There were no handshakes as winners of this year’s The Edge Billion Ringgit Club (BRC) gathered once again to honour Corporate Malaysia’s best performers in Kuala Lumpur on Dec 13.
Last year, for the first time since the awards began in 2010, we had to do without a physical awards ceremony because of social distancing measures that were in place to flatten the Covid-19 curve. For most of this year, we were hopeful that enough people in Malaysia were getting vaccinated fast enough for the country’s economy to reopen and for businesses and lives to resume again. We prepared even as we awaited the green light and standard operating procedures (SOPs) from the authorities to once again be able to physically host Corporate Malaysia’s most anticipated annual awards ceremony.
I am heartened to note how happy the crème de la crème of Corporate Malaysia was to gather again. As Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Abdul Aziz mentioned in his dinner speech, there is something about face-to-face meetings that communicates ideas more clearly to build trust, something most of us took for granted previously that has been sorely missed since Covid-19 hit.
This year, owing to SOP-related capacity restrictions, dinner invites were sent only to the winners. I am told that invites to the annual The Edge BRC gala dinner are coveted precisely because they are given on merit, recognition of having earned a place as a company with at least RM1 billion market capitalisation, and not based on how many dinner tables a company is willing to pay for or the size of advertising spend. Similarly, The Edge BRC awards are given on merit and cannot be bought because they are meant to spur continued excellence.
Restrictions on gatherings have also prevented us from properly thanking and acknowledging all the companies and individuals who swiftly and generously stepped forward to lend a hand when the country needed help. We are happy to have the chance to acknowledge at least the first group, who got the ball rolling on The Edge Covid-19 pandemic funds (for details, see Pages 41 to 43).
This year’s gala dinner saw 43 companies taking home 55 awards. We have 186 The Edge BRC members this year, a new all-time high, beating the previous record of 185 members in 2011. Earnings fell significantly because of sizeable losses booked by several large BRC members but, as a whole, BRC members continue to be the country’s major taxpayers and investors.
This year’s Value Creator: Malaysia’s Outstanding CEO award went to Malayan Banking Bhd president and CEO Datuk Seri Abdul Farid Alias, who was at the helm of the country’s largest listed company as it crossed the RM1 trillion market capitalisation mark in 2017. Maybank has also returned more than RM30 billion in dividends to shareholders in the past five years — no other company comes close, except perhaps Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas).
ViTrox Corp Bhd took home the coveted The Edge BRC Company of the Year award. Started in 1998 by two graduates of USM Malaysia, the company had a market cap of only RM55 million at the end of its maiden trading day in 2005. Today, it is valued at almost RM10 billion, making it one of the largest automated testing equipment makers in the electronics sector, creating jobs and generating export earnings for Malaysia.
Last but not least, I would like to thank OCBC Bank Malaysia and Mercedes-Benz for their steadfast support of the BRC and welcome Cartier by Cortina Malaysia as a supporting sponsor. This prestigious annual gathering would not have become Corporate Malaysia’s most anticipated awards ceremony without these excellent partners.
Congratulations to all the winners! We look forward to hosting you again next year. Until then, strive on Corporate Malaysia, strive on! Let’s build back together stronger.
Datuk Ho Kay Tat
Publisher & Group CEO
The Edge Media Group