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The President's Report 2022

President’s Report 2021/2022 –
AMBC Victoria Annual General Meeting on 23 August 2022

The 2021/2022 year saw me conclude my first year as President of AMBC Victoria. When I took the reins, Victoria and Malaysia were both still experiencing severe restrictions of movement due to the COVID-19 virus.

Consequently, in the latter part of 2021, we had to cancel or postpone a number of in-person functions, briefings, events and activities, including our Malaysia Day Annual Dinner. However, as the year progressed and restrictions in Victoria began to ease, we were able to meet face to face again in November 2021.


I am pleased to report that we conducted a number of events for the benefit of our members and network throughout the year, including:

  • An interactive panel discussion on Regulatory Compliance and Challenges facing franchisors and franchisees entering the Australian market (25 November 2021), co-hosted by Macpherson Kelley
  • AMBC inter-chamber virtual networking with MABC (Kuala Lumpur), AMBC NSW and AMBC SA (December 2021)
  • 2021 End of Year Event at Temple Brewing Company (8 December 2021)
  • Yum Cha Lunch at Red Emperor (10 February 2021)
  • AMBC Ladies’ Breakfast featuring Malaysian Consul General Mazita Marzuki (31 March 2022)
  • Networking drinks and nibbles at La Di Da (28 April 2022)
  • The ‘Malaysia: Halal and Beyond’ seminar series in partnership with Global Victoria run throughout May and June 2022 (expanded in further detail below)
  • Winter networking drinks at the Quincy Hotel (4 August 2022)

Contribution and engagement of Council with industry and government

In addition, we were able to contribute to and participate in the following events and meetings:

  • Board Member Meileng Tam attended the launch of Study Melbourne Hub KL in December 2021 focusing on Victorian universities engaging with their international cohort of students
  • AMBC board members attended a high tea as part of the official visit to Melbourne by his Excellency Dato’ Roslan Tan Sri Abdul Rahman, the High Commissioner of Malaysia to Australia on 10 March 2022
  • Vice President Josh Chye and Board Member Ken Ong represented AMBC Victoria at the Meet the Trade Commissioners event conducted by Global Victoria on 30 March 2022
  • On 13 May 2022, Vice President Josh Chye and Immediate Past President Mike Anderson participated in a roundtable discussion with a delegation from the Halal Development Corporation
  • The AMBC board participated in a Swinburne University Consulting Project over the first semester of 2022. This involved working with students undertaking their final year industry consulting project to streamline and resolve challenges faced by the Council. It culminated in detailed reports which the board is in the process of considering
  • On 2 August 2022 I had the pleasure of welcoming the new MATRADE Trade Commissioner to Australia, Mrs Azimatul Masriyah Aziz Jamaludin in an exclusive meeting with her and Julius Lau, the MATRADE marketing officer
  • Board Member Meileng Tam reviewed our Constitution and drafted amendments to bring it in line with the recommended standard rules for incorporated associations in Victoria. We will put this to our members to vote on at our AGM.
  • On 19 August 2022, Vice President Josh Chye and Board Member Steven Leong were panellists at an event organised by the International Council of Malaysian Scholars
  • In August 2022, I made a trip to Malaysia and conducted meetings with the Sabah Economic Development and Investment Authority, the Malaysia Australia Business Council (our sister organisation in Kuala Lumpur), Paul Sanda (Senior Trade Commissioner) and Melanie Harris (Trade Commissioner)

One benefit that COVID has provided is connecting people over distance via video. I was able to conduct regular virtual meetings with our sister AMBC organisations interstate and in Malaysia. I also regularly conducted virtual meetings with Victorian, Australian, and Malaysian government representatives, interested prospective members and other stakeholders.

Membership of AMBC Victoria has remained fairly stable since last year with 43 total members consisting of individual, SME, company, corporate and life members representing 30 organisations.  Rebuilding membership remains a focus as we continue to aim for greater member engagement and numbers at pre-pandemic levels.

Global Victoria Trade Alliance Program and Halal Seminar Series

In 2021, we were the successful recipients of a grant from the Victorian Government to develop and deliver a number of seminars on halal export. We engaged our Immediate Past President, Mike Anderson as project coordinator of this series.

The series was intended to focus on regional Victoria and to commence in late 2021 however due to ongoing COVID restrictions and format changes, the rollout was delayed until May 2022. The format evolved from a workshop to a panel discussion of experts. Mike and I regularly met with representatives of Global Victoria as the programming and planning of the project unfolded. On behalf of AMBC Victoria, Mike prepared an extensive workshop reference manual which is available on our website.

The series comprised:

- Malaysia: Halal and Beyond’ Virtual Export Seminar on 26 May 2022
- ‘Malaysia: New and Emerging Exporters’ Seminar – Shepparton on 31 May 2022
- ‘Malaysia: Halal and Beyond’ Export Seminar including Business Networking – Melbourne (in-person) on 7 June 2022

The seminars were a success and focused on providing information to exporters in food and beverage, pharmaceuticals and wellbeing products suited to the Malaysian and international halal markets. They were a timely precursor to the World Halal Business Conference Circuit being held for the first time in Melbourne next month.

What’s next?

Over the next 12 months we will continue to run our regular series of events and our work as a conduit between industry and government in both countries.

Due to the success of our Ladies’ Breakfast event, we anticipate running more regular events and activities with a focus on women in industry.

On 1 and 2 September, we will be participating in the World Halal Business Conference Circuit and on 15 September we will finally hold our Malaysia Day Annual Dinner for the first time in 3 years.

Immediately after our AGM, we are conducting a post-AGM networking function together with Malaysian Consul General Mazita Marzuki and newly appointed Malaysian Trade Commissioner Azimatul Masriyah Aziz Jamaludin.


I take this opportunity to thank all Board Members for their service and support of the Council this year. They have all given up many hours of their time to support the objects of AMBC Victoria and to represent the Council. I have been well supported by Vice President Josh Chye, Trevor Haines as Treasurer and Public Officer and Executive Board Members Meileng Tam, Shok Kuan Ho, Ken Ong OAM and Steven Leong. We welcomed Steven to the Board in February 2022.

I would also like to thank our Immediate Past President and life member Mike Anderson, particularly for his hard work on the Halal seminar series this year. We wish him well in his official retirement as of 30 June.

I would also like to thank our Secretariat, Christine Rutter-Strangward. Chris is the backbone behind the Council and a tremendous support to me and the board, liaising with members and the public and working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure events run as planned and our social media engagement and marketing campaigns are rolled out.

Finally, a big thank you to our members. None of our successes would have happened if it were not for your participation and financial support of the Council. I encourage you to re-join and to engage with the Council to share your ideas and shape our future.

Yours sincerely,

Nathanael Kitingan