Malaysian returns home with specialised expertise

KUALA LUMPUR, 9 July 2017:

After 20 years working abroad, Dr Lee Kok Loong has returned home to Malaysia to work as business development director for the KMT Group.

Returning under the Talent Corp programme, he encourages other Malaysians abroad to come back home to contribute in Malaysia.

For him personally, the return – apart from being closer to family – was to bring here some rather rarefied expertise not easily available – he’s been listed in “Who’s Who in Science & Engineering” for outstanding contribution in the materials science field.

“Recently, I was appointed to be part of the British Standard Institution Committee members that has developed some of the most widely adopted national and international standards in the world.”

For those who aren’t familiar with the critical roles material science standards play in real life, parallels can be drawn to historical findings like metal fatigue which brought early commercial jets or resonance issues which led to bridge collapses.

This area of expertise wasn’t what Lee had initially planned for when he was young. “Initially, I had wanted to be a doctor. But during a blood donation event, I realised that I was afraid of blood. So I decided to study engineering instead.”

As to how this passion for engineering began, he explained: “I was just a regular, normal playful boy who loved sports, particularly badminton. However, I was a very curious boy when I was a kid. I started pulling the toys apart when I was around 10 years old. I could put some toys back together but not all of them.”

Born and raised in Petaling Jaya, this early interest led to him studying mechanical engineering via a twinning programme with Sunway College.

“I moved to the UK to complete my mechanical engineering degree at the University of Leicester. I was later offered a scholarship from the British government to do my PhD at the same university before being head-hunted by UK’s largest steel manufacturer Corus.

“I became a materials testing specialist for the aerospace, oil and gas, marine, power generation and automotive industries.

“Some of the high profile clients I have worked for were Airbus, Boeing, Rolls Royce, Shell, BP and Mercedes. I have helped my (previous) employers to set up companies in the United Arab Emirates, Czech Republic and Singapore.

“I attribute my achievements to my parents and the values they instilled in me from a young age. They placed a lot of emphasis on education, as it is the best investment for an individual. It is something no one can take away from you.”

Now that he’s returned home, he said: “I hope my success will inspire young Malaysians to excel in their chosen fields. There are many challenges to face but we must be strong and learn to overcome them. You can achieve your dreams if you believe in yourself.”

He added: “While the brain drain is difficult to stop because there are not enough incentives to draw Malaysian talents to come home, we need more Malaysians to come home.

“As those in the UK are doing well, there needs to be more done to lure them back and contribute to the country.”

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