Tuesday, April 16, 2024

MARA CORPORATION: Profitable, Competently Functional

Majlis Amanah Rakyat (MARA), a prominent name in Malaysia, boasts a subsidiary that deserves recognition – MARA Corporation Sdn Bhd (MARA Corp). Established as an investment holding company, MARA Corp’s mission is to efficiently manage MARA’s commercial entities and foster investments in key sectors. In 2022, under the leadership of Dato’ Julainie Mohd Salleh, MARA Corp has successfully amplified its business, propelling it toward profitability. International Business Review spoke with Dato’ Julainie on this remarkable transformation.

MARA Corp oversees about 25 subsidiary companies. Before its establishment, these entities operated independently. The result? MARA was not able to obtain expected returns despite their consistent effort. To address this, MARA Corp was founded to unify these subsidiaries under a common roof, streamlining reporting and management. Dato’ Julainie stated, “This approach fosters better alignment, cost-sharing, and revenue optimisation. By consolidating efforts and resources, the goal is to achieve economies of scale and boost profitability.”

The transformation journey began with aligning all 25 companies on the same page and working together towards a common goal. Monthly engagement sessions with top management, including CEOs and CFOs, emphasised collaboration and problem-solving, rather than a one-way directive. This approach enabled MARA Corp Group to build trust and unity among subsidiaries and expedite a smoother transition to the new standards.

Strategies were implemented to harmonise aspects like salaries, based on company size and financial standing. The results were impressive: MARA Corp Group achieved profitability in 2022, marking a significant turnaround from previous years. “By August 2023, most subsidiaries had met or exceeded their annual targets, thanks to the new strategies and the dedication of their leaders,” said Dato’ Julainie.

MARA Corp actively collaborates with its subsidiaries to drive profitability. In this working visit, Dato’ Julainie Mohd Salleh (white shirt) joined MARA Corp Chairman, Tan Sri (Dr.) Hamad Kama Piah Che Othman (red tie), to visit UniKL MIAT, a subsidiary of MARA Corp. Also present were Dean of UniKL MIAT, Dr. Mohd Hafizi Shamsudin (to the left of Tan Sri (Dr) Hamad Kama Piah)

This success transformed MARA Corp Group’s reputation. According to Dato’ Julainie, “Previously, banks were less likely to engage with us, but now the company is an attractive partner for financial institutions.” This shift reflects the growing confidence in MARA Corp Group’s improved standing.

Dato’ Julainie, who comes from a diverse industry background, faced the challenge of understanding the diverse businesses of the 25 companies. For example, one subsidiary is a tertiary education provider, while another specialises in airline maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO). It took several months for him and his team to comprehend the intricacies of these industries.

Once they grasped the businesses, a five-year plan was crafted with an ambitious goal: to transform MARA Corp Group into a billion-dollar company. The plan is unfolding in stages, focusing on establishing alignment in the first year, optimising growth in the second, and nurturing new businesses within existing subsidiaries in the third year. “The results are already promising, with a growing interest from companies looking to collaborate with MARA Corp, a sign of the company’s remarkable turnaround,” Dato’ Julainie explained.

Beyond profitability, MARA Corp Group remains committed to benefiting the community. The education sector consistently produces high-quality graduates, particularly in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) and social sciences. This not only boosts the local economy but also reduces the need for overseas labour, offering almost 100 percent employability to local graduates.

In addition, community services like the MARA Liner bus service provide crucial transportation to students in rural areas. These initiatives strike a delicate balance between community support and profitability, ensuring a positive impact while maintaining financial stability.

Dato’ Julainie Mohd Salleh’s leadership has transformed MARA Corp Group from fragmentation and mediocrity to unity and profitability. This success is measured not only in financial terms but also in the positive impact on Malaysian society. MARA Corp Group’s journey showcases the power of effective leadership, a clear vision, and a commitment to sustainable growth. Expect more exciting developments to come from them in the near future.

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