Minister of Economy Malaysia Yang Berhormat Rafizi Ramli delivered the keynote to an audience comprising industry leaders in banking and upstarts at the forefront of fintech innovation


Sunway City Kuala Lumpur, 14 November 2023 – The ASLI Banking & Finance Summit 2023 saw a gathering of close to 800 delegates comprising finance professionals, top policy makers and leading academics to explore, among others, topics in digital banking, cryptocurrency, and the financial sector’s role in fostering a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable financial ecosystem within Malaysia and the wider ASEAN region.

Organised by the Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute (ASLI), which is fully owned and governed by the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation, in partnership with the Asia headquarters of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (UN-SDSN), the dual theme of “Future of Finance and Financing the Sustainable Development Goals” examined pressing topics surrounding the banking and finance industry, as well as discuss how the public and private sectors can collaborate to finance the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Yang Berhormat Rafizi Ramli, Minister of Economy Malaysia, said in his keynote address, “Collaboration, innovation and a steadfast commitment to sustainability and inclusivity are the keys to unlocking the vast potential of our region. The discussions and deliberations at this summit are crucial in shaping an ecosystem that is not just prosperous, but also just and sustainable for all. Given Malaysia’s transition towards a high-income country by 2025, the types of deals we source must be of equally high value.”


Founder and Chairman of Sunway Group, and Chairman of ASLI, Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Sir Jeffrey Cheah KBE AO said in his welcoming address, “As experts in the business of capital allocation, finance and banking professionals have a responsibility to help ensure that adequate resources are channelled towards implementing the sustainability agenda. Realising the SDGs requires the commitment of all segments of society. We are all in this together.”

The discussions throughout the summit echoed the government’s Ekonomi Madani ethos for sustainable practices, aligning with its efforts to build a future where economic growth and sustainability go hand in hand. The collaboration between ASLI, UN-SDSN Asia and Sunway University underscored the importance of multi-sectoral partnerships in driving progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

At the summit, Dato’ Muzaffar Hisham, Maybank’s Group Chief Executive Officer of Global Banking, also shared the 3Cs of banking – Capital, Compliance, and Cost. “I believe that in the next couple of years there will be an interesting journey in finance, whether it be towards digital banking, a convergence or evolution of other players in the financial sector or complementing partnerships,” he said.

Additionally, during the summit’s second panel session: Financing the SDGs, Jasper Wong, Managing Director, Head of Real Estate & Hospitality and Construction & Infrastructure, Sector Solutions Group United Overseas Bank (UOB), highlighted global sustainability challenges such as a 27% population increase and a projected 160% rise in electricity demand. He then shared UOB’s U-Series to address these issues, known as U-Solar, U-Drive, and U-Energy.

“UOB is committed to guiding SMEs toward sustainability, whether through solar implementation, energy optimisation, or transitioning to green-energy fleets. U-Solar, launched four years ago, stands as Asia’s first integrated financing platform, benefiting 1.7k homeowners and supporting the sustainability efforts of 400 companies across UOB Southeast Asia”.

The ASLI Banking & Finance Summit 2023: Future of Finance & Financing the Sustainable Development Goals was held at a pivotal moment halfway through the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as reports from the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) indicate that the Asia-Pacific region is falling behind on meeting the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the 2030 deadline, a situation exacerbated by the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The ASLI Banking Summit & Finance 2023 was jointly organised by Sunway Group and Asian Strategy & Leadership Institute (ASLI), and supported by Platinum Sponsors Public Bank, UOB and Maybank. This event was also supported by Gold Sponsors, AmBank, HSBC, Standard Chartered and RHB; and Silver Sponsors Bank of China, CIMB, and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

In alignment with its dedication to nation-building and supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the Jeffrey Cheah Foundation has gifted US$20 million to the United Nations towards this end. These funds have been instrumental in establishing the Jeffrey Sachs Center for Sustainable Development and the Asia headquarters of UN-SDSN, which are both housed at Sunway University.

One of only three such global centres, the UN-SDSN Asia headquarters in Sunway City Kuala Lumpur works on continent-wide sustainability solutions for Asia, with the New York City office covering the Americas, and the centre in Paris overseeing Europe and Africa.

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