Inclusivity part of workplace culture


CHILDHOOD was not an easy time for Tuan Osman Tuan Mahmod who hails from Pasir Putih, Kelantan.

The 42-year-old recalled how he was teased in school almost every day about his height and the way he walked.

Tuan Osman was born with weak limbs in the lower half of his body, which deprived him of being able to fully utilise his legs for most of his life.

“I avoided looking in the mirror as I did not like who I saw,” said the Flex Johor Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP) senior programme administrator.

Tuan Osman (left) with Lim (second from left) at a briefing session at Flex PTP Johor. — Photos: THOMAS YONG/The StarTuan Osman (left) with Lim (second from left) at a briefing session at Flex PTP Johor. — Photos: THOMAS YONG/The Star

Upset by his physical appearance, he wanted to have his legs amputated and fixed with prosthetics instead.

Tuan Osman even persuaded his mother to consult doctors about whether it could be done, adding that the diagnosis had been positive.

“However, it was my grandmother’s words of wisdom that convinced me not to go through with it,” he said.

Tuan Osman said his grandmother asked him seriously if prosthetic legs would bring him happiness.

He changed his mind then and no longer intends to change his physical appearance.

Flex is the largest employer of people with disabilities in Malaysia’s high-tech industry.Flex is the largest employer of people with disabilities in Malaysia’s high-tech industry.

“I am who I am. I am grateful too for a family that accepts and loves me, and for supportive colleagues who treat me with respect,” he said.

Tuan Osman has proven that despite his physical disability, he can be independent with a high level of confidence.

His career at Flex started when he joined Flex Johor Senai 3 in June 2005, as an incoming quality assurance supervisor and became a pioneer team member to spearhead the setup of Senai 3’s operations in Johor.

“I sincerely thank the Flex management team for opening the door to my career development since day one of joining the company, and inspiring me to challenge and push myself,” he said.

Regina wants to put the difficult times behind her and look forward to a better future.Regina wants to put the difficult times behind her and look forward to a better future.

Flex is the largest employer of people with disabilities in Malaysia’s high-tech industry, with 200 such employees and 8,200 female workers across its sites in Malaysia.

Like Tuan Osman, Flex PTP Johor business systems analyst Regina Mary Saurimuthu, 51, also faced difficulties and sad episodes in her life.

But she emerged stronger than before, thanks to support from her manager and colleagues.

Regina was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer while working with the company in 2014, and in the same year, her eldest son died in a road accident.

Flex PTP Johor employees on their lunch break. The company prioritises inclusion and diversity at the workplace.Flex PTP Johor employees on their lunch break. The company prioritises inclusion and diversity at the workplace.

“I was 45 years old when I was diagnosed with cancer and was away from the company for one year to go for my cancer treatments,” she said.

Regina, who has been with Flex for 20 years, said she was getting better, adding that cancer medications made up 30% of her treatment, while 70% was her willpower to survive.

“Life goes on for me. Having been able to pull through the difficult periods, I want to put them behind me and look forward to a better future,’’ she said.

Flex PTP Johor general manager Lim Lian Chong, 52, said the company prioritised inclusion and diversity at the workplace.

Flex PTP Johor employees working at the company’s plant in the Port of Tanjung Pelepas, Gelang Patah, Johor.Flex PTP Johor employees working at the company’s plant in the Port of Tanjung Pelepas, Gelang Patah, Johor.

“We are empowering and developing people with disabilities and women at our workplace,” he said, adding that the company believed in putting a person in the right job.

Lim, who celebrated his 25th anniversary with Flex on Dec 8, 2021, said the company believed in creating an inclusive, diverse and equitable workforce because it was the right thing to do.

“Our workplace culture is built on our ability to create a sense of belonging, value human differences, provide equal access to opportunity, and own decisions, actions and results to improve the employee experience at Flex,’’ he said.

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