Datuk Hasmi Hasnan : Property Man of The Year

ALMOST every success story starts from a rags-to-riches tale, sparked, perhaps, by an idea like lightning in a bottle with room to expand.
Such a tale is true for Datuk Hasmi Hasnan, only in his case it is land to develop.

Recalling his childhood, earning his pocket money by selling ice-cream for 20 sen a day – ‘a princely sum in those days’ – Hasmi never imagined he would become the founder and CEO of a top multi-award winning property development company in Sarawak carrying out more than a whopping RM1 billion worth in federal and state government contracts and registering a construction order book worth over RM3.4 billion (with RM1.15 billion at Letter of Intent stage).

Recently garnering the award ‘Property Man of the Year 2008’ at the International Real Estate Federation (FIABCI) Malaysia Property Awards Gala Dinner in Kuala Lumpur, Hasmi is the first Sarawakian to win the award since the national-level inaugural awards ceremony began 16 years ago.

“I was shocked to be informed of the award, I even thought it was an April Fool joke,” Hasmi confessed.

Hasmi has been a member of FIABCI Malaysia since the 1980s, and to him, the association has been a well of inspiration, bringing him into contact with other remarkably gifted, talented and creative people in the industry who have motivated him and his colleagues on to greater achievements and heights of professionalism.

It’s a remarkable feat which could only happen through innovation, dedication and teamwork, he said of his liaison with FIABCI Malaysia.

But he is quick to assert that the Naim Group would be nothing without the contribution of its employees.

Quoting an old Chinese adage, “If you don’t trust someone don’t use him; if you want to use him, trust him,” Hasmi said his working philosophy is all about establishing rapport and trust between employer and employees.

To him, trust is a two-way street between leaders and team members; it allows room for self-development, self-confidence and creative ideas amongst the team, and in turn employees’ trust in their leader will inspire them to perform well.

“When your employee puts in the effort, it’s important for the employer to acknowledge it, and when that effort is recognised, then it gives your employee the drive and enthusiasm to keep going and raising the bar even higher.

Without the staff at the Naim Group, I would not be here today,” said Hasmi, who attributes much of NCSB’s success to the combined efforts of every single person involved with the company.

Declaring not only what an honour it was for the Naim Group to be recognised among the industry’s top players nationwide, in his acceptance speech, he also believed that the award really belongs to Sarawak, as he commended both the Federal and Sarawak governments for cultivating business-friendly policies as well as maintaining a stable and secure political environment.

“I am also delighted that the Naim Group was chosen for the award because of our commitment to affordable mass housing, rather than any prestige projects.

We believe—passionately — that ordinary people deserve quality homes too,” he declared. For Hasmi and FIABCI Malaysia, the concept of quality homes extends well beyond basic house construction.

NCSB’s devotion to professionalism encompasses a wide-range of aspects in its organisation -from leveraging low-cost housing to addressing buyer’s concerns and establishing customer relations; to delivering products on time (thus lowering construction cost) and ensuring incomparable product quality; and to upholding an exemplary corporate governance that saw the company positioned- in the top-12 overall in a 2007 Corporate Governance Survey by the Minority Shareholder’s Watchdog Group and the University of Nottingham Business School.

Naim Group also carries out environmentally friendly construction techniques and practices.

From controlled waste management (whether it’s construction debris or tree butts) to recycling and implementing sustainable use of materials wherever possible throughout its business activities, and to engaging in environmental rehabilitation by creating landscaped parks and other green areas when the preservation of pre-existing flora and fauna as well as watercourses is not practicable, Naim Group’s overall environmental strategy is to minimise environmental risk from its activities.

The Group also employs cleanliness campaigns and preventative measures to reduce pollution arising from its work, on the surrounding areas and to its residents.

It believes that its strict compliance to environment sustainability will not affect the quality of its products, or ultimately, customer satisfaction and client confidence.

Through incorporating a ‘what-you-see-is-what-you-get’ approach by actually delivering the product as promised in brochures and showhouses, the group has secured client confidence — an essential part of Hasmi’s ‘trust’ system.

In addition to efficient product delivery, the company also offers after-sales services to resolve minor flaws even after the warranty period has expired.

Besides employing security patrols to ensure the safety of their residents, buyers are also assured that all necessary infrastructure and amenities are in place before they move in.

Another factor that plays a key –role in ensuring product quality and affordability is the assurance that all projects awards to Naim are carried out by the group, in association with key subcontractors who already
have an established and reliable working relationship with them.

This arrangement ensures NCSB a surefire method of ensuring quality control as well as guaranteeing the customer value for their money.

Hasmi’s hands-on approach through frequent (and frequently announced) site visits further guarantees the quality of the project.

Of his frequent site visits, Hasmi says that “I always like to go to site on Sunday which is when no one would disturb you. Then you can’ think quietly and find out the weaknesses and defeats.”

His personal and single-minded devotion to a higher ideal has been an integral part of NCSB’s meteoric rise since it was first formed on
April 12,1993.

NCSB’s operations in property development and construction since September 1995 have been built around meeting the need for affordable housing for the masses.

With a vast land bank of over 2,800 acres throughout Sarawak’s key growth areas, Naim Group’s future growth across the state is assured.

In the future, the group will be diversifying its scope of residential properties by becoming more involved with large-scale housing development while employing more effective building methods to achieve 3-4 times more property sales within the next five years.

Other future projects for Naim Group include aiming for a niche market of consumers such as high-end housing and housing estates for pensioners.

As part of the long term goal, a property investment department will be set up to provide retail property investment products such as REITs.

To date, the group order book can sustain the financial income for the next 3-4 years, but the business development department is requested to secure at least RM1 billion contract each year on various building construction projects.

This can be viewed as their focus on consistently delivering the best products.

“In fact I consider myself very lucky to have a team of partners who fought by me.

It is important to keep good rapport with them.

To ‘makan-makan’ together occasionally with business partners helps to build on professional relations,” Hasmi stated.

“Naim’s success not only relies on business partners, but the seamless cooperation amongst our staff has also added to our strength.”

That strength has certainly found reflection in the many awards that the
group had collected thus far.

Among its long list of honours are company the Malaysia-Canada Business Council Business Excellence Award (2004), the
Bahrain-Malaysia International Trade and Investment Bureau CSR Award (2005), the KPMG Shareholder Value Award (2005) and the Madrid International Construction and Global Quality Management Award (2005).

On his won, Datuk Hasmi has also received the Dewan Undangan Bumiputera Sarawak Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2006) and the SCCI Entrepreneur of the Year Award (2007).

Asked about how the global economic crisis would affect the Malaysian property sector, Hasmi stated that while the Malaysian property market will not be able to get away from it, he has no fear of any threat as the group is focused on mid and low range consumers and would not suffer as heavy an impact as other companies that are focused on producing high-end housing.

According to Hasmi, as long as the job market is not impacted, people would still be able to buy houses as the banks would be obligated to extend the repayment period to ease the burden of financial repayment.

Interest rates on housing loans, furthermore, would definitely be. more supportive of the buyers.

(Taken from Borneo Post)