Maybank contributes RM21m to establish Maybank Asean Research Centre with Asia School of Business

PETALING JAYA: Maybank has endowed RM21 million to the Asia School of Business (ASB) to establish the Maybank Asean Research Centre with the aim of conducting research on topics related to emerging markets in the Southeast Asia region.

The endowment is based on the understanding that social welfare can be a bridge towards improving policymaking.

ASB is a collaboration between the MIT Sloan School of Management and Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM).

Maybank Asean Research Centre’s co-chair, Datuk Nora Manaf, who officiated the launch, remarked that data and information are imperative to power insights which guide policymakers to respond swiftly to crises, improve economic growth, and enhance resilience to future shocks.

She said the bank aims to humanise financial services not only by providing sustainable financing solutions and supporting the underbanked.

“We are now extending our reach to them by making available impactful research findings that can benefit society as a whole,” Nora said in a statement.

“We believe that the real-world discoveries can better prepare us all to overcome existential challenges and seize opportunities in today’s volatile operating environment.”

To date, the centre has completed two studies related to the Covid-19 pandemic, the first of which explored the rationale behind vaccine hesitancy in Malaysia and whether social norms and government policies play roles in affecting one’s decision to register for vaccinations.

The result from the study provided insights on how policymakers can help incentivise residents to register and receive the Covid-19 vaccine.

The school’s president and dean, professor Charles Fine believes academia plays a salient role in equipping leaders and policymakers with accurate and current information to make sound decisions.

“With the generous support from Maybank, we will continue to gather more relevant data, contribute insightful research and spark intellectual dialogues that will create a better future for the next generations and the advancement of the emerging world,” he said.

Its second study explores the impact of the pandemic on Malaysia’s “hawker culture” utilising machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to generate a map of hawker and roadside operations in Malaysia, as well as deepen the understanding of how they access credit.

Maybank Research Centre’s faculty director and ASB’s assistant professor of economics, Dr Melati Nungsar commented the pandemic has affected us all in various ways.

“We continued our mission by exploring the impact that pandemic has had on Malaysia’s hawkers, the roadside economy, and the changed dynamics of the labour market,” she said.

“Through our partnership with Maybank, we intend to invigorate the region with more meaningful studies that will help policymakers in developing effective and favourable policies to support emerging markets and the livelihood of its citizens.”

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