Celebrating the best of Sarawak’s entrepreneurs

2023-02-03 00:44:18 By : Andy luo

(From left) Dayang, Hii, Lim, Wong, Yong and Rewi posing with their awards.

SIX locals were awarded during Sarawak Entrepreneur of the Year Awards (EOYS) 2021 in recognition of their business acumen and contribution to the state’s economic growth, made harder by the Covid-19 pandemic. 1/2mm Plywood

Celebrating the best of Sarawak’s entrepreneurs

The awards ceremony, held earlier this week, was organised by Ministry of International Trade and Investment, Sarawak in association with Sarawak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) and Ernst & Young (EY).

In his speech during the awards ceremony, SCCI president Datuk Abang Abdul Karim Tun Openg said the EOYS awards had so far recognised over 60 successful entrepreneurs across Sarawak since its inception in 2004.

“We give recognition to our award recipients as the best in class, the prime movers that drive the state’s path and economic growth.

“We are here to recognise and celebrate their success, ingenuity, ideas, resourcefulness, commitment and hard work which have built their businesses and contributed to the growth of the Sarawak’s economy,” he said during the awards luncheon.

Abdul Karim said Covid-19 pandemic had sharply affect the state’s economy but entrepreneurs in the state had built resilience as to response to the global health crisis.

He further remarked the state government had been well-aware of the challenging economic backdrop and was determined to accelerate the development agenda, while narrowing the development gap in the state to be on track of achieving a developed status by 2030.

Meanwhile, SCCI deputy president Datuk Dr Philip Ting said in his speech that EOYS Adjudicating Committee would normally nominate recipients of EOYS Awards to represent Sarawak at the EY Entrepreneur of the Year (EOY) Malaysia Awards.

“For the recipients of the EOYS awards, it is an opportunity to network with business peers as well as have access to valuate media coverage, raising personal and company profile,” said Ting.

He added the programme also provided a platform for inspiring entrepreneurs, innovative thinkers and game-changers to come together and engage, while expanding their network.

The recipients who were conferred the ‘Master Entrepreneur’ title this year were James Hii Sing Lung of Green Summit Development Sdn Bhd; Dayang Sophia Abang Taha of Sophia Taha Holdings Sdn Bhd, who represented the Sarawak Bumiputera Entrepreneurs Chamber; Rewi Hamid Bugo of Petra Jaya Properties Sdn Bhd, who represented Sarawak Housing and Real Estate Developers’ Association; Lim Ah Ted of Supreme Consolidated Resources Bhd, who represented Kuching Chinese General Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and Dato Wong Kuo Hea of Ta Ann Holdings Sdn Bhd, who represented Sarawak Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The Emerging Entrepreneur title was conferred to John Yong Lock Ping of Lafrowda Properties Sdn Bhd.

Hii (centre) received his award from Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg (third left) and Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan (third right).

James Hii Sing Lung – Master Entrepreneur

Green Summit Development Sdn Bhd

Hii was born in 1976 and raised in Bintangor, Sarawak. He graduated with a Civil Engineering degree (1st Class Honour) from the University of Technology Malaysia in 1999.

Hii started his career as a civil engineer as one of the pioneers of SP Setia Bhd Group in Johor Bahru. Prior to joining Green Summit Development, Hii served as a project manager and established Promptrite Sdn Bhd in 2004.

In 2009, an opportunity arose when an investment partner saw a talented and hardworking engineer who was trustworthy, virtuous, energetic and had a dream to become a property developer in Sarawak. Thus, Green Summit Development Sdn Bhd was founded in Miri.

To-date, the company has grown and, diversified into property development, construction, real estate, manufacturing of concrete, and food and beverage.

Green Summit Development group’s business model integrates a good product mix based on innovation and continuous improvement. The products offered by Green Summit ranges from affordable to premium properties, while maintaining the standard of quality expected of the type of property in tandem with market value. Hii adopts the approaches of sourcing, innovation, and applying value engineering, Industrialised Building System, without compromising on quality standard.

The group’s competitive edge is to constantly engage with our stakeholders to innovate new designs that complement the changing environment, while pre-empting the living needs of the society, and maintaining, engaging and collaborating type of service experience with all stakeholders.

Hii is also active in building trust with key partners and stakeholders while exploring numerous potential business development and expansion opportunities to ensure the group can achieve and endure sustainable growth.

His drive and spirit of continuous pursuance for growth opportunities were influential factors that led the group’s venture into new industries of construction and manufacturing other than its core business of property development along the years.

Under his leadership, the group has successfully launched and completed 23 projects in the region with a total gross development value of RM900 million.

Hii’s strategy aligns with and supports the Sarawak State Development directives and goals. Changing world climate and the recent unexpected Covid-19 pandemic have negatively impacted people’s lives and future developments.

Therefore, it is a necessity and a priority to explore and safe guard our environment, community and State.

In this respect, a five-year business plan (2022-2026) has been set in motion to generate a gross development value of RM1 billion of properties and its rippling effects on supply chains, employment, talent creations on technical and digital skills and know how, all added to the economic growth of Sarawak.

Dayang (centre) received her award from Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg (third left) and Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan (third right).

Dayang Sophia Abang Taha – Master Entrepreneur

Sophia Taha Holdings Sdn Bhd

Representing the Sarawak Bumiputera Entrepreneurs Council

Sarawak-born Dayang Sophia holds a Diploma in Business Studies, INTI University. With 24 years of working experience, her specialties lie in business management, industrial and agricultural consulting, and cosmetics and food & beverage (F&B) manufacturing.

She currently holds the position of managing director at Sophia Taha Holdings Sdn Bhd (STHSB), a manufacturing company. Dayang Sophia has vast experience and knowledge as an industrialist, and is well trained in manufacturing beauty and healthcare products.

The company, incorporated in 2009, is an aspiring family-run company with diversified interests in various product manufacturing sectors.

STHSB holds Sarawak’s first National Pharmaceutical Regulatory Agency (NPRA) Cosmetic factory with Good Manufacturing Practice (GMP) certification that specializes in manufacturing cosmetic products and brands which also served as a one stop centre for contract manufacturing (OEM/ODM) to entrepreneurs.

In addition, STHSB also operates a halal certified and MeSTI, US FDA registered F&B factory that specializes in manufacturing stingless bee honey and propolis, Sarawak pepper, coffee downstream products.

STHSB also manufactures its own house brand products including Meliponi Healthcare & Skincare, Melii F&B products, Kumang Skincare and Melinow Sarawak Pepper, No69 Gambir Sarawak and Printruz, a in house design and printing department besides providing research and development services, contract manufacturing or better known as OEM/ODM One Stop Center for other companies and entrepreneurs.

Furthermore, STHSB manufactures products that are made from 100 per cent natural ingredients, comprising Stingless Bee Honey, Coffee, Black and White Pepper, Gambir Sarawak, Virgin Coconut Oil and more. As a GMP- and NPRA-registered factory, STHSB is also the only licensed hand sanitizer manufacturer in Sarawak.

STHSB manufactures and supplies licensed (NPRA) Hand Sanitizer and fogging liquid for the market in Sarawak and the other states in the country.

STHSB is known for its innovative and creative approaches in developing natural products. To date, STHSB has come up with more than 35 SKU of products, including the world-first Stingless Bee propolis coffee and formulating alcohol free – Stingless Bee propolis product. These are all undertaken in house.

It has demonstrated excellence in its field in many ways towards product development, emphasizing new ideas and approaches encompassing product packaging, design and presentation, new product innovation, new development and enhancement of formulations, and many more.

Furthermore, STHSB has assisted many entrepreneurs or businesses, through the development and sharing of specific formulations for new products, and the development and manufacturing of products towards obtaining certifications.

STHSB had widened its export destination from Japan in 2019 to US, China and Saudi Arabia in 2021. Its local market penetration has also increases, as more products are now available on online platform, retail outlet, hypermarket and pharmacy, throughout Malaysia.

STHSB has commercialised and developed many Sarawak-based products for the local and international markets, besides creating jobs for skilled workforce in the field of manufacturing with a focus on natural products and cosmetics. This has directly impacted the economy of Sarawak.

During the Covid-19 pandemic, STHSB fully utilised their digital and online platforms. The company embark on electronic commerce resulting in online surpassing offline sales.

In 2020, 70 per cent of our business came from online as compared to only 30 per cent in 2019. Although the export of products was stopped in 2020, STHSB managed to resume selling their products to international markets in 2021 including the US, Japan, China and Saudi Arabia.

During the MCO, STHSB set up its own design and printing facility, and a bottle blowing facility all under one roof.

This represents a one-stop center for product development for STHSB to overcome delay in the delivery of packaging materials and reduce production costs. During this challenging time in the last two years, STHSB developed and manufactured various products, including OEM/ODM services, for start-ups and existing businesses in Malaysia and abroad.

Rewi (centre) receives his award from Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg (third left) and Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan (third right).

Rewi Hamid Bugo – Master Entrepreneur

Petra Jaya Properties Sdn Bhd

Representing Sarawak Housing And Real Estate Developers’ Association

Rewi graduated in 1996 from the University of Canterbury in New Zealand with a Masters of Commerce degree (1st Class Hons), a Bachelor of Science in Management Science and a Postgraduate Diploma in Management.

Over the years, he has been involved in the creation, acquisition, management and sale of businesses in various industries including property development, motorcycle importation and distribution, finance, oil and gas, and travel and tourism.

Apart from the various positions held in numerous private companies in Malaysia, Rewi is currently an Independent Non-Executive Director of Thriven Global Bhd and a Trustee of the Board of WWF Malaysia.

Petra Jaya Properties (PJP) was incorporated in 1988 as a property development company that focuses on residential property development of Native Land in Petra Jaya.

As a segment of property development often ignored by the larger companies, the development and sales of properties on Native Land (without reclassification into Mixed Zone Land) by non-Natives has become the company’s area of specialty. Since 1998, PJP has grown by leaps and bounds under the guidance and management of Rewi.

A competitive advantage of PJP is the company’s knowledge and understanding of the conditions on the native segment of the market. Furthermore, the company adopts and practices the principles of affordability without comprising quality.

Despite being a leader in its specific sector, PJP constantly challenging the boundaries of property development from conceptualising to design to construction. Safety and sustainability have been the mantra of its Chairman from the outset of the company’s existence.

All PJP projects consider ongoing maintenance, ease of construction and regularly feature Industrialized Building Systems. Most recently, PJP has used prefabricated Hollow Core Slabs in single-storey homes for construction efficiency, better site safety and housekeeping, and ultimately, higher quality.

PJP’s focus on residential development impacts the economy directly as housing construction is often quoted as the “engine of growth” due the to its multiplier effect. PJP’s dedicated approach to the development of Native Land in predominantly Bumiputra areas has positively impacted the Bumiputra community.

This is evidenced in joint venture projects with landowners who earn better returns by partnering with PJP, owners of neighbouring land also reaping the benefits of rising land values, whilst house buyers enjoy more affordable housing.

Sustainability has been a guiding principle for Petra Jaya Properties. To this end, PJP’s business model and strategic direction had in many ways prepared the company for difficult times, although a challenge on the scale of the Covid-19 pandemic was unexpected.

Covid-19 necessitated a paradigm shift from the traditional business model of conducting business. PJP was quick to adapt since it had already substantially migrated its document storage, management, and communications to digital formats. The early technology adoption meant the PJP team was accustomed to working and managing remotely.

No staff members were laid off during the extended MCOs and the lean PJP operation simply got leaner to weather the unstable period. Projects were proactively rescheduled or rephased, operating costs minimised, and government incentives helped reduce the negative impacts. Given the opening of most sectors in the economy, PJP is ready for the next wave of opportunity.

Lim (centre) received his award from Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg (third left) and Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan (third right).

Lim Ah Ted – Master Entrepreneur

Supreme Consolidated Resources Sdn Bhd

Representing Kuching General Chamber of Commerce & Industry (KCGCCI)

A Sarawak-based local entrepreneur, Lim is the founder and group managing Director of Supreme Group of companies. He is responsible for overseeing the overall operations, strategic business planning and direction of the Group.

Lim started his career in the distribution of dry, frozen and chilled food in 1984 with the incorporation of SCS Trading Co. He later incorporated SCS (incorporated 1987), SFS(incorporated 1999), BFL (incorporated 2000) and ST (incorporated 2016) to build a wide distribution network that ensures quality products are available to Sarawak consumers.

Supreme has survived the global economic crises in 1987 and 1997. Today, Supreme Group stands as the “One-stop supply base” for chilled, frozen and dairy food products. The group distributes more than 2,000 products sourced from more than 60 local and foreign suppliers. Over the last 30 years, Supreme has given Sarawak consumers more variety, choice, and quality products by bringing in trusted brands such as Emborg, Bega, Westland, Kewpie, Devondale and many more.

The group’s vision is “Sarawak’s leading supplier of meat, FMCG products and services” by aiming to build and nurture good relationships with clients, suppliers and employees by consistently carrying out their commitments. The group has invested in a fleet of more than 20 delivery trucks and with numerous warehouses located at Kuching and Miri. In addition, 20 distributors are appointed in Sibu and Bintulu to distribute products to customers in different segments.

The Group’s involvement in the food and beverage industry in the last two decades has provided expertise and knowledge in managing the logistic, warehousing and supply chain, which are the lifeline of the industry. Moreover, the group has obtained Halal certification to ensure our products are handled according to Islamic rites and are fit for consumption by Muslims.

To ensure our customers enjoy value-added products at best quality and prices, Lim and his management team have put in place an internal quality process and continuously improve product lead time, costs, and product sourcing. Supreme Group of Companies have obtained both Health Certification and Halal Certification from the relevant authorities and the group continues to work closely with the Department of Veterinary Sarawak to ensure that the Agricultural and Veterinary policies of the Government of Sarawak are implemented efficiently.

In 2017, efforts were put in place to streamline the Group’s operations and efficiency. SCR was incorporated as an investment holding company as part of a group restructuring exercise, that ultimately result in the current corporate structure.

On January 16, 2019, the group was successfully listed in LEAP market of Bursa Malaysia. The listing proceeds are used for the group expansion plan to build a new warehouse, secure a new quality agency to enhance presence, and secure Supreme’s position as a market leader in the chilled and frozen food segment in Sarawak.

This historic milestone is a testimony of the achievement of Supreme Group and Lim’s vision.

Yong (centre) receives his award from Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg (third left).Also seen is Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan (third right).

John Yong Lock Ping – Emerging Entrepreneur

Born and raised in Sibu, Yong completed his secondary school before furthering his studies in the UK and graduated with a Master in Civil Engineering from the University of Exeter in 1999.

Upon graduation, he returned to Malaysia to work as an engineer with local builder and later with an international construction firms. His career as an engineer gave him the opportunities to work at different locations within Malaysia and overseas in various capacities including project management, engineering design, procurement, cost and resources management.

The invaluable experience attained from these opportunities have been the crux of his formation as entrepreneur in the property development industry.

After eight years of working as an engineer, Yong decided to further his studies to prepare and elevate himself for future business ventures.

Upon graduating with a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of South Australia, he co-founded two property development companies – one in Tawau, Sabah and the other in Kuching – together with his family members before he moved to establish Lafrowda Properties (Lafrowda) in 2017.

Started with a team of only four people, Yong built Lafrowda into a niche property development company that unveiled three projects to-date with a combined development value of over RM120 million.

Today, with a workforce of more than twenty full-time employees and two offices located in Kuching and Sibu, Lafrowda has continued to establish its presence and expand its business presence in the property development industry.

Apart from digitalising sale and marketing tools, Lafrowda also introduces homeowner/residence apps to digitalize the property management.

The purchasers and residents can lodge their requests and complaints through the residence app, make reservations for the usage of common facilities, and undertake monthly maintenance charges payment online.

Yong’s innovative input was key to the conceptualization and development of Lafrowda’s project at locations in Kuching and Sibu.

Since 2020, Lafrowda is embarked on the digitalisation and migration of its operations to online platform. The sales team is moving their sales and marketing activities online, whereby 3D walkthrough videos are created in order for potential buyers to view their desired property without physically visiting the sales gallery and showroom. Lafrowda is also active in its social media to interact with the community.

As the founder and managing director, Yong helms Lafrowda to ensure project delivery and commitments to stakeholders are fulfilled.

His enthusiasm and persistency in pursuing excellence have become the driving force to propel Lafrowda towards its mission to deliver liveable and affordable homes to the people and to establish the company as a leading figure in the property industry.

Despite the challenging business environment during Covid-19 pandemic, Lafrowda has grown from a modest team of 4 to a total of more than 20 full-time employees today and it will continue to expand its presence in property development industry.

In 2020, Lafrowda established its branch office in Sibu and launched its first project in Sibu in the first quarter of 2021. With a plan to expand beyond Sarawak, Lafrowda plans to explore property development opportunities in Sabah and West Malaysia through establishing strategic partnerships with potential partners and mergers and acquisitions.

Lafrowda has unveiled three flagship projects thus far, two located in Kuching and one in Sibu, with a combined gross development value of over RM120 million. The good take-up rate and high resale value are testimonies of the company’s brand value, with undisputed track record of “delivering property excellence”.

With several more projects at various design and planning stages, Lafrowda is targeting to launch projects with a total estimated development value of more than RM400 million in the next three years.

Wong (centre) receives his award from Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Abang Johari Tun Openg (third left).Also seen is Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hasan (third right).

Dato Wong Kuo Hea – Master Entrepreneur

Representing Sarawak Chamber of Commerce & Industry

Wong’s journey began with a small trading company, a joint venture between Bumiputeras and non-Bumiputeras. The pioneering and cooperative spirit amongst its multicultural founders proved to be a strong foundation for growth.

With hard work, perseverance and teamwork, Wong as managing director of the company diversified its operations to include logging, timber processing, and manufacture and sale of quality plywood and veneer products in just over 10 years. Under his leadership, the company steadily grew and transformed into Ta Ann Group, as it is today.

Epitomising the saying “hard work is the key to success”, in another 12 years, DWong managed to list the group on the Main Market of Bursa Malaysia Securities Berhad on November 23, 1999 as Ta Ann Holdings Bhd.

As no one is indispensable, Wong also advises all to have a humble and sincere heart, as that will allow one to continuously learn and improve, not only in our personal lives but also work-wise. To-date, the group’s market capitalisation stands at about RM1.5 billion, with operations spanning 36 active subsidiaries and supported by 5,500 employees. Working closely with his management team, he has adopted a framework of planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation to sustainably manage all aspects of the group’s businesses.

This is especially evident when the group pivoted and successfully expanded into the oil palm industry, a completely new business in the early 2000s. Presently, the group has achieved MSPO & PEFC certification for all its active business units.

Through the years, Wong has contributed tirelessly to worthy causes through countless CSR initiatives. Amid this pandemic with an awareness that the health and safety of the surrounding communities is closely intertwined with that of their employees amid the pandemic, Ta Ann Group provided urgently needed equipment such as portable ventilators, and continuously donated funds to Sibu General Hospital as well as the Sarawak Disaster Management Committee so that we can battle the pandemic from all fronts.

Pine Plywood Since its listing, the group has continuously increased shareholder value, even through challenging periods such as the Financial Crisis in 1997 and the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. Wong attributes his and the group’s success to his faith and trust in God.