Growing talents on the underground MRT sites


  • People
  • Friday, 16 Oct 2015

MGKT safety and health officer Izzayanti Jinal (left) was desk-bound in her previous jobs. ‘I was not happy. I wanted to be out there with the boys, roughing it out at the site.’

For most of us, variety is the spice of life and when this is applied at one’s workplace, the work atmosphere provides challenges which are both stimulating and purposeful.

At a typical construction site, work is usually highly compartmentalised with the intention of developing individuals and groups in a specific task.

At KVMRT underground worksites, nurturing talents takes on a different approach.

MMC-Gamuda KVMRT (T) Sdn Bhd (MGKT), the appointed underground works contractor tasked with tunnelling and underground station works of the Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line, is on a journey to nurture a new generation of talents in varied engineering disciplines, including mechanical, electrical, structural and architectural, and design engineering.

For a complex project such as KVMRT, there is always flexibility for an engineer or technically trained staff to move between different disciplines of engineering and technical work during his or her career.

With the open concept adopted by MGKT, a younger employee may choose one over the other, or opt to excel in more than one discipline simultaneously.

In line with the country’s agenda for a high-value and high-income nation by the year 2020, much is underway at MGKT to help ambitious young Malaysians rise up the ladder.

Site engineer Safwan Asri Ismail says whet he studied at university was very basic compared to the advanced engineering involved in a big project like KVMRT.

The right choice

When he was interviewed for a site engineer job in KVMRT, Safwan Asri Ismail, 28, had serious doubts if he would be able to cope.

But now he has come to realise that his initial perceptions were rather myopic.

“I knew KVMRT was a signature project and the nation’s pride and joy; but I didn’t think I could cope, what with a degree from a local university,” Safwan said.

The civil engineer, however, fought his negative thoughts and decided to joined MMC-Gamuda. He was placed at the TRX MRT Station as a site engineer.

This happened three years ago and Safwan has since grown in confidence and has ample experience now.

“I started from scratch, what I studied at university was very basic engineering compared to the advanced engineering involved in a big project like KVMRT. From D-wall and piling to traffic management and stakeholder issues, I went through the entire rigmarole, with support from my superiors and peers,” he said.

More importantly, being assigned to an underground worksite has exposed him to a multitude of engineering works.

“I just took to the job like fish to water, learning, trying and getting better at each new job assigned to me. I needed to do this to know my area of interest,” Safwan said.

On a mission of self-discovery, Safwan realised that he actually liked structural work more than the other disciplines. He was promoted to senior site engineer soon enough and Safwan has never regretted the decision he made to join KVMRT.

He feels that the systematic approach at MMC-Gamuda in training young engineers by way of exposing them to varied engineering fields is beneficial to self-development and career advancement.

“I can see the systematic approach employed to train and retain younger people. It has been a rewarding journey for the company, as well as the employee,” he said.

From one rail project to another

At his previous worksite at the Electrified Double Tracking Project (EDTP) in the northern peninsula, Mohammad Zuhri Mohammad Radzai’s work involved mostly taking daily doses of instruction from his superiors and honing his expertise as time went by.

Zuhri’s valuable experience came in handy, and he has now been entrusted with a managerial role in MMC-Gamuda for the KVMRT underground works package.

Mohd Zuhri (centre) says: ‘Looking back now, I am grateful for being given the opportunity to work on the MRT project, otherwise I won’t be where I am today – a senior engineer.’
Mohd Zuhri (centre) says: ‘Looking back now, I am grateful for being given the opportunity to work on the MRT project, otherwise I won’t be where I am today – a senior engineer.’

His experience as a site engineer at EDTP readied him for a bigger role in MGKT when he was posted to Merdeka MRT station in 2012 as a site engineer.

“When I first came in, it was like a roller-coaster ride, the ups and downs of settling in a big project in the city were overwhelming. But looking back now, I am grateful for being given the opportunity, otherwise I would not be where I am now, with a promotion as a senior engineer.”

Like Safwan, Zuhri, too, found his passion through work and it was architecture work that excited him. Apart from that, Zuhri is involved in supervising and training young engineers, in the same way he was trained when he first joined.

Zuhri is especially impressed with the high level of safety standards employed at the KVMRT underground worksites, and working safe has become second nature to him.

Safety above everything

Unlike Safwan and Zuhri, Izzayanti Jinal has a very different story to tell.

As an environmental engineering graduate who loved the outdoors, her previous stints made her feel she was not doing the right kind of work which suited her interest and personality.

“I was desk-bound in my previous jobs and I was not happy. I wanted to be out there with the boys, roughing it out at the site,” she said.

MGKT safety and health officer Izzayanti Jinal (left) was desk-bound in her previous jobs. ‘I was not happy. I wanted to be out there with the boys, roughing it out at the site.’
MGKT safety and health officer Izzayanti Jinal (left) was desk-bound in her previous jobs. ‘I was not happy. I wanted to be out there with the boys, roughing it out at the site.’

Things changed for Izzayanti when she was posted to MGKT site as a safety officer. “I was put through several rounds of training before I was assigned to the job site and it is a job that came loaded with responsibilities and accountabilities,” she said.

She has since been enjoying her work at KVMRT underground worksites in the last three years, and has acquired a Green Book (a professional occupational safety and health certification) which has given her a sense of pride as a certified safety and health officer.

“More importantly, it is about doing well on a level playing field among my colleagues who are all males. It gives me an extraordinary sense of achievement,” she said.

“At MGKT I feel there is strong push for the management to see women, like me, excel in jobs traditionally dominated by men. On my part, I am encouraging my friends and university mates to join me as well, so we can have more women in the engineering field,” Izzayanti said. “It’s time to diversify the workplace a bit.”

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