Indian economist Montek, UAE billionaire Kandhari to attend Sikh summit in Kuala Lumpur

The 1st Asean Sikh Economic & Entrepreneurship Summit (ASEES) 2017 has set itself some ambitious goals: Developing first Sikh economic blueprint, charting sustainable future for a regional community

| Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia | 6 June 2017 | Asia Samachar |

Some of the best economic, business and corporate Sikh minds from Southeast Asia will be converging for a two-day summit in Kuala Lumpur next month in what promises to be a major milestone for the vibrant and lively community in this part of the world.

The 1st Asean Sikh Economic & Entrepreneurship Summit (ASEES) 2017 has set itself some ambitious goals. They include developing the first Sikh economic blueprint as well as charting a sustainable future for a regional community.

What is probably the most extensively organised business and economic summit for the Sikhs post independence in Southeast Asia, ASEES 2017 is gathering some of the biggest names in the community from the Asean region and beyond.

One of the big names at the two-day summit on 8-9 July 2017 is renowned Indian economist Montek Singh Ahluwalia, an influential figure in the administration of the then Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh.

SEE ALSO: First Asean Sikh Economic & Entrepreneurship Summit

Montek served as the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of the Republic of India, a position which carries the rank of a Cabinet Minister, from 2004-2014. He had also earlier served as the first Director of the Independent Evaluation Office at the International Monetary Fund.

“Our goal is to inspire the Sikh community to explore cross border opportunities through dialogue, networking and academic reviews of sustainable strategies,” chief organiser Dr Palvinder Singh told Asia Samachar.

“The summit brings together emerging communities and experts in their respective fields to rub shoulder on a singular platform. We hope as many Sikhs will take the opportunity to attend the summit.”

Tickets worth RM349 (free seating) and RM649 (VIP seating) are on sale.


The event is supported by the presence of some regular ‘big’ names amongst Sikhs in the region like former Asean secretary general Ajit Singh from Malaysia and former Singapore parliamentarian and entrepreneur Inderjit Singh.

The summit is also bringing to the fore Sikhs who have excelled in their respective fields but may not necessarily be household names.

Participants will get a chance to listen to Aswin Phlaphongphanich, a communication technology leader in Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar.

He is the Director/CEO of SawasdeeShop Co. Ltd, a company he established in 1999. The telecom service provider licensed by the National Broadcasting and Telecommunication Commissions has become the most renowned tier-2 telecom provider with more than one million individual and corporate customers.

Also appearing on the ASEES 2017 stage is fellow Thai Prabsharan Singh Thakral, President & Group CEO of the Boutique Corporation Public Company Ltd.

Still on the tech front, the summit will feature Spotify MD for Asia Sunita Kaur. Before joining Spotify in 2013, the Singapore-based executive was the Facebook director for Asia.

The summit will also feature self-made billionaire Surender Singh Kandhari, the founder and chairman of Dubai-based Al-Dobowi Group, who will probably share his business acumen as well as his involvement in running the first and only legal gurdwara in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

Founded in 1976, Al-Dobowi Group has grown into a conglomerate of 17 companies and is one of the largest tyre distribution firms in the world. It has since branched out into systems and solutions provider for power storage, industrial rubber, material handling and fluid management industries.

He is known for his US$20 million contribution to build the UAE gurdwara that sits on a land donated by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed Rashid Al Maktoum.

Modelled after the World Economic Forum (WEF), ASEES 2017 aims to unite Asean Sikhs on an economic platform, deepening unity and raising wealth. It aims to frame the Asean Sikh economic movement and act as a strategic enabler to mobilise the resources available to the regional Sikh community to achieve determined aims.

By engaging renowned Sikh professionals and personalities in plenary and workshop sessions, the summit intends to highlight and critically evaluate a key range of economic issues currently affecting the Sikh population in Asean.

Hence, the summit is bringing together key stakeholders in the conversation – regional business leaders, academicians, government representatives, non-government organisations, as well as finance and corporate professionals to develop strategic partnerships and find viable solutions to the challenge of uplifting the current economic standing of Asean Sikhs.

The summit will explore mechanisms to raise living standards and improve the quality of life of Sikhs in the region by ensuring that economic policy is more effective at all levels and that access to key levers of development, such as education, entrepreneurship and skills upgrading, is open and equitable.

[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE. Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website:]


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