BY JACK TAN, SENIOR SYSTEMS ENGINEER AT MMC GAMUDA
My journey as a Systems engineer started when I was a teenager listening to my peers talk about the functions and types of systems. I was in awe. In 2010, I was fortunate to receive the Gamuda Scholarship and as soon as I graduated, I signed as an intern in the Mechanical and Electrical (M&E) department. My internship with Gamuda taught me a lot about construction, and this led me to continue working for the company after my internship. Fast forward to today, I am in my fifth year working on the MRT Project.
Six months ago, I was offered a new post as a Resident Quality Inspector in China’s KTK factory. This is the factory where all interior-related and parts that makes up the train car body is manufactured. It’s my duty to monitor the quality of the manufactured parts (control of materials, subassemblies and final assemblies) to ensure they meet the prerequisite standards set by the MRT SSP Line.
I lead a team of highly dedicated people to make sure that we are on top of damage control – every little thing matters in this line of work. Quality is crucial and always comes first, so we have to make sure there are sufficient quality resources for each site. It requires a hands-on approach from the specification stage through final production, so the products we deliver to Malaysia are only of top quality.
As a Quality Inspector, if I find something wrong, my team will coordinate with me on how to change and improve it. At the same time, I also have to monitor the supplier chain for all suppliers based in China. Every stage of the processes goes through meticulous inspection. Standards are set in accordance with Chinese and British levels.
I look at my job in China as an opportunity to expand my horizon. There are definitely new things that I’ve learnt, and I see that there’s a difference in terms of knowledge and experience from when I worked on MRT SBK Line and now, the MRT SSP Line.
Another example that involves technological advancement is the door control unit. Previously, these door units were merely there to let passengers in and out of the trains. Today, these door units are like computers. They collect and analyse data, and respond to signals and alarms. The doors can also detect when people are chasing for the train and if they are hitting on the doors. This will allow the train to stop and reopen the door. The train will never depart or arrive at a station as long as the doors are not closed and locked. This is one of the safely feature we have implemented to the train system.
There are many challenges having to be part of- and lead a team working on the system just like other industries. But what allowed me to have a better head start were the training programmes the MMC Gamuda offered.
One of them was Construction in Management. Through this training module, I discovered ways to plan the project wisely. It gave me the insights and confidence to review and analyse problems at hand. Knowing when to stop when there is a problem is equally as important as starting and finishing a project. That said, proper planning also meant learning how to manage a team and work with the people around me.
The Chinese say “If you do not trust the person then you shall not use the person.” In my current post, people management is very important as it can influence the work flow and outcome of the project.
My second training focused on personal empowerment. The company conducted this programme to encourage its people be the master of themselves and their future. The programme was instrumental in motivating us to go for it instead of waiting around for someone to teach you. You decide what you want because only you know yourself better. If nobody stops you from trying, then why not just do it? The trainings that I’ve had the opportunity to participate in have definitely taught me how to believe in myself and others around me.
And finally, the Train the Trainer programme gave me the necessary tools to become a leader in the role that I take on. I have learnt that a leader’s job is to create more leaders, not followers. So that they too can pass their knowledge on to create more leaders and this is what I aspire to be in the future.
Being in a country with a fast growing economy like China has given me a view of how Malaysia will be in the future. If you have a chance to travel when you are China, take the high speed train and you will know what I mean. I know that the general masses think of China as a place where everything is copied.
But, from my experience working on site, I have come to realise that the Chinese are great when it comes to extensive research and development. So, the fact that we are at the base site where some of the MRT train components are manufactured is a prediction to Malaysia’s future. We are now in the beginning of some exciting things and the MRT is one that will set the bar for Malaysia’s economy and technological advancement in the future.
The railway system plays an important service everywhere in the world and it is the transport backbone of a sustainable economy. In 30 years, I know that the railway system is the way to go. MMC Gamuda has been at the forefront of this industry and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of its mission.