SIC slowly getting back on track, says CEO

by SHAFIQQUL ALIFF / pic source: sepangcircuit.com

THE Sepang International Circuit (SIC) is slowly getting back on track of its business following the reopening of the border, said CEO Azhan Shafriman Hanif (picture).

He said this is because there is a relatively high demand now compared to before, not only from within the country but also from neighbouring countries such as Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia with clients coming to use the facilities at the SIC for private events and other events.

“For the past two years we have had to cancel the Grand Prix motorcycle racing, MotoGP, and there were many things we could not do during the Movement Control Order and of course, the situation has improved since the government announced the reopening of the border in early April.

“In terms of event organisation, we can see, a few weeks ago we held private events and rented facilities to hold mini-concerts, car racing events and this shows the health of the company is getting better as most of the people are looking for strategic places,” he told The Malaysian Reserve after the ground-breaking ceremony of the Driving Experience Centre (DEC) in Sepang, Selangor, today.

The DEC project is one of the components of SIC’s five-year Strategic Business Plan which was approved by the SIC board of directors in 2014.

Azhan Shafriman added that the DEC project grant has been allocated by the Malaysian government through the 12th Malaysia Plan and construction work will be completed in 12 months.

“SIC continues to make strides in the motorsports and automotive industry with the development of the DEC, in line with its aspiration to become a leading motoring and leisure centre in Malaysia and South-East Asia (SEA),” Azhan Shafriman said.

The DEC project is the first driving experience facility in SEA and has obstacles such as a 1.5km Handling Circuit, Skid Circle, Hydraulic Skid Plate and Dynamic Staging Area.

The facility covers an area of 28ha and is used as “the next step” for continuous learning for drivers in Malaysia to be more skilled in operating vehicles and then be able to test the driver’s abilities and their vehicle efficiency.

At the same time, Azhan Shahriman said SIC intended to hold strategic cooperation talks with various agencies to make the facility a “go-to centre” for efficient and prudent vehicle handling and driving, and ensure business sustainability.

“I believe this project will open up more job opportunities directly and indirectly and will contribute to spurring the country’s economy,” he added.

Meanwhile, Minister of Youth and Sports Datuk Seri Ahmad Faizal Azumu said that the DEC project is aimed at providing public facilities for motorsport facilities that will benefit the people while rejuvenating not only the motorsport industry but also the economy and tourism sector for Malaysia and Sepang in particular.

“The Ministry of Youth and Sports and SIC will continue their aspiration to become a leading motoring and ‘edutainment’ centre in Malaysia and SEA.

“I believe with a comprehensive business and marketing strategy, the DEC will be one of the best driving experience centres on par with its class in the SEA region while helping to generate the country’s economy,” he said.

Commenting on the sales of ticket for the upcoming MotoGP 2022, Azhan Shafriman added that ticket sales for the public are not as encouraging as SIC expected and the event still needs a bit of marketing, but for the corporate suite it had sold out quickly and it gives a good indication for SIC.

“We have cancelled the event for two years and the sales of the ticket currently are not as we expected. But year after year before the Covid-19 pandemic, we had seen ticket sales soar as the event drew closer to the date.

“The event is happening this year and we all know our track is dependent on people coming. However, in terms of confidence level, we need to work a bit more to convince everyone since we are coming out from pandemic,” he added.