Live: Training & Development Asia 2017, Malaysia

Live: Training & Development Asia 2017, Malaysia

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Welcome to Training & Development Asia 2017, Malaysia, the second edition of this L&D conference hosted this year at The Westin Kuala Lumpur. On this page, you can follow live highlights from the two-day conference. The most recent updates will appear first:


With that presentation, we come to the end of Training & Development Asia 2017, Malaysia. We would like to thank all sponsors who have made this conference possible through their generous support:

Gold Sponsors:

  1. D Jungle People


  1. Disprz
  2. Hearts&Minds
  3. Prasetiya Mulya Executive Learning Institute
  4. Thunderbird School of Global Management

Event Partners:

  1. Center for Creative Leadership (CCL)
  2. Melbourne Business School

Co-organiser: Malaysian Institute of Human Resource Management (MIHRM)

All our media and association partners

The second quick-fire case study is being presented by Devanandan Palmer Batumalai, the vice-president of HR and head of talent and learning at Bangkok Bank. He has held leadership roles in learning and talent in several companies since 2009, namely in the banking, ICT and FMCG industries.

His passion lies in the implementation of initiatives in the area of leadership development, and in this session, he shares how Bangkok Bank has created leadership development programmes. Read the full case study here

In the first of the Accelerator series, we have a quick-fire case study on developing and engaging talent with Domino’s seven “pride” values. Rayyan Irwan is the operations training manager for L&D at Domino’s Pizza Malaysia and Singapore, partnering with front line staff and senior executives to sharpen their skills.

In sharing the seven values, Irwan takes an example: "If one of our riders is living the pride values, where they continually attend training and develop their communication skills, let's say, then the manager has a certificate to thank the employee for demonstrating the pride values."

He adds: "Every month in the management meeting, we display these - which creates a sense of recognition as well as competition. It also creates awareness on what the ride values are about."



From personalised training, we now look to the future - this time by a visiting thought leader all the way from the United Kingdom - Gill White, commercial and capability director at Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development. Her session will suggest some changes a learning practitioner may wish to make for themselves, their function and their organisation – given that just keeping up is no longer an option today.

gill white

The area of personalised training is something we are now going to touch upon, relying on the experience of Joseph Koh, who in the past 20 years has worked with leaders and staff in shaping their people capability agendas. Working with Shell Sarawak, Joseph Koh is learning manager, for upstream and integrated gas, across Malaysia and the Philippines, where he specialises in restructuring and renewing technical learning outfits.


Next on the agenda is a discussion on integrating a training experience to retain and build leadership pipelines, with Dr Henry Yeoh, vice president, people & culture, Loob Holdings as moderator [extreme left].

Panellists [L-R]:

  • Nadia Shamsuri, head of learning and development, Maxis
  • Danny Yong, general manager – HR, Munchy’s Group
  • Joseph Koh, learning manager - upstream and integrated gas, Malaysia and Philippines, Shell Sarawak


Another powerful personality on stage now, Wan Ezrin Sazli Wan Zahari, the chief people officer for TIME dotcom, where his role is to maximise employee performance. How does he do this? Maximisation of resources, low costs, lean management and of course, creative solutions. Today, he writes the story of building a culture of learning.


If you're looking to re-skill your workforce to be future-ready, our next speaker has the answer. Theresa Lim is the founder and CEO of Play2Lead, a SaaS gamified mobile micro-learning and micro-practices platform headquartered in Singapore that promises to make training fun, memorable and insightful.

Passionate about building skills relevant for the 21st century, Lim presents the four facets of emotional intelligence - emotional awareness, somatic awareness, cognitive awareness, relationship awareness.


We've found someone for our next session who has moved into HR more recently, bringing a ton of experience in designing the customer experience and improving processes. Bilal Waris is the head of organisational development for group talent management at Axiata, and he's putting his experience in driving the agenda to digitise HR and talent management, while using new capabilities to deliver the best employee experience.

He takes the audience through a fascinating, detailed case study on implementing a relevant e-learning platform. Prior to launch itself, the team reached out to employees with their concerns around e-learning. Responses included: "Boring, monotonous. It is a very lonely process. Most platforms don't give a certificate," amongst many others.

Waris' team then decided to design an e-learning journey which overcomes these challenges. "The first thing for us was to really change our mindset," he says. Citing a Harvard Business Review article from 2016, he states that HR needs to act more like marketing. "HR to us is all about the messaging, communication - understanding what our consumer wants, i.e. our employee. We develop a go-to market plan just like marketing does."


Our opening speaker on this second day of the conference has over two decades of experience as an HR consultant - Marieke van Raaij, director of solution consulting APAC at KNOLSKAPE. She recently relocated to Singapore, with the remit to help clients address their talent transformation needs in a digital context.

"When mobile technology and gamification marry, you have some great advantages, which can offer you bite-sized pieces of learning from anywhere, and those can be pushed out to specific people," she shares.

marieke van raaij


They say one really needs to move up the ranks to gain a solid knowledge of an organisation, and our next speaker is one such candidate. Currently the HR director at British American Tobacco in Malaysia, Samanmali Chandrasiri joined the company 16 years ago as a management trainee.

In all this time, she has held various HR roles in Sri Lanka and South Asia, including a stint in Indonesia as an organisation effectiveness advisor. A diverse pool of experience is at her beck and call, and today she is kind to share that learning with us in building succession plans for the next generation of leaders.

sam bat

Next in this post-lunch session is a panel discussion on driving impact and measuring what matters in L&D, moderated by Vinesh Naidu, head of talent management, PwC [extreme left].

Panellists [from L-R]:

  • Clayton Tan, HR director – SEA, VINDA Group
  • Rosehaida Ab Rahman, general manager of HR, PETRONAS ICT
  • Wong San San, head of organisational development, Astro Malaysia Holdings
  • Devanandan Palmer Batumalai, vice-president, head of talent and learning, Bangkok Bank


The HR leader at one of the largest construction groups in Asia is going to take the stage - we invite Lai Tak Ming, director of group HR and administration at Gamuda. He drives a culture of leadership excellence for Gamuda to become an employer of choice, by giving form to all areas of HR, and he will share his lessons with us.

The first of the four levels of talent pipeline at Gamuda caters to entry-level graduates, and Lai shed light on what we need to look out for. "One of the biggest challenges for young people- they may talk well, appear assertive - but many of them deal with their sense of self-worth. If you don't help them with it, it can appear in various forms later, maybe through bullying or being territorial."

He provides a solution: "From the very beginning, we at Gamuda emphasise the need for them to be comfortable with who they are, and to love themselves."

lai tak ming

We move into our first panel discussion for the day, this one on the topic of building resilient organisations. Our moderator, seated extreme left, is Ling Hsern-Wei, head of learning and development, PwC.

Panellists [L-R]:

  • Sri Vidya Nadarajah, country human resources leader, General Electric
  • Bala Pomaleh, chief executive officer, IPG Mediabrands
  • Dr Henry Yeoh, vice president, people and culture, Loob Holdings

panel discussion ling hsern wei

Citigroup’s wholly owned subsidiary in Malaysia, Citibank Berhad is in the safe hands of CEO Lee Lung Nien, a veteran Citibanker with 27 years of experience, and our next speaker. Let's take note of his knowledge and see how this CEO works with his HR team to develop a leadership programme for the local workforce.

"Training is not just HR's job, it is everyone's responsibility," Lee affirms to the room full of L&D delegates. "HR, you cannot do this by yourself, you need to sit down with your leadership team, come up with a proposal, and talk this through especially with your CEO," he says, adding that the best vision statement will still have problems if we don't know how to execute it.


Our next speaker will go in-depth into investing in learning and development in a slowing economy. John L.Y Kam is the co-founder and CEO of D Jungle People, a corporate training consultancy based in Kuala Lumpur. He is a passionate people development facilitator and practitioner by profession, and the author of a book in 2013, titled Everyman’s Everest, in which he details his philosophy towards personal development.

Two-thirds of Millennials plan to leave their organisations by 2020, Kam cites research. "Then why invest in them? Or how can we get them to stick around longer so that we find returns on our investment?"

"The answer is that they are not loyal to organisations, but they are loyal to people. The training implications of that for L&D is that you have got to invest in managers, as they are the ones who will hold Millennials together in terms of mentoring, inspiring and coaching. Your managers are the secret to success!"


Dynamic, influential and a thought leader in the field of technology, our next speaker is Prakash Chandran, president and CEO of Siemens Malaysia, the first-ever non-German president and CEO of Siemens Malaysia. Today, he puts on his C-suite hat to educate us on how L&D practitioners can influence others and collaborate effectively across boundaries, in order to drive change.

Chandran stressed on diversity being a key aspect for success with leadership today. Pointing out that gender diversity is only one of the aspects of diversity, the other three in Siemens' lens are diversity in age, experience and culture. "In Siemens, we ensure a big cross-section of age differences in a team," he says.



We are honoured to have a senior, respected leader for our opening keynote, Datuk Mohd Nizom Sairi, deputy CEO (management), at Inland Revenue Board of Malaysia, to talk about the importance of reforms in building a strong organisation. Datuk Nizom is a familiar face in the nation, having been with IRBM for more than 32 years, where he is responsible for corporate human capital plans, talent acquisition, and more.

Most reforms in any organisation, Datuk Nizom says, would have to come from the top. "A total transformation has to be from the leaders who have a transformative approach. They need to have the charisma to inspire the people around them towards the new objective that they are introducing."



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