By CECILIA KOK – Bursa Community
Simple rules and regulations, attractive tax incentives and a
welcoming environment are the qualities that businesswomen from the
United Arab Emirates (UAE) look for when exploring investment
opportunities in any country, including Malaysia.
In a media session at Power Ladies UAE-Malaysia Roundtable 2011 that
featured prominent women business leaders from the UAE, Raja Easa
Al-Gurg, Fatima Al-Jaber, Faiza Al-Sayed and Huda A. Al-Matroushi,
agreed that Malaysia did offer business opportunities that they were
looking to explore, especially in the halal food industry.
Raja Easa is the managing director of the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group,
a conglomerate in the UAE involved in trading, manufacturing,
retailing, franchising and real estate. She is also president of the
Dubai Business Women Council, and has had business dealings in Malaysia
over the past 15 years.
Fatima is the chief operating officer of Al Jaber Group
and a prominent leader in the Gulf Cooperation Council construction
industry. She is also a founding member of the Abu Dhabi Business
Women’s Council and currently chairs the committee.
Women power: Raja Easa (centre) speaking during the Power Ladies UAE-Malaysia Roundtable 2011. With her are Faiza (left) and Fatima.
Faiza is part of the executive management team of the Al Fahim Group, heading the central procurement division. Huda is the vice-president, general services of GASCO, an operating company of the ADNOC Group and one of the largest and most complex gas processing and distribution companies in the world.
is business; everybody wants to cut costs, especially in the present
environment,” Raja Easa said, when asked whether businessmen or
businesswomen from the UAE would put the sense of “brotherhood” arising
from Malaysia having the same official religion in Islam as the UAE
ahead of the total cost of operating in Malaysia.
It is an
inevitable fact that as Malaysia transforms its economy to move up the
value chain and become a high-income nation, the total cost of operation
in the country for businesses could rise in tandem.
sense, Raja Easa said as businesspeople, they would look at investing in
other countries that could offer them lower cost of operation.
success of Raja Easa, Fatima, Faiza and Huda underscored the capability
of women in the masculine world of business. They pointed out that
women in the UAE were clearly ahead of their peers in the Middle East in
terms of economic participation and entrepreneurship, and they
attributed this to favourable socio-economic factors, including
government policies, in the country.
“We have a well-developed
education system and comprehensive healthcare services,” said Fatima of
the country’s attributes that helped cultivate the success of women in
“In addition, our leaders always put women in front. Our
government has put in place policies and legislations that are very
supportive of women… so, we were never left at the back, and that gave
us the confidence to rise,” she added.
Raja Easa concurred,
saying, “If we have a positive attitude from our leaders, the people
will reciprocate with a positive attitude towards contributing back to