I have an idea – now what?
If you were Dato’ Murly Manokharan, the answer would be simple. The Founder and Group CEO of Aspen Group is something of a wunderkind. At 18, when many his age were thinking no further than club night, Dato’ Murly was already working in an architectural firm, zipping between China, America and Penang while building factories for his clients. At 19, he was a technical assistant at Ivory Properties. At 23, he was made COO of the company. By the time he was 25, Dato’ Murly had become the youngest Executive Director and COO in Malaysian corporate history.
Dato’ Murly’s idea of building affordable homes may not, at first, seem new, but his is the first in the country to partner established home furnishings and electronics brands such as IKEA, Panasonic and Signature Kitchens. Young buyers are now not only able to purchase an affordable home, they can literally move in with just a suitcase. “We were the first ones to bring those brands to the table during the construction stage,” says Dato’ Murly. “The ability to buy a reasonably priced home, fitted with all the necessities, made a lot of sense to me.”
Dato’ Murly’s partnership with Ikano Pte Ltd also sees him leading the charge in developing Penang’s first IKEA store, one of the highlights of his mega-scale mixed development project, Aspen Vision City.
His other passion – sports – saw him help transform the FA Penang from a debt-ridden fourth division team to a healthy first-division unit in the course of three years.
For all his achievements, Dato’ Murly, still only age 31, sees no signs of stopping. “I’m a person who’s constantly on the move,” he says. “I always think about what I can do to challenge myself.”
Challenging oneself is what our personalities featured in this month’s The Collectors adhere to. As serious aficionados, the thrill of the chase is almost always as satisfying as the actual acquisition. I was struck by something a Norwegian hunter I’d once met had said to me: “Sometimes, we don’t catch anything but it would still be a good hunting day.” Not for nothing do we call it the holy grail – The pursuit of it, and often our philosophy of the pursuit, is what matters most. MINDY TEH, EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
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