Sunday, December 4

Building an O&G business thanks to NZ education


TAN Sri Dr Ngau Boon Keat credits his success as a leading businessman in Malaysia’s oil and gas (O&G) industry today to the quality education he received years ago in New Zealand. In particular, he speaks highly of his professors and lecturers at the University of Canterbury, whom he said have all been instrumental in cultivating his interest in the industry.

In fact, the words of one his lecturers have been the guiding principle in his life and in running his business Dialog Group Berhad.

Tan Sri Dr Ngau Boon Keat

“Once I had a design assignment which bothered me so much because I could not find a solution to it so I went to see my lecturer to ask for help. He just smiled at me and said, ‘Relax boy! Go back, sleep and dream about it. If I tell you, you won’t work on it. I’m sure you’ll find the solution.’

“I was frustrated with his answer but heeded his advice. He was right – I found a solution the next week after more research,” Ngau recalled.

“Those words taught me that in difficult times, it is not necessarily important to force out a solution as this might not be the best one.

“Sometimes, we need to sleep over it and a better solution will appear when we are more refreshed,” he said.

The challenges Ngau faced while pursuing his university education in Mechanical Engineering did not deter him but fuelled his passion in the oil and gas industry.

“My New Zealand education in Mechanical Engineering equipped me well. I could easily apply what I had learnt in university to the oil and gas industry. As I gained more experience in the field, I found the industry very interesting and full of potential,” said Ngau.

Building on that interest and the education he gained in mechanical engineering, Ngau proceeded to build Dialog Group Berhad, an integrated specialist technical services provider to the oil, gas and petrochemical industry.

Having studied and lived in New Zealand, Ngau undoubtedly wanted to expand his business into the country that introduced him to his field. To do so, he leveraged on a partnership that was formed with one of New Zealand’s largest heavy fabrication and multi-disciplined engineering companies Fitzroy Engineering Group Limited. “Fitzroy’s high-quality engineering capabilities and highly skilled human capital fit well with Dialog Group’s operations. The business has also expanded and provides the group leverage to support service delivery through
win-win situations,” Ngau added.

He said that Fitzroy Engineering has also awarded the first student scholarship under the Ngau Boon Keat Emerging Leaders’ Scholarship with the University of Canterbury.

“I am very grateful to the University of Canterbury for giving me the good education foundation which has helped me achieve the success that I have today. Therefore, it is only right to give back to this esteemed institution by setting up the Ngau Boon Keat Emerging Leaders’ Scholarship, which provides ongoing education financial aid to students from New Zealand, Malaysia and other eligible nationalities,” said Ngau.

On top of that, Ngau also helps to fund the Eamon Molloy Memorial Scholarship, which is given out to a full fee paying international student from the South East Asia region, including India and China, at the University of Canterbury.

“Owing to my time at Canterbury, New Zealand has become a sentimental place to me. I have always thought of New Zealand as my second home. As a student, I lived with a New Zealand family who treated me like their own son. It was also in Canterbury where I fostered some of my most enduring friendships.

“In general, I believe New Zealand is a good place to learn skills and gain international experience which is useful for not only enhancing one’s career back in Malaysia, but also enriching one’s outlook in life,” said Ngau.

To find out more about education opportunities in New Zealand, go to