Friday, January 27, 2012

Nadhatul Ulama to explore biz opps in Malaysia

THE world's largest non-governmental organization (NGO) Nadhatul Ulama (NU) of Indonesia has embarked on a journey to explore business opportunities in Malaysia and help forge bilateral economic collaboration with interested Malaysian investors, to foster stronger relationship between the two nations in the long run.

In a recent visit to Malaysia, NU secretary-general Drs Marsudi Syuhud shared with The Malaysian Reserve that the NGO believes its doctrine of ‘blessings for the whole world’ is also meant to be seen in the economic development extension.

In the past, NU has played an integral role in the social collaboration between the two countries, said Marsudi, quoting religious students and teachers’ exchanges as a prime example.

“Now, we are seeking partners in economic development as well. We are also here to rectify the perception Malaysian investors have on the difficulties of initiating and carrying on business in Indonesia,” he said.

Marsudi said these correction moves would create a new bridge of forging economic and business relationships between Indonesia and other Southeast Asian nations as well.

Embarking on what it described as the first of many collaborations to come, NU is exploring opportunity in the media business, and sees the Redberry group as a role model to duplicate the business back home.

For a start, NU and Redberry will join forces to set up a call-centre for the former's ASPEP (Assosiasi Pembedayaan Ekonomi Pesantren or loosely translated as the association for the economic development of Islamic boarding schools) – a wing of NU, representing 22,000 schools in Indonesia. 

NU director for international development Nor Shafizal Sakhuan Husain said the call-centres would create employment opportunities for NU students and help them earn a decent income.

“A career in tele-sales will also help these students boost their mastery of the English language and help them converse better,” he said.

Commenting on the collaboration, Redberry Contact Centre Sdn Bhd chief executive officer (CEO) Chandran Perumal said one such function of the call-centres would be to promote telemarketing of life insurance and family takaful products.

Chandran said the company is projecting an annual revenue of RM20 million to RM30 million from the partnership, which would also comprise sharing of technology, knowledge and skills.

“We will be able to better ascertain the volume of business after its take-off in the first-quarter of 2012,” he said.

In this collaboration, Chandran said ASPEP would play the role of human capital feeder system, where NU graduates will be recruited to meet the human resources demand.

Established on Jan 31, 1926, NU is the oldest and largest Muslim social-religion organisation in Indonesia, with more than 70 million members in Indonesia alone.
The NGO commands strong influence in the Indonesian political arena, boasting current President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono as one of its members.

NU governmental and private partnerships are represented with offices around the world, including Malaysia, Australia, Europe, the US, the UK and Middle East.
Marsudi said with more than 100 sub-organisations under its umbrella, NU focus was now more diversified.
“Other than issuing edicts, concentration is also being given to several issues like economic development, healthcare, education and training,” he said.

In the area of economic development, NU has its hands extended in oil and gas, shipping, mining, banking and finance, and and information and communications technology.

Redberry has a strategic marketing partnerships with The Malaysian Reserve and The Malay Mail. As the exclusive concession holder for some of Klang Valley's major highways and its major Peninsular Malaysia airports, Redberry’s out-of-home solutions business, which includes Focus Media, Pointcast, MagiqAds and Meru Utama, reaches over 900,000 people every day along with millions of visitors to Malaysia every year.

[By Mohd Rashdan Jamaluddin, The Malaysian Reserve; Jan 16, 2012]