Tag Archives: FEATURED

A Man With A Mission

Datuk Mohd Mustafa Abdul Aziz

Chief Executive Officer, MATRADE

Datuk Mohd Mustafa Abdul Aziz is currently the chief executive officer of the Malaysia External Trade Development Corporation or known to many as MATRADE. He is a man with a mission who successfully leads MATRADE to a new height by transforming the national trade promotion agency into a thinking organisation under all circumstances through boom or bust.

The visionary leader began his 32-year career in the civil service starting with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, followed by the Economic Planning Unit, and Prime Minister’s Department, before joining MATRADE in June 1994. Despite having a wealth of experience, Datuk Mohd Mustafa has always been striving for the best and passionate about leading change to produce extraordinary outcomes be it for the organisation itself, business community or the country as a whole.

Staying firm to the phrase “rain or shine, the show must go on”, he leads his comrades by making the impossible possible. The reputable CEO keeps echoing the undertaken transformation initiatives that are aligned with MATRADE’s three main agendas: Digitalisation, Sustainability and the National Trade Blueprints (NTBp). He strongly believes that solid and powerful storytelling about MATRADErs hard work should be conveyed accurately. “Make no more mistakes!” – The compassionate leader advises fellow MATRADErs to encourage them to deliver excellent jobs always.

“It is not easy to put where we are now, all aspects must be well-thought-out in championing MATRADE’s ongoing duty to be an organisation of excellence which is achievable through having the right attitude, good values, distinctive cultures and work ethics (AVC) in our organisation. I am hopeful that the new characteristics of MATRADE will have a spillover effect on our relationship with Malaysian companies as well as our counterparts in other Ministries and Agencies. It has been our aspiration to place Malaysia as a major trading nation and the centre of reference when it comes to international trade”, the Kaizen believer reiterated.

Furthermore, the foresighted leader has always been contributing massively to Malaysian export activities. Among major responsibilities he was held accountable, proving his remarkable leadership quality were:

1. Established the Malaysia Trade Centre in Dubai, UAE in 2001;

2. Reopened the MATRADE office in Osaka, Japan in 2005 after being closed due to economic crisis that hit Asia in 1998; and

3. Established the Malaysia Trade Centre in Doha, Qatar in 2013. 

Inculcating the spirit of working together as a team, he was also involved in the nation’s capacity building component together with the consulting team of the Malaysian Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) in the negotiation of Free Trade Agreements as follows:

1. Malaysia-Japan Economic Partnership Agreement;

2. Malaysia-Australia Free Trade Agreement; and 

3. ASEAN-China Free Trade Agreement.

According to the MATRADE’s CEO, all sorts of careers need a good self-leadership trait to be at the top in order to run any operations effectively. The chief acknowledges good talents and steers MATRADE’s transformation and restructures exercise by doing the needful to put the right people at the right place. The perfectionist leader often emphasises on personal brand image among his colleagues, in empowering MATRADE’s brand reputation. Moreover, he fosters spring-cleaning practices among MATRADErs to maintain a clean and decent working environment which leads to better productivity. Datuk Mohd Mustafa has made this very clear to all MATRADErs in understanding that their roles as civil servants inter alia, are also about labouring love for the country, passion, discipline, and right mindset. 

As the business trends keep evolving, the zealous MATRADEr regards that it is pertinent for both the public and private sectors to join forces in promoting trade enhancement between Malaysia and other trading countries. The TPO needs to be fast and versatile to deliver the best in serving the business community. Good synchronisation be it trade strategy or smart networking can possibly overcome export challenges.

Alongside Malaysia’s stellar trade performance, MATRADE bagged the “Best Use of Information Technology” award at the 13th World Trade Promotion Organizations (WTPO) Conference and Awards organised by the International Trade Centre on 17 May 2022.

The TPO was recognised for its initiative in organising the first fully virtual edition of the 17th Malaysia International Halal Showcase (MIHAS) in 2021. Adding another feather to its cap, MIHAS 2021 was also recognised at the Malaysia Public Relations Awards (MPRA) 2021, clinching the Gold Award in the Best “Pandemic Pivot” or “COVID-19 Communications” campaign category. This shows that under Datuk Mohd Mustafa’s leadership, impactful working culture is adapted and MATRADErs give their best with enthusiasm, ensuring that the TPO excels on the global stage and making it known as one of distinguished Malaysian’s Government Agencies. 

MIHAS 2022 which will take place from 7 to 10 September 2022 in a hybrid format will be bigger and better! The MATRADE’s flagship event will showcase a total of 1,196 booths in 13 leading clusters. “Apart from the exhibition, we will also organise the International Sourcing Programme (INSP) which anticipated 400 foreign buyers; from over 50 countries including from the Middle East, Europe, Central Asia, South Asia, ASEAN, Oceania and African region, who will engage in business meetings either virtually or physically with Malaysian exporters. Besides that, the prestigious MIHAS Awards is back again. It seeks to celebrate outstanding exhibitors in booth design creativity, innovation in products and services as well as inventions that are making lasting impacts in the global Halal industry”, he revealed.

The recent slew of cost-cutting measures by the government due to the pressure of global inflation and the rising cost of goods have moved MATRADE to embrace sustainable avenues such as the public private partnership (PPP) and private finance initiative (PFI) in forging collaborations with strategic partners in carrying its mandate. This includes the recently launched MATRADE Digital Trade Platform, powered by Fusionex Group – a business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) trade platform aimed to reduce trade complexities, foster business interconnectivity and promote Malaysia-made products and services to buyers and partners across the globe.

An addition to his endless efforts, the top-notch MATRADE’s Iron Man, strives to transform MATRADE into a self-sustaining organisation. Datuk Mohd Mustafa is determined in finding solution for the organisation’s operating and development budget at all cost. For instance, one of the revenue streams include Menara MATRADE, a conducive building strategically located next to MITEC – the Malaysia’s largest trade exhibition and conference centre, which is also within the proximity of Solaris Mont Kiara, and Publika – well known residential and shopping addresses for foreign expatriates. The inclusivity building offers world-class facilities along with high-speed internet. For viewing and further details kindly contact Revenue Generation Unit at 03 – 6207 7901 / 7903 or email halim@matrade.gov.my / snazreen@matrade.gov.my.

The Eminent Connector

Dato’ Lee Teong Li

Director and Regional GM – Amphenol TCS Malaysia

Dato’ Lee Tiong Li is no exception as he has attained exemplary achievements over the course of almost five decades, but it all began when he was only a teenager. After finishing his Fifth Form in Penang Free School in the late 70s, Lee worked as a plumber and then a production operator.

Little did he know that his first modest job would be the catalyst in paving the way to his stellar career spanning more than four decades in Design, Engineering and Operations in the Electronics and Electrical industries.

After obtaining his computer certification and university degree, Lee left Malaysia for the Philippines in the mid-90s. Definitely not one to be confined to familiar settings, Lee was one of the pioneers to start up a Japanese MNC outside of Japan and later moved to the US.

His experience working abroad had made him an invaluable asset for multinational companies in the USA, Japan, the Philippines and Malaysia.

Lee was eventually headhunted to return to Penang in the early 2000s to lead a frame manufacturer which was subsequently listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange main board. He soon decided to venture out to set up his own company Amphenol Corporation which was eventually acquired in 2008.

This led to Amphenol TCS Malaysia’s journey of excellence and expansion under Lee’s leadership by quadrupling the revenue of Amphenol TCS Malaysia to RM500 million per annum from its spin-off, resulting in foreign direct investments of about RM700 million being poured into Penang.

Having built and assembled some of the world’s high-speed and high-density connectors and generating over 800 employment opportunities in the newly set-up third factory facility – Amphenol DC Electronics Malaysia, in Batu Kawan, Penang under Lee’s leadership has been steadily growing and winning numerous awards and is poised to achieve many milestones over the years to come.

Dato’ Lee is also presently the Chairman of the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers (FMM) Penang.

One to always give back to society, Dato’ Lee finds time to support and serve the community, collaborate with local associations and government departments and is passionate in matters relating to the environment, healthcare, education, sports and welfare of the seniors and youth.

A Publicist’s Impact On An Ever-Evolving World

Adam Ham

CEO – Global Creative and Media Agency (GCMA)

A prominent name in the industry with over 20 years of experience, Adam Ham is known as ‘The Media Man’ – a title given to him by industry leaders for his astounding capabilities to turn even the toughest of public relations (PR) projects into a success. Having serviced government bodies, corporate companies, celebrities, and film producers in the past, Ham is certain that most people are unaware of how rapidly PR has evolved and changed in the span of two years; failure to recognise these changes can be detrimental.

Experts claim that humanity made its biggest leap in technological advancements when COVID-19 spread throughout the globe. In fact, the pandemic changed many things for humanity from social life to purchase methods and even PR. Ham, however, had the privilege of witnessing the evolution of PR for the past 20 years, dating back to the days when he used to work for the government.

Growing up in Japan and furthering his studies in the United States of America, Ham’s father served Tun Dr. Mahathir bin Mohamad in the government, thus, having his education sponsored; in exchange, Ham has to serve the government in a field of his choosing for a minimum of 10 years. Hence, his journey began at the Malaysia Digital Economy Corporation (MDEC) where he worked as an entertainment specialist, primarily coordinating trade missions for international festivals and exporting local content and talents to the global market.

Although his PR skills were instinctive, Ham acquired most of his knowledge in the field from the 10 years spent at MDEC. There, he came to the realisation that failures occur on many occasions when PR and marketing were not planned properly. Ham had creative ideas to bring to the table and was soon given the opportunity to plan and execute PR campaigns for various companies and producers with tremendous success.

As a matter of fact, Ham’s impact is still recognised today, 12 years after leaving the government. The Media Man was recently nominated to be an advisor for the National Film Development Corporation Malaysia (FINAS) for a period of two years, because of the fame he has garnered in international marketing for the creative and entertainment industry throughout his career. The Mandalorian, 6 Underground, The Summit-97, Ultraman, The Kid from the Big Apple, and The Summit-97, are among some of the projects that Ham has taken into his own hands. 

“I am here to share my great experience and inspiration for the industry from the PR perspective.Currently, the landscape for trading content has evolved and changed, as TV stations no longer have a huge budget for acquisition, and Netflix is dominant. We have to share our knowledge on how people can make a living from abroad now,” Ham commented. 

Currently, the master in PR owns an agency called Global Creative and Media Agency (GCMA) which is most sought after across all industries. Ham claims that GCMA quickly grew in demand after he had attended several Malaysia Retail Chain Association (MRCA) and Business Network International (BNI) gatherings.

“After I left the Government, I truly wanted to build my career in PR and help companies across all industries come to a realisation of how PR can make a difference in their businesses. Most Malaysian companies have no idea about this, and they rarely set aside any budget for this. It was a challenge, but I was all set to take the bull by the horns,” he said.

As a PR agency that makes most of its income from organising successful events, Ham’s company nearly shut down when the pandemic came about. Without any income for months on end, Ham did everything possible to survive – even as much as to offer catering services. This period made for a lot of changes in the world; some more apparent than others. People began using online platforms, e-wallets, and most companies have found a way to offer their services online, these were all common and addressed just about everywhere. But what about PR? Has it changed over the past 2 years?

Ham responds, “Yes, as the economy softened and recession happened, the media landscape wasn’t able to sustain, and gradually PR had to be much more creative and more newsworthy to attract journalists for our clients. Moreover, we also had to know how to create smart relationships with the media players to have a balance that benefits everyone, whilst providing them with great stories.”

Commenting on how the pandemic has affected PR, Ham said, “PR is more important now than before the pandemic. It brings visibility to the brand in an era where fighting for the spotlight is extremely challenging due to the social media culture that floods the internet. Right now, about 30-50% of the market is still being cautious about hosting PR events with huge crowds; though it is important to keep safe from COVID-19, we cannot shift into an endemic stage and recover from the damage caused by COVID-19 by not acting.”

“We do not know what the future holds. For all we know, there is still a possibility of a lockdown of sorts; thus, businesses must take a 360 approach by preparing for every possible outcome and playing their cards right. Another notable thing to consider is the KOLs (Key Opinion Leader) and their social media pages, which allow for high brand visibility, with easily identified target audiences. Engaging influencers is sort of a norm these days, and it has proven effective in brand visibility and marketing.” 

Sweet Sounds of Penang with Dato Seri Chew Weng Khak

Dato Seri Chew Weng Khak

Founder, Pensonic Group

Dato Seri Chew Weng Khak made history by creating the first “Made in Malaysia” home electrical appliances brand – Pensonic – and subsequently the first Malaysian electronics company to be listed on Bursa Malaysia in 1995.

This year, 2022, marks two very important milestones for Dato Seri Chew as he will be proudly celebrating the 40th anniversary of his brainchild – Pensonic and blowing 80 candles by November. “My headmaster from Lubok Buntar, South Kedah brought me to Penang when I was 15 and my first job was with Camel Book Store in Carnavon Street,” recalled Dato Seri Chew of the days when he first arrived in Penang. “Soon I decided to work as a wiring man as I believed that it was important for me to have skills to survive,” he added. After working for two bosses and occasionally earning some extra income by working part time in a radio shop to help fix and repair radios, Dato Seri Chew started Keat Radio & Electrical Co., a small shop selling and repairing electrical home appliances in Balik Pulau in 1965. Although he rented the whole building, he had to sub-let the first floor in order to help pay the rent. 

Settling down and marrying Tan Bee Tiang in 1968, his first son Dixon, was born in 1969, followed by Vincent in 1972 and Nelson in 1976. Life was a bit better for Dato Seri Chew then, and he expanded his business to town in Perak Road in 1974. Business was smooth sailing and Keat Radio was a retailer for foreign brands; but soon, these brands decided to set up their own distribution offices and started to market their own products instead of going through local distributors. The local distribution rights were taken away by the principal beginning of 1980. 

This immediately made Dato Seri Chew think of what the future lies ahead for local retailers like him as the brands he was representing belonged to the manufacturers, for which he has no control over. It was the year 1982 when he decided to start his own brand – Pensonic, a name he coined, that amalgamated ‘Penang’ and ‘Sonic’ meaning  – ‘Sound of Penang’. 

“Most of the friends in the same industry tried to talk me out of it, some even laughed at me but I was determined as I believed having my own brand is the only way forward,” said Chew. “We cannot just sell for other brands, open their markets for them to capitalise on this where the brand doesn’t belong to us,” he continued. The Pensonic brand was registered as a trademark in Malaysia in 1984 and in more than 10 over countries globally. Business for this proudly-Malaysian brand started to grow as it gained a reputation of manufacturing quality and affordable home electrical appliances which appealed to the mass market.

On 18 December 1995, Pensonic Holdings Bhd was successfully listed on the Second Board of Bursa Malaysia Securities Bhd. Today, Pensonic Group has more than 600 dealers countrywide, covering most offline retailers from traditional to modern trade channels. It has also multiple online stores selling all the brands under its umbrella. It also exports to countries in ASEAN, East and West Asia, and the Middle East. Over the years, besides Pensonic as the core brand, business has expanded to include more brands such as Lebensstil Kollektion, Cornell and the Toush. It holds exclusive distribution rights in Malaysia for internationally renowned home appliances brand, Morphy Richards of the United Kingdom.

Under Dato Seri Chew’s stalwart leadership, the company, as a brand, has received a myriad of industry recognitions, certifications and awards from various establishments for quality, creativity, innovation, sales and service, brand excellence and marketing, amongst others.

On a personal front, Dato Seri Chew was the first recipient of the Putra Brand Personality of the Year Award in 2015 and most recently was presented the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Yang di-Pertua Negeri TYT Tun Dato Seri Utama Ahmad Fuzi Haji Abdul Razak, and YB Yeoh Soon Hin, Penang state executive councillor for tourism and creative economy (PETACE) at the INPENANG International Awards 2021.

My Childhood Playground

Dato AR. Ooi Sian Hian

Owner – 123 Macalister
Executive Chairman – Ghee Hiang

When George Town was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2008, it was a time that all Penangites, regardless of race and religion rejoiced. The Penang State Government even announced 7th July as an annual holiday and in 2010, mooted George Town Festival, an annual cultural festival held within the city to commemorate this momentous achievement. Not to mention the renewed interest in heritage preservation and investment suddenly spiked and property prices for pre-war houses sky rocketed. It was a crazy period where everyone wanted to own a piece of history.

Almost fifteen years later, Dato Ar Ooi Sian Hian finally unveiled 123 Macalister – the century-old ancestral house where his siblings and cousins spent countless weekends visiting their relatives and grandmother. “We played baseball, softball and even cycled around the huge compound. After that we would shower, have dinner then continue on with board games or card games,” Dato Ooi recalled fondly. “It was a childhood that today’s generation cannot understand but the wonderful memories of growing up in this house will always be in my heart,” he continues.

123 Macalister was abandoned and in a dilapidated state by 2012. The house was stripped off its furniture, windows, doors and finally all the timber floor boards due to the fact that it was left empty since the demise of the last occupant. Subsequently, Dato Ooi and his siblings bought over the house in 2017 when it was totally desecrated and sunlight had pierced through the damaged roof tiles. Being an architect himself, he decided to take up the challenge to restore this heritage building with the help of an architect friend Ar Au Tai Yeow. “Although I have restored a few Ghee Hiang buildings including 216 Macalister and 97 Beach Street, 123 Macalister was by far in the worst condition where one can say that the building was luckily left with only 4 solid walls and strong basic structures. Rest were all gone!” exclaimed Dato Ooi when thinking back. With strict regulations and much difficulties, all materials used for this restoration work have to come from the same era making sure that this late 19th century building reclaims its glory while keeping restoration cost in tight reins and making sure proper approvals were obtained from the local building authorities.

“The Penang State Government would like to commend Dato Ooi for his effort and fervour to preserve this historical building. Such conservation works and projects are an integral aspect that tells the vibrant story of George Town, ultimately reinstating this historical city to its former glory for our future generations,” said Penang State Executive Councillor for Tourism and Creative Economy, YB Yeoh Soon Hin. Yeoh also reiterated that the Penang State Government not only adopted a proactive approach in heritage preservation and conservation, it has also established George Town World Heritage Incorporated to manage, safeguard and promote the inscribed properties and to pioneer heritage awareness and outreach among the youth and the general public.

Today, Dato Ooi is not only proud to showcase this beautiful piece of Penang heritage but strongly believes that this is what all Penangites should have in their heart –  that is to try their very best to preserve Penang’s rich history, heritage and culture. “A generation that ignores history has no past and no future,” added Dato Ooi before ending the interview.

The Brand Story

Datin DR Winnie Loo

President – Branding Association of Malaysia

Creating headlines and hairlines since her early days as the founder of lifestyle salon group – A Cut Above, Datin Dr Winnie Loo is never one to rest on her laurels but instead pushes her boundaries to do more than just cutting and styling hair.

For more than three decades, her name has been synonymous within the local hair & beauty industry since opening A Cut Above in 1979. Her achievements are most commendable, scaling the heights of fame and success in a field which has been predominantly dominated by men.

Datin Winnie’s skill and professionalism transformed her business and the hair styling industry landscape in Malaysia into what it is today and has rightfully earned all manner of prestigious awards, local and international alike.

Her decision to join the Branding Association during Dato Lewre Lew’s term and eventually selected into the Executive Committee team was nothing short of excitement. Thus when an opportunity of being nominated for Deputy President during Datuk Eric Chong’s term came about, Datin Winnie took up the challenge and the commitment continued.

Datin Winnie, most recently appointed president of the Branding Association of Malaysia, is the first lady to helm the association since its inception in July 2000.  “It is indeed an honour and humbling for me to be nominated by Datuk Eric and Dato Lewre to continue their legacy to lead a team of enterprising Council members for the term 2021-2023. Even though it is challenging as the Covid situation has yet to subside, I am certain that Teamwork Makes the Dream Work.”

“As I strongly believe that yesterday was history and tomorrow is a mystery, I always focus on the present together with the team to achieve extraordinary projects together. Never self-doubt, do not give up so easily to achieve the impossible and may the force be with us to achieve the impossible,” she added.

AFFIN INVIKTA – An Unforgettable Experience Truly Befitting that of Affluent Customers

Nazri Bin Othman

 Executive Director, Community Banking, AFFIN BANK

As part of Affin Bank Berhad’s (“the Bank” or “AFFIN BANK”) transformative journey, the Bank announced its first affluent segment called AFFIN INVIKTA on 8 March 2021 for its High Net Worth customers in Malaysia. The Bank’s first flagship AFFIN INVIKTA Centre began its business operations in Taman Tun Dr. Ismail, Kuala Lumpur. 

Let us speak to the man behind the force, who made this journey possible for the Bank – En. Nazri Othman, Executive Director, Community Banking of AFFIN BANK.

Why AFFIN INVIKTA

“Invikta”, translated from the Latin word, carries the meaning of “The Undefeated and Unconquered”, and the name instantaneously describes what AFFIN INVIKTA is all about. Despite embarking on the Premier Banking segment only early this year, it does not stop us from delivering what matters most – EXCEPTIONAL Service with EXCLUSIVE Benefits. With the tagline of “Venture into a New Banking Horizon”, AFFIN INVIKTA has been designed to deliver not only the best, but also unforgettable banking experience for our customers. We put our best foot forward to ensure that our customers receive undivided attention in every aspect of our banking services.

How does AFFIN INVIKTA support the delivery of exceptional customer experience?

Being part of AFFIN INVIKTA is just as exclusive as it sounds. Membership is by invitation only, with our team of dedicated Relationship Managers who are happy to assist our new affluent members on the onboarding process. Thanks to our enhanced system, the experience is as seamless and paperless as it can be, half an hour is all we need before our members resume their busy schedules and go on to enjoy the finer things in life or, enjoy a warm cup of gourmet coffee freshly brewed at our AFFIN INVIKTA Centre.

From the moment they set foot in the Centre, members will be attended to by our Customer Service Ambassador. There is a palpable sense of stepping into tranquillity, as a refreshing scent imbues the luxurious interiors within. Plush, bespoke armchairs embrace our members as they soak in the charming ambience and appreciate the artwork or simply unwind over a cup of coffee. Whether our members prefer to chat in a quiet spot or have a private discourse in one of our discussion rooms for a personalised financial planning advisory tailored to their needs, our dedicated Relationship Managers would be delighted to assist in any matters.

Opening ceremony of the first AFFIN INVIKTA Centre in Taman Tun Dr Ismail attended by (foreground from left) Nazri Othman, Executive Director Community Banking; Dato’ Agil Natt, Chairman; Datuk Wan Razly Abdullah Wan Ali, President and Group Chief Executive Officer. In the background is Calvin Goon, Managing Director Wealth Management & Customer Proposition

Of course, AFFIN INVIKTA members who patronise our existing AFFIN BANK branches shall benefit from our Greenlane process – a priority lane service that offers faster banking transactions. En. Nazri explained that rather than having members to wait in line, they may proceed directly to any Greenlane counters flanked with an AFFIN INVIKTA name plaque to sort out their banking transactions.

With the Covid-19 Pandemic, what are the safety measures in place?

All surfaces at our AFFIN INVIKTA Centre are scrupulously inspected and sanitised frequently. We have recently engaged a renowned Indoor Air Quality Specialist to inspect and sterilise the Centre thoroughly with Smart Coat Sterilise Solution treatment application, which covers all touchable surfaces and enhances self-sanitisation ability for up to 12 months so that biological contamination is out of the question. With this, we can safely say that protection is guaranteed for the whole year round.

What other perks can AFFIN INVIKTA 

members expect?

We continue to pride ourselves in delivering the best form of services to our customers for unparalleled banking experience not only from customers’ journey perspective. Our aspiration is to also raise the service delivery standards of Premier Banking which goes side-by-side with growing our members’ wealth via our exclusive product offering, curated financial solutions, preferential interest rates, invitation to private events, and worldwide recognition of AFFIN INVIKTA Credit Cards – just to name a few. We want our members to not only bank with us, but also to discover new business horizons as we progress to more outstanding successes together. 

Are you optimistic despite the 

current pandemic?

While we may be new in the Premier Banking segment, we are not taking any baby steps when it comes to AFFIN INVIKTA. Having launched the segment only on 8 March 2021, we have grown leaps and bounds, with almost 10,000 members to-date, and optimistic that we can achieve signing up to 20,000 AFFIN INVIKTA members by December 2021. 

With the unwavering support from our customers, we plan to expand our affluent segment reach nationwide by opening more AFFIN INVIKTA Centres, including one in Penang which is currently in the process of being set up. 

This is a testament of our devotion to our premier customers and to elevate our service standards.

GUIDING PRINCIPLES The Measure of a Man

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.

With YB Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad at the Media Prima – IJN Medical Outreach Programme and Health Screening for the people in Langkawi.
Courtesy call to YAB Tuan Chow Kon Yeow, Chief Minister of Pulau Pinang discussing a variety of topics including Penang 2030.

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.

Launching of Segerak VIII Utopia art showcase, officiated by His Royal Highness Sultan Nazrin Muizzuddin Shah Ibni Almarhum Sultan Azlan Muhibbuddin Shah Al-Maghfur-lah, TheSultan of Perak Darul Ridzuan.

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.

Hand over of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) worth RM2m from Western Digital to YB Tan Sri Dato’ Haji Muhyiddin bin Mohd. Yassin, former Malaysian Prime Minister in the fightagainst Covid19

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.

Skinnergy Resources From Traditional to Globalisation

Dr Kelvin Liew

Co-Founder, Skinnergy Resources

Dr Kelvin Liew, co-founder of Skinnergy Resources, comes from a family of practising physicians who has been in the business of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) bone setting and preparation of traditional Chinese medicine for more than 80 years.

As a third generation practitioner, Kel vin started as an apprentice during his primary school days where he learnt medicine preparation and throughout the years that followed, earnestly trained and learnt the TCM bone setting techniques to treat musculoskeletal injuries.  However, he was only more personally involved in patient cases much later on, when he was in his thirties. Kelvin acknowledges that there is still much to learn, and he is still actively involved in this profession.  They meet and treat over 100 patients daily; whilst it can be a tad tiring at times as they open daily throughout the week, it is gratifying to know and see that their patients recover well and benefit from their services. 

Having always aspired to be an entrepreneur of a scalable business, not bounded by the time and sole expertise of the individual, he seized the opportunity to join his partners in co-founding Skinnergy in 2016.

Skinnergy is currently into its fifth year; although much of what they learnt has been through their hands-on experience of running the day-to-day operations of the business, Kelvin believes that the right strategies which were in place since the inception of the company, helped the company thrive during the current economic situation amidst the pandemic.  Aside from ensuring that they have a competitive product line-up with which their business associates can leverage on, there are two other pertinent areas which they paid much attention to.

Mr Lokman Hakim B. Ali, MITI Secretary-General accompanied by Chng Huck Theng presenting the CHT International Awards 2020 for CHT Emerging Entrepreneur Award 2020 to Dr Kelvin Liew, Co-Founder, Skinnergy Resources.

The first being the decision to use a mix of social media and web presence for market outreach. Having their business associates familiarise themselves with these tools from the get go has prepared them unexpectedly for the situation where social distancing and travel restrictions are the norm. Also, with a strong backend team to expediently resolve customer issues and acquire feedback has helped the company build trust with their associates and customers as well as generate new product ideas.

These are  challenging times, especially for budding entrepreneurs, but if you believe in your dream and your vision, I urge you to persist on

The other focus area is investing in a robust e-commerce system. Kelvin views it as the backbone of the company, something in which their associates expect from them and it is his and his partners’ responsibility to ensure it is well-oiled and working smoothly. As much as they anticipate challenges, never did they expect that a nascent company like Skinnergy to be cyber-attack targets, however events as such did happen. Fortunately they have established reliable partners who helped them tide over those episodes and they have since strengthen their systems.

Kelvin shares, “These are challenging times, especially for budding entrepreneurs; some may blame it as bad timing, however if one still believes in his/her ideas or vision, I would like to encourage you to persist on. And if the strength of the individual is insufficient, find like-minded partners/investors to join you on your journey – this is to do justice to the effort and capital you’ve invested so far.” “Entrepreneurship is a voyage, after building the ship and christening it, the most important part is how you navigate it through the vast, fickle sea ahead.” says the good doctor.

At the Pinnacle of Real Estate

KENNY TEOH
Managing Director of Hectarworld Group

Bold. Focus. No nonsense. Always thinking out of the box. These are common descriptions of Kenny Teoh, founder and managing director of Hectarworld Group.

From humble beginnings in Taiping, Kenny moved to Kuala Lumpur during his teenage years with his mother and younger sister after the passing of his father and elder sister, seeking a brighter future in the capital city. Kenny had to work as a part-timer in various jobs while pursuing his studies in economics and IT as he strongly believed that education is the key to success and the best solution out of poverty. Finally after years of hard work and perseverance juggling work and studies, he successfully obtained his Bachelor’s degree in Economics (Hons), Diploma in IT, Economics and Business Administration.

After graduation, Kenny was hired by an ICT MNC for an entry-level job and quickly rose through the ranks after working with a few top 500 Fortune MNCs. Within a short period of time, he was overseeing Asia and Oceania regions. It came as a surprise to many when he decided to resign from his high-flying position after 8 years – because deep inside, he knew that this was not the dream that he was chasing. He left this comfort zone and joined the real estate industry where he started from the bottom again – as a real estate negotiator. Coupled with his never stop learning attitude, he continued his studies to pursue his Diploma in Real Estate Agency by BOVAEP. It was not long before he started his real estate company and other real estate related businesses, bringing with him his years of vast managerial experience and innovative, technology driven approach.

Under Kenny’s leadership, Hectarworld Group has now involved into everything real estate related – including real estate agency, property management, training and education, end-to-end real estate investment services and co-development with property developers. With some 1000 members and staff, the Group is able to provide service coverage in the northern, central and southern regions of West Malaysia, together with a service delivery team in Australia and affiliates in Singapore.

Kenny envisions to make Hectarworld Group the leading real estate company, a fully-integrated real estate investment and development firm. It is also in his goal to bring the Group to the next level – by expanding its wing to the South East Asia region in the near future.