Rahim isn’t from same ‘old boy’ alumni


DATUK Abdul Rahim Zin does not come from the same “old boy” alumni. But the newly appointed managing director of Bank Pembangunan and Infrastruktur is certainly in the same league as those young charismatic leaders making their presence felt in the local corporate scene. 

Rahim, 39, took over the bank's top post earlier this month. It is an obvious choice for the bank, which has just launched an internal restructuring exercise to turn it into a leading infrastructure lender. 

Rahim's credentials are quite impressive. His forte is corporate finance, having helped turn Renong into a conglomerate during his days at Bumiputra Merchant Bankers in the early 1990's. 

“I feel very honoured to have been chosen for this post. And I do not mind a little bit of sacrifice to serve the government,” he said about leaving his last post as the chief executive officer of Southern Finance Bhd. 

Datuk Abdul Rahim Zin...I feel honoured to be chosen.

Other than corporate finance, he is equally passionate on Islamic banking, and has contributed vastly during his tenure at Southern Finance. 

Rahim attended Setapak High School in Kuala Lumpur where he was head boy. 

“It was quite a rough school, so I had to take up martial arts to defend myself,” he said, half in jest, when relating his life story. 

True, such hard environment had toughened him for all the years climbing the corporate ladder. 

“I knew what I wanted in life, so I followed what I had already envisioned earlier on,” he said. 

After Setapak High School, Rahim went to Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) to study accounting, unlike other “old boys” who would then have packed their bags for some prestigious universities overseas. 

He did well in his studies and was offered a scholarship to pursue his masters at the University of Glasgow in 1997. 

The course went well (“I finished it in one year”), but there was a catch. He had to serve UKM for seven years in lieu of the scholarship. 

“I taught for slightly more than a year. But my sense of responsibility – I was teaching students without me having really understood or practised what I have learned – made me mull another career opportunity,” 

He then left the university for Shell, and again felt very restless when was just made in charge of one aspect of accounting. 

“It was very compartmentalised, so I left the company and joined Bumiputra Merchant Bankers,” he said. 

As a merchant banker, Rahim found his calling. He stayed there for six years, where his last position was general manager (corporate finance). 

In 1996, Rahim joined Southern Bank as general manager (group finance) before moving on to Amanah Merchant Bank in 1998. 

It was at Amanah Merchant Bank that his networking really took off. Among his contemporaries are Datuk Abdul Wahid Omar of UEM group and Abdul Hamid Sheikh Mohamad of Symphony House. 

Rahim said his experience in corporate finance and consumer finance would help in strengthening BPIMB. 

And to this reporter who met him at his office last week, Rahim's smiles could just mean, “ I have arrived.” 

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