Azmel Khan, the Acting General Manager for Bintulu Port Holdings Berhad, has some helpful advice for young people across Sarawak who are looking for new opportunities to kickstart their career.
Q: Please introduce yourself and briefly describe your company.
A: My name is Azmel Khan. I’m the Acting General Manager for Bintulu Port Holdings Berhad and the group human resource manager. Bintulu Port Holdings Berhad is the parent company for three subsidiaries: Bintulu Port Sdn Bhd, Biport Bulkers and Samalaju Industrial Port. We look after around 1,000 employees. Each subsidiary has its own function – Bintulu Port is more towards port services, the port industry, Biport Bulkers is for palm oil, and Samalaju Industrial Port is the new port for SCORE.
Q: Are there a lot of Sarawakians working with your company?
A: I would say around 95 percent are Sarawakians. The ones that we get from outside Bintulu are the (ship) pilots. We don’t have many ship pilots from Sarawak, so we try to get them from Semenanjung, from West Malaysia.
Q: What do you look for in an ideal employee?
A: Knowledgeable. Good communications, and someone who can start the work immediately. Basically someone who needs less training. We’re not saying that fresh graduates are being left out, but for fresh graduates, at the moment we get them under internship. We train them, and when they are good we absorb them as a staff.
Q: For a job seeker looking to work for your company, what’s a good tip for them when they come into Bintulu Port?
A: They should know what job they’re looking for. Because before you come into an organisation, you need to know what the organisation is doing. At Bintulu Port, we have everything there. We have economists, we have legal people, we have accountants. Then we have engineers, technical, electrical, everything. And if they come to Bintulu Port, they should be very proactive.
Q: What is it like to work in Sarawak?
A: I come from Sarawak, and I love to work in Sarawak.
Q: What makes Sarawak different from the other states?
A: If people come from KL to work in Sarawak, you might feel the difference. If you want to change from a noisy environment to a quiet place, then you might like it. And we have beaches too. In KL you don’t have any beaches.
Q: For job seekers what kind of questions should they ask themselves when they think about their career path?
A: Job seekers … what do you actually want in life? What type of job do you want? And when you study, are you really sure your degree is what you really want? You have to be very serious about what type of job you want … and what kind of degree can lead you to that job.
Q: Apart from studying at a college or university, how can students with no work experience at all prepare themselves for the workforce?
A: One thing is to study the organisation they want to apply to. That’s one thing. So if they want to apply to Bintulu Port, go to our website, study what our port is doing. At least when we ask them to an interview, they don’t have zero knowledge. Sometimes we ask “Why did you apply for this job, do you know what a port is all about?” and some say “What is a port?” You should be knowledgeable, then at least people will be impressed that you are prepared.