“I am from Hong Kong. I studied mechanical engineering at the Chinese University of Hong Kong 20 years ago. I had a natural inclination for subjects like mathematics and physics, hence I chose engineering, which seemed suitable for me.The engineering consultancy firm in Hong Kong I worked for won the subcontract works for MRT Line 1 project’s system integration. I was seconded to the MRT Line 1 project in 2012, and began my career in Malaysia. Then, when MRT Line 1 project nearly ended, I was introduced by some ex-colleagues to join MRCB George Kent in March 2017.
My job is to integrate all the different systems of the LRT3 project, signaling system, communication system, the light rail vehicle (LRV), power supply and track work to deliver an integrated railway system.
In olden days, some men might have this perception that their female colleagues would just work in the industry for one to two years, then they would get married and leave the company. Therefore, female colleagues may not be given much chance in the industry.The perception might be like this in the olden days, but I feel that male and female engineers are treated equally now. I don’t feel much discrimination, I feel that we are given equal opportunities at work.
I enjoy the unforgettable moments and sense of accomplishment when a railway project I work on is finally launched for operation. When MRT Line 1 opened in 2017, I took a ride on the train with my former colleagues. Even though I had taken a ride on the train many times during the testing stage, it was a totally different feeling when we rode it with members of the public. I will also bring my Hong Kong friends for an MRT train ride whenever they visit KL – I tell them that it is a must-visit tourist spot!”
SHAHRIL BIN ABDUL JALIL
Senior Manager (Contracts)
“I defend the economic value of our LRT3 project. As we progress, rail projects become more sophisticated in terms of scale, scope and significance.
An organisation’s capability in preserving the project value depends very much on its talent’s ability to thoroughly understand the project, organise their tasks and act effectively.
Given the myriad of socio-political, legal, regulatory and contractual requirements, building such capabilities among the talent can prove a daunting task.
It is within this context that my role comes into play –helping our project’s team members from various departments maneuver around the legal-contractual rigmarole, not only by advising them on our rights and obligations, but also by inculcating a culture of contract consciousness, which I call it the state of being aware of, and being responsive to one’s “contractual surrounding”.
Through my daily interactions, I help build this culture of “contract consciousness” by probing and asking questions that help project personnel analyse issues from the contractual standpoint. I believe this is a great way for an organisation to enhance its talent’s capabilities, aside from sending them to attend costly seminars that require hours.
I value disagreements as they can be a good way of challenging your case and proposed solutions, making them more robust. Getting people to express their disagreements is not easy. Most of the time, I have to encourage people to voice their disagreements.
Resourcefulness is the key to succeed in an imperfect world. This trait has been my close ally throughout my career in the infrastructure and energy sectors.
All in all, it has been a great three years for me here as our organisation is filled with great people from diverse backgrounds. Together, I hope we can improve and make things better. Progress is the only way to stay relevant. ”
Senior Manager (Acting), Infrastructure Engineering & Design
“I work for the infrastructure and engineering design (IED) department of the company. It is my job to monitor and supervise the infrastructure design progress, in addition to following up on quality submissions.I studied civil engineering at the University of Malaya and graduated in 1996. I chose engineering because I had always been good at mathematics and science subjects.
Those days, there were four main disciplines in engineering – electrical, civil, chemical and mechanical. I chose to study civil engineering and specialise in bridge structure.
Civil engineering is fascinating to me because when you build a structure, you can see and stand on it. The completion of the project will make you feel proud and successful. When I pass by a bridge that I was involved in building, I will bring my children there and tell them: “We worked on this structure together. You were with me during my pregnancy from the design to construction stage – this is our bridge!“
However, be it soft skills or technical knowledge, I think the best way is to learn from other people. Rather than reading up or searching for information on your own, it’s much easier and faster to have a senior to guide you, and to learn from colleagues who are willing share their experiences and knowledge.
Although this is a male-dominated industry, it doesn’t mean women can’t succeed in it. To stand out in this industry, the first thing is to know your strengths and interests, and confidently show that you’re as good or even better than your male counterparts. Speak confidently and present yourself well.”
Senior Engineer (Infrastructure)
“I loved maths, physics and arts in high school. When I was selecting a course for university, I found out that civil engineering allowed me to combine my interests in three of these subjects. For example, to design a road, you have to find out the best location and gradient, so your design will enable drivers to drive on the road safely.
I’ve been working as a reviewer and coordinator at MRCB George Kent since April 2016 – aside from overseeing and resolving technical, design and site-related issues, my job is to coordinate with the authorities for submissions and approvals. For stations, guideways and depots to be constructed, it all starts with getting the approvals from the authorities, such as the Klang Municipal Council (MPK), Shah Alam City Council (MBSA) and Public Works Department (JKR). We need engineers and architects to get involved in this approval process, supported by the Liaison department, which has built a good relationship with the authorities.
One of the things people don’t know about me is that I can speak and understand a little bit of Mandarin and Cantonese. I took an elective course in Mandarin while studying at the Universiti Sains Malaysia and learnt Cantonese during my primary school years. I even got an “A” for elementary oral and written Mandarin at university!
To succeed, I think it’s important that you get yourself a good mentor and develop yourself from there. I am thankful for my mentors in the form of senior engineers to Heads of Department in my previous and current jobs. Good mentors channel their experiences to young engineers like me, guide you on designing, recommend you the right reference books, bring you to the construction site and introduce you to the authorities – in short, they will expose you to the construction industry.
There must also be a desire within you to succeed – you must follow your mentor’s advice and put in the effort to achieve your goals. As you mature, you will feel more empowered to make your own decisions and chart your direction as to how you should manage your time, budget and design.”