At­trac­tive salaries, ben­e­fits draw pro­fes­sion­als, oth­ers to work in unique project

New Straits Times - - News -


FOR 30 years, Datuk Koh Chin Hah earned a lu­cra­tive in­come and en­joyed the high life that came with his job as a civil en­gi­neer in the pri­vate sec­tor in Sin­ga­pore.

Al­though the Johor-born Koh was con­tent, he won­dered if there would ever be a good rea­son for him to move back to work and live in his home state.

He found that rea­son last year. An op­por­tu­nity to work with the team be­hind the world’s first smart green city was too good for him to re­sist.

“What at­tracted me to come back was the scale of For­est City. Be­sides Dubai, For­est City will be the only other man-made city built on re­claimed is­lands.

“I can draw from my work ex­pe­ri­ence to con­trib­ute to this mega de­vel­op­ment,” said Koh, 52.

He is now the pro­duc­tion di­rec­tor at­tached to the project’s mas­ter de­vel­oper, Coun­try Gar­den Paci­ficview Sdn Bhd.

The prospect was a per­fect fit for Koh as For­est City wanted to go big on the In­dus­trial Build­ing Sys­tem (IBS).

“In the past, we re­lied on work­ers from In­done­sia and Bangladesh but with IBS, we can have speed and qual­ity,” said the Univer­siti Te­knologi Malaysia (UTM) grad­u­ate.

He said con­ven­tional con­struc­tion meth­ods would need 15 days to build one floor, but with IBS, the du­ra­tion was cut by half.

“The project uses Euro­pean tech­nol­ogy in the field of robotic arms. For­mer prime min­is­ter Pak Lah (Tun Ab­dul­lah Ahmad Badawi) had pushed for IBS for many years and now, this sys­tem is be­ing used in For­est City.”

Koh is among the cur­rent 1,182 work­force in For­est City, most of whom are based in For­est City’s Pu­lau Satu (first is­land) that houses a sales gallery, of­fices, a shop­ping ar­cade and the For­est City Phoenix Ho­tel.

Com­pris­ing four man-made is­lands off the southwest coast of Johor, For­est City will boast a gross de­vel­op­ment value of US$100 bil­lion (RM442 bil­lion) when fully com­pleted in 20 years.

For chef Mohd Hizam Mohd Ali, 27, tak­ing a job at For­est City Phoenix Ho­tel last year meant a new work cul­ture and be­ing able to work closer to home.

Born and bred in Kam­pung Pok, Ge­lang Patah, Hizam was pre­vi­ously a cook on a tanker ves­sel and had churned out the same dishes ev­ery day.

“At the ho­tel, we get to be more cre­ative.

“The work cul­ture is dif­fer­ent. If you are the type that don’t want to just get by and is sat­is­fied with tak­ing home your salary at the end of the day, then this is not the place for you. But if you like to go that ex­tra mile, learn and progress, then work­ing in For­est City can of­fer a re­ward­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.”

Ho­tel concierge Ahmad Zamri Daud, 45, who has been in the hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try for 15 years, said work­ers at For­est City were well re­warded.

“The salary scale is al­most the same as my pre­vi­ous em­ploy­ment but over here, we get ben­e­fits such as meals, ac­com­mo­da­tion and trans­porta­tion.

“If you can save on these ex­penses, you can save more of your in­come.”

Tunku Hamir­rul As­mara, 32, is cur­rently em­ployed as a town plan­ner at For­est City un­der the “Fu­ture Lead­er­ship” joint pro­gramme by UTM and Coun­try Gar­den Paci­ficview.

“I am part of an on-the-job train­ing pro­gramme. I am blessed to get a job through this tie-up upon grad­u­a­tion.”

M.R. Sur­ish Ra­masamy, 44, who is a safety and health of­fi­cer, said peo­ple had a mis­con­cep­tion that the work­ers at For­est City were Chi­nese cit­i­zens.

“It’s just a mis­con­cep­tion that For­est City only hires Chi­nese na­tion­als.

“Many of my col­leagues are Malaysians.

“Work­ers here have to ad­here to safety reg­u­la­tions at all times and my job is to see to that. The se­cu­rity team works round the clock, in two shifts,” said Sur­ish, who pre­vi­ously worked at the Re­fin­ery and Petro­chem­i­cal In­te­grated De­vel­op­ment in Pengerang.


Coun­try Gar­den Paci­ficview Sdn Bhd pro­duc­tion di­rec­tor Datuk Koh Chin Hah (right) with Cen­der­awasih Ho­tel work­ers in Ge­lang Patah on Sat­ur­day.

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