Pakar kejuruteraan aeroangkasa, Dato’ Dr. Ahmad Sabirin Arshad dilantik sebagai Presiden dan Ketua Eksekutif Kumpulan SIRIM yang baharu bagi tempoh dua tahun, berkuat kuasa 1 April 2021.Dr Ahmad Sabirin, 57, sebelum ini berkhidmat sebagai Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif Aerospace Ventures, sebuah anak syarikat bagi syarikat minyak dan gas, UZMA Berhad. Sebelum itu, beliau memegang pelbagai jawatan di Astronautic Technology (M) Sdn Bhd (ATSB), sebuah syarikat di bawah Menteri Kewangan Diperbadankan dengan jawatan terakhirnya sebagai Pengarah Urusan / Ketua Pegawai Eksekutif Kumpulan dari tahun 2000 hingga 2019.
Beliau adalah antara perintis kumpulan jurutera yang terlibat dalam pembangunan satelit MEASAT-1 di Hughes Aircraft Company (kini Boeing). Beliau juga antara kumpulan yang mempelopori pembangunan satelit mikro pertama Malaysia, TiungSAT-1, yang telah dilancarkan ke orbit pada 26 September 2000.
Beliau seterusnya mengetuai kumpulan jurutera untuk mereka bentuk, membangun, melancar dan pengoperasian satelit kedua negara, RazakSAT. Dr Ahmad Sabirin juga berperanan dalam mengetuai pasukan penyediaan logistik dan sokongan saintifik untuk pelancaran Angkasawan Pertama Malaysia ke Stesen Angkasa Antarabangsa (ISS) pada tahun 2007.
Program penting lain yang beliau telah ketuai termasuklah pengaturan Sistem Amaran Awal Tsunami Nasional dan Pengesan Radiasi Mesra Alam.
Dr Ahmad Sabirin mendapat pendidikan tinggi di California Maritime Academy dalam Ijazah Sarjana Muda Sains (B.Sc) Kejuruteraan Marin pada 1986; lepasan Diploma dalam Pendidikan dari Universiti Teknologi Malaysia pada 1988, Sarjana Kejuruteraan (M.Eng) dalam Kejuruteraan Mekanikal dari Universiti Malaya pada tahun 1990; dan Doktor Falsafah(PhD) dalam Kejuruteraan Mekanikal – Combustion dari University of Wales College of Cardiff, UK pada 1993.
A green product is a sustainable product designed to minimize its environmental impacts during its whole life cycle and even after it is of no longer in use. Green products are usually identified by having two basic goals – reducing waste and maximizing resource efficiency. They are manufactured using toxic-free ingredients and environmentally-friendly procedures and are certified by recognized organizations such as the Green Seal in the US, Korea Eco-Products Institute, and in the case of Malaysia, one such organization is SIRIM QAS International, a subsidiary of SIRIM Berhad.
The growth and development of communities has a large impact on the natural environment. The manufacturing, design, construction and operation of the buildings are responsible for the consumption of many of the natural resources. Hence, the use of green products in the construction industry is critical to reduce the negative ecological footprint and simultaneously help create a more sustainable environment over the long haul.
In Malaysia, Jabatan Kerja Raya or JKR is the government department responsible for the construction and maintenance of public infrastructure. JKR has been promoting the use of green products in the construction of buildings and roads, in line with the government’s green policy and initiatives. The department has laid out initiatives in promoting the use of green products in the industry since the year 2000.
By encouraging the use of green products in construction, it is anticipated that the demand for such products will increase. The manufacturers may respond to the demand by improving the environmental aspects of their products. This will result in reduced environmental stress from that product category and in the long run will foster the promotion of environmental protection and the emergence of a sustainable society.
As part of its strengthening efforts in implementing the country’s green initiatives, JKR since 2017 has been collaborating with SIRIM STS, another subsidiary of SIRIM Berhad, to come up with development of green related standards.
One such initiative is the development of the JKR/SIRIM 1:2017, Manual for Green Product Scoring System (GPSS), as part of the initiatives to promote and encourage the use of green products in the construction industry and constructing more sustainable buildings. The term ‘green’ within the context of this standard refers to environmentally friendly preferable attributes of a product. Environmental labels and declarations from the manufacturers are used to indicate the product as ‘green’. These labels and declarations provide information about a green product in terms of its overall environmental character, a specific environmental aspect, or any number of aspects based on life cycle considerations and assessment.
The standard provides the assessment criteria and method to evaluate the content of environmentally friendly or green products used in the super structure of buildings and roads.
This standard was developed with the following objectives:
- to provide a systematic and structured assessment system for green products in building and road projects;
- to measure the number of green products used in building and road works;
- to educate and create awareness among the stakeholders on green products and services; and
- to encourage manufacturing industries to apply for green product certification based on the current criteria by independent certification body.
Another standard developed by JKR and SIRIM STS is JKR/SIRIM 2:2020, Penarafan Hijau (pHJKR) bagi Fasiliti Bangunan Kediaman dan Bukan Kediaman, to standardise the evaluation criteria and methods for assessing the sustainability of a building. The standard was developed with the intention of making construction industry ‘greener’ in terms of the its environmental protection, environmental performance, use of green products and environmental technologies in the building, and conservation of natural resources.
The standard emphasizes the seven key areas namely sustainable site planning and management; energy efficiency management; resource and material management; water use efficiency management; quality management of the internal environment; sustainable facility management; and innovation in design.
JKR/SIRIM 2 was developed with the following objectives in mind. First, the document will serve as a guideline for assessing the sustainable consumption and development of a building project. Second, the document will provide a comprehensive and appropriate strategy for sustainable project implementation. Third, by implementing the requirement of this standard in building project, it will provide awareness and encourage sustainable development. And finally, the document will become a guide to all parties involved in green rating of a building.
Apart from JKR/SIRIM 1 and JKR/SIRIM 2, another standard that has been developed under the collaboration is JKR/SIRIM 3: 2020, Environmental protection and enhancement works for projects. The standard was developed to provide a comprehensive guide to prepare tender documents from the planning, design and construction phases of projects in accordance with technical requirements incorporating the latest environmental protection, mitigation and enhancement measures. This standard incorporates the current technical requirements such as policies, legislation and needs of various external technical agencies that have been identified as stakeholders of construction projects in Malaysia.
All these standards are developed with the awareness that it is important to provide requirements, specifications, guidelines or features that can be used to ensure that the materials, products, processes and services supplied meet the needs and wants, as well as achieve best practices in the field of sustainable construction and development.
In the latest development, the two collaborators are currently in the process of developing JKR standards for indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) for Government Office Building which outlines the need to include common factors that affect the quality of indoor environment and IEQ such as indoor air quality, acoustic comfort, thermal comfort, visual comfort, cleaning, and safety and health.
In commemoration of the retirement of Mr Abdul Aziz Long in December 2020, Senior General Manager of the Standards Research and Development Department, SSTS Connect was greatly honoured to have interviewed him to get his personal insights looking back on his experience in SIRIM, in particular SIRIM STS, and his final words of wisdom to us, the SIRIM STS workforce.
What was the biggest challenge as the head of Standards Research and Development Department?
My biggest challenge was when the Malaysian Standard Act was amended in 2012 where SIRIM was no longer the sole Standard Development Agency. SIRIM was asked to transfer six sectoral scopes to the newly appointed SDAs. After the amendment, there had been continuous effort by Jabatan Standard Malaysia (JSM) to gradually reduce our remaining scopes because it wanted to develop its own capability in standard development. It finally happened in 2018 when JSM informed us that it will become a full-fledged standard development body in developing Malaysian Standards and will cease the appointment of SDAs effective January 2019.
What aspect of the department’s activities that gave you the greatest satisfaction?
Digitilisation of Malaysian Standards development activities started in 2006 using three IT platforms. However, when I joined in 2010, I observed that we were not fully utilizing the platform effectively. Data was not inputted consistently, and all SDC secretaries were maintaining their own list of committees and listing of standards. It was so difficult to reconcile the status of the standards developed, published, withdrawn, etc. Usage of the Standards Management System platform was not strictly enforced, and the system also needed additional enhancement to address the gaps.
It took us almost three years to do data cleaning, enhancement of the system where in the end there were no more personal lists maintained by the secretaries; no more complaints on missing and obsolete MS when clients purchased Malaysian Standards online. As a result, we saw a steady growth of softcopy standards sold from 2015 onwards. The secretaries could access all information related to MS from anywhere if there was connectivity, thus making their work easier and they became more productive. This is my greatest satisfaction.
SIRIM Industry Standard was established in 2014, i.e. under your tenure. What aspired you to embark into the establishment of the standard?
As the pressure to release more scopes (Malaysian Standards) continued, the management was aware that we just could not abolish standard development work totally. SIRIM could not be detached from ‘Standards’ otherwise the industry and public will forget about SIRIM. SIRIM was a household name and we should maintain it. What inspired me to embark on SIRIM Industry Standard was that our over 50 years of experience in standard development should not go to waste. We should model ourself like ASTM or UL (Underwriters Laboratories). SIRIM has the brand. It may take us 50 years. But we need to start now.
How significant is SIRIM Industry Standard for the country, and how has it contributed to the Malaysian industry and society so far?
In Malaysia, the industries do not focus so much on company/organisation standards compared to those in developed countries. To be competitive, Malaysian goods and services need to have good organisation and industry standards to ensure product quality is consistently maintained and at the same time, be competitive and efficient.
Since we introduced this service, our clients are slowly growing. Standards are tools to resolve problems including those that are related to society. We are working with Jabatan Kerja Raya (JKR) to develop its in-house documents or technical specifications on environmental related matters. With Suruhanjaya Perkhidmatan Air Negara (SPAN) we are currently developing standards with the scopes that are not covered by any Malaysian Standards. Where standardisation is needed to resolve specific issues, organisations can find alternatives through SIRIM Industry Standards, whereby the copyright can 100% be owned by them.
What more can be done to ensure that SIRIM Industry Standard is here to stay?
Over the last two years we have been able to create awareness on the importance and benefits of SIRIM Industry Standards. Conversion period from prospecting to order book is longer compared to Training and Consultancy. We need dedicated business development executives that can understand client problems and offer solutions. We can use social media to promote industry standards through use cases.
What was your contribution in SIRIM’s role as the country’s facilitator in Industry 4.0 adoption?
Under SIRIM 10-year plan, SIRIM has established a Centre of Excellence on Smart Manufacturing to support Industry4WARD policy launched by MITI. I was appointed the KRM (Key Result Manager) under ST 3.2 – Focus on supporting embrace of Industry 4.0. My role was leading the CoE team to build a foundation for SIRIM to enable the Malaysian industry to adopt Industry 4.0 Technology through 4 programmes:
P1 – Routing the Future Readiness – Development of Competent and High-skilled Workforce
P2 – Standard for Interoperability – Development of Smart Manufacturing Related Standards and Guidelines
P3 – Innovation Accelerators – Development of Smart and Innovative Products
P4 – Cyber Physical Progression – Readiness Audit, Technology Intervention and Retrofitting of Machines to Industry 4.0 Compliant
From 2020 to 2023 is the implementation phase. This year, SSTS targeted to publish four standards. Our training and consultancy in Green 5S and Lean Management is part and parcel of preparing SMEs towards adoption of Industry 4.0 Technology when they are ready.
Apart from Industry 4.0 related standards, what are other critical areas that the department could focus on in the future?
Other than Industry 4.0 related standards, we need to identify standards that could be used for certification and training. Area of focus are sustainability, smart farming, environmental, fashion and lifestyle. Apart from this, we also need to focus on delivering quality services with clear product differentiation factors. On how to achieve this, I leave it to all of you to do the thinking, planning and strategising.
What do you want to be remembered for by your colleagues?
I started work in May 1985 as a Research Officer under Unit Bimbingan Perindustrian. In 1990 I was transferred to Unit ITAF (Industrial Technical Assistant Fund). My main function was to assist SMEs in improving product quality, productivity and new product development. From 1992 to 1995 I was an ISO 9000 auditor. In 1996, I was assigned to develop EMS Certification Scheme based on ISO 14001. I led the EMS Section for 10 years before being appointed as General Manager, Corporate Services at SIRIM QAS. Under the EMS Section, I established Eco-Labelling Scheme, Forest Management and Chain of Custody Certification Scheme and UNFCC Clean Development Mechanism Validation/Verification Scheme. In 2009, I was transferred as the SGM Testing Services for 1 year. This year is my 11th year as the SGM of Standards Research and Development Department.
In SIRIM, I am not sure of how my colleagues will remember me for, my friends outside of SIRIM have always consider me as an Environmental Management expert through my voluntary work in Ensearch (Environmental Management and Research Association of Malaysia)
What would you like to pass on to the next generations at work?
“Kerja secara ikhlas, dengan penuh tekun dan dedikasi. Set the standard for yourself to achieve. Never stop learning.”
Pada 19 September 2020 lalu, satu Program CSR SIRIM STS Sdn Bhd telah berlangsung dengan jayanya di ‘surau angkat’ SSTS iaitu Surau Al-Ansor Seksyen 2 Shah Alam. Agenda utama program adalah taklimat berkenaan standard SIRIM 1, Garis panduan kebersihan tandas masjid dan surau dan SIRIM 2, Garis panduan penarafan kebersihan tandas masjid dan surau.
Seramai 16 anggota kerja SSTS diketuai YM CEO, Raja Yahya Raja Ariffin telah menghadiri program berkenaan, manakala Surau Al-Ansor diwakili oleh 10 AJK Surau diketuai Timbalan Pengerusi, Hj Safwan Zubir Ismail.
Taklimat SIRIM 1 dan SIRIM 2 telah disampaikan oleh pegawai dan jurulatih SSTS, En Mohd Hazwan Zulkefly, diikuti demonstrasi pengauditan penarafan yang membabitkan kedua-dua pihak.
Program telah berlangsung dalam suasana santai dan meriah dan kedua-dua pihak amat berpuas hati dan teruja untuk meneruskan ukhwah yang terjalin melalui pelbagai aktiviti yang bermanfaat dan menarik di masa hadapan.