OPPORTUNITIES ABOUND IN FOREST CITY
Attractive salaries, benefits draw professionals, others to work in unique project
CHUAH BEE KIM ISKANDAR PUTERI firstname.lastname@example.org
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.