Press Release: Appointment of Tan Sri Dr. Munir Majid as Chairman of CARI

Kuala Lumpur: Tan Sri Dr Munir Majid has been appointed Chairman of CIMB ASEAN Research Institute (CARI) with effect from 1 February 2014. The appointment is for two years. Munir takes over from Bapak Glenn Muhammad Surya Yusuf who will remain on the board of CARI.

CARI was established in 2011 by CIMB Group as a not-for-profit research unit in support of ASEAN economic integration, and the Asean Economic Community (AEC) in particular. CARI conducts practical oriented research and helps focus the private sector’s interest into meaningful progress towards an integrated and competitive ASEAN economy. CARI is also the secretariat of the ASEAN Business Club (ABC), a network of leading ASEAN multinational CEO’s. It is the first independent, transnational research institute dedicated solely to the advancement and acceleration of the ASEAN integration agenda.

“We are pleased to welcome Tan Sri Munir back to CIMB Group in this new capacity. With his experience, intellect and network, he will reinvigorate CARI and ABC at a crucial time, with AEC fast approaching,” said Dato’ Sri Nazir Razak, Group Chief Executive, CIMB Group.

Munir said, “The next two years are challenging as ASEAN seeks to become a community based on three pillars – economic, political and socio-cultural. However, although business people are most interested in the AEC, even among them there is insufficient consciousness of the challenges – and opportunities. Governments in the region glibly declare progress towards the creation of the ASEAN community by the end of 2015 but there is a significant gulf between rhetoric and reality.”

“CARI hopes to help narrow the gulf, fill in the gaps and highlight the opportunities – a huge challenge. It will do its best, not only through research products but also by supporting regional integration effort by bodies such as the ABC and the ASEAN secretariat.”

“After a lifetime working in journalism, in the private and the public sector, and doing academic work on Southeast Asia, I am most excited to bring both knowledge and practical experience to the task and look forward to the support of kindred spirits,” Munir added.

Munir is the Chairman of Bank Muamalat Malaysia Bhd, and has been on its board since 2008. He obtained his B.Sc (Econ) from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 1971, and his PhD in International Relations in 1978. He was teaching at the Department of International Relations of his alma mater from 1972-1975, and was an analyst for Daiwa Europe NV in London from 1975-1978.

When he returned to Malaysia at the end of 1978, Munir joined The New Straits Times Press (NSTP) as a lead writer and progressed to become its Group Editor. He left The NST in 1986 to become the CEO of a small merchant bank, Pertanian Baring Sanwa (PBS), which then became Commerce International Merchant Bankers, the genesis of today’s CIMB Group.

Munir left CIMB in 1993 at the invitation of the Government of Malaysia to set up the Securities Commission and became its first Executive Chairman for two terms until 1999. Munir continued on with his illustrious career, serving in various capacities, including as Chairman of both Celcom and Malaysia Airlines System at different times. He is the founder and President of the Kuala Lumpur Business Club (2003-2008) and is now the chairman of its Advisory Council. In December 2005, he was made an Honorary Fellow of the London School of Economics and Political Science, and in 2008, a Visiting Senior Fellow of LSE IDEAS (Centre for the Study of International Affairs, Diplomacy and Strategy) where he heads the Southeast Asia International Affairs Programme. He is also a member of the International Institute of Strategic Studies in London.