SINCE liberalising the energy generation sector in the early 1990s, Malaysia has become a magnet for some of the world's largest engineering companies focusing on the energy sector.
That has been the case with Alstom, a French multinational company focusing on the electricity generation sector.
From Greater Kuala Lumpur (Greater KL), Alstom is providing a multitude of different services and has headquartered a number of its business segments in the Malaysian capital to service the Asia-Pacific region.
The company has its regional centres for its gas business, thermal services, thermal services gas turbine execution centre, power automation and controls and renewable steam plants in Malaysia's capital city, stating that it chose Greater KL as the centre for many of its businesses in the Asia-Pacific and Ocenia region for a number of reasons.
"Greater Kuala Lumpur is a business-friendly location – good infrastructure, availability of talent pool, good communication links to other cities within the Asian region, good facilities such as Port Klang Free Zone, competitive operating costs and politically stable environment," Alstom country president for Malaysia Saji Raghavan said.
Compared with neighbouring cities such as Bangkok, Jakarta and Singapore, Raghavan said Greater KL had the edge when a number of reasons were grouped together.
From the stable political environment, comparable infrastructure with Singapore with ongoing improvements that are taking place with the Economic Transformation Pro-gramme (ETP), the availability of a local talent pool to the competitive business operating costs.
Alstom had received assistance from InvestKL when expanding their operations in Malaysia, he added.
"It is a great idea for the Government to set up InvestKL. This agency has proven its worth in walking the talk, time and again, by inviting investors into Malaysia, and Greater KL in particular and thereafter assisting them in setting up their business operations on quick timescales, by facilitating in the acquisition of regulatory approvals," he added.
"Speed is of the essence for businesses and InvestKL is a great partner, be it in the setting up of businesses or in the operational phase of helping tap into the various incentives provided by the Government," Raghavan said.
Alstom sees great potential in the transportation and power sectors in Malaysia given the stable economy, the ETP, growing population and investments in the industrial sector, which will fuel demand for energy.
As the power sector aims to become more sustainable given its five-fuel diversification policy, Raghavan said the trend towards renewable sources was still behind the projected target and power generation remained dependent on fossil fuels.
"Depleting local gas supplies necessitating the need to import more expensive LNG and coal increases the necessity to use sources of energy in a more affordable and acceptable manner. This calls for more efficient production and transmission of electricity, as well as responsible consumption, while caring for the environment," he said.
Other factors driving the push to sustainable power will include concerns on climate change (drought, haze, and pollution) and that would step up the clean technology driver (carbon dioxide and emission reductions) for both power and transport solutions in Malaysia.
"Thus, Alstom has in place ‘Clean Power, Clear SolutionsTM' (thermal and renewable power), ‘Clean Grid' and ‘Clean Mobility' strategies ready to address these needs," he added.
The large presence of Alstom in Malaysia will also lead to the transfer of new technology knowhow to local talents and employees to ensure service excellence to local and regional customers.
Raghavan further said that "as a matter of fact, Alstom places great emphasis on its ‘Dedicated to Excellence' initiative across the group."
Alstom also believes in giving fair opportunity to local talents and employees to propose their innovations and CSR projects.
"Alstom group organises annual innovation and CSR awards where all Alstom employees can submit their CSR ideas as well as innovations and even improvements to current products, services and internal process that facilitate better efficiency and productivity. All submitted CSR and/or ‘innovations' are judged by separate committees and official awards are presented to successful entries by Alstom's CEO," he said.
This article was facilitated by InvestKL, Greater Kuala Lumpur's investment promotion agency.