International Women’s Day (IWD) on 8 March is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. In conjunction with that, Islamic Tourism Centre (ITC) would like to honour the women we’ve had the pleasure of working with throughout our journey in advancing the Islamic Tourism space in Malaysia. We’ve worked with many great women in our time, and though we can’t feature them all here, know that we support them wholeheartedly towards their professional and personal goals. 

To further inspire us all on this journey of life, we’ve invited some of these women to share their success stories with us. Here, they reveal the highs of their lives and what motivates them to keep going through tough times. We hope that this spotlight on the women we’ve worked with – and whom we have utmost respect for – will inspire us all on our journey forward!

For this IWD blog series, we’re excited to speak with Ms. Aida Lim Abdullah, who passionately shares her experience in nation-building and innovation. It’s clear that she has a great love for Malaysia, and there’s much we can appreciate from her leadership experience and contribution towards the progress of the country.

Aida Lim Abdullah
Managing Director/Founder
Corporate Streets Sdn Bhd

ITC: Can you introduce yourself to our readers? Tell us a little bit about yourself – personal, family and business-wise?

I am Aida Lim Abdullah.

I was born in a very humble family.  My late father was a mechanic cum fisherman while my mum was a tailor.  Both of my parents never went to school – they were self-taught to read and write – but guided me in my early childhood.

I have always done well in academic, getting straight A’s when I was in secondary school in a rural area. My name appeared in the newspaper and I was put into a male boarding school. I had the opportunity to receive a medical scholarship subject to passing all future exams. Unfortunately, that didn’t turn out as planned.  Two days before an important exam, I lost my youngest brother. I took a flight home for the funeral and was stranded in the heavy rain and floods, preventing me from taking the exam. That “no show” disqualified me for the medical scholarship. So, I started to work part time and attended night classes to retake my exam.

I graduated from London with BA (Hons) in Accounting & Finance, majoring in Law.  I was then headhunted by my country’s biggest GLC / conglomerate and from thereon, I contributed towards nation-building in areas of infrastructure like North South Expressway, pharmaceutical, banking restructuring, revamping of the financial and capital market, and stock exchange listing. I also founded my own company.

My journey in learning has continued and I am now a Chartered Accountant and a member of CIMA, CGMA, MIA, CFP, and CSI. I am also a Halal Executive Professional certified by Jakim.

Today, I am the director of a few companies across several sectors focused on the national agenda. I am also the Managing Director and founder of Corporate Streets, the company that provide solutions for public listed companies, Government-linked agencies, corporations and businesses in tackling governance, risk, AMLA, compliance, ethics, Syariah and Halal in regards to digital solution.  I am also a member of Governor of Quantum Board Exchange Bhd where it is nurturing and guiding Syariah compliance for metal commodity trade.

ITC: What’s your most recent accomplishment in your personal life that you’ve been most proud of? Why was this achievement special to you?

In my 30 years of corporate career, I have obtained many achievements and accomplishments in particular towards Malaysia’s nation building agenda. Even though it is for the nation, it is also a personal achievement for me as I view myself as a patriotic citizen of the country.

I feel fortunate to be able to be part of the Malaysia Nation Building team in the 1990s with opportunities to be involved in infrastructure projects, fund raising, mergers and acquisition for national projects like PLUS Highway, listing of pharmaceutical company, and consolidation of mega transportation projects. 

Somehow, my involvement in nation-building led me to engage passionately in the Halal ecosystem now where I got to lead the Halal Park Policy Drafting Committee by SIRIM and HDC in 2021. During my time as the first CEO of Penang Halal International, I led the rebranding of the 10-year-old GLC with renewed vision and mission to forge through the challenging pandemic. My passion for the Halal space continues with my directorship in a company that is embarking on globalization in its Syariah mission.

Seeing the development of my work within the Halal economy gives me great satisfaction, but I truly felt honoured by the recognition as Penang National Achievers Award 2021 – Outstanding Achievements and Contribution to the Penang Society for my work in promoting Halal lifestyle. That same year, I was also recognised as Outstanding Corporate Governance and Halal Champion of the Year 2021 by Tourism Malaysia and FINAS.

ITC: What’s your most recent accomplishment, career/business-wise, that you’ve been most proud of? Why was this achievement special to you?

What’s special to me is that I was given the opportunity to lead, innovate and create the various business models and solutions for SME, PLCs, and GLCs in recent years to embrace integrity, compliance, and good governance while enabling them to reap the opportunities in untapped markets. For example, being the first to deploy virtual events at affordable rates for many SME and businesses.

I am also pleased to unveil very soon the creation of my own digital solution to help Syariah and Halal business operators to manage all the sustainability, governance, compliance and SOP issues.

My ability to overcome challenges, the ability to continue to transform myself, businesses, entities I am serving, instill good values, good governance in maneuvering their businesses and expansion – these are the things that motivate and push me to grow and achieve more and contribute to the social and business environment.

ITC: What are the values you hold on to that has helped you to be where you are today – values that have helped to see you through the good and bad times? 

Coming from a humble background, it is common to be treated differently, side-lined, and subjected to discrimination. I became stronger, believing that good behaviour, honesty, kindness, respect and fairness to others are better.

My motto in life is “Always do the right things because Allah is always watching”. I am a true believer that being fair, being kind, being ethical and having faith will help all of us overcome any life and work challenges.

These are the values I carry with me and plant into all entities I’m involved in. For example, the values I created for a state agency is “iHALAL” which stand for Integrity, Humility, Accountability, Leadership, Agility and Learning.

ITC: What’s your project/ ambition/ goals that you wish to achieve next (personal and career/business-wise)?

I would like to build a platform that can help and support the creation of a positive business environment where business operators can participate in trustworthy, fair, transparent and honest trade exchange, and where there is better risk management, compliance and good value for all businesses.

ITC: Could you share with us your experience of working with ITC and what you value about this relationship?

I have been a strong supporter of ITC and have been invited for many of their conferences as speaker, panelist, and moderator. With my vast experience across many industries, I would love to continue to collaborate and support ITC towards developing the Islamic Tourism landscape, as our values are aligned.



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