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Powering GE forward globally from Kuala Lumpur

For General Electric Co (GE), Kuala Lumpur was the obvious location when it decided to set up a regional IT support team in 2018. Three years later, its decision has proved to be more than justified, as the team — one of only four in the world — is handling 30% of the workload globally, says Abdul Rahman Abu Haniffa, director of government affairs and policy at GE Malaysia. 

"Even during Covid-19, our efficiency was maintained. We did 20% to 25% above baseline volume and our numbers were higher this year than they were last year," says Abdul Rahman. "Even though we had that many more contacts (25% more than usual), the team’s performance and efficiency were not affected." 

The establishment of the Kuala Lumpur IT team is another exciting chapter in GE’s long history in Malaysia. Since setting up shop in the nation 45 years ago, GE has grown its local workforce to 1,200 employees, representing every aspect of the US Fortune 500 company’s businesses: power, renewable energy, aviation and healthcare. 

Its customers include the biggest names in Corporate Malaysia: Tenaga Nasional Bhd, Malakoff Corp Bhd and Sarawak Energy Bhd in power generation, AirAsia Group Bhd in aviation as well as the Ministry of Health and National Heart Institute in the medical equipment segment.

" The city’s attractions, strong infrastructure, taxation regime, abundance of business opportunities, rich talent pool and immigration policy make it the ideal location for our IT team. The IT team plays a significant role in GE’s IT support because it is strategically located within our Asia operations and allows us to provide expert-level IT support to our employees globally. "


Abdul Rahman

"The city’s attractions, strong infrastructure, taxation regime, abundance of business opportunities, rich talent pool and immigration policy make it the ideal location for our IT team. 

"The Kuala Lumpur IT team plays a significant role in GE’s IT support because it is strategically located within our Asia operations and allows us to provide expert-level IT support to our employees globally," says Abdul Rahman. 

He adds that, regionally, the Kuala Lumpur IT team supports four main languages: Mandarin, Japanese, Korean and English. The team also provides support to GE employees worldwide, predominantly in English. 

Abdul Rahman credits investment promotion agency InvestKL’s assistance and facilitation efforts with helping the Kuala Lumpur IT team get up and running. In fact, InvestKL is often GE’s go-to agency for assistance, particularly now as the Covid-19 pandemic rages on. 

"Invariably, various GE businesses’ operations and expansion plans require some government touchpoint and, often, InvestKL is our first point of contact. In terms of getting assistance, agencies such as InvestKL under the Ministry of International Trade and Industry have certainly been there for us and have helped us make informed decisions and facilitated our landing," says Abdul Rahman.

Tapping Malaysia’s digitalisation drive

"Malaysia’s broadband and power infrastructure is stable, and our cybersecurity capabilities are strong," says Abdul Rahman. "Malaysia is no longer a country where there is power disruption for two to three hours, affecting the international support processes. Today, our global support is a benchmark and that’s good for the country’s investment prospects." 

As for the KL team, GE is focusing on continuous investment in its biggest asset — people. Since the formation of the team, GE has been committed to employing local talent even when expanding its support languages to Japanese and Korean.

GE is continually investing in better technology and tools to enable the team to provide the best support possible to its customers. The latest milestone was the implementation of omnichannel support so that the team can provide a smooth and fully integrated user experience. 

"So, we don’t need to expand in terms of headcount, but we do in terms of tools and skillsets. We are also growing our teams in terms of income. As the skills go up, the income goes up. 

"We believe in investing in our people and deepening the knowledge and capabilities of our team’s specific area of expertise. We have been and will continue to invest in upskilling employees."

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