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 It was so difficult to reconcile the status of the standards developed, published, withdrawn, etc.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.
SIRIM’s Best Practices Recognition Scheme is a scheme of recognizing the successful implementation of the chosen best practices by participating organizations. The scheme which is coordinated by SIRIM STS Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary under SIRIM Berhad, was introduced as an effort to promote the adoption of best practices amongst the Malaysian industries, in particular those organizations that have obtained ISO certification.
These best practices are important for organizations aspiring to go beyond the ISO certification in ensuring their business sustainability. Some of these best practices are needed for maintaining the ISO certification such as 5S and QCC.
Total Quality Management (TQM) Recognition Scheme was introduced in 2010 as the first recognition scheme. Other best practices schemes that were introduced in a later stage are Green 5S (2012), Customer Service Management (CSM, 2013), Total Productive Maintenance (TPM, 2014) and Lean Management Recognition Scheme
TQM Recognition Scheme was established to promote total quality culture while Green 5S focuses on creating a safe, healthy, conducive and energy-saving working environment. While CSM emphasizes efficient and effective services to customers, TPM focusses on effective utilization of machineries and equipment. These schemes recognize that an organization has competent personnel in implementing the best practices that the organization has benefitted from.
As of March 2020, 213 organizations have been recognized under the SIRIM’s Best Practices Recognition Scheme.
Previously, each SIRIM’s Best Practices Recognition Scheme carried its own unique logo. However, SIRIM Berhad’s Management Committee has recently approved a standard logo for all its Best Practices Schemes. The logo which was designed by the Majlis Rekabentuk Malaysia is in line with SIRIM Berhad’s President’s idea to standardize the logo for all its Best Practices Schemes.
SIRIM STS Sdn Bhd on 26 June 2020 has been recognized as the Training Provider for Safety and Health Officers for the Occupational Safety and Health Course Program by the Ministry of Human Resources.
Recognition for the three-year period includes the following five modules:
- Modul 1 – Occupational Safety and Health Management
- Modul 2 – Occupational Safety and Health Legislation
- Modul 3 – Occupational Health
- Modul 4 – Occupational Safety; dan
- Modul 5 – ISO 45001 Lead Auditor
Five officers have been commissioned as instructors for the module; two of them are trainers from SIRIM STS – Ms Fauzan Mat Shah and Ms Hafidzah Abd Rahim, while the other three are SIRIM STS associate trainers, Ms Sharina Hanur Harith, Dr Yusof Omar and Mr Mohd Nazir Samek.
Participants with three years of experience in occupational safety and health, who successfully complete the course at SIRIM STS and pass the NIOSH-administered examinations, will be eligible to be registered with the Department of Occupational Safety and Health Malaysia.
A recognition handover ceremony was held in Putrajaya on 9 July 2020, where SIRIM STS was represented by Senior General Manager, Dr Mohd Azman Idris, who received a certificate of recognition and a letter of approval from the YB Minister of Human Resources, Mr Saravanan Murugan.
May this recognition be a catalyst for the people of SIRIM STS to continue to contribute ideas and effort to the company, thereby arousing aspirations for all of us to serve more excellently.
A Webinar on Go Global: Market Access Facilities and Incentives, a collaboration effort between SIRIM dan MIDA has been held on 21 July 2020, from 10 am to 1 pm. The webinar which was transmitted via FB live platform and Zoom, had captured 2,800 views.
Three topics were presented at the event – Market Access Consultancy Program by SIRIM STS; Market Access Facilities and Incentives by MIDA; and Automation Capital Allowance (ACA) – Verification of Machines, a paper by Machinery Technology Centre, SIRIM Berhad.
The objective of the event was to share on how MIDA and SIRIM could help facilitate the Malaysian companies to expand their business towards becoming global players.
The highlight of SIRIM STS paper which was presented by Ms Salmah Mohd Nordin, was on how the company could assist businesses to increase productivity and market access through understanding of technical trade requirements and implementation of Standards, Quality and Technology. Market access services provided by SIRIM STS consist of the following components:
- Trade Regulatory & Technical Information
- Product Standards Compliance
- Product Technical Consultancy
- Advisory on Conformity Assessment
Applicants of the consultancy service can choose any of the above components or combinations thereof.
The second paper presented by Ms Zetty Hamimi Zakaria, Director of MIDA Negeri Sembilan, detailed out the following services provided by the organisation – project/product promotion, approval and implementation. Ms Zetty highlighted the investment opportunities and incentives provided by MIDA, which include domestic investments strategic funds (DISF), Industry 4WRD Intervention Fund and Automation Capital Allowance.
Ms Zuriani Usop of Machinery Technology Centre, SIRIM Berhad, detailed out on joint evaluation by MIDA and SIRIM for the application of Automation Capital Allowance for verification of machines. The ACA objectives are to encourage manufacturing companies to engage in innovative and productive activities; to encourage quick adoption of automation specifically for labour-intensive industries; to spur automation initiatives; and to enhance productivity in the manufacturing sector.
It is hoped that the joint effort by both SIRIM and MIDA could help accelerate the shift of Malaysian companies to higher value-added, high technology, knowledge intensive and innovation-based industries.