Deputy Minister of Higher Education launches Curtin International Business Conference

Miri – 11 December 2009 – The first Curtin International Business Conference (CIBC 2009) at Curtin University of Technology, Sarawak Malaysia (Curtin Sarawak) was launched by the Deputy Minister of Higher Education, Dr. Hou Kok Chung, yesterday.

The conference jointly organised by Curtin Sarawak’s School of Business and the Curtin Business School at Curtin’s main campus in Perth, saw over 100 delegates from a number of countries spend two insightful days exploring the latest global business trends surrounding business sustainability.

True to its theme ‘Business Sustainability in the Era of Globalisation’, the conference focused on changes and practices in the global business environment that can critically affect the survival of businesses and communities, and which call for extensive academic and industry-driven research focusing on sustainability.

There was lively deliberation of key business research issues and dissemination of crucial research findings associated with sustainable business development to be used by businesses, industries, policymakers, academics, researchers and institutions of higher learning.

Also present at the opening ceremony was the state assemblyman for Pujut, Andy Chia; the chairman of Curtin Sarawak’s management company, Curtin (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, Datu Dr. Hatta bin Solhi, and Pro Vice-Chancellor of Curtin Sarawak, Professor John Evans.

In his address, Dr. Hou commended Curtin for organising an international-level business conference in Malaysia, and for facilitating a distinguished gathering of highly-respected and renowned academicians and higher education practitioners, as well as industry professionals.

He said the CIBC 2009 complemented Malaysia’s efforts in the development of quality human capital and was consistent with the various objectives of the Ministry of Higher Education’s National Higher Education Strategic Plan, from making Malaysia an international hub of higher education excellence to producing human capital with first-class mentality.

On business sustainability, Dr. Hou remarked that the concept was crucial universally, particularly in light of the recent global financial crisis.

“Indeed, when one thinks of business sustainability, many factors are brought to the forefront, namely governance, the legal and political environment, and certainly the issue of human capital.

Businesses today are shifting to a more holistic approach to the wealth creation paradigm, and in that respect, more and more businesses are placing greater importance on hiring and retaining good human capital within their organisations,” he said.

He added that the Malaysian government, recognising the eminent need for successful human capital development, is committed to spearheading a concerted effort to transform the national education system and the contribution of higher education to creating optimal learning opportunities and environments where vibrant human capital can develop is crucial.

According to Dr. Hou, universities can no longer be content with transmitting what is now known as ‘dead knowledge’. They have to resurrect dead knowledge by injecting new life into disciplines to enable those disciplines to add both social and economic value to national growth.

He said academic conferences such as the CIBC 2009 are a step in the right direction as they serve to impinge on the collective consciousness of higher education practitioners the need to focus on different ways that universities can stimulate and support economic growth.

Andy Chia, in his speech earlier, commended Curtin Sarawak for organising a number of notable international conferences of late, adding that by organising such conferences, it was helping to fulfill Curtin’s vision of being an international leader shaping the future through its graduates and research; and to be positioned among the top 20 universities in Asia by 2020.

Touching on the conference theme, he said business sustainability in this age of globalisation calls for innovation as the means to add value, not just to the bottom line, but to the environment and society at large. It has to be impressed upon business and industry that there is the need to look beyond shareholder value, and to consider social and environmental impacts as well.

Chia said the academicians, researchers and industry professionals gathered at the conference had a crucial role to play in analysing issues such as threats and challenges to world economies and how successful businesses are able to sustain their profitability in the face of increasing globalisation, and offering innovative ideas and concepts to address them.

Issues discussed at the conference included corporate governance, capital markets, managerial accounting and corporate finance, financial risk management, corporate social responsibility, business law and ethics, IT governance, human resources development, climate change, and education.

The conference’s keynote speakers were Professor T.C. Edwin Cheng, Chair Professor of Management in Hong Kong Polytechnic University’s Department of Logistics and Maritime Studies, and Datuk Professor Dr. Gauth Jasmon, Vice Chancellor of Universiti Malaya.

Dr. Hou Kok Chung, Andy Chia (3rd & 4th from left, front row)

and other dignitaries pose for a group photograph following the launch.

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