Ekovest Bhd lays foundation for socio-economic balance in its holistic approach
CONSTRUCTING tall buildings and mega public infrastructure is no small feat, but Ekovest Bhd believes in moulding something even greater than stretches of highways and tower blocks – the young talent who will help shape the industry and subsequently the national landscape for future generations.
Under the Ekovest Graduate Attachment Programme (EGAP) which was launched last year, young Malaysian graduates or professionals undergo 12 months of comprehensive training.
The participants are rotated across the departments in Ekovest, during which they will learn in the classroom as well as on the job.
Another kind of gap year
According to Ekovest Bhd managing director Datuk Seri Lim Keng Cheng, EGAP is part of the company's corporate social responsibility (CSR) programme. Participants will be trained in different fields that may not be related to their studies, in order for them to gain industrial experience.
“If you are an architect who is interested in learning about becoming an engineer, we can train you accordingly. We even pay you during the training period,” said Lim.
He said the training programme allows future professionals of the industry to learn the practices of supporting departments, and hence are able to come out with better work collaboration and productivity.
"Of the 200 participants so far, more than half have graduated and joined our different departments,” he added.
The strategy of building talent also reflects Ekovest's desire to invest in Malaysia’s future by sharing its expertise in design, construction and development.
Sharing solutions on sustainability
With RM15bil worth of completed projects in over 30 years, Ekovest Bhd’s achievements include several large-scale ventures such as DUKE (Duta–Ulu Klang Expressway) and the River of Life (ROL) project. The company is reputed for its three business pillars of construction, infrastructure concession and property development.
“We have been through all the do's and don'ts, therefore we are able to Ekovest Bhd lays foundation for socio economic balance in the areas to pay attention to.
"We have our own building system termed ‘Construction, Design and Management’ (CDM) that covers the design, engineering and safety aspects of a project,” said Lim, who added that the safety of workers is a priority for the company.
“There are inputs that have to come from the builder, as they know the practical applications and workings in a construction.
"With years of experience in construction before becoming a developer, we are fully aware of the designs that simply won’t work and hence are able to offer remedies before the plan is finalised.”
Lim said that Ekovest’s experience in construction and subsequently as a design-and-build practitioner has allowed the company to come up with its own sustainable development and engineering approach that calls for minimum waste in a development.
“Ekovest is proud of its own ideas. We are prepared to offer consulting services to other practitioners in the industry when we have finished our work in Kuala Lumpur, so that the public can benefit from our experience in other countries including Indonesia and India,” he said.
Giving back to society
At its core, these efforts bring Ekovest back to its mission of contributing to the community.
The developer has long been a champion of various CSR programmes that benefit local societies, especially in Gombak where Lim grew up and which he remains strongly attached to.
Lim has been a major benefactor of several primary and secondary schools in the vicinity of Gombak, while Ekovest has been instrumental in various neighbourhood revival programmes, including the preservation of heritage shophouses and the prominent River of Life project – an ambitious undertaking that promises to transform the Gombak River.
An example of Lim's commitment to improving this neighbourhood in northern Kuala Lumpur is the extension of the DUKE highway to the general hospital in Jalan Pahang.
The construction of the toll-free extension to the hospital did not only stem from the belief that a public hospital should have better access, it also comes from a personal experience.
Recalling his father’s final years, Lim remembers the attentive care given by the hospital. It inspired Lim to give back to the community.
Affordability for the less well-off
The recent launch of KL River City (KLRC), the developer's latest project built on land along the River of Life, was attended by Federal Territories Minister Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Mansor.
When it comes to property development, Lim aspires to provide affordable housing for those less well-to-do.
“I believe poverty is a temporary state rather than a permanent one.
"I was poor 54 years ago and today I am doing well. So, being poor is not something to look down upon; it should be seen as a chance for us to prove that we are able to better our lives.
“This is why by building the highways that link many developments together, I hope to provide a connection between rich and poor so that the different social levels could meet and eventually achieve a balance,” he said.
“The people’s mentality today is that they don’t want cheap products, so we are coming out with the Segambut Rest & Service Area (Segar), a park-and-ride facility at Duke 2, and we build affordable homes there.
“People will be able to stay in a beautiful flat at a lower cost,” said Lim, adding that with the poorer folk staying close to Kuala Lumpur, it would help ease the differences between the poor and the rich.
“When we build, we think about the master plan of Kuala Lumpur. As a good master planner, you must know how to help achieve a social and economic balance.
“This is my ultimate wish. Of course I cannot do it by my own, which is why I hope the young people could put in more effort,” said Lim.
Real estate development is often touted as a long-term enterprise. Acquiring land, planning, design and construction will take years of painstaking effort from the developer.
Investing in such a venture often requires patience and seeing the bigger picture.
Ekovest's holistic approach towards sustainable development – which combines infrastructure building, property development and talent building – makes it a developer for future generations.
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