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STRATEGIC STAKEHOLDER ENGAGEMENT: THE POWER OF PARTNERSHIPS

PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS DO WORK, SAY PROFESSORS FROM COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY

Bogota’s Transmilenio bus network project, New York City’s Central Park revitalization and Cartagena’s water supply are examples of successful public-private sector partnerships discussed during the two-day Strategic Stakeholder Engagement – The Power of Partnerships training programme last week in Kuala Lumpur. Organised by Perdana Leadership Foundation and the Razak School of Government as well as Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), the programme which took place on the 11th and 12th of December at the Majestic Hotel in Kuala Lumpur focused on effective stakeholder engagement particularly in the context of public-private sector partnerships.

The programme included case studies specific to Malaysia such as the conservation of heritage buildings in Penang and the water issue in Selangor.

The facilitators were Professor William Eimicke, professor of public management and the founding director of the Picker Center for Executive Education and Dr. Arvid Lukauskas, executive director of the Picker Center for Executive Education and the Programme in Economic Policy Management, both from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs.

The thirty-five participants were senior officers from both the public and private sectors and represented organisations that include Bina Puri, PROTON, Bank Negara, Maybank, TNB, INTAN, MOSTI, Ministry of Transport, FELDA, Tourism Malaysia, Sarawak Chief Minister’s Department, Petronas, and Ministry of Education.

In his welcome remarks, Tan Sri Nik Mohamed Nik Yaacob, Executive Director of Perdana Leadership Foundation, said, “Public-private sector partnerships are not new to Malaysia: our government has always recognised and maintained that the private sector is the engine of growth for the country to achieve developed-nation status by 2020, and that the role of government is to facilitate this. In today's somewhat uncertain and volatile environment, there is a clear need for this type of partnership to be revisited, revitalised and perhaps replicated with other stakeholders. Successful implementation of policy requires buy-in by stakeholders, and effective communication has a major role towards achieving this end. In these days of instant information available via the internet and social media, the need for a cogent and consistent message to all stakeholders is paramount. Unclear policies, mis-statements or backtracks which result from inadequate planning or consultation do not engender trust or cooperation, and is counterproductive. It is therefore our hope that this programme, which has brought together 35 senior government officials and corporate leaders, will be a step in the partnership-revitalisation process.”

Dr Hamidin Abd Hamid, CEO of RSOG, added, “This intimate and intensive leadership programme aims to strengthen and manage stakeholder engagement – a critical requirement in steering and sustaining partnerships. We believe that this is an important and much needed programme for top leaders – Directors, CEOs, Secretary-Generals and those in critical positions of senior management in both the public and private sectors.”

Razak School of Government and Perdana Leadership Foundation will be organising more training programmes with facilitators from established international universities for both the public and private sectors in the coming year. For more information, visit www.perdana.org.my and www.rsog.com.my.

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