Tan Sri Rafidah Aziz was Minister of International Trade and Industry for 21 years from 1987-2008. Dubbed the ‘Iron Lady’, few people in Southeast Asia know more about global trade and industry. During her tenure, she has contributed significantly to the development of the country’s economy. Rafidah worked tirelessly to position and to promote Malaysia as the most favoured destination for foreign direct investment. Many well-known global companies have set up manufacturing and related activities in Malaysia, establishing research and development facilities, as well as regional production and export hubs.
Rafidah now serves as the Chairman of AirAsia X, Pinewood Iskandar Malaysia Studios and Megasteel and as an Adviser to the Sarawak Government on the Renewable Energy Corridor. She is well known for developing the communication and electronics industry. Under her leadership multi-national corporations such as Intel, Western Digital, Panasonic and Samsung set up manufacturing, research and development facilities in Malaysia. Malaysia has now become the 20th largest trading nation globally and the world’s largest exporter of semiconductors.
Rafidah is a source of inspiration for many entrepreneurs and small-medium enterprises. Quick, articulate and infinitely experienced, she encourages people to look beyond the product or service they sell, and consider macroeconomic factors, social influences and cultural norms. Many have benefited from her visionary outlook, ability to open opportunities and find new trading partners. Through her concerted efforts and passion in promoting Malaysia’s trade, many businesses have emerged from small-medium enterprises to large corporations with offices in the international market. She is much respected by her peers, and her candour is a breath of fresh air in the political arena."
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