Category Archives: EZ 59 – Captains & Legends

Rock & Light

Dato’ CJ Eng

Chief executive officer of Asia Gemological Laboratory

by Billie Ooi-Ng Lean Gaik


“Focus single-mindedly on what you do best and your passion, then you can make a difference and stand out from the crowd.”

A gem cannot be polished without friction, nor a man perfected without trials.  Polished and rather close to perfection, Dato’ CJ Eng is the inspiration behind the Asia Gemological Laboratory (AGL).  

After graduating in accounting and finance from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), Dato’ Eng spent the early years of his career in public accounting firms, developing accounting and financial expertise.  Corporate management and business development came naturally to him.  “CEOs who started their careers in accounting and finance tend to be successful and excellent leaders.  I constantly engage in strategic planning of business, running a team and having commercial ownership of various products.”  He is a firm believer of the Hedgehog Concept from the book Good to Great.  “Focus single-mindedly on what you do best and your passion, then you can make a difference and stand out from the crowd.”

His dream team comprises the diplomatic ace turned corporate honcho Dato’ Zainuddin Yahya, pioneering genius and gemstone specialist Ng Lian Im and the fearless and multitalented chemical engineer Dato’ Billy Lai.  Together with Dato’ Eng, the four of them have charted AGL’s course to the pinnacle of success in just three short years.  “When I first met them, I knew that we share a deep passion for the earth’s beauty as well as an understanding for authentication and expertise in minerals and gemstones.” 

AGL’s international group of professionally qualified and dedicated gemologists aims to make AGL the number one preferred gemological laboratory in Malaysia, providing comprehensive services like authentication and certification of gemstones, manufacturing and retailing, workshops and courses, and educational mining field trips.  “We have the most sophisticated technology and equipment for gemstone identification, design and manufacturing.”

Future plans include establishing laboratories in mining countries like Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Pakistan and Sierra Leone.  “We are excited about these opportunities and we want to make Malaysia proud by being the Malaysian gemological laboratory providing assistance in the gemstones industry to these countries.”

Gemstones and jewelleries have always been a part of human society and history.  Urbanisation has increased its demand.  

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“Eighty percent of the gemstone market is dominated by diamonds.  However, there is a promising growth in emeralds, rubies and sapphires.  There will always be interest in precious gemstones.  During a recent Sotheby online auction, the ‘Tutti Frutti’ bracelet by Cartier was sold for USD1.3 million as the most expensive jewel traded online.”

Gemstones are revered by many, for the appreciation in value or simply for its beauty or the pleasure it brings to the owner.  “I still remember vividly the magical feeling when I first held an investment grade natural non-heat Royal Blue sapphire during my first mining trip in Sri Lanka.  It was an incredible feeling of pure joy.”

For adrenalin, Dato’ Eng loves football, golf and high-altitude sports.  He once hiked to Mt Everest Base Camp, with his own chefs and porters, and descended by helicopter.

From a home computer to a global technology company

Datuk Kenny Goh

Co-Founder and Group CEO of MACROKIOSK

by Karina Foo


The formula that enabled a hobby to become a successful business is simply one based on passion, hard work and inquisitiveness.
Such attributes belong to Datuk Kenny Goh who found that his fond love and interest in computers would one day pave a lucrative way together with his two brothers to start their business, MACROKIOSK, a digital communications company.

“Electronics have always been a part of our lives since we were young. Our father had always been very supportive of our interest in electronics, particularly in the area of computerisation. Computers were still a niche thing and were considered quite costly back then, but our father bought us one computer to share amongst ourselves and it just sparked and grew our interest in technology,” said Goh who co-founded the business in his early 20’s.

Goh and his brothers, Datuk Henry Goh and Datuk CS Goh, established MACROKIOSK in 2000 boasting an impressive range of products and services to efficiently and securely bridge the gap between businesses and their digital audiences.

Goh is the company’s group CEO and with his strategic vision, perseverance, determination and a sharp business acumen, he has been the driving force to build MACROKIOSK into a leading digital technology company across Asia and beyond.

Innovation at its core and more
The company is at the forefront of delivering innovative digital products and solutions to enable businesses and individuals to embrace the digital economy. It has a presence in 14 countries and regions, supported by more than 250 multinational employees, and powers over 3,000 clients in 37 countries across 24 industries.

These impressive accolades are the results of the humble when Goh and his brothers would play and experiment with computers as children.

“When our father’s business attained the master distributorship of a Japanese-brand mobile phone in Malaysia, we were further exposed to the world of communications and we realised the importance of communication and the prospects of it. Our entrepreneurial journey actually started out as a hobby but has now become our careers and mission in our lives,” recounts Goh.

They say that when you work together with close relatives, the business could either steer your relationship for the better or worse. For Goh and his brothers, they’ve forged a strong and admirable bond that is reflected in the evolution of their business throughout the last 20 years.

“MACROKIOSK is a collective effort between my brothers and I who bring different capabilities, strengths and knowledge to the business. Being the eldest brother, my initial contribution involved strategic-based approach in steering the company’s direction. For example, I was the only one who was eligible at the time to register a company at the age of 21,” recounts Goh who’s current hobby involves constructing Legos and solving mechanistic puzzles.

The business has evolved substantially over the years as it was initially set up to provide computerisation and internet technology services, then to paging and mobile technology. Today, it encompasses key digital technologies focusing on digital usages for all industries. It is evident that this business has evolved and innovated through ever-changing consumer and market demands.

Turning Crisis to Opportunity
With the Covid19 pandemic that has inadvertently affected many businesses globally, Goh has been able to mitigate the effects for his business by structuring a strategic Business Continuity Plan (BCP) even before the pandemic.

“We are very fortunate during these unprecedented times because we’re an ISO27001-certified company which has protected us from the effects of the crisis. Our ever-evolving business model combined with the dynamic mindset of the people within our organisation has enabled us to turn crisis into opportunity.

Now when it comes to opportunity, Goh advises that it is vital for budding entrepreneurs to identify their unique opportunities and market gaps.

“Starting a business out of necessity alone (because everyone else is doing it), will not make you survive; you will only survive and thrive when you’ve discovered your opportunity and how to take advantage of it.”

Despite the dire repercussions for many from the worldly events in 2020, Goh remains optimistic and even opportunistic for his business and outlook in life.

“Everything has a cycle and we need to strike a balance in everything we do. I believe we should not sacrifice our health for wealth at the beginning of our lives in order to sacrifice our wealth for health at the tail end of our lives.

As for the business, we’re proudly Malaysian and therefore have always championed ‘Ciptaan Malaysia’ (Malaysian creation) – which is a good testament to our faith in the prospects of doing and growing business in Malaysia.”