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Monday, November 2, 2009

Construction arm to stay as top revenue contributor

IREKA Corp Bhd's construction arm, Ireka Engineering & Construction (IEC) Sdn Bhd, will remain the biggest contributor to its net profit and revenue going forward, executive director Lai Voon Hon said.

Ireka, set up in 1967, is involved in construction, property development, hospitality & leisure, and information technology.

IEC has three projects in hand, namely SENI Mont' Kiara and one Mont' Kiara in Kuala Lumpur and Sandakan Harbour Square with outstanding works of RM650 million.

It may get more jobs next year as Ireka has been pre-qualified to bid for more than RM2.5 billion worth of infrastructure and building construction projects.
Ireka started as Syarikat Lai Siew Wah, a sole proprietor which undertakes general earthworks such as site clearing and road work construction for other local contractors.

The group, founded by Lai's father, Lai Siew Wah, expanded its fleet of plants and machinery and began to take on large-scale construction works in the 1970s.

Throughout the 1990s it had constructed some notable projects like the Kuala Lumpur International Airport runway, sections of the Kuala Lumpur Middle-Ring Road II and North-South Expressway, Putrajaya government administrative offices and The Westin Kuala Lumpur.

The elder Lai is a self-made man who learnt through the school of hard knocks.

At the age of 10, he was laden with responsibilities far too big for his age. There was no formal schooling and he had to contribute to the family's income due to the passing of his father.

He became a machine repair apprentice and at 14, wanted to own a tractor. With the money earned, he bought a machine and leased it out, gradually moving into sub-contracting work.

Siew Wah, now 69, is known in Kuala Lumpur as 'lai wong' (earth king).

His son, a professional architect, joined Ireka in 1994 as the group general manager and was appointed to the board in 1996.

By Business Times

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