Covid-19 shines a light on Malaysian business personalities


The Asia Corporate Excellence & Sustainability Awards (ACES) bestows its two top honours to local entrepreneurs

PETALING JAYA, 10 NOVEMBER, 2020 – With the Covid-19 pandemic turning the world on its head, it is clear that leaders need to step up and act quickly to find new ways of doing business.

And this is exactly what the winners of the Asia Corporate Excellence & Sustainability Awards (ACES) 2020 did.

“The fiscal year of many companies shifted from profit to survival mode.

“What we saw was the agility needed in corporate leadership today, with many captains of industry implementing bold management strategies to survive,” says Shanggari B, Chief Executive Officer of MORS Group, the organizer of the ACES.

She said what tore 2020 apart from other years is that the pandemic was in fact, a worthy trial by fire to many corporations, organizations and business leaders who were nominated for the ACES.

“While it was a given that the number of nominees increased year-on-year, candidates for awards were put through an even more gruelling judging process, and by quite an unexpected ‘judge’: which is Covid19 itself,” she added.

The seventh edition of ACES was to have been held in Malaysia in 2020, after being hosted in Singapore since its inception in 2014, and then Bangkok in 2019.

However due to the pandemic, the black-tie affair had to be differed to a later date.

“This is a big disappointment to me, especially since we were all looking forward to celebrating our outstanding fleet of winners on the night,” said Shanggari.

The winners included two notable, yet vastly different business personalities who swept two of the three biggest award categories.

Malaysian shipping tycoon Tan Sri Datuk G. Gnanalingam, Executive Chairman of Westports Malaysia Sdn. Bhd. was named Entrepreneur of the Year, for his insightful leadership of Malaysia’s only privately-owned port.

The momentary pause caused by the corona virus pandemic in the relentless volume of growth experienced in recent years has incidentally provided Westports more time to plan and execute its land reclamation phase at a more competitive cost for the mega Container Terminal expansion.

This exemplifies the ability of Malaysian top executives to stay the course through all sorts of business adversity.

The dynamic Mac Chung Lynn, Group Chief Executive Officer of Nando’s Chickenland Malaysia and Singapore received the Woman Entrepreneur of the Year Award for her growth mindset leadership coupled with bold decision-making and solid business sense.

Having started her career in architecture, Chung Lynn returned to Malaysia from the UK to help the family kick-start the Nando’s franchise.

Twenty-one years on, the company has grown to a successful eatery chain spread across Malaysia and Singapore.

Under Chung Lynn’s direction, Nando’s Malaysia has since expanded to 78 restaurants throughout Malaysia and 9 restaurants in Singapore.

The ACES 2020 was a stellar year for Malaysian businesses and corporations, with the would-be host nation coming in second after the Philippines for the most number of nominees.

The 14 Malaysian corporations placed as finalists included Composites Technology Research Malaysia Sdn Bhd, Etika Holdings Sdn Bhd, Dell Global Business Center Sdn Bhd, D Jungle People Sdn Bhd, RAMSSOL Group, Berjayapak Sdn Bhd, Suria Capital Holdings Berhad, and The Budimas Charitable Foundation.

Coway (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd and Kenanga Investment Bank Berhad were two Malaysian corporations named Industry Champions of the Year.

There was a total of 420 nominees and 150 finalists who came from Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Taiwan, Laos, Myanmar, Cambodia, Bangladesh, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka.

This year also saw nominees from four new countries, namely the Maldives, Saudi Arabia, Germany and the United States of America.

While a red-carpet soiree is not on the cards until infection numbers drop globally, there are pop-up events planned by the organizers to bring winners and nominees in individual countries (Kuala Lumpur, Manila, and Bangkok) together for smaller pocket events, enabling winners to learn from and network with each other.


About ACES Awards

The ACES Awards is the brainchild of MORS Group. MORS Group’s mission is to assist companies, corporate leaders, and eminent industrialists to share a platform to exhibit leadership & sustainability excellence, to learn from market experts across the world, to engage stakeholders and employees in valuable ways, and to embrace a culture of progressive learning. MORS Group was founded in 2012 and is managed by a board of directors from diverse backgrounds, who facilitate and play a role in promoting Asia’s sustainable growth.

The full list of the winners and their profiles are available on

For more info on the ACES, go to:




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