October 17, 2022

Malaysian culture shines through food 

Trade Commissioner for MATRADE, Zuhaila Sedek, discusses her country’s forward-thinking efforts in the food industry

The Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation (MATRADE) is present at SIAL Paris 2022 to meet global partners and form new partnerships. 

What brings MATRADE to SIAL Paris 2022 this year?
SIAL is important for our companies to build business connections, and also to raise awareness about how they can be a part of the global supply chain. Entrepreneurship is in our culture. SMEs are the backbone of our economy, and they articulate the culture through food. SIAL is a great platform for them to share this communication with global partners. 

What efforts or initiatives is Malaysia making regarding sustainability?
We are conscious of the issues surrounding our palm oil industry, and we address them in terms of policies and the action plans driven by both the private sector and the people. Malaysia believes in four P’s: public, private, people, partnership. Something we take seriously is getting the community involved, to ensure the efforts that we’re doing in ensuring sustainability, particularly the palm oil industry, are protected. One of the things that we introduced is the Malaysia Sustainable Palm Oil Certification (MSPO). 

Malaysia is involved in automation, and is advanced with digitalisation. All our companies are active in e-commerce, so [SIAL] is another platform to reach out to the world, to communicate the values that Malaysia has regarding sustainability, in commodities and also in other sectors. 

We even have a solutions provider for traceability. Managing supply chain networks is complicated, even for the biggest company in the world. How do you manage this? You need solutions, you need blockchains, you need digitalisation, all these technologies. 

Could you elaborate on these innovations within Malaysia’s food industry?
Malaysian companies are versatile, they do OEM (original equipment manufacturing), as well as OBM (original brand manufacturing). What’s nice about our products is that our production process is modern, we have a lot of government facilitation to provide the latest machinery. Europe, the EU in particular, is our key trading partner, so we import a lot of machinery that we use to produce products that are exported to the EU. 

Malaysia is made up of 33 million people, we cannot just depend on our domestic market. That’s why we are here to ensure that we can do business with other parts of the world, not just exporting, but also in product development and R&D centres.

How does it feel being back at SIAL Paris 2022?
I would like to congratulate the organisers for bringing back SIAL. We know when we come to SIAL, we meet serious buyers, we meet people who know what they want. Our companies come here because we believe that we need to remain resilient, so hopefully SIAL can help our Malaysian companies to achieve their aspirations.