Young, IT-savvy staff put firm at forefront

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 31 May 2003

PETALING JAYA: Having young, innovative and IT-savvy staff has enabled Unified Communications Sdn Bhd to come out tops in the inaugural Golden Bull Awards for the 100 Outstanding Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in Malaysia. 

With a team of 130 staff with an average age of under 30, the company emerged the winner from 227 entries and topped the list of the 100 most outstanding SMEs announced yesterday. 

Its technical director Kit Lim said one of the success recipes of the five-year-old firm, which specialised in developing solution system and equipment for telecommunications providers, was its ability to stay abreast of market requirements in an increasingly borderless world. 

“One of our core activities is research and development to keep tabs on the fast developing telecommunications sector.  

“We also have a regional business concept. In fact, one of the systems we developed for pre-paid call card operations was bought by a Philippines provider, which has seven million subscribers daily,” he said after the awards winners were announced.  

The MSC-status company’s number one ranking was based on good management, innovativeness, IT usage, profit growth and turnover. The evaluation was done by the awards organiser Chinese daily Nanyang Siang Pau in collaboration with Nanyang Online and the Asia Pacific Centre for SMEs. 

BIG WIN:Chua (third from left)loading a CD containing the recipients list for screening at the Golden BullAwards 2003 yesterday.Also on stage are (from left)Nanyang Siang Pau deputy editor-in-chief Michael HoChai Hok,Ernst & Young country managing partner See Huey Beng and Lam.

While the young and bold took to centrestage, many old timers were not left behind and made it into the list with their resilience to stay relevant through constant upgrading. 

For Form One dropout Tan Kwee Chai, 48, managing director of LY Furniture Sdn Bhd which achieved the number two spot in the awards list, said the award was a recognition of his company’s long and winding journey in business. 

“When I started the company with a few friends, who had also dropped out of school to learn carpentry in 1976, we had to beg for business. 

“I remembered the days when we had to load our ready-made furniture onto the lorry and drive from shop to shop looking for clients. 

“Now, we have shifted our focus to the export market and we produce bedroom sets and cabinets based on orders received,” said Tan. 


Today, the company no longer operates from the backyard of a house but from a factory in an industrial zone in Batu Pahat, Johor, and hires some 600 workers to supply to markets like the United States, Europe and the Middle East. 


The head judge for the awards Datuk David Chua said a top-ten list was drawn from the 100 Outstanding SMEs to give recognition and encouragement to thousands of other SMEs to strive for excellence. 

“The top 10 companies have also showed strong elements of constant development and business stability apart from innovativeness and creativity,” he said. 


Of the 227 entries, Chua said 16 were rejected due to non-compliance of entry requirements, such as exceeding the ceiling turnover of RM50mil a year and failure to present audited accounts.  

The majority of the entries came from the manufacturing sector (52%), followed by wholesale, distribution and retail (31%). Eighteen bumiputra-owned companies participated.  


Malaysia Associated Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry vice-president Datuk Lam Kam Sang said SMEs must “conquer changes with changes” in order to survive the global market. 

“SMEs should be proactive in making changes to conquer the changing scenarios,” he said at the awards ceremony. 


The awards adviser cum director and CEO of Nanyang Siang Pau, Lee Peck Hoo said the awards were timely recognition to the SME's contributions to the nation’s economy and progress. 


“We hope the awards can be a platform and set the benchmark for SMEs. We hope the entries for the awards will grow over the years,” said Lee.  

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