Exclusive Interview with Dato’ Richard Curtis

Reading Time: 4 minutes
Dato' Richard Curtis1. You started out as a cement manufacturer and diversified into a range of sectors. Does this put you in an ideal position to meet the demands of SCORE?

It does, because most companies in Sarawak focus on one business at hand. We developed a plan to focus our business on Sarawak when the new management came in in 2006. We then diversified all our peninsular investments as well as all our overseas investments to Sarawak. We have a portfolio of industries that cover the whole state: we maintain roads, we have construction, we have cement; so we are pretty much involved in all the development infrastructure of the state. Even if we’re not, we still supply the cement and pipes. I am in a very good position to understand SCORE, in a sense that I am involved in everything. We have the funds and the management capability and the bandwith to handle. And fortunately, we have international experience to deal with international investors.

2. Signing up with Rio Tinto Alcan is a major undertaking. Tell us more about the aluminium plant the joint venture hopes to build at Samalaju.

 

Aluminium is the metal for the future and if you look at the level of use in the West, we are far behind. It’s very appropriate that Sarawak goes into the energy industry because it needs lots of it. That is why it was important to have a joint venture with Rio Tinto. They set a certain standard and they uphold the conventions by the UN which are now observed by Sarawak. Rio has brought in a lot more investors. In the modern world, the Malaysian investor should have a larger stake. Malaysia has capital capabilities and ambitions, a major force, globally. We should take ownership of these things.

3. Similarly, you have joined up with Naim for a major property development in Samalaju. What is your role in the partnership and what kind of city do your foresee emerging in Samalaju?

 

Naim’s components are building and operating the worker camps during the construction process. Now, under our project we feed the workers, house them and provide recreation. We had the problem with KLIA where we didn’t have enough space to house the executive. The next part is a township with Naim and Bintulu Development Authority. You have golf courses, community facilities and schools to take your families there. Malaysia is very accessible and approachable; we want to them to be involved in the country. The city will be partly green. The master plan will be based on our experiences in Middle East and Australia and so on.

4. Social Responsibility appears to play a big part in your company’s relationship with the community. What kind of causes does CMS look to support?

If you are a company, you have honour and your obligation to your community. You have to set the standards for employment, safety and medical care. We have a very huge outreach program as well. If you said you needed raw materials to rebuild a village, we will be out there devoting our time. Our staff needs to set the example. They take four days for CSR, out of their weekends. Very few decline. In Malaysia, we focus on the youth and the needy.I believe everyone has to have a roof over  their head, Our road crews are authorized to go and fix any road that is broken or need repairing. Everyone in our company have a stake and share in our company including the community. Three years ago the road crew were leaving food on the road we cant do that we started supplying them plastic bags after seeing that. We give regular money to mosques. Every year we ask them if they want to direct the money to a management training course. The love it. My preference is small sponsorships to help junior squash and we are focusing on poor kids in areas with a lot courses. There are times when managers cant play golf because they have csr during their weekend. We had projects we had to finish even though we lost money on it. The importance is to make sure the community benefits.

5. You have work experience in London, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Singapore. What have you brought from your background to the way CMS operates now?

Iam multicultural I was born here, and studied in Bristol I worked in many places and I have been very exposed to multicultural environments .So you draw inspirations from these different cultures and places you worked in.To create a synthesis of what will work they way you are.I was brought up in the Malaysian environment as well, I took what I needed from the west and hopefully from the east, to strike a balance.I am also accustomed to business with multi business units.Most people run business with just one focus, I run a business which have got multi different businesses.So you are flipping from topic to another everyday and that requires a certain mindset.That is something I had a lot of experience on.I also had to go to business schools and learn different techniques, I also worked in different businesses that struggled, I also worked in Multinationals, started up my own company.What you  also should do is read, you should read Harvard business review  keep up with business ideas and trends. I have been in Sarawak for 5 years now. I also did some law as well, so joint ventures and other partnership come natural to me. That international law background has proved helpful.

6. How would you sum up CMS, its role in society and its image to the outside world?

Our tagline if translated is to be the pride of Sarawak. We want to be respected by Our Stakeholders are the Shareholders, Staff, Customers,  our Community. We are a long term company that wants to honor its commitment. We have a jv with sedc and are very aware and particular about our participation in the economic development with the state.We call it a profitable economic development.we do the right thing that the state needs and we do it well. Out of that we make a legitimate profit.Take cement for example if you buy cement from kl with the standard price you get a cover of two ply paper if you buy it from us you get three ply paper and with a thin clear film lining inside which is water proof.It all burns on your bonfire without a cess of smoke. We do all this right for the state. From the foreign investors  point of view we are the one stop gateway to the state with all the links and the local companies. We are interested in investors at this point of time.

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

1. You started out as a cement manufacturer and diversified into a range of sectors. Does this put you in an ideal position to meet the demands of SCORE?

It does, because most companies in Sarawak focus on one business at hand. We developed a plan to focus our business on Sarawak when the new management came in in 2006. We then diversified all our peninsular investments as well as all our overseas investments to Sarawak. We have a portfolio of industries that cover the whole state: we maintain roads, we have construction, we have cement; so we are pretty much involved in all the development infrastructure of the state. Even if we’re not, we still supply the cement and pipes. I am in a very good position to understand SCORE, in a sense that I am involved in everything. We have the funds and the management capability and the bandwith to handle. And fortunately, we have international experience to deal with international investors.

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Dato' Richard Curtis1. You started out as a cement manufacturer and diversified into a range of sectors. Does this put you in an ideal position to meet the demands of SCORE?

It does, because most companies in Sarawak focus on one business at hand. We developed a plan to focus our business on Sarawak when the new management came in in 2006. We then diversified all our peninsular investments as well as all our overseas investments to Sarawak. We have a portfolio of industries that cover the whole state: we maintain roads, we have construction, we have cement; so we are pretty much involved in all the development infrastructure of the state. Even if we’re not, we still supply the cement and pipes. I am in a very good position to understand SCORE, in a sense that I am involved in everything. We have the funds and the management capability and the bandwith to handle. And fortunately, we have international experience to deal with international investors.

2. Signing up with Rio Tinto Alcan is a major undertaking. Tell us more about the aluminium plant the joint venture hopes to build at Samalaju.

 

Aluminium is the metal for the future and if you look at the level of use in the West, we are far behind. It’s very appropriate that Sarawak goes into the energy industry because it needs lots of it. That is why it was important to have a joint venture with Rio Tinto. They set a certain standard and they uphold the conventions by the UN which are now observed by Sarawak. Rio has brought in a lot more investors. In the modern world, the Malaysian investor should have a larger stake. Malaysia has capital capabilities and ambitions, a major force, globally. We should take ownership of these things.

3. Similarly, you have joined up with Naim for a major property development in Samalaju. What is your role in the partnership and what kind of city do your foresee emerging in Samalaju?

 

Naim’s components are building and operating the worker camps during the construction process. Now, under our project we feed the workers, house them and provide recreation. We had the problem with KLIA where we didn’t have enough space to house the executive. The next part is a township with Naim and Bintulu Development Authority. You have golf courses, community facilities and schools to take your families there. Malaysia is very accessible and approachable; we want to them to be involved in the country. The city will be partly green. The master plan will be based on our experiences in Middle East and Australia and so on.

4. Social Responsibility appears to play a big part in your company’s relationship with the community. What kind of causes does CMS look to support?

If you are a company, you have honour and your obligation to your community. You have to set the standards for employment, safety and medical care. We have a very huge outreach program as well. If you said you needed raw materials to rebuild a village, we will be out there devoting our time. Our staff needs to set the example. They take four days for CSR, out of their weekends. Very few decline. In Malaysia, we focus on the youth and the needy.I believe everyone has to have a roof over  their head, Our road crews are authorized to go and fix any road that is broken or need repairing. Everyone in our company have a stake and share in our company including the community. Three years ago the road crew were leaving food on the road we cant do that we started supplying them plastic bags after seeing that. We give regular money to mosques. Every year we ask them if they want to direct the money to a management training course. The love it. My preference is small sponsorships to help junior squash and we are focusing on poor kids in areas with a lot courses. There are times when managers cant play golf because they have csr during their weekend. We had projects we had to finish even though we lost money on it. The importance is to make sure the community benefits.

5. You have work experience in London, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Singapore. What have you brought from your background to the way CMS operates now?

Iam multicultural I was born here, and studied in Bristol I worked in many places and I have been very exposed to multicultural environments .So you draw inspirations from these different cultures and places you worked in.To create a synthesis of what will work they way you are.I was brought up in the Malaysian environment as well, I took what I needed from the west and hopefully from the east, to strike a balance.I am also accustomed to business with multi business units.Most people run business with just one focus, I run a business which have got multi different businesses.So you are flipping from topic to another everyday and that requires a certain mindset.That is something I had a lot of experience on.I also had to go to business schools and learn different techniques, I also worked in different businesses that struggled, I also worked in Multinationals, started up my own company.What you  also should do is read, you should read Harvard business review  keep up with business ideas and trends. I have been in Sarawak for 5 years now. I also did some law as well, so joint ventures and other partnership come natural to me. That international law background has proved helpful.

6. How would you sum up CMS, its role in society and its image to the outside world?

Our tagline if translated is to be the pride of Sarawak. We want to be respected by Our Stakeholders are the Shareholders, Staff, Customers,  our Community. We are a long term company that wants to honor its commitment. We have a jv with sedc and are very aware and particular about our participation in the economic development with the state.We call it a profitable economic development.we do the right thing that the state needs and we do it well. Out of that we make a legitimate profit.Take cement for example if you buy cement from kl with the standard price you get a cover of two ply paper if you buy it from us you get three ply paper and with a thin clear film lining inside which is water proof.It all burns on your bonfire without a cess of smoke. We do all this right for the state. From the foreign investors  point of view we are the one stop gateway to the state with all the links and the local companies. We are interested in investors at this point of time.

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