Tag Archives: FEATURED

Forging a Path in Security

Dato’ Dr Nick Ng
Founder of Mega Fortris Malaysia Sdn Bhd

The reason for our success is because we had went through a lot to get there and most important of all, we keep to our integrity and principles

Ng has always had an adventurous streak and he attributed most of his success to the adventures he had as a young man. He literally left home to see the world at the age of 18 years. With little money on hand, he took a ship to India and from there, made his way to Europe. It was a trip that formed who he is today. It taught him perseverance and a die-hard attitude. What he remembered most about that epic journey that spanned several years was how he had to suffer and starve in the beginning due to shortage of money. “I was adventurous and I was determined to make it, I don’t give up easily so no matter how much I suffered, I refused to go home, I wanted to stay on,” he said.

If one were to tell Dato’ Dr Nick Ng that he would reap huge success in selling security seals back when he was young, he would have laughed it off.  Never in his imagination had he thought that his eventual success in life was from selling security seals that initially only earned him a few sen of profit per seal.

Ng had ventured into the security seal business with his brother Adrian, who is 15 years younger than him, in 1996. When he first started, he was quite sceptical of the profit as each security seal costs about 9 sen which they had to sell at 12 sen. “Yet, we had to push on, we wanted to penetrate the market,” he said.

The brothers persisted and thanks to Adrian’s sales skills, Ng said they started making it big and soon they were venturing overseas. Before long, Mega Fortris was manufacturing its own security seals and exporting it to various countries. It is now one of the leading security seal manufacturers in the world.

“I was adventurous and I was determined to make it, I don’t give up easily so no matter how much I suffered, I refused to go home, I wanted to stay on,” 

Even after he came back to Malaysia, Ng found it hard to stay put in Penang. Life here was monotonous and boring so he left again and this time, he went to United Kingdom to work as a window cleaner for three years.

He came back to Malaysia from that stint and tried a few businesses which failed. This never deterred him. Instead, he pushed on with his die-hard attitude as he believed he would eventually make it.

The Ng brothers started Mega Fortris with a RM2 million debt and it was their joint hard work that led to their success today. ”The reason for our success is because we had gone through a lot to get here and most important of all, we keep to our integrity and principles,” he said.

His advice to the youths is to venture out and take risks. “I was bold enough to take risks and this was where I learned important lessons about life,” he said. 

The Zing of Life

Dato’ Seri Damien Chua Wei Kee
Founder and Chief Executive Officer, JD Resources

“It was not easy but each challenge that came my way, I always find ways to overcome it.”

If there is only one formula for success, it would have to be seizing an opportunity and make it work through pure grit and hard work. This was how Dato’ Seri Damien Chua went from a waiter to become the owner of 30 companies in nine countries within a span of 26 years.

It can be said that his early years as an adult striking out on his own was an invaluable lesson that taught him independence and a strong will to succeed. Coming from a middle-class family, Chua had wanted to study aeronautical engineering or chemical engineering when he finished school. Yet, aware of his parents’ financial limitations, he gave up that dream and started working various jobs to fund his own education. “Since engineering was too expensive, I chose the cheapest course – accounting,” he said. To fund his education, he did a slew of different jobs that ranged from tutoring to waitering and coaching. He worked in McDonald’s, Parkson Store as a promoter, a lifeguard, a swimming coach, a tuition teacher and a waiter in a restaurant.

He ended up working in a zinc distribution company while studying ACCA part-time. It was this job that gave him the most experience in the zinc industry. When the 1997 Asian financial crisis hit, Chua lost his job in the zinc distribution company as the company was so badly hit, it went under. Desperate for a job, he decided to apply for the accountant post in a Melbourne zinc supplier company. Instead of landing a job, he was unexpectedly appointed as an agent in Malaysia. With no other job offers, he decided to give it a try and this saw the establishment of JD Resources in 1998. “It was a challenge taking up the risk at a time when we were still facing the effects of the financial crisis but somehow, I managed to face up to it,” he said. It was not all smooth-sailing and yet for each challenge that came his way, Chua somehow managed to overcome it and came out unscathed. “It was not easy but each challenge that came my way, I always find ways to overcome it,” he added.

Today, JD Resources holds 30% market share of the zinc supplies and 55% market share of zinc alloy supplies in the Southeast Asia market. The company started out as a sole proprietorship distributing 15 to 20 tonnes of zinc products two decades ago and now, the company is large enough to be publicly listed and is distributing 12,000 to 15,000 tonnes of zinc products. “Last year, when everyone was pulling out of China due to the trade war, we were going in to set up our factory there because we wanted to tap into the China market,” he said.

Other than continuing to expand his growing business, Chua is involved in 16 non-governmental organisations (NGO) and was recently appointed as the Honorary-Consul of Hungary. He also makes sure he allocates time for his family every weekend and spends most of his free time, if any, reading at least one book each month. “I must read to continuously improve my knowledge, it is a life-long process that must never stop no matter how busy I am,” he said. 

“I must read to continuously improve my knowledge, it is a life-long process that must never stop no matter how busy I am”

Living A Beautiful Life

Professor Enzo Di Mambro
Consultant, Professor & Academic Board Member of EMBA

“I grew up in Rome where I was constantly surrounded by beautiful things and this was emphasised with my travels, particularly when we stayed in China because of its rich culture and people.”

Life is short, so live it to the fullest and always be happy. This has been heard so often and can even be cliche to many. Nevertheless it’s the mantra that Professor Enzo Di Mambro lives by and while life is not perfect, he certainly is happy. 

The Professor of the Inner Mongolia University in Penang lives happily ever after as an expatriate in the Moonlight Bay Apartments in Batu Ferringhi very much enjoying life and living it to the fullest. 

He is also the Consultant and Professor and Academic Board Member of the university’s EMBA (Executive Masters of Business Administration) programme as well as a professional chef with more than four decades in the hospitality industry. 

Enzo was born in Italy, but not in a hospital or even at home. Rather, he greeted the world alongside his twin brother under a pomegranate tree in the middle of nowhere as his mother went into labour while she and her husband were traveling.

“I grew up in Rome where I was constantly surrounded by beautiful things and this was emphasised with my travels, particularly when we stayed in China because of its rich culture and people.” He loved China so much that he even married a Chinese woman but interestingly, decided to settle in Penang under the programme, Malaysia as my Second Home (MM2H). 

“I am culturally successful because I believe that throughout my 63 years of life, traveling and working, I have developed worldly wisdom or a deep “knowledge” of people, how and why they behave the way they do. ”

“This decision happened years ago when some of my colleagues and I were in Perth. We had dinner and some drinks and started talking about where we want to die! So I said that I want to LIVE on a nice island, in a villa, with beautiful views and great weather. A few days later, a friend showed me an advertisement of the Moonlight Bay apartments in Penang. I did some research about Penang, then bought a unit almost immediately,” he quipped. 

It wasn’t a rash and misguided decision however, as Enzo had considered other nearby islands. But Penang called to him because of its very laid back way of life – “There’s also a lot more to do here. I think Bali and Phuket are more short-term tourist destinations while Hong Kong is quite chaotic,” he said. 

To him, everything about Penang is value for money from entertainment, shopping to properties. The people are warm, friendly and hospitable, the weather is warm throughout the year, food is delicious and the hospitals offer one of the greatest services among the other countries he’s been to. 

“So with these reasons, Penang is my home. But the main issue is the traffic, but I think many others share the same sentiments,” he said. 

You may believe that Enzo is successful as he nonchalantly refers to his luxury cars as his “toys” and owns a number of properties in other countries. But he thinks he is still “working” to achieve success. “I am culturally successful because I believe that throughout my 63 years of life, traveling and working, I have developed worldly wisdom or a deep “knowledge” of people, how and why they behave the way they do. Money is just a bonus. In fact, I’m just lucky because life has been very generous to me,” he explained. 

Leading By Example

Tan Lay Seong
Founder & CEO of Great Ideals Group

Leadership is not a position or a title but it is about leading by example and making things happen.

Tan Lay Seong from Great Eastern is a name majority will know or at least have heard of in the Malaysia insurance industry. Coming from a poor family of eight, Lay Seong has endeavored this journey through hard work, determination and self belief. “The spirit of believing in whatever you do is very important, we cannot change where we came from but we can always decide what we want to be in the future,” said Lay Seong. Immediately after graduating from the National University Of Malaysia (UKM) in 1995, he joined the insurance industry and never looked back. 10 years later, he successfully built his own empire, won numerous awards and wrote his first book ‘The Champion Path’, documenting his life journey to encourage people to live their dreams. The book was later translated into English and subsequently sold internationally. 

To date, Lay Seong’s numerous outstanding achievements include the first and only Malaysian to be selected twice for the Worldwide 500 Chinese Insurance Agency, Top 10 Outstanding Youth Malaysian Awards (Merit) and Agency Leader Of The Year 2018. When asked why investing in insurance is important, his answer was short and precise saying that this is an alternative investment to protect or at least to ease the burden of families or corporations when encountered with unfortunate business or financial stress. He firmly believes that insurance is not only a wise investment as protection, but this is also a good career path for those who have good leadership qualities with proper management systems. “Leadership is not a position or a title but it is about leading by example and making things happen, ” Lay Seong explained.

Besides insurance, this remarkable gentleman is also the National President of PUMM and the Advisor for PCCC Youth – Personal Development Bureau. This father of two loves soccer and badminton for the persistence and fighting spirit of the games. 

Last but not least, Lay Seong’s principle in life is “Let us use our lives to influence others to do better!” 

“The spirit of believing in whatever you do is very important, we cannot change where we came from but we can always decide what we want to be in the future.”

Faces of Penang 2019

FACES OF PENANG 2019: Influential Captains & Upcoming Leaders

  • YAB Chow Kon Yeow
  • YB Steven Sim Chee Keong
  • YB Sim Tze Tzin
  • YB Yeoh Soon Hin
  • Tan Sri Datuk Alex Ooi Kee Liang & Puan Sri Datuk Joanne Phor Li Wei
  • Dato’ Seri Damien Chua Wei Kee
  • Dato’ Cher Chen Chiang
  • Datin Poon Lee Fah
  • Allen Tan
  • Alvin Poh Hsien Yang
  • Anne Lee
  • Sean Lau Chee Seong & Cheryl Ng Chai Hong
  • Caren Lee Gie Lun
  • Chris Daniel Wong
  • Dr Lim Ban Keong
  • Fifi Ch’ng
  • Eric Tiw Haojie
  • Joseph Goh Kah Leong
  • Jimmy Foo Kok Keong
  • June Goh Hooi Choon
  • Tan Loy Sin
  • Leon Lee
  • Ooi Chok Yan
  • Tan Li Mei
  • Syed Aidid Syed Mohamad
  • Chef Petr Feher
  • Dr Tan Boon Cheong
  • Tan Wei Xin
  • Toh Bok Piew & Desmond Toh
  • Vincent Chew & Ann Lee
  • William Koay
  • Wilson Yeoh & Edwin Yeoh
  • Waqar Saeed Bhatti
  • Wong Soon Ping
  • Boey Tze Nin
  • Chef Audee Cheah
  • Franco Tan
  • Esther Loh
  • Katharine Joan Chua
  • Kevin Wong
  • Ooi Wei Ming
  • Ravin Vello
  • Seah Kok Heng
  • Stephen Soon
  • Nigel Law
  • Oo Lean Hooi

Where Medical Education Thrives

EZMY54_RUMC_Prof Stephen Doughty“The cornerstone of RUMC being a successful medical school lies not only in the quality of the education it provides, but also in its students’ motivation in pursuing a career in medicine.”

RCSI & UCD Malaysia Campus (RUMC) is Malaysia’s first accredited private medical school, owned and established by the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and University College Dublin (UCD), two world-renowned medical universities in Ireland.

As the demand for doctors continues to grow, there is a greater need to ensure that Medicine graduates are industry-ready. It goes without saying that the road to becoming a doctor is paved with ambition, discipline, and dedication from the get-go. And perhaps above all, it begins with the right drive and attitude that make RUMC’s students stand out from the rest.

RUMC is the first Irish Foreign University Branch Campus (FUBC) in Malaysia. This is where students begin their transnational journey in Dublin, Ireland and receive an Irish medical education as they undertake a high quality two-and-a-half year’s pre-clinical study at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI) and University College Dublin (UCD).

Upon completion, the students return to Penang, Malaysia for a two-and-a-half year’s clinical phase where they will receive on-site training as they interact with patients at Penang General Hospital, Seberang Jaya Hospital, and Taiping Hospital.

This means that RUMC doctors-in-training would have better access to patients, allowing them to focus and nurture their patient-care and medical skills to its full potential. Graduates are conferred a National University of Ireland (NUI) degree, a globally-recognised medical education qualification, and are industry-ready thanks to the immersive clinical years.

The cornerstone of RUMC being a successful medical school lies not only in the quality of the education it provides, but also in its students’ motivation in pursuing a career in medicine. Today, RUMC is amongst the top medical schools in the country in preparing students for Housemanship.

“As an elite FUBC, our staff works in an environment that drives forward the pursuit of knowledge and aims to impact society around us”, said Professor Stephen Doughty, President & CEO.

RUMC’s unique relationship with the Malaysian Ministry of Health allows exclusive use of the Penang General Hospital for the students’ clinical training. Students graduate as doctors, receiving an internationally recognised medical degree, namely the MB BCh BAO (Bachelor of Medicine, Bachelor of Surgery and Bachelor of Obstetrics) followed by a two-year placement as House Officers.

RUMC_Management Team.jpg“Today, RUMC is amongst the top medical schools in the country in preparing students for Housemanship.”

The University is recognised by the Malaysian Medical Council (MMC) and Irish Medical Council (IMC) as graduating high performing doctors. Students are recognised for practice in the USA, Canada and others by the ECFMG and FAIRMER with the institution listed as an Irish medical school in the World Directory of Medical Schools (WDOMS).

In ensuring that its top-of-the-class standard is maintained, RUMC’s medical education is delivered by a faculty of experienced and highly qualified practitioners and academics, supported by a diverse executive team and staff.

Established as Penang Medical College (PMC) in 1996, RUMC was awarded University status by the Malaysian Ministry of Higher Education (MOHE) as a Foreign University Branch Campus in 2018, one of the highest levels for a foreign-owned institution in Malaysia.

Penang’s Own Wonder Woman

EZMY54_Mei Tan.png

Mei Tan

Founder & CEO of Scoopoint Sdn Bhd


“We want to see people working together to achieve a desired outcome. It’s not just tables and chairs where people work in isolation like you see in cafes. Scoopoint focuses on  entrepreneurial minds to enable them to start and develop successful projects.”

Leaving a legacy is not something that many 30-something year olds think about, let alone are dedicated to invest their whole time in.

But Mei Tan is working on making her mark in Penang’s talent pool and at the same time, hoping to leave her legacy where others can follow.

The Founding CEO of Scoopoint Co-Working envisions multi generations to collaborate and work together in order to grow Penang’s talent pool and competitive advantage. These are big aspirations for this youth, hence setting up Scoopoint as a creative community of like-minded people to share ideas and collaborate on projects.

“We want to see people working together to achieve a desired outcome. It’s not just tables and chairs where people work in isolation like you see in cafes. Scoopoint focuses on  entrepreneurial minds to enable them to start and develop successful projects. Think of it as a supportive community for budding start-ups and this is where they can come to grow their businesses and teams,” explains Mei Tan who refers to herself as a “Creativentreprenuer” – someone who is creative and also business-minded.

Scoopoint.jpgScoopoint’s concept is only planting a small seed to her bigger plans that is to encourage more talent to stay in Penang. “I envision supporting and growing the system and creative entrepreneurship in Penang. We have the potential to venture internationally and make a name for ourselves and I hope to achieve this one day.”

Mei Tan is also the COO and creative director of Asia Green Group, one of Penang’s premier high-end property developers. One does wonder how the young lass has time for herself with multiple projects under her belt.

“My schedule is really busy, but I always spend some time with my family. I also enjoy traveling, outdoor sports and working out. Working out is time for myself where I can just focus and get a good sweat.”

Mei Tan has certainly come a long way as she admits that she was once shy and self-conscious about her appearance. Not too long ago, she was often teased and called “fat” which affected her self-esteem. But when she left to the US to work, it helped build her confidence and her passion for fitness and public speaking soon saw her metamorphosing into a confident and affable young lady.

Currently, she sees a gap between the older and younger generation in the business arena and workforce. She believes that both can learn from each other’s strengths.

“The millennials certainly appreciate their seniors and what they have done to shape Penang to what it’s become today through their hard work and persistence. But we always want to encourage all generations to be more open minded and think about how we can better work together to embrace new technology for businesses to thrive.

Mei Tan_2.jpg


By Karina Foo