From our beginnings in Australia, Honan is proud to have a global presence. In our Satellite Series, we introduce you to our international teams, as they share a snapshot of life and the local market.
Meet the Operations Director of our Malaysia hub, Linda Su Leng Yeh.
LINDA SU LENG YEH – OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
SATELLITE OFFICE: MALAYSIA
YEARS WITH HONAN: 2
Currently focused on: Benefits services, particularly flexible benefits for the Asian market.
Staying sane through #Covid by: Experimenting with late Mum’s home style recipes. Not quite there yet, but getting better, and no complaints so far from my husband and son!
BACK TO BASICS: before we dive into #COVID, give us a little context on MYR…
Total population: 32.5 million
By density? 98.5 people per sq km.
Agriculture / Industry / Service breakdown?
Nominal Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of MYR is MYR369 bil or USD91.6 bil at the end of 2019. Our key sectors are in services (59%) and manufacturing (22%), followed by mining/quarrying (7%), agriculture (7%) and construction (5%). More information is available via the Department of National Statistics Malaysia.
Health of economy at the end of 2019?
Malaysia’s overall GDP grew at 4.3% for 2019. As a result of Covid-19, the World Bank revised its 2020 projection of 4.5% growth to -0.1%. However, if the pandemic is prolonged, projected growth will be revised down to 4.1% of GDP in 2021, of which MYR is expected to see full swing recovery in 2022.
DIVING INTO #COVID: hit us with your headlines…
Your Last Two Months in 2 mins?
- MYR has been in partial lockdown since March 18 as a result of a Government imposed Movement Control Order (MCO). We are now in a Phase 4 extension, with an anticipated end date of May 12
- The MCO generally prohibits movement and mass assembly within MYR including religious, sports, social and cultural activities. Other than those in essential services, all business premises are closed and citizens are only permitted to leave their homes (within a 10km radius) to purchase food, medicine, daily necessities or to seek healthcare or medical services
- Those returning from overseas are required to undergo a mandatory 14 day quarantine in designated quarantine hotels.
And how are things looking now, health-wise?
Our partial lockdown has been fairly successful thus far. We have managed to flatten the curve with recoveries exceeding new infections. Community infections are less than 30 per day, and we are only seeing greater numbers from overseas returnees, particularly from Indonesia.
And the economy?
To counter the economic impact of Covid-19, the Government announced a Second Economic Stimulus Package 2020 (ESP2) on March 27 themed Prihatin Rakyat. ESP2, valued at MYR250 billion, includes:
- MYR128 billion for the protection of Rakyat welfare
- MYR100 billion to support small and medium enterprises
- MYR2 billion to strengthen the economy
- Various tax incentives such a deferment of tax for SMEs
- Wage subsidy program.
On the ground however, many businesses have not been able to survive the prolonged lockdown. Small businesses and larger operators in industries like tourism have folded up.
Greatest challenge/s experienced by clients thus far?
Fortunately for us, most Honan clients prepared early for the pandemic. Even before lockdowns were announced, our partners were practising social distancing and shifting their people to remote set ups, or office rotation schedules.
How has Honan responded?
We have always had an official Business Continuity Plan on hand, but when it came to implementing it, we were fortunate to have plenty of clients well ahead of the game we could learn from. We were proud early adopters of ‘work from home’. Apart from the early days of scrambling to equip everyone with the right tech, our greatest challenge was supporting clients who typically submitted claims via hard copy documentation. We have worked collaboratively with each client to find viable new ways of working – at times reverting to scan-based systems, and mailing to home addresses in others.
WHERE TO FROM HERE?
What are the major anticipated (Covid-19) milestones for May / June?
Depending on the circumstances, there could be further extension of the current partial lockdown, although numbers currently positive and the curve appears to have flattened.
More critical economic sectors that impact the supply chain of essential goods are being opened up in phases, with strict social distancing guidelines remaining. Similarly, our Honan office and our clients will need to prepare for the reopening of business premises. This will involve new workplace safety measures and adapting to a new kind of ‘BAU’. Our team will need to forego some of their favourite activities like chatting to colleagues over ‘desktop’ meals, eating out together, huddling in the kitchen over coffee etc.
Your core focus for May?
In the midst of all of the madness, it’s pretty much business as usual. We’re forging ahead with renewal activities, particularly system implementation for one of our major clients. Having just signed with a new technology partner, Zest Benefits, we are also in the midst of kicking-off key initial user-training initiatives across the team.
With you all the way
We’d love to hear from you.
Office number: +603 27888601 (my desk phone has currently been set to auto forward calls to my mobile)
- World Bank data (Malaysia)
- Official portal of Ministry of Health Malaysia
- TaXavvy Issue 15/20 published by PWC