Associations in Malaysia

Upon invitation by the Malaysia Convention and Exhibition Bureau (MyCEB), I spoke about association transformation and leadership at the Third  Malaysian Association Next (MyNext) conference on September 14, in Petaling Jaya, Kuala Lumpur. MyNext is an annual gathering of Malaysian association leaders and professionals to access and exchange cutting-edge insights and ideas, as well as network with each other on issues that impact the future growth and sustainability of associations  in the country.

The event was also an occasion to officially launch the Malaysian Society of Association Executives (MSAE), which is of the same mold, so to speak, of our own Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives.

MyNext is part of MyCEB’s “Association Development Programme”, a range of training initiatives to promote professional development of associations in Malaysia. The program aims to build capacities and confidence of associations in attracting international conventions to Malaysia. Benefits from this initiative includes showcasing local innovation and expertise to the world, knowledge sharing, building international networks  and business prospects.

The MyNext association conference was held on the heels of the three-day “Malaysia Business Events Week” that ran from September 11 to 13 on the same venue. Themed “Our Future by Design: Accelerating Transformation”, the event was a platform for all stakeholders of the business events industry in Malaysia to converge, communicate  and deliberate on issues that have relevance to their industry.

All these programs and initiatives are under the framework of MyCEB’s “Malaysia’s Business Events Roadmap: Charting Malaysia’s Journey to 2020 and Beyond” that aims to power the country’s knowledge and creative economy and lay the groundwork, setting up and management of all the platforms for co laboration.

It was also meant to support the development of strong local business events hosts, such as associations, convention and exhibition organizers and suppliers and other stakeholders in the business-event industry to become strong advocates of the needs of the business events sector.

Through these collaboration efforts between the government and the business-event industry, MyCEB hopes to be in a better position to contribute to the achievement of the nation’s 2020 goals under its “Economic Transformation Programme”: to be among the top 5 destinations for international conventions in the Asia-Pacific region and to attract 2.9 million business events visitors which make up about 8 percent of total international  visitors to Malaysia.

In my January 4 column entitled “Associations and Tourism”, I mentioned that the role of associations in tourism cannot be discounted and, in fact, should be strengthened. I also added that the growth potential of business-event tourism in the Philippines is enormous. What is needed now is for all tourism stakeholders (the government, the business sector and associations) to join hands to pursue this opportunity as what the Malaysian case study above has presented.


The column contributor, Octavio “Bobby” Peralta, is concurrently the secretary-general of the Association of Development Financing Institutions in Asia and the Pacific (Adfiap) and the CEO and founder of the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives (PCAAE). PCAAE is holding the Associations Summit 5 (AS5) on November 22 and 23,  at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) which is expected to draw over 200 association professionals here and abroad.

The two-day event is supported by Adfiap, the Tourism Promotions Board and the PICC. E-mail inquiries@adfiap.org for more details on AS5.


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