2022 outlook: A commentary by Abdul Jalil Abdul Rasheed, CEO of Berjaya Corp Bhd

Abdul Jalil Abdul Rasheed, CEO of Berjaya Corp Bhd

Abdul Jalil Abdul Rasheed, CEO of Berjaya Corp Bhd

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(Dec 31): It has been a mixed bag for Berjaya Corp Bhd “BCorp” in 2021 but we expect 2022 to be a better year with three primary objectives as drivers of the organisation moving forward.

While continuing to better streamline the organisation, BCorp will prepare for international borders to open and I will be focusing my energy on internal transformation efforts as well.

As per the three-year strategic plan, my focus includes paring down debts and continuing divestments to accelerate bottom-line recovery. We have identified what is core and what isn’t so going forward we are clear about where to allocate more resources.

Within the core businesses, we have our ears peeled as we are looking to get into new areas of growth while also re-investing in existing product lines. The only caveat is that it needs to add long-term value to the group, so we won't rush into it just for the sake of beefing-up. It needs to make sense and fit within the wider businesses we have in the group.

The next thing I would like for 2022 is for international borders to reopen. In terms of tourist expenditure, the country lost about RM135 billion in 2020 and current estimates put the 2021 losses at RM165 billion. Given that the country has always relied heavily on tourism and that the domestic market is too small, it is critical for border restrictions to ease up so that the industry can start to pull itself out of the hole it has been put in.

We were not spared, as the gross revenue for the domestic operations of Berjaya Hotels and Resorts also took a hit. However, with the vaccine and booster programme at full trot, I am optimistic that the hospitality sector will take a turn for the better in the coming year. The last two months have been very encouraging as there has been an uptick in occupancy rates at all our domestic properties and BCorp is ready to welcome tourists both domestic and international in the new year.

Internally, the priority is to establish clearer frameworks and to implement better people and organisational optimisation. Currently, we are re-evaluating many existing internal processes and I am keen on switching up those that no longer serve us well.

Despite the optimism, BCorp is aware that there are many risks that could potentially put a damper on the plan, this would include new Covid-19 variants, more government and state policy changes in addition to inflation and evolving consumer behaviour. However, Henry Ford once said “the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it”. Thus, I am confident that my team and I will be able to weather the coming year well.