KUALA LUMPUR: Scrutinised under the stringent eyes of various independent judges, PKT Logistics Group Sdn Bhd has earned the Malaysian Business of the Year title at The Star Business Awards (SOBA) 2012.

The award is the most prestigious given to the participating company that was generally the best in all areas of judging.

PKT Logistics group chief executive and managing director Datuk Michael Tio also won the Entrepreneur of the Year award.

Other award highlights were Best Global Market, which platinum award went to Intralink Techno Sdn Bhd and Rising Star, which CleanPro Express Sdn Bhd bagged.

Star Publications (M) Bhd group managing director and chief executive Ho Kay Tat noted that local companies were increasingly taking proactive steps to make their businesses stand out.

“We now see more companies willing to invest in human capital development, innovation and corporate social responsibility, and adopt the use of information communication technology to remain competitive,” he said in his opening speech.

“We see many young and industrious entrepreneurs making a name for themselves, not just on home ground but also on foreign soil.”

Second Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Husni Hanadzlah pointed out that Malaysian businesses needed to prepare to take advantage of the freer and expanded market initiative that is the Asean Economic Community 2015.

He believed that the capacity and capabilities of local entrepreneurs and SMEs needed to be upgraded.

“While the Government continues to extend all the help it can through the provision of financial assistance, infrastructural development and regulatory support, the SMEs must also rise to the challenge to see beyond what is in the immediate front,” he said in his speech.

Exim Bank chief executive Datuk Adissadikin Ali said the SOBA awards had a triggering effect on local businesses to go abroad.

“We hope to see more SMEs moving forward to the global front. We hope the awards will allow SMEs to continue challenging themselves.”

SOBA 2012 received 105 entries from a total of 67 participating companies.

This year, SOBA has introduced some enhancements. The awards are now divided into two broad categories, being the top-of-the-class and outstanding achievement awards.

The former has eight sub-categories covering ICT, marketing strategy, branding, green initiatives, innovation, employee benefits and global market. Outstanding achievement awards include the Rising Star, Entrepreneur of the Year and Malaysian Business of the Year sub-categories.

SOBA will reward winners with almost RM1mil worth of advertising space and airtime, with the platinum winners each receiving RM50,000 worth of ad space (print, radio and online), gold winners, RM30,000 worth of ad space (radio and online) and silver winners, RM20,000 worth of ad space (radio).

Exim Bank is the presenter of the awards for the second time, while Bursa Malaysia and the Royale Chulan Kuala Lumpur have supported SOBA since its inception. Red Tomato is the official Chinese newspaper, while the official radio stations are 988FM and RedFM. The awards auditor is BDO.

SOBA recognises up-and-coming enterprises across sectors and their contributions to the local economy, with attention given to those involved in exports of local products or services.

Winners are envisioned to be working towards listing on the Malaysian stock exchange in the foreseeable future.