Integrated Annual Report 2021

2021 was a particularly difficult year for MMASB, one of MISC’s wholly owned subsidiairies and ALAM, its maritime education academy, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Various nationwide lockdowns and other COVID-19 restrictions prolonged economic uncertainties. The employment market remained unstable, and all sectors faced unprecedented operational challenges. These disruptions had a direct impact on the Maritime Education & Training sector, as the shortfall in enrolment numbers during the year resulted in revenue decline. Softer demand for seafarers in the maritime industry, and the difficulties in conducting Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers (STCW) courses via physical means had aggravated the situation. The various lockdown phases stretched our students as well as our employees both mentally and physically. We focused on minimising the impacts of these disruptions as much as possible while maintaining continuity of our core operations. COVID-19 restrictions which led to constant uncertainties dominated the operational challenges faced during the year. One of the many difficult challenges was managing a hybrid approach to education, by offering both online and face-to-face classes. According to regulatory requirements, STCW courses had to be conducted in a face-to-face setting. With STCW courses forming our main source of income, this proved to be a challenge. Nevertheless, to ensure the continuity of the programme, we approached the regulator and were able to obtain their approval to conduct a hybrid programme. On this front, we were able to put lessons learnt from our experience in 2020 into practice by expediting our online learning approach and course delivery without compromising on quality and subsequently becoming the first MET in Malaysia offering hybrid STCW courses. To minimise the impact of dwindling student enrolment numbers across the board, the sales and marketing team deployed creative approaches to attract new students. I am happy to share that their efforts successfully minimised impacts for cadetship, rating and modular students’ enrolment. However, international border closures imposed by the government led to it being impossible for us to enrol foreign students for our post-sea programmes. Our post-sea programme intake was therefore limited to local students. In addition, cadetship intake had to be deferred from its usual time in July to later during the year. This was a knock-on effect due to the delay in the national examinations, Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia (SPM), which also affected ALAM’s revenue recognition. Despite all these challenges, we made the most of opportunities that arose. ALAM expedited our shift to offering courses in an online setting, backed by a robust IT infrastructure based on enhancements we had implemented in our online Learning Management System (LMS) the previous year. Our lecturers, employees and students had to make the transition to adopt the new way of learning and embrace online education moving forward. Our employees were also able to respond in an agile manner to constant changes in SOPs and restrictions, and adapted well to the new norms. ALAM’s ability to shift our education offerings both online and face-to-face courses has strengthened our market position. We also took the opportunity to look inward and scrutinised our operations to identify cost containment measures. We were able to identify and cut out wastages, as well as renegotiate contracts to obtain the best value from our vendors and contractors. Our employees were also encouraged to be more vigilant and prudent in managing expenditures and costs. During the year, we continued to implement ALAM’s transformation initiatives whereby gaps were identified in areas that required our internal processes to be further enhanced and redesigned with the objective to improve our operational efficiency, resource productivity, reduce costs and to align with our business objectives. Our approach of looking into our ‘backyard’ and tie up loose ends has resulted in improvements in our processes and efficiency. We had some silver linings during the year which demonstrates our resilience to perform even in difficult times. In 2021, we successfully delivered a total of 26 researches, consultancy projects and customised courses to 13 clients, which contributed RM1.45 million to our revenue. We also assisted a total of 28 eligible selfpaid cadets for ship berths at 11 shipping companies. In a year when health and safety was of paramount importance, we were recognised for our excellent occupational safety and health culture with the Malaysian Society of Occupational Safety and Health’s (MSOSH) Gold Merit Award 2021 under the category of Educational Sectors, Petroleum, Gas, Petrochemical and Allied Sectors. As we step into 2022, we are of the view that economic sentiment to improve in Malaysia as a result of the successful nationwide vaccination programme with high vaccination rates. There is an air of cautious optimism that 2022 will be better than 2021, particularly due to the possibility of ALAM opening our campus for face-to-face programmes even as we make further inroads with our online course offerings. We have identified our 2022 strategic priorities which will enable us to remain sustainable, competitive and relevant in the maritime education and industry in the longer term. We plan to rebuild ALAM to become a financially self-sustaining institution, offer a stronger maritime education value proposition by strengthening our academic domain and academia, and rejuvenate our campus infrastructure and facilities to offer a better experience for students. As society transitions towards a better understanding and acceptance of the new normal, we expect our enrolment numbers to improve across the board, for both our local and foreign student intakes. Above all, we will continue to remain resilient come what may and maintain our high-quality maritime education delivery both locally and internationally. RAFIQ KHAN AKBAR KHAN Managing Director & CEO, Malaysian Maritime Academy Sdn. Bhd. (MMASB) MANAGING DIRECTOR & CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER’S REMARKS KEY DEVELOPMENTS Successfully employed creative marketing approaches to attract new students As the continuing pandemic impacted new student enrolment, our sales and marketing team brainstormed and executed innovative ways to reach out to potential students. Although student numbers had reduced across the board and we were not able to recruit international students in our post-sea programme, our approach sustained our new student pipeline for our cadetship, ratings and modular programmes. 2021 Enrolment Cadetship Total • Deck : 165 • Engine : 144 Ratings Total • Deck : 42 • Engine : 33 Post-sea Total • Deck : 72 • Engine : 104 RAFIQ KHAN AKBAR KHAN Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer, Malaysian Maritime Academy Sdn. Bhd. (MMASB) MARITIME EDUCATION & TRAINING BUSINESS REVIEW 309 75 176 MISC Berhad 168 Integrated Annual Report 2021 MISC Berhad Integrated Annual Report 2021 169