50th Anniversary: Dr Mohamed Al Amin Abdul Majid Q&A

50 Aston Greats: Dr Mohamed Al Amin Abdul Majid banner

Tan Sri Ir (Dr) Mohamed Al Amin Abdul Majid

Tan Sri Ir (Dr) Mohamed Al Amin Abdul Majid qualified with a Diploma in Technology from Oxford CFE and also holds a degree in Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Aston University. In 2009 he had an Honorary DSc conferred on him by Aston University.

He is a Corporate Member of the Institute of Engineering (IEM), Malaysia, and a Professional Engineer (PE).  He has served Perak State Development Corporation (PSDC) as a Project Engineer in 1979 and was later appointed as Executive Director of Maju Bangun Pte. Ltd, a subsidiary of PSDC. In 1989, he was also became a Justice of Peace (JP).

Subsequently, he started his own business involving a wide range of fields including construction, investment, distributorship, general trading and project management. He was the Chairman of Asean Chemical Industries Council from 1999-2001 and was elected Co-Chair of the APEC Chemical Dialogue from 2000-2010. Currently, he holds various positions in a few public listed companies on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange (KLSE) and non-listed companies. Namely as Executive Chairman of Country View Berhad (a property development company), Nylex (M) Berhad (a chemical distribution company), Redberry Group of Companies (a media group consisting of print and out of home advertising), MCIS Zurich Insurance (which is now called MCIS Insurance Berhad), S5 Systems Pte. Ltd (a company that provides biometric identification systems for the Malaysian Immigration).

Aside from that, he is also the Vice President of Badminton Asia Confederation and also the Deputy President of the Badminton Association Malaysia.

In 2006, he was appointed Chairman of SME Corporation Malaysia, a government agency for the development and enhancement of small and medium enterprises (SME) under the Ministry of International Trade Industry. He was also appointed by the Prime Minister as a Council Member of National Information Technology Council (NITC): an organisation that strategically manages ICT in 2010. In June 2014 he was conferred the "Panglima Setia Mahkota (PSM)" award by His Majesty the King of Malaysia, which carries the title "Tan Sri".

What encouraged you to choose Aston?

I was doing my Ordinary National Diploma in Oxford, at the College of Further Education when I decided to pursue my studies in Engineering. Aston University already had an impressive Engineering Faculty and the fact that it had just been elevated from a technical college to a fully-fledged university sealed the deal for me. It also did not hurt that Aston Villa had some very impressive players then…

What memories do you have of your time at Aston?

I used to be a badminton player. When I was in Oxford I was playing for the College and also for the County, so naturally when I was in Birmingham I played for the University. I was given Full Colours in 1975 to 1978. That is something that I am very proud of as Aston University was a top badminton university in the UK.

The first year I stayed in Vauxhall Dining Centre [now the Lakeside Conference Centre]. In the second year I stayed at the University residences in Handsworth. I think there were three Malaysians, one Welshman and two Englishmen and we used to carpool to go to lectures together and though it may sound mundane, those car rides were some of my best memories. I learned a lot by living amongst the locals and it really helped me understand the different cultures. Being at university is not just about obtaining your degree but also learning to interact with other people. I must credit the University with developing my people skills.

How did Aston set you on your career path?

After I graduated I had to work with the State Government, because they had given me a scholarship. I first joined the Government State Development Agency, working in township development. My degree in engineering proved to be vital! Also, one of the things I developed at Aston was the confidence to deal with organisations and people. After two years I decided to start my own business, working with an array of companies, and I attribute the ease in transition of owning my own business to the time I had with the University.

You are President of the Malaysian Alumni Chapter.  Can you please tell us a little about this group?

A group of us, keen to relive our University days, asked ourselves “How can we keep our memories of Aston alive?” We got ourselves registered as Aston University Alumni Association Malaysia in 2006. The Parliamentary Secretary to the Ministry of Higher Education launched the group in September 2007 in the presence of Professor Graham Hooley. In the short time that we have been established, we have organised quite a number of things. We started off having an education fund - for two years we sent students from our local university to join the Aston University Summer School. They have never been away from home so the opportunity to study in a foreign university was an experience of a lifetime! This year we have embarked on another programme to collaborate with “Possible Dreams International”, an International NGO working to break the insidious cycle between extreme poverty and disease in rural Swaziland. To date, through numerous fundraising, we have raised over £50,000 for the organisation.

What is the best advice that you can give to today’s graduates?

Getting a degree is just a passport; it’s just the beginning. You need to work hard, smart and believe in yourself. Use the opportunity while you are a student to the fullest – network, network, network! An opportunity is lurking at every corner!