Growing with the industry

Joyce Shamini 


This year, Master Builders Association Malaysia (MBAM) had an intriguing candidate running for their annual Safety and Health award.  

Unlike others, he has three construction sites under his watch. He was also the only one practising in a mega project involving many kilometres of tunnels and massive underground structures.  

He is Norazar (Azar) Bin Abd Rahman, the Assistant Safety Manager of MMC Gamuda working in the Underground package of the KVMRT project since 2012.  

Though hailing from a construction management background, Azar deftly paved his way into developing QSHE[1] expertise.  

As a young fledgling environmental engineer, he observed a systematic gap in construction safety compliance, compounded by a local skill gap in QSHE knowledge. 

Motivated by the simple fact that every effort towards construction safety goes a long way in saving lives[2] Azar decided to earn the National Examination Board in Occupational Safety and Health (NEBOSH) certification on his own expenses. 

All ears as Azar explained some of the project’s QSHE best practices.

The decision proved pivotal as it led to more training and openings in the project. 

Before you know it, Azar found himself in charge of emergency drills simulating fire breakouts in tunnels and just recently onboard of an internal committee commissioned to design project-wide COVID-19 prevention measures.  

At the time of writing, Azar has already come out as one of three finalists in the MBAM award.  

The process started way back in March with a written submission, an intense interview with MBAM’s panel of committees in September and lastly, a visit by the judges themselves to the finalist’s site.  

As Gamuda’s Head of Safety, Christopher John Fenton asserted, “In our hearts, he is already a winner.” 

With the completion of KVMRT underground works drawing nigh, some may wonder about the fate of our QSHE talent pool. Rest assured, there is no end in which the industry needs to improve.  

Public awareness on construction safety is increasing and demand for negligent parties to be held accountable is growing, shaping a contractor’s prospect in getting future jobs.   

Azar presents a beacon of hope in uplifting the scant and undervalued merits of construction safety. He is part of a rising, professionally competent generation determined to bring a paradigm shift, in tying the success of a project to its QSHE compliance.  

His trailblazing journey is one that inspires us, and surely one which we are proud to be a part of.  

Azar (in the centre with yellow sleeves) hosting visitors from the Elevated project to learn about practical implementations of site safety.

[1] Short for Quality, Safety, Health and Environment  

[2] In April 2020, Construction Industry Development Board reports that Malaysia’s Fatal Accident Rate (FAR) was not only 10 times worse than that of the United Kingdom but in fact deteriorated by 20% since the turn of the century.