DATUK SERI (DR) SYED HUSSIAN ALJUNID
Group Chairman, Media Prima Berhad & Group Chairman, Western Digital Malaysia Operations
Rephrasing a quote by a well-known American broadcaster Walter Cronkite, ‘Success is more permanent when you achieve it without compromising your principles’. Datuk Seri (Dr) Syed Hussian Aljunid attributes much of his achievements to the trust and confidence gained from his stakeholders throughout his professional career and he firmly believes this is down to the principles he holds very dear to his heart. These include consistent determination, never ending quest for knowledge, unwavering loyalty and commitment to integrity. These are the values that are consistent with those of the multinational and local companies he has been associated with, which todate has spanned across multiple industries including insurance, digital technology and media. They are the same values that remain true to this day, as he currently helms the chairmanships of Media Prima Berhad and Western Digital Malaysia Operations.
Holding two key positions in two separate established corporations, comes with a certain responsibility of its own most do not see. Sure, in hindsight, it may translate to power but behind closed doors, it is double the responsibility and most of all, expectations. Reality is such that it is easy to lose sight as visions become distorted in a dynamic business world but Datuk Seri (Dr) Syed not only maintains his core principles but goes above and beyond to give back to the nation by making use of his platform and voice. Datuk Seri (Dr) Syed does not sit around and think of how his roles can benefit him but rather is concerned about what he can do with his current roles to give back to the society.
Having said that, he has participated as a delegation member in numerous trade missions overseas organised by the Ministry of International Trade and Industries and Malaysian Investment Development Authority to bring foreign investors to Malaysia. His continuous involvement with key associations and chambers of commerce is also testament to his unwavering commitment. Capitalising on the trusted relationships and global networking built over the years, Datuk Seri (Dr) Syed hopes he can play a small but meaningful role and complement the strong effort made by the government to promote Malaysia as a country with strong economic potential. Given his current role as Group Chairman of Media Prima Berhad, Malaysia’s leading integrated media company, he is also actively pushing the same ideals to help build confidence in the country’s abilities among foreign and domestic investors through the company’s various media platforms. This would ultimately benefit society as a whole via jobs and business opportunities.
Datuk Seri (Dr) Syed’s areas of expertise are not just limited to economics and investments but rather talent development as well. With years of experience and knowledge, he contributes to the nation by nurturing the Malaysian youth so that they may come out prepared for today’s job market. This is done through his active associations with five local universities and higher education institutions. As the Group Chairman of Western Digital Malaysia Operations, he and his colleagues have undertaken programmes aimed towards developing local talents through a structured industry training programme, thus giving students the opportunity to gain international exposure to the best manufacturing practices of global technology companies. A collaboration with the Ministry of Higher Education, enabled the company to provide on-the-job training opportunities for over 300 Malaysian students from local universities and polytechnic institutions. In terms of international exposure, more than half of the students were fortunate to be placed at Western Digital’s operations in Thailand. He is also very much involved on the ground level by dedicating his time and energy to Technical University of Malaysia Melaka or Universiti Teknikal Malaysia Melaka, better known simply as the abbreviated UTeM. He often participates in on-campus activities sharing knowledge via a series of talks. There, he offers his experience and expertise as an industry veteran. This would later on transpire beyond programmes as he also conducts lectures in his capacity as an Adjunct Professor for UTeM, serving on a pro bono basis.
There is no talk about giving back to society without shedding light on the community. Datuk Seri (Dr) Syed is very much involved in various community engagement projects such as helping those in need of assistance both personally and through the companies to which he is affiliated. At Media Prima, he is involved in various community aid activities through programmes such as Bersamamu TV3, which hopes to raise awareness of the hardships experienced by the less fortunate countrymen, whether due to poverty, natural disasters or medical requirements. Media Prima also helped thousands of Malaysians through the Covid 19 Media Prima-NSTP Humanitarian Fund initiative, with a collection of more than RM2.5 million. The money generated was then used to purchase medical equipment and Personal Protective Equipment distributed to hospitals across the country. Similarly, Western Digital also donated medical equipment and personal protective equipment amounting to RM2 million.
Datuk Seri (Dr) Syed is more than just the role entrusted to him. That is to say he is more than just the chairman. Empathy fuels connections and sympathy drives disconnection. It is his ability to empathise with the nation on all levels and his drive to give back to the community is what makes Datuk Seri (Dr.) Syed the person that he is today. Though Covid-19 remains a global concern, Datuk Seri (Dr) Syed remains optimistic about the future. He believes the future for Malaysia remains bright despite the challenges we are facing as the small ray of hope lies in the fact that one can continuously learn to adapt and improve in spite of adverse conditions.
Just like how the lotus flower is able to blossom in muddy waters, Media Prima has managed to achieve a mini turnaround of its fortune despite the economic downturn. In the moment of crisis, albeit easier to just lose all hope and leave it as it is, the people of Media Prima chose to face the pandemic head on. United in spirit, drive, passion and most importantly principles are what made this possible. This small feat is mainly due to the hard work and determination of everyone at the company. Every single one of them in Media Prima has a role to play no matter how big or small they are. Similarly, Western Digital Malaysia has confidence that the country will emerge from the pandemic as it continues to expand its presence in Malaysia as demand for storage solutions increases despite the global uncertainties. This is done through expanding its presence in Malaysia when in 2020, the company announced a fresh investment of RM2.8 billion in Malaysia which will benefit the country.
Remaining true to your principles does indeed have its benefits.