Voon Tin Yow tells us how he maintains his motivation and that of his team in this time of change and uncertainty, and where he would like to go, now that the restrictions on international travel have been lifted.

Options: It’s been a little over a year since you joined IOI Properties Group last April. How would you sum up the trip so far?
Datuk Voon Tin Yow: It has been an exciting time for me despite the disruptions [of the pandemic]. Yet while things got messed up, it also gave us time to think on a deeper level and get a feel for what the future might be, providing a lot of clarity on what IOI Properties Group is. must prioritize in order to meet anticipated challenges in the future. To date, I have enjoyed the full cooperation of the team and the strong support of the Board of Directors, to whom I am very grateful. I firmly believe that this continued teamwork and support will take IOI Properties Group to greater heights.

IOI Resort City is growing wonderfully. What are some of the highlights that property buyers can look forward to in existing and upcoming projects?
IOI Resort City is indeed an exciting integrated development that offers an urban lifestyle in a tranquil resort setting. The city of KL is easily accessible and yet one is surrounded by lush greenery and fresh air – truly the best of both worlds! Connectivity is the key here. This sustainable integrated development is well connected via major highways while vehicles are diverted directly to underground parking lots to create a safe and pedestrian and cyclist friendly environment at ground level. Work is also underway to improve the connectivity of all components with covered solar-powered pedestrian bridges and dedicated cycle paths.

Construction of Phase 2 of the IOI City Mall is underway and completion is scheduled for 3Q2022. The expansion will add approximately one million square feet of net leasable area to the existing 1.5 million square feet, making it one of the largest shopping centers in Malaysia. Plans are also in place for Central Park. Spanning 10 acres, the community park will be divided into various interconnected areas, each offering different activities such as wellness events, recreation, sports, waterfront activities and more, with a nesting box and dog park. We are also developing and testing smart city features with kickstarters from our IOI Kickstart program. We intend to deploy smart city surveillance, smart home and office solutions, and smart traffic management systems.

How has Covid-19 affected your industry and what have been some of the key measures you have taken to mitigate its effects?
The safety and health of our employees is our top priority. In view of the complete reopening of the economy nationwide as part of Malaysia’s National Recovery Plan, we have achieved an almost 100% vaccination rate among our employees while providing assistance to our sub -treaters for Covid-19 screening and vaccination of their workers. Indeed, Covid-19 along with the various movement restrictions and strict adherence to SOPs have affected our usual business operations. However, our journey to digital transformation began much earlier in 2013 with the establishment of an in-house digital marketing team. As a result, we were able to better navigate the challenges posed during the pandemic.

Just a month before the first nationwide lockdown in 2020, we successfully rolled out our IOI e-Marketplace digital selling platform. Developed in-house, IOI e-Marketplace is a unique platform that connects buyers, bankers, lawyers and the IOI Properties team digitally. This allowed us to operate and carry out large volumes of real estate transactions remotely without too much difficulty despite strict confinement conditions. For our retail business, in May we launched IOI SHOPZ, an online virtual shopping mall and delivery platform to provide greater accessibility to online shopping at IOI City Mall. With the ability to consolidate orders from multiple outlets and the ability to choose drive-thru pickup or door-to-door delivery, our mall customers can continue to enjoy their shopping and food delivery safely from their home. residence. We’ve also embraced flexible working solutions to keep the team connected and productive.

How have you kept yourself and your team motivated in this time of change and uncertainty?
People and culture are one of the key pillars of our business strategy, as evidenced by our core values ​​of People First and teamwork. During the pandemic, it was imperative to continue to motivate and empower our people. We have implemented a number of change initiatives aimed at improving the corporate culture, building leadership capacity and creating talent pools to support the long-term growth of the group. These initiatives, supported by the solid foundations of the group, will allow us to continue to maintain our competitive advantage in the industry. In addition, virtual town halls and webinars were organized to ensure continued employee engagement. In these difficult times, it is important to ensure that the IOI team is happy because we believe that happy employees will take care of the customers and, in turn, ensure the continued growth of the business.

What was the best advice you ever received?
A seasoned investor once told me, “Small profits don’t make a poor man.

How did you stay in good health, mentally and physically, during the various confinements?
When I was working from home during MCO I enjoyed breakfast, lunch and dinner with my family – something I couldn’t have done [as much of] otherwise. These important family moments reminded me that, despite the challenges we face, we can still focus on the simple joys of life.

How do you relax?
There is something therapeutic about exercise. It helps me relax after a hard day’s work. I love long walks, hikes, and working out in the gym. When the gyms were closed during the various OLS, I made it a point to train at home.

What books do you tend to reread and why?
Excluding textbooks [of the past], I rarely read a book more than once. But there is one that I can read over and over again. It’s Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff… and It’s All Small Stuff by Richard Carlson. This is one of the best self-help books I know of. Some of the suggestions and advice given might even change your life! Like me, reading this over and over again could help you gradually develop a more positive outlook on all aspects of your life.

But what are you reading right now?
Magazines. I love the feeling of holding a magazine and leafing through it.

Where would you like to travel the most once you feel it is safe to do so again?
My family and I visited the Maldives and Sri Lanka in December 2019. No one saw the pandemic coming or that we wouldn’t be able to travel overseas for fun for a while. It makes me appreciate family vacations even more and cherish the memorable times spent in different cities and countries. With the recent lifting of restrictions on international travel, my next destination would be Mongolia. I look forward to immersing myself in the vibrant and multifaceted cultures of the Central Asian region. As someone who enjoys exercise and the outdoors, I am also drawn to the prospect of trekking during my stay!

This article first appeared on October 25, 2021 in The Edge Malaysia.