As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be the bogeyman of nations and economies throughout the world, global tech firm Alibaba Group has reaffirmed its commitment to expand its logistics operations to support COVID-19 relief aid and strengthen Malaysia as a leading trade and transhipment hub in the region.
Earlier in March of this year, the Jack Ma Foundation and the Alibaba Foundation (The Foundations) together made a donation of 560,000 essential medical items to Malaysia, including face masks, test kits full-body protective suits and face shields that were delivered to National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA) via the eWTP Hub at KLIA.
The foundations are now in the process of arranging a second round of donations to Asian countries including Malaysia. In this round of donations, Alibaba is planning to use the eWTP hub at KLIA to receive the donations for Malaysia, and to serve as a temporary storage and transshipment hub for a number of other countries in the region.
Alibaba will also be working closely with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to leverage the eWTP Hubs in Malaysia, Belgium, Ethiopia, as well as UN facilities in other regions in order to more efficiently distribute medical supplies and aid.
The Prime Minister of Malaysia, YAB Tan Sri Muhyiddin Bin Haji Muhammad Yassin, said, “The COVID-19 pandemic has massively disrupted trade activities throughout the world, including the flow of relief aid and essential supplies. I want to thank the Foundations for their continued generous donations to Malaysia in these challenging times and welcome Alibaba’s initiative to expand their relief aid logistics operation here to benefit the region.”
“In addition, I am encouraged that Alibaba has committed to increase its support to help grow the businesses and capabilities of our SMEs through targeted export and e-commerce activities,” added the prime minister.
YB Dato’ Saifuddin Abdullah, Minister of Communications and Multimedia said, “The establishment of the Digital Free Trade Zone (DFTZ) in partnership with Alibaba to set up Alibaba’s first international eWTP Hub in Malyasa in 2017 has continued to play an important trade facilitation role especially in times of uncertainties and border closures brought about by events such as the COVID-19 outbreak.”
“The effort of global digital companies such as Alibaba to drive forward- looking trade initiatives to support the Government’s measures to mitigate Covid-19 and to support the socio-economic recovery must be applauded,” he added.
Surina Shukri, CEO of Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) said beside establishing Malaysia as the transshipment hub, the DFTZ also aims to support Malaysia’s ecommerce aspiration as articulated in the country’s National E-commerce Strategic Roadmap, launched in 2016.