex activities. Since its launch in 2021, GKL Live Lab has secured seven key projects covering EduTech, HealthTech, DroneTech, Data Solutions and Marketing Tech.

Some of the qualifying criteria for companies to embark on GKL Live Lab:

  • Foreign companies with innovative and ideation-type of projects
  • Engage in high-value collaboration with the local ecosystem including academia and SMEs
  • Creation of high-value and high-skilled jobs for local talent
  • Embark on the commercialisation efforts with plans to penetrate the region market.

5. Greater emphasis must be given to the environmental, social and governance (ESG) agenda to further enhance the readiness of the country’s ecosystem and infrastructure in embracing sustainable development. How can local companies prepare for the growing focus on ESG?

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) agenda has tremendously shifted the world, transforming the business landscape and influencing decisions, and it is now marked as a prudent investment practice.

In pushing forth towards sustainable development, MITI is aggressively charting Malaysia’s sustainability agenda through the NIA. NIA is central to MITI’s effort to achieve a more inclusive growth, holistic, sustainable, ESG-driven investment ecosystem in Malaysia, by proactively upskilling and reskilling local capabilities to meet the global standards and empower them to be integrated into the global value chains.

At InvestKL we attract global leading MNCs that possess a strong global ESG framework. These practices are then brought to Greater KL and localised to cater to local requirements and needs. This impact the local vendors to further improve their ESG capabilities and to adhere to required reporting standards set by the MNCs.

In addition, the global best practices by MNCs can also be emulated by local companies, and further prepare them towards the growing focus on ESG. This signifies that global companies can achieve their ESG goals from Greater KL and in return will create a dynamic capability between HQ and their division here.




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