The best of Sarawak’s entrepreneurs

KUCHING: The state once again honours the best it has to offer via the Sarawak State Entrepreneur of the Year Awards (EOYS) 2018 and Sarawak State Outstanding Entrepreneurship Award 2018 presented at the Sarawak Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s (SCCI) 67th Annual Dinner on Friday at the Imperial Hotel, Kuching.

Organised by the Ministry of Industrial and Entrepreneur Development, Sarawak in association with SCCI and Ernst & Young (EY), it was first launched in 2004 and is a prestigious Awards Program held annually to honour and acknowledge exceptional entrepreneurial talent and leadership.

Up to last year, 50 entrepreneurs from all over Sarawak have been given this recognition.

The EOYS aims to recognise the best in business in Sarawak, namely the prime movers that drive the state’s path towards economic growth and high income State 2030.

It also recognises the success of up and coming entrepreneurs, who through their ingenuity, ideas, resourcefulness, commitment and hard work, have built their businesses which contributed to the growth of our State’s economy; in addition to encouraging the growth of small and medium scale industries in Sarawak.

For the recipients of this award, EOYS is an opportunity to network with business peers as well as have access to valuable media coverage, raising personal and company profile — but more importantly, be recognised for the success.

In the past, the EOYS Adjudicating Committee have nominated recipients of the EOYS Awards to represent Sarawak state at the EY Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) Malaysia Awards, a global business awards programme that recognises and showcases the extraordinary achievements of Malaysian entrepreneurs.

It also provides a platform for inspiring entrepreneurs, innovative thinkers and game-changers to come together, share and engage while building their network. Some of the past EOY Malaysia country winners such as Tan Sri Dato’ (Dr) Francis Yeoh, Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and Tan Sri Dr Ngau Boon Keat have gone on to represent Malaysia at the global EY EOY Awards in Monte Carlo.

This year also marks the fourth year of the Sarawak State Outstanding Entrepreneurship Award which aims to recognise and celebrate past recipients of the annual EOYS award whose entrepreneurial spirits and achievements have continued to grow, inspire and make a difference to the community:

Mr Lim San Hock, Master Entrepreneur

Lim San Hock is the Managing Director of the Amcan Group of Companies. The company was established in 1983 by his father, a well-known Sarawak philanthropist, Lim Hong Joo.

Amcan is a pioneer roll-former in Malaysia, manufacturing long-run pre-painted steel roofing and wall cladding products that are exported throughout Asia to Singapore, Brunei, Indonesia, Myanmar, India and other countries. San Hock spent his school years in Kuching. After completing school at SMK Pending, he attended university in Canada, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts with an Economics major.

He returned to Sarawak and started work at Amcan. Just like other workers, San Hockjoined Amcan as a sales person in the marketing department and learned his technical skills at production sites.

He worked his way through the different departments, marketing, production and R&D, developing a strong product knowledge that enabled him to identify the market needs and know what products were required.

It wasn’t an easy market, though. The metal roofing industry was not well established in Sarawak and it was difficult for him and his father to penetrate the market.

That led to testing their products in Brunei, where metal roofing was well accepted by the Brunei government.

Amcan started to grow rapidly, buoyed by lots of metal roofing business opportunities in Brunei.

Upon taking over the helm of Amcan, San Hock challenged himself to not only continue Amcan’s legacies but also to expand through innovation and creativity.

Instead of importing raw materials, such as pre-painted steel sheet, from Japan, San Hock invested heavily in technology to produce their own coloured steel sheet in coil.

In 2000, San Hock expanded the business by establishing AMCAN Color Coating Industries Sdn. Bhd. The company produced pre-painted steel sheet in coil in collaboration with Yodogawa Steel Works Ltd. of Japan and Swedish Paint System on their multi-purpose colour coating line.

Through this investment, San Hock transformed his business from a roll-formers to a coil–coater, which opened up new market opportunities.

Now Amcan was able to sell steel roofing as their core product and also sell colour coated coils to other Roll-Formers in Sarawak, Sabah and West Malaysia.

Fully backed up by the Japanese steel technology and Swedish paint and American expertise, Amcan produced high quality pre-painted coils to meet customers’ requirements.

Within a short period of time, Amcan emerged as one of the leading coil coating companies in the metal business in Malaysia. San Hock then took Amcan to another level by setting up a new factory providing slitting facilities for heavy gauge coated steel coils and expanding its existing roll-forming business by adding more up market metal roofing profiles, such as C & Z Purlins and light weight steel truss system from Australian roll-forming technology.

In 2013, San Hock attended a Moscow exhibition that showcased the Industrial Building System (IBS). He immediately identified this framing system as an opportunity for Malaysia and soon started a new framing line, the Light Gauge Steel (LGS) Framing System, using technology from the US.

In 2015, Amcan added a new Concrete Panel Line. By combining the LGS framing and their patented concrete panelling system, Amcan was the first company in Sarawak to offer customers the IBS as a total building construction solution.

By maintaining an emphasis on innovation and product quality, Amcan is a familiar name in Malaysia and throughout Asia.

San Hock’s product and market knowledge and business acumen shape Amcan’s strategic plan, which has put it on track to profitability and growth.

San Hock has adopted the business philosophy held by his late father and mentor, to uphold the highest integrity.

It is no surprise, therefore, that Amcan’s priority is to focus on customer needs, build long-term confidence in the product quality, offer efficient services, and to continually improve and adapt the products. It is also an Amcan trademark to maintain a high level of integrity in all its business dealings.

With his late father as a role model, San Hock believes that business leaders should also be philanthropists and contribute to their communities. This belief has made him a strong advocate of good corporate social responsibility programs.

Amcan makes yearly donations to charitable organizations, schools and the Chinese community to ensure a sustainable business environment.

In addition, he also is an environmentalist. Amcan has invested in up-to-date waste water treatment technology and recycled heat incineration technology, making sure it is safeguarding the fragile environment.

Despite his success in the business arena, San Hock remains a family man at heart. He and his wife are blessed with four children, two girls and one pair of twin boys, and he goes to great lengths to make sure he spends sufficient quality time with his family.

Looking into the future, San Hock foresees Amcan as a group of companies capable of leading the metal roofing and IBS industries.

The company is penetrating Asia markets and the pro-active management team are creating new market opportunities with ambitious expansion plans.

Mr Victor Hii Lu Thian, Master Entrepreneur

Victor Hii, born and raised in Kuching in a business running family, had been greatly influenced by his family as well as those surrounding him in honing his entrepreneurial forte.

Factory floor has been one familiar place for him as he helped in the factory of his family business since young.

Hii has attributed his learning to mentors who have come along in different stages of his life.

Though his entrepreneurial journey is not without obstacles and challenges but he never gave up easily.

He was the founder of ASTEEL brand name as well as the driving force behind the ASTEEL Group.

Having been with the holding group for 21 years, he started his career in YKGI Holdings Bhd, previously known as Yung Kong Galvanising Industries Bhd, from the bottom of the company hierarchy and worked through almost every department to gain experience and the trust of the team, to the current position that he’s in today.

He’s currently the managing director of the group, which aims to be the largest roofing and building materials supplier in Borneo by 2020.

Hii was also an avid leaner all the while.

This was evident from the series of academic qualifications which he obtained in the past which include an Executive Master of Science in Project Management, a Master of Business Administration in Management, a Bachelor of Business Administration in Management, a Bachelor of Science (Project Management), and a Diploma in Executive Secretaryship.

Besides, he’s also active in contributing and serving in the industry as well as the society.

He is a council member of Federation of Malaysia Manufacturers (FMM) and Vice Chairman of FMM Sarawak Branch; Chairman of Malaysia Iron & Steel Industry Federation (MISIF) Sarawak Branch; Council Member of Sarawak Manufacturers’ Association (SMA); Deputy Chairman of Persatuan Industri Demak Laut (PIDE).

Talking about the company, Hii says that ASTEEL was previously known as Magic Network (having been established in 1996) and only supply to their RF customers.

It was not until 2013 when he had the vision of restructuring the company under his leadership, in aligning with the group’s vision, to introduce ASTEEL Envio Concept Store.

What he did was to set up branches and concept stores at major towns and cities in Sarawak to reach out to its customers in places such as Miri, Bintulu, Mukah, Kota Kinabalu and Tawau.

After the restructuring, they started decentralizing their businesses at major city and produced downstream related products.

ASTEEL has stood out in its core business, outdoing its competitors in bagging several prestigious awards of the industry which include, among others, The Golden Bull Award 2018 (Super Golden Bull), the 16th Asia Pacific International Honesty Enterprise Keris Award 2018 (Honesty Product Award), the 16th Asia Pacific International Honesty Enterprise Keris Award 2018 (Honesty Enterprise Award), the 16th Asia Pacific International Honesty Enterprise Keris Award 2018 (Honesty Entrepreneur Award), the Golden Eagle Award 2017 (Excellent Eagle Award) and Sarawak Chief Minister’s Industry Excellence Award (CMIEA) 2017 (Golden Award under Large Category).

Speaking about the contributing factors of his success, Hii accredited them to the long and short term planning strategy in setting achievable targets as well as monitoring the progress closely and diligently along the way.

Besides, creative as well as critical thinking and also the problem solving skills also contributed to the success of the business.

Finding the right people and putting them at the right place is seen as one of the many great challenges as the business is growing.

On top of that, talent management, getting the necessary capital to invest further and creating effective alliances are some of the tough challenges encountered by Hii.

There is one belief which Hii has held on to until this day, that is the priority in investing in human resource training which remains as the priority of the company.

On the serious note of the company’s future bearing and expansion, Hii’s vision and plan revolves around the research and development of new products for the company, continuous expansion in terms of manufacturing (factory floor) space and business merger as well as diversification if opportunity arises.

Another facet of his vision is that the company can grow dynamically as a team to grow continuously and setting up more branches to expand the group.

The ultimate aim would be for the company to be listed in the foreign stock exchange and to become the biggest building materials supplier in the region.

In addition, Hii also strongly believes that the success of a corporation is dependent on the crucial factors such as adapting necessary changes with continuous improvement, commitment at the employee level in knowing clearly the directions of the corporation, sensitive to the market needs and trends, embracing the ever changing of technological advancement to remain competitive as well as to constantly ensure that the best decisions are made.

Ar Safri Mohammed, Master Entrepreneur representing Dewan Usahawan Bumiputera Sarawak

Safri Mohammed’s entrepreneurial achievements make him one of the highly respected Entrepreneur in his field of specialisation. Leading one of the top architectural consultancy firms in Sarawak, PU Architects Sdn Bhd, Safri started his career with Aki-Media in 1994, after graduating from the University of Texas Arlington, the USA with both the Bachelor and Master degrees in Architecture in 1993.

In a short span of time, he scaled up the corporate ladder to become the Project Architect at PU Architects Sdn. Bhd. Kuching from 1995 until 2002. A Registered Professional Architect cum Registered Interior Designer with the Board of Architects Malaysia, Safri is also a member of Malaysian Institute of Architect (APAM).

In 2009, Safri took over the helm of PU Architects Sdn Bhd when the major shareholder of the company retired. As the managing director, Safri has brought the brand name PU Architects to the whole Sarawak solidifying the company’s eminence in the architectural and consulting industry.

As the MD of the company, Safri’s ability to deliver quality services has been widely recognized by the industry leaders and the government. The firm has won the Silver Award in Medium Category from Sarawak Chief Minister’s Industry Excellence Awards {CMIEA) and Safri has received the Professional Entrepreneur Award for Professional Services Category from Anugerah Usahawan Bumiputera Sarawak 2017 (AUBS 2017) (Sarawak Bumiputera Entrepreneur Angular.

Besides, he was also nominated as the Finalist for PAM AWARDS 2016 (Commercial Low Rise Category) for Kompleks Islam Sarawak, Sibu project. He also designs lecture and acts as the External Panel for Architecture Design Crit to students from Faculty of Architecture, Planning and Surveying, UiTM Shah Alam. His other winning designs include Proposed State Archive Building for Pustaka Negeri Sarawak, TH Hotel, UNIMAS CICTS Building, APMM Sandakan and HIKMAH Exchange.

In 2017, TH Hotel and Convention Centre (THHCC) Kuching has emerged as the winner of the Asia Pacific Property Awards 2017 held in Bangkok and the International Property Awards 2017 held in London for “Best New Hotel Construction and Design Category”. The award is the highest recognition ever received so far and has served as an important benchmark for the Company.

Since its establishment in 1995, PU Architects Sdn Bhd, a Bumiputera registered firm with ISO9001:2008 certification has been in consultancy practice and is among the earliest Bumiputera architectural firm in Sarawak. The company provides professional and consulting services in architecture, interior design, and planning for institutional, commercial, residential and industrial projects.

When Safri took over PU Architects Sdn. Bhd. in 2009, the big challenges faced by him were the financial and human resource management aspects for the company. Under his leadership, annual financial planning would be constantly and prudently monitored and he would ensure the projects’ revenue gained are always sufficient to support and solidify the business operations of the company.

In terms of employment of skilled and professional workers, over the years Safri’s main goal is to engage Bumiputera Graduate Architects in the training to equip them with the necessary knowledge and skills to operate more challenging and prestigious projects besides the ability to offer excellent services and design iconic buildings.

Indeed, PU Architects plays an important role in providing the necessary space to empower the generation of highly skilled, creative, efficient and independent Bumiputera architects.

Together with the company, Safri would regularly train them and provide the necessary guidance in terms of project design up to the stage of implementation.

With more than twenty years of experience in the consultancy practice in Sarawak, PU Architects Sdn Bhd is a firm with IS09001:2008 certification and is in the process of transitioning to be certified with IS09001:2015, the new ISO standard. Safri himself always tries to ensure the compliance of ISO procedures among the staff and all the decisions made are based on the guidelines required.

Datuk Janang Bungsu, Master Entrepreneur representing Dayak Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Datuk Janang Bungsu is the Group Managing Director and co-founder of Konsortium Bumi Consultants and Services Sdn. Bhd. (KBCS), a Sarawak-based multidiscipline consultancy firm.

As a Dayak electrical engineer, Janang gathered a few other Dayak professionals and founded KBCS back in 2006 to provide consultancy services in an extremely competitive market.

Under the leadership of Janang, the company rose above various challenges to become a highly capable and competitive firm, winning both personal and industry awards along its road to success.

His story has the makings of Sarawakian novelty; starting from humble origins, striving hard toward what is important with both people and God’s grace as its key ingredients.

Janang, was born in Bintangor/Tanjung Manis, Mukah. Being a remote area back then, he was plunged into poverty, having to endure a difficult and unpleasant childhood.

Youngest amongst the five siblings, he was barely a year old when his father passed away due to a freak hunting accident.

The loss of his father, who was coincidentally also an ‘entrepreneur’ in his own way – selling fish, prawns, produce and meat whilst always being the first to purchase the latest outboard motors – threw the family into poverty.

Though it was far from desirable, Janang attributes growing up with poverty crucial in pushing him to strive for a better future.

Growing up selling prawns and fish, he had to learn the hard way how to be very independent in order to survive as a child. By the age of nine, he was left to fend for himself as his mother remarried and had to work far away from the longhouse.

Despite the trials and tribulations of poverty, Janang took it as ‘fuel’ and motivation in giving his very best in all his endeavors.

Through the years, the independent boy who went to the virtually unknown SRK Bakerkong, Bintangor emerged as a graduate and electrical engineer from the prestigious University of Malaya, Malaysia.

He worked as an engineer in Kuala Lumpur and abroad for a few years before finding his feet back on the shores of Sarawak once more.

By then, he had gained invaluable experience working in a few other engineering and consultancy firms, when he met Datuk Hisham Ghani, Managing Director of Perunding Hashim and NEH Sdn. Bhd. Kuala Lumpur.

Mentor to Janang’s since his early working days, Hisham possesses wide technical knowledge and built himself a business in the engineering consultancy practice. Still his mentor today, and one he will always look up to, it was not long before Janang followed in his footsteps and started his own small engineering consultancy firm in 2004, Perunding JYS Sdn. Bhd. in Kuching.

Nevertheless, the engineering consultancy market has always been highly competitive with many bigger, well established firms maintaining dominance. It was not long before Janang realised the need for synergy, prompting him to partner up with other Dayak professionals in 2006 to form Konsortium Bumi Consultants and Services Sdn Bhd, a multi-disciplinary consultancy in architecture, civil and structural engineering, and mechanical and electrical engineering.

The consortium mooted by Janang was a product of his vision to form a strong entity that garnered the strength of other like-minded professionals in order to withstand the strong competition posed by other well-established firms. Thankfully, the partnership managed to secure a sizable project that was crucial in sustaining the business back then.

KBCS’s success is one Janang strongly believes stems out of unity. Some of the toughest issues the entity has had to overcome were especially matters of capital expenditure and operational expenditure. He reflects on how incredibly difficult his initial business venture was without having adequate capital, having to start from scratch.

Synergising this expertise was essential in improving competitiveness, shifting from small numbers to possessing a bigger platform in which to build the Dayak business community. Moving toward a multidisciplinary approach and having his Dayak partners to rely on became essential in setting the foundations of the organization’s culture of unity, along with proper planning and persistency of course.

When it comes to people, KBCS has always understood that this meant more than just its own employees.

Being the first Dayak professional consultancy firm, they take cognizance in further developing its own community by providing industrial attachments to university and college students to develop professionals via internship programs.

In addition to that, KBCS also focuses on giving job opportunities to Bumiputera graduates, along with school leavers and unemployed persons.

From the perspective of social responsibility, the company strongly encourages its staff to participate in community service.

Raymond Sim Hee Pang, Master Entrepreneur representing Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers’ Association

As a prominent entrepreneur with over 30 years of business experience in retailing, branding and merchandising under his belt, Raymond Sim Hee Pang understands the principle of value creation and importance of people as pillars for building successful organisations.

Sim was born in Kuching in 1960. He received his primary education from 1968 until 1973 at SRB Chung Hua No. 4.

Upon completing his secondary education in Form 6 at SMK Green Road in 1980, Sim was set on pursuing his childhood dream of owning his own business.

He had early exposure to business as his family was involved in the shoe trading business.

With a clear vision in sight, Sim opened his first retail outlet offering sport shoes and apparels at Wisma Hopoh, Kuching in 1984.

Popularly known as LEA Centre, the outlet offers a diverse range of branded merchandise, from accessories to apparels and footwear to sportswear.

With sheer determination and passion, Sim capitalises on the emerging social trends of active lifestyle seekers and sports enthusiasts by offering quality branded products. LEA Centre is part of the LEA Group of Companies (LEA) of which Sim is currently the managing director.

As principal dealer for several renowned sports brands, LEA carries apparels, footwear and accessories for NIKE, ADIDAS, PUMA and Under Armour for the East Malaysian market.

In addition, the company is a licencee and distributor for the Slazenger brand, footwear and apparels for the South-East Asian region.

From a single outlet in 1984, LEA has grown to a total of 80 outlets throughout the country including Kuala Lumpur and the state of Sabah. It currently employs over 700 staff.

It was in the early 1990s that Sim recognised the need for his business to thrive by venturing into new market and industry. After having been involved in the retail business for 10 years, he recognised that most LEA retail outlets were rented on long-term leases.

His industry experience led him to believe that there is growth potential in the property sector as prices of realty will eventually rise over time.

At the same time, Sim also noted that the value of his stocks in sport shoes and accessories depreciated over a period of time.

To address these issues, Sim ventured into construction and property development industry as the prices of properties appreciate.

To leverage on this ideology while seizing the market opportunity created by the increasing demand for quality houses and buildings, Raymond tested the market by venturing into the property development sector with a pilot project with two business associates.

Sim concedes that he is very fortunate to have close association with two of his business partners who are so willing to share with him the nuts and bolts and intricacies of the industry.

In 1991, Yoshikawa Corporation & Development Sdn Bhd (Yoshi Development Sdn Bhd) was incepted to spearhead Sim’s new undertaking.

Subsequently, the Nationlink Group of Companies (Nationlink Group) was born with the primary activity of developing residential, commercial, industrial and state government projects on joint development and joint venture basis in Sarawak in 1991.

Sim is the managing director of Nationlink Group. Over the next seven years, several companies were set up to propel the entire group forward.

The Nationlink Group stable of companies includes Polarwood Sdn Bhd, Inner City Development Sdn Bhd (est 1994), Nation Horizon Sdn Bhd and Pembinaan Bukit Mata Sdn Bhd.

To-date, Nationlink Group has managed to secure and successfully complete numerous reputable and sizeable projects traversing Sarawak, noticeably in Kuching, Bintulu and Mukah.

In the Kuching region, the landmark projects include iCom Square Commercial Centre, Polarwood Estate, Kuching Sentral Terminal, Yoshi Square, Columbia Commercial Center, Sentosa Parade and Tebedu Township. Sim’s social contributions to the community and State has won him the Sheda Excellence Awards in Year 2014 for the development and completion of Kuching Sentral Terminal.

Mr Koon Poh Ming, Master Entrepreneur representing Sarawak Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Born in 1956, Koon Poh Ming together with his siblings started an aluminium extrusion operation with just 12 employees in 1986. Together with his brother, Tan Sri Datuk Paul Koon Poh Keong, they are the eighth richest persons in Malaysia amassing a whopping US$3 billion this year for the aluminium produced by their company, Press Metal.

The Koons are the pioneers leading Malaysia from an importer into the biggest exporter of aluminium in the Southeast Asian region.

Poh Ming, a Civil Engineering graduate from the University of Wales, United Kingdom, started his career with an International Consulting Engineering firm based in Kuala Lumpur.

A Registered Professional Engineer with the Board of Engineers and Institute of Engineers Malaysia, Koon is the executive director of Press Metal Bintulu Sdn Bhd and Press Metal Sarawak Sdn Bhd (Mukah), Executive Vice Chairman of Press Metal Aluminium Holdings Berhad and Chief Executive Officer of PMB Technology Bhd.

Under his leadership, Press Metal today has grown into a globally integrated aluminium corporation with an extensive global presence, on par with other aluminium giants such as Rio Tinto, Russia’s RUSAL and the Aluminium Corporation of China.

It is also the largest integrated aluminium producer in South East Asia, with a smelting capacity of 760,000 tonnes and an extrusion capacity of 160,000 tonnes per annum.

Its three smelting plants in Mukah and Samalaju Phases 1 and 2 possess the production capacities of 120,000 tonnes, 320,000 tonnes and 320,000 tonnes respectively while its two extrusion plants in Foshan, China, and Kapar, Selangor have production capacities of 120,000 tonnes and 40,000 tonnes respectively.

At Press Metal, the sense of duty to give back to society has always been a conscientious commitment that is kept close at hearts.

A business magnate, an investor as well as a philanthropist, Poh Ming through Press Metal Bintulu and Mukah has created thousands of job opportunities to the people of Sarawak as well as investments in tandem with the Sarawak Corridor for Renewable Energy’s (SCORE) mission and vision.

Poh Ming navigates the employees of Press Metal to always be mindful of the company’s responsibilities towards the employees, the stakeholders, the community as well as the environment to ensure sustainable growth in tandem with the corporate values and society’s wellbeing.

Like any other industry, awards and recognition are reflective of the good management and governance of its leader. Under the stewardship of Poh Ming, Press Metal was awarded the Chief Minister’s Industry Excellent Award 2017 and Chief Minister’ Environmental Award 2015/2016.

These are the evidence to show that the industry, environment and community are well-taken care off in Press Metal. Additionally, Press Metal has successfully secured the OHSAS 18001 award for the occupational safety and health management system in 2001.

Its extrusion plant in Foshan, China has also successfully passed the similar authentication.

This showcased Poh Ming’s commitment and involvement in ensuring quality and world-class standard in the business operations while maintaining a safe and healthy working environment for his employees.

Poh Ming’s outstanding achievements and exemplary leadership are also extended to his business counterparts in Samalaju when he plays an active role as the Chairman of the Samalaju Investors Industrial Association Bintulu.

As the chairman of the association, he leads the other investors in managing and alleviating the business operations in Samalaju to become one of the biggest contributors to the economic and social growth of Sarawak.

Dato Kho Kak Beng, Outstanding Entrepreneur

Don’t let this unassuming man belie his strength, grit and determination . Datuk Kho Kak Beng’s stellar rise to success was nothing short of defying the odds.

Born to a working class family of eight siblings, Kho as a child had walked to school barefoot, worked for RM1.50 a day as a youth, broke his right arm and hip while painting the Kuching Port Authority warehouse when he was 15.

However, these setbacks and hardships did not stop Kho from succeeding in life and merely served to temper his tenacity and fortitude.

At 16 he apprenticed himself to a welding and engineering company and set up one of his own at 19.

In 1976, he set up Kho Kak Beng Welding and Engineering Contractor Sendirian Berhad and is what is known today as KKB Engineering Berhad.

Today he serves as KKB’s chairman and Group Managing Director of the Company and its Group of Companies and is in charge of the overall group management and business development.

The company that started out in steel works has diversified and grown exponentially under Kho’s leadership and outstanding vision. Venturing into other steel related engineering and construction industries, his vast experience and dynamic vision and entrepreneurship coupled with his technical and managerial skills has allowed the company to grow and flourish in an unprecedented manner.

KKB’s core business lies in steel fabrication and steel related businesses such as manufacturing of Cement Lined Concrete and Polyurethane (PU) Pipes and Pipe Specials, Hot-Dip Galvanising of Steel Structure, manufacturing of LP Gas Cylinders and Civil Construction.

KKB is a pioneer in many engineering feats, including the building of the first transmission towers in Kuching, massive pipe projects for the Kuching Water Board and also playing a pivotal role in the construction of the Batang Ai hydroelectric project. KKB Engineering was first listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange in 1994 and in 2013, KKB Group further expanded and diversified into Oil and Gas under its subsidiary company, Ocean Might Sdn Bhd (OMSB). OMSB is a Petronas licensed fabrication yard for Offshore Facilities Construction – Major Onshore Fabrication.

It offers full project engineering services including Engineering, Procurement, Construction, Installation and Commissioning (EPCIC) to meet demands from its clients.

Within a short span of five years, OMSB has undertaken many projects successfully for various clients such as Petronas Carigali Sdn Bhd, Sapura Fabrication Sdn Bhd, Talisman Malaysia Ltd, 2H Offshore Sdn Bhd and Repsol Oil and Gas Malaysia Ltd. Other subsidiaries of KKB Engineering also include KKB Industries (Sabah) Sendirian Berhad which was incorporated in Sabah and also specializes in the business of manufacturing steel pipes and steel fabrication.

These accomplishments have not gone unnoticed as KKB Engineering was recognized by Forbes Asia after receiving the Forbes Asia’s ‘Best Under a Billion’ Award in 2010 and 2011.

Kho’s entrepreneurship was recognised and endorsed by the State Government of Sarawak when he was awarded Master Entrepreneur of the Year 2004 by the Ministry of Industrial Development Sarawak on September 7, 2004.

On July 29, 2010, he received the Outstanding Entrepreneurship Award from Asia Pacific Entrepreneurship Awards 2010 Malaysia.

Furthermore, Kho was adjudged one of the threeTop Nominees for the Master Entrepreneur Category of EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2014 Malaysia Awards. He was also awarded Pingat Terpuji Jubli Emas (P.T.E) by The State Government of Sarawak in conjunction with Memorial Awards Ceremony of Sarawak Independence Golden Jubilee Celebration on 28 August 2014.

On 5th November 2015, he was conferred The Brand Laureate Great Entrepreneur Brand ICON Leadership Awards by Asia Pacific Brands Foundation (APBF).

He is the chairman of Sarawak Foundry and Engineering Industries Association, Honorary Chairman of Kuching Samarahan Division Building and Civil Engineering Contractors Association and Honourable Advisor of The Federation of Kuching and Samarahan Division Chinese Association, Sarawak.

He is also the Vice President of Federation of Malaysian Foundry & Engineering Industries Association since 2007.

He is also an affable philanthropist who has supported countless social and public welfare services for the betterment of society.

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