Gas Malaysia remains committed to fuelling the nation with clean energy

The company is focused on a well-designed growth strategy to leverage its unique strengths and further expand its geographical footprint across Peninsular Malaysia

by NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK / pic credit:

GUIDED by its vision to be an innovative value-added energy solutions provider, Gas Malaysia Bhd, a member of MMC Group, stayed resilient and managed to mitigate the unprecedented impact brought by the Covid-19 pandemic. During the Movement Control Order (MCO) period, Gas Malaysia’s industrial customers’ businesses, which amount to about 99% of its total gas volume sales, were impacted.

Despite the imminent challenges arising from the Covid-19 outbreak, Gas Malaysia managed to capitalise on the opportunity to meet the energy requirements by supplying gas to non-affected customers, mainly from the rubber industry.

These companies ramped up their productions during the MCO period and Gas Malaysia’s sales volume was bolstered by the higher gas demand for rubber gloves production during the pandemic and able to reduce the impact due to the drop from other sectors.

In an exclusive interview recently with The Malaysian Reserve (TMR), Gas Malaysia group CEO Ahmad Hashimi Abdul Manap said: “In the short term, consumer sentiment for gas demand was impacted, especially to local industries, to a certain extent. However, the fundamentals for natural gas remain intact. As for the long term prospects for natural gas demand, it looks promising.

“Natural gas is poised to continue to be a dominant fuel compared to other competitive alternatives in the coming years since there are strong indications that energy will continue to be a key economic driver in a nation’s success story.”

Referring to the company’s annual report for the financial year ended Dec 31, 2019, in terms of gas volume sold, their industrial customers are the largest consumers, recording up to about 99.3%, while the remaining gas sales are from their commercial and residential customers.

“As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic crisis, many businesses are reviewing costs and one of the measures undertaken was to downsize their workforce. As for Gas Malaysia, our employees are our greatest asset, especially in the areas of engineering, sales, finance, operations and maintenance, and other related sections.

“We are mindful of the importance to ensure their health and wellbeing are protected amid this pandemic. Being categorised as an essential service provider during the MCO, our competent workforce worked tirelessly ensuring that we meet service delivery to our customers in a safe and efficient manner.”

“We are pleased to highlight that our gas supply reliability has never been compromised under any circumstances. Based on a proven service model, we have persistently strived to exceed our customers’ expectations with respect to meeting their energy requirements.

“Our gas supply reliability rate is approximately 99%. This commendable achievement has been consistent, even during the MCO period,” Ahmad Hashimi said.

Throughout the years, Gas Malaysia’s planned infrastructure development, precisely its gas distribution pipelines, has been constructed in a timely manner without major disruptions. However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent announcements made by the government, pipeline construction work ceased.

The wave of impact due to the pandemic posed a challenge to Gas Malaysia in unfamiliar territory. Despite the setback, the company remained encouraged by its strong fundamentals and solid history of nearly 30 years having navigated the numerous fraught challenges.

In the past, the company managed to sustain its business performance despite facing unprecedented times, especially during the economic recession. This was achieved because the company managed to capitalise on gas demand from various sectors.

This is due to the unique characteristics of natural gas combined with its promising prospects which translate into the potential for steady growth in demand within Peninsular Malaysia.

“The company has managed to weather the receding tide and flow of business cycles and understands the need to remain agile in a challenging business environment. We have a committed workforce motivated to achieve targets, amid these challenging times. We have channelled our resources accordingly to commence pipeline construction work immediately right after operations were allowed to resume.

“We are now in the third quarter of 2020, and I personally believe we can close the gap to meet our 2020 pipeline construction targets by year-end, inshaAllah despite the less sanguine business environment,” Ahmad Hashimi elaborated.

The company is committed to achieving greater proximity to its valued customers throughout Peninsular Malaysia. As a result, over the years, they have gained a wider regional presence and improved service levels by establishing three regional offices and eight branch offices.

“Our widespread presence in Peninsular Malaysia is a testament to our dedication in responding to our prevailing and potential customer’s needs for cleaner energy,” Ahmad Hashimi responded to a question posed by TMR.

Responding to a question raised on Gas Malaysia’s efforts toward business digitalisation amid Covid-19, Ahmad Hashimi said: “Numerous businesses today are digitalising in a bid to streamline and improve on their operational efficiency. Gas Malaysia already has in place several processes that have been digitalised.

“For instance, Covid-19 has paved the way for businesses to embrace digital transformation to cope with restricted movements.

“At Gas Malaysia, we have been utilising virtual streaming to replace meetings, conferences, trainings and events. To further improve, we are in the middle of examining other potential areas to digitalise processes. We anticipate embracing more technical advancement in the future.”

Speaking about market liberalisation, Gas Malaysia anticipates the year ahead to have its fair share of challenges and equal opportunities with respect to the liberalisation of the gas market in Peninsular Malaysia.

The government’s aspiration to strengthen the foundation of the country’s energy security by liberalising the market and subsequently facilitating the entry of new industry players is welcomed by Gas Malaysia since it positively impacts the development of the gas industry.

“Internal strategies have already been outlined to ensure that we are on track towards sustainable growth in spite of potential competition. Among our plans are to optimise the value delivered to our loyal customers. Anchoring on this notion, we have invested firm efforts in meeting our customers’ expectations in the areas of operational merit, gas supply reliability, emergency response and sustaining the internationally recognised management system standards.

“We remain hopeful that with almost 30 years of experience in the industry and reputable relationship with our valued customers, it will give us a competitive advantage under a liberalised market,” Ahmad Hashimi commented.

To date, Gas Malaysia’s business operations has been formally unbundled into two separate entities, namely the distribution arm and the shipping arm respectively. They have successfully obtained a 20-year distribution licence and 10-year shipping licence respectively for both their wholly owned subsidiaries; Gas Malaysia Distribution Sdn Bhd and Gas Malaysia Energy and Services Sdn Bhd (GMES).

Following which on March 17, 2020, GMES obtained a 10-year Import Regasification Terminal Licence. The licence allows GMES to import liquefied natural gas for regasification in the country by any means other than by transshipment.

“Reflecting on our drive to accelerate efforts to sustain our track record, we will step up efforts to further promote natural gas as a clean energy alternative, owing to its unique characteristic of potentially reducing the emission of harmful pollutants into the environment.

“Also, besides pursuing economic growth, Gas Malaysia remains conscious of the importance of enhancing the lives of the surrounding communities by initiating appropriate corporate social responsibility initiatives. This balance is important for us, as it recognises that generating improved earnings in the industry is not our sole priority. Equally important is the need to aid disadvantaged members of our society by setting an example as a responsible corporate entity,” the group CEO concluded.