Name : Dato’ Hj Mohd Noorazam Bin Dato Hj Osman
Company : Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor Sdn. Bhd. (KPRJ)
Position : CEO
With almost 30 years of experience under his belt, Dato Noorazam has been leading KPRJ for over 2 years now with robust ideas and visionary leadership. Being the investment arm of Johor, KPRJ is the major stakeholder in Iskandar Malaysia developments, the master builder for the SUKMA XX infrastructure and a key affordable housing developer. The state owned GLC was incorporated in 1995 and has turned 25 this year. We touch base with Dato’ Noorazam to find out more about KPRJ’s future directions.
Congratulations on KPRJ turning 25 this year. You have helmed the CEO position for the past 2 years, how has the journey been for you and the company?
Kumpulan Prasarana Rakyat Johor Sdn Bhd (KPRJ) was established on 8th November 1995 as a private limited company wholly owned by the State Government of Johor. I have seen KPRJ grow throughout the years. The name itself which has the word Prasarana means our role is to provide the infrastructure to support the state agenda. In the early years of its establishment, KPRJ played an important role in the development of village roads. In 1998, KPRJ completed 1,732km of village roads and in 2020, KPRJ has completed 3,162km of roads through 40% shares in Infra Desa Johor. Our business focus has been amplified to diversified spectrum which includes Oil & Gas, Sports Development, Asset & Facilities Management apart from Construction and Property development.
To be fair, we must acknowledge that its has not all been sunny on KPRJ’s side. Some of our business ventures have failed but we learn, and we bounce back stronger. What’s most important is that the government trusts us to deliver what we have been mandated to do and thus far, we have constructed 126 religious schools, developed mosques amounting to RM34 million, rescued many abandoned housing developments while developing new affordable housing for the people. We are revitalising the business according to the current business trends and opportunities with agility and relevance in mind. KPRJ provides a cash dividend of RM153 million and also a return in the form of CSR of RM15 million a year to the state government.
As for myself, I have more grey hair now (laughs) but it has been a learning process and the wisdom that comes from it is invaluable. I love my job and I like to see the growth of my organisation.
What are the main growth drivers of KPRJ?
One of our drivers is our role as the investment arm of the state. KPRJ is the major stakeholder in the Iskandar Malaysia development through its role as one of the key shareholders in Iskandar Investment Berhad (IIB). We are also a shareholder in Infra Desa (Johor) Sdn. Bhd., Iskandar Waterfront Holdings Sdn. Bhd., and Southkey City Sdn. Bhd.
Property is still a market that we are keen on developing further. The problem that we see in this sector is not that there is no demand but more of buyers being unable to secure end financing. KPRJ has proposed to the state rent-to-own schemes that can be introduced to alleviate the problem of financing. Our subsidiary KPRJ Builders Sdn Bhd was awarded the SME100 Fast Moving Companies Award in January 2019. This award proves KPRJ’s ability as one of the key players in the construction industry in Malaysia. Apart from that, KPRJ also plays a significant role in the Rancangan Perumahan Rakyat Johor of 6,016 units, Skim Rumah Mesra Rakyat Johor and other state housing schemes.
SUKMA is now cancelled and what will happen next?
SUKMA 2020 has been cancelled officially and we are talking about SUKMA 2022 instead which is technically still “SUKMA 20” as it’s the 20th edition to the games. The state of Johor will remain as the host for the games and KPRJ remains committed to the realisation of the games.
In terms of infrastructure, we look at it as an investment to the development of sports in the state. Regardless of SUKMA games, the infrastructure is something that is built for the benefit of the people for years to come. The challenge is getting the public to utilise the venues for their sports programmes. However, with the current pandemic situation, organising sports meets and other events is not permissible which impairs commercial returns from the venues so we have to look at it from a long term perspective. Generally speaking, sports’ venues in any part of the world are not entirely meant for commercial returns. If we can generate enough income to cover the overhead from operations cost, it is considered very good.
Has the pandemic changed how KPRJ conducts business?
My biggest asset is always my staff. I have given them the freedom to upskill and value-add themselves during this period. I want my staff to be highly skilled, well-learned and of course, remain relevant to their work. With our strong financial capabilities, an experienced management team as well as dedicated and committed staff members, KPRJ is able to carry out the entrusted responsibilities at its very best in delivering the needs towards building a better Johor. To add on, we are also conducting our business operations in accordance to the new norms recommended by the Ministry of Health such as conducting virtual meetings, work rotation from home and social distancing.
Once your reach 25, you want to envision the next 25 years. We must reflect on where we want ourselves to be as an organisation as well as a brand in years to come. Control is very important, and we must wield a certain level of control of our future or it will be diluted by all sorts of agendas and manipulations. You must have a dream first before you can realise the vision.
What’s upcoming from KPRJ?
We see ourselves as a ‘thinker’ for the state. We think about the people and with that in mind, we come up with innovative ways and ideas for the state to introduce and implement for the benefit of the people. If our solutions are accepted by the state, we can also act to implement them for the state.
Sports is still relevant, but we must explore all opportunities. The digital aspect must be included and a lot more can be done from generating content for sports awareness itself.
We are in talks with world brands and international sports universities to explore the potential of Sports Johor. As we are crafting the sports masterplan for the state, we want to look at the ecosystem around sports that can create new opportunities for the athletes and the community.
We want to drive the organisation to greater heights. KPRJ’s core business remains the same; providing infrastructure, but we want to play a bigger role in being the digital driver for the state. The state government has announced 7 Ikhtiar Makmur Johor and one of them is the preparation of Digital Johor Masterplan. I see a lot of opportunities in the digital world and we want to actively participate in the state’s digital developments.
Last but not least, KPRJ is an organisation that keeps the people’s interest at the heart of our operations and strategies. I am proud to announce that we have established our very own foundation, Yayasan KPRJ to ensure that we continue to contribute and give back to the community. The foundation is built on the pillars of Community Development, Humanitarian aid and volunteerism, Education, arts and culture and the Environment.
We will continue the journey, moving the companies from average to excellence, to glory, and then to distinction, thereby creating more diversifying businesses. Our vision is to create sustainable impact and difference in the lives of the community. We want to contribute more to more robust community development programmes/initiatives.