BAFE 2020 - Navigating the 4th Industrial Revolution with a Sustainable Development Mindset

Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the eighth International Conference on Business, Accounting, Finance and Economics (BAFE) 2020 was virtually organised for the first time by the Faculty of Business and Finance (FBF), Centre for Accounting, Banking and Finance, Centre for Business and Management, and Centre for Economic Studies of Kampar Campus on 16 October 2020. The opening ceremony of BAFE 2020 was conducted via Microsoft Teams and was attended by over 50 presenters. They were composed of academics, researchers, students and working professionals from as far as India, Indonesia and Pakistan.

Organised for eight consecutive years since 2013, the one-day virtual conference was themed ‘Navigating the 4th Industrial Revolution with a Sustainable Development Mindset’. It aimed to provide a platform for scholars and researchers from different institutions, sectors, and regions to exchange ideas and information on critical research issues. The conference also aimed to bring the researchers together for the presentation of up-to-date work that contributed to new theoretical, methodological and empirical knowledge, as well as promoting research development, linkages and knowledge mobilisation among disciplines.

Officiating the virtual opening ceremony of BAFE 2020 were UTAR President Ir Prof Dr Ewe Hong Tat, FBF Dean Dr Au Yong Hui Nee, FBF Deputy Dean for Research and Development and Postgraduate Programme-cum-Organising Chairperson of BAFE 2020 Dr Choong Yuen Onn as well as esteemed keynote speakers Assoc Prof Dr Sean James Sands from Swinburne University of Technology and UTAR FBF Adjunct Prof Dr Lai Yew Wah.

First row: Prof Ewe (far left) and Dr Au Yong (centre) taking group photo with participants

Also present at the ceremony were Managing Editor of International Journal of Business and Society Assoc Prof Dr Evan Lau Poh Hock from Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, Managing Editor of Journal of Marketing Advances and Practices & Journal of Marketing Analytics-cum-UTAR Faculty of Accountancy and Management (FAM) Head of Programme for PhD & MPhil Dr Cham Tat Huei, Chief Editor of International Journal of Management Studies Prof Dr Khulida Kirana Yahya from Universiti Utara Malaysia.

The UTAR President stated that the theme ‘Navigating the 4th Industrial Revolution with a Sustainable Development Mindset’ has drawn attention regarding the research on technologies that humankind can only dream of in the last century, such as the Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, etc. Prof Ewe added, “In the midst of the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) which involves the transformation of entire systems and networks, new markets are being created at exponential speeds and scales with incumbents being disrupted to entirely new 4IR-enabled business models. Hence, the researches on 4th Industrial Revolution is significant as they could provide innovative ideas and notions which would also benefit the society.”

He continued and proceeded to welcome the presenters, “I am delighted to know that the conference received a total of 57 papers, including six international papers this year with first-time participation from India, Indonesia and Pakistan. We are very pleased to welcome you and look forward to your input and continued participation in the years ahead.”

Prof Ewe explaining the significance of research pertaining to 4IR

Thanking the speakers, sponsors and the organising committee, Prof Ewe said, “I would like to extend my appreciation to the conference’s line-up of esteemed keynote speakers as well as the presenters from different institutions and regions. I hope everyone will have an engaging time-sharing knowledge and immerse in interactive discussions. I would also like to express my congratulations to the UTAR’s joint organisers for organising this conference since 2013. The joint organisers are Faculty of Business and Finance, Centre for Accounting, Banking and Finance; Centre for Business and Management; and Centre for Economic Studies of Kampar Campus. I am impressed with the progress made by the conference over the years as it truly echoes UTAR’s commitment to engage in research and practice at international standards. I believe the conference will enable the widest variety of people to develop their capabilities in shaping the future of the society and nation.”

Dr Au Yong expressed her gratitude to all the parties for supporting the conference and added, “I was told that the conference’s theme this year is ‘Navigating the 4th Industrial Revolution with a Sustainable Development Mindset’. The conference received encouraging submissions from ASEAN, East Asian, South Asian and African countries across regions. I hope the conference will benefit you with rich ideas and opinions from presenters who came from different countries. The conference is an excellent platform for scholars and researchers to share ideas, views, findings and research outcomes as well as to assimilate the business, accounting, finance and economies studies.” She then said, “I would like to convey my sincere appreciation to Dr Choong and his organising committee for the effort and commitment to make this conference a reality.”

Dr Au Yong expressing her gratitude to Dr Choong and the organising committee

The conference kick-started with two educative keynote addresses by Dr Sean and Prof Lai. The keynote addresses were pre-recorded and it was played after the opening speeches. In his keynote address titled “Future Forum 2020 - Retail in a Time of Disruption”, Dr Sean shared the response strategies taken by the retailers and service providers from time to time in order to meet the changing preferences of consumers and community needs. Prof Lai delivered a significant keynote address titled “Potentials, Risks, and Sustainability of the Fourth Industrial Revolution”. He shared his expertise in Fourth Industrial Revolution, especially on how it will fundamentally bring impacts on the people’s lifestyle as well as affecting the industrials and economics from different aspects.

The conference saw a total of 57 presentations that covered various topics, including Financial Performance and Sustainability; Moving towards Digital Economy; Organisational Behaviour; Digital Technologies; Effective Governance and Taxation; Economic Sustainability; Tourism and the Environment; Organisational Strategy, Education Management.

Recognising research excellence among the presenters, five best papers were also handpicked to receive the Best Paper Awards. The list of winners is as follows:

Paper ID


Malaysia’s Sustainable Gift: A Comprehensive Analysis of Palm Oil Industry Vikniswari Vija Kumaran, Chan Yan Xin, Chee Kien Ning, Lim Poh Yee,
Tan Han Wu, Teo Jia Min

Pedagogy and Technology Characteristics as antecedents in Determining University Student’s Experience Response during the Covid-19 Pandemic: An Extension of Mobile Technology Acceptance Model Based Study

Yuan Yun Peng, Garry Tan Wei Han, Ooi Keng Boon and Lim Wei Wei
Determinants of Innovation Performance: Cross-Country Investigation Yap Chun Hao and Cheng Ming Yu
School Counsellors as Part of Higher Education Marketing: How Effective are they as Gatekeepers? 

Amalia E. Maulana, Indry A. Pradipta and Redemptus R. Raditya

Women Directorship Quality Index: An Exploratory Measure Nurul Afidah Mohamad Yusof, Zuriawati Zakaria, Chia Mei Si, Muhammad Ashraf Anuar

Ng Jiun Hian (left) and Iddrisu Mohammed Awal (right) presenting their research papers

Yap Chun Hao (left) and FBF lecturer Chen Fanyu (right) presenting their research papers

Dr Ng Chee Pung (left) and Dr Amalia E. Maulana (right) presenting their research papers

The six supporting journals for BAFE 2020 were International Journal of Management Studies, Capital Markets Review, Journal of Marketing Advances and Practices, International Journal of Business and Society, The International Journal of Banking and Finance, Journal of Marketing Analytics.

The main sponsor of BAFE 2020 was Malaysian Association of Company Secretaries.

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