During the year 2016, the Group continued with its focus on technology related services, human resources training and consulting and education. The growth of Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences (“CUCMS”) is reflected by its quality education, high quality academics and corporate governance.
There were challenges on several fronts. The turnaround of Asia Metropolitan University (“AMU”) has been slow even though we continue to be positive about the investment. AMU is wholly owned by Asiamet Education Group Berhad (“AEGB”) of which we hold a 21%-equity interest. While the Management continues to ensure good corporate governance, academic excellence, prudent financial and student enrolment strategies, it is now apparent that the turnaround is expected to take much longer than the anticipated 12 months. In the past year, there have been significant decisions made with regards to changes in the key leadership team, curriculum and a move to a new campus in Cyberjaya with better facilities and convenient access targeted in the third quarter of 2017, all of which we believe will firmly place AEGB on a clear road to recovery.
In addition, there is an ongoing exercise involving the injection of CUCMS into AEGB leaving SMRT as the controlling shareholder of the enlarged Education business comprising CUCMS, AMU, Asia Metropolitan Colleges and Asia Metropolitan International School. If successfully completed, there will be substantial synergies which will benefit the business including sharing common resources and facilities.
The Education business under AEGB will be led by a separate management team, which will allow SMRT to focus on growing its Training and Technology businesses.
As such, despite the challenges, the medium to long term business outlook continues to be favourable towards education, training and HR-based technology as human capital is the key driver to achieve the economic goals of the nation.
While the Board is confident of the future of the Group and remains committed to grow in a consistent and sustainable manner, the Board is also aware of the obstacles due to the global economic outlook. While we anticipated better results for the financial year ended 2016 (“FY16”), the results were impacted by several one-off expenses. With the growing demand for our solutions, barring any unforeseen circumstances, the Group expects to perform better in 2017.
The Group will continue to ensure adequate emphasis and resources are allocated to enhance the systems of risk management, quality management and internal controls. Various implementations of internal control systems were made during the recent past years, to ensure the risk factors in the day-to-day operations are well managed in guiding us to achieve our goals. The Board has also continued to further strengthen its corporate governance framework in line with recommendations of the revised Malaysia Code of Corporate Governance 2012.
On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank:
Finally, I would also like to record a note of thanks to my fellow Board members for their invaluable contributions and
guidance to the Group. It is my belief that they will continue to serve you, our shareholders and work towards taking the Group to the next level and to become a learning conglomerate.
TAN SRI DATO’ DR R PALAN
B.Sc., M.A., M.Sc., Ph.D., A.P.T, FBILD (UK)
P.S.M., D.P.M.P (Perak), J.B.K.