Today, Knowledge Management today are not limited merely to : (A) 'knowing' or 'reading lots of books/scholarly articles' or (B) data mining, analysis, decision making, preventive actions, or (C) some Human Resources Management issue or (D) some ICT issue. Knowledge Management is about putting your knowledge, skills and competency into practice and most important IT WORKS! For you and your company or your business (Nik Zafri)

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Email: nikzafri@yahoo.com, nikzafri@gmail.com

Kelantanese, Alumni of Sultan Ismail College Kelantan (SICA), Diploma (Management), IT Competency Cert, Certified Written English Professional US. Has participated in many seminars/conferences (local/ international) in the capacity of trainer/lecturer and participant.

Affiliations :- Council Member of Gerson Lehrman Group NY, Institute of Quality Malaysia, Malaysian Institute of Management, Malaysian Occupational Safety and Health Professionals Association, Auditor ISO 9000 IRCAUK, Auditor OHSAS 18000 (SIRIM and STS) /EMS ISO 14000:2004 and Construction Quality Assessment System (CONQUAS, CIDB (Now BCA) Singapore),

* Possesses 26 years of experience/hands-on in the multi-modern management & technical disciplines (systems & methodologies) such as Knowledge Management (Hi-Impact Management/ICT Solutions), Quality (TQM/ISO), Safety Health Environment, Civil & Building (Construction), Manufacturing, Motivation & Team Building, HR, Marketing/Branding, Business Process Reengineering, Economy/Stock Market, Contracts/Project Management, Finance & Banking, etc. He was employed to international bluechips involving in national/international megaprojects such as Balfour Beatty Construction/Knight Piesold & Partners UK, MMI Insurance Group Australia, Hazama Corporation (Hazamagumi) Japan (with Mitsubishi Corporation, JA Jones US, MMCE and Ho-Hup) and Sunway Construction Berhad (The Sunway Group of Companies). Among major projects undertaken : Pergau Hydro Electric Project, KLCC Petronas Twin Towers, LRT Tunnelling, KLIA, Petronas Refineries Melaka, Putrajaya Government Complex, Sistem Lingkaran Lebuhraya Kajang (SILK), Mex Highway, KLIA1, KLIA2 etc. Once serviced SMPD Management Consultants as Associate Consultant cum Lecturer for Diploma in Management, Institute of Supervisory Management UK/SMPD JV. Currently – Associate/Visiting Consultants/Facilitators, Advisors for leading consulting firms (local and international) including project management. To name a few – Noma SWO Consult, Amiosh Resources, Timur West Consultant Sdn. Bhd., TIJ Consultants Group (Malaysia and Singapore) and many others.

* Ex-Resident Weekly Columnist of Utusan Malaysia (1995-1998) and have produced more than 100 articles related to ISO-9000– Management System and Documentation Models, TQM Strategic Management, Occupational Safety and Health (now OHSAS 18000) and Environmental Management Systems ISO 14000. His write-ups/experience has assisted many students/researchers alike in module developments based on competency or academics and completion of many theses. Once commended by the then Chief Secretary to the Government of Malaysia for his diligence in promoting and training the civil services (government sector) based on “Total Quality Management and Quality Management System ISO-9000 in Malaysian Civil Service – Paradigm Shift Scalar for Assessment System”

Among Nik Zafri’s clients : Adabi Consumer Industries Sdn. Bhd, (MRP II, Accounts/Credit Control) The HQ of Royal Customs and Excise Malaysia (ISO 9000), Veterinary Services Dept. Negeri Sembilan (ISO 9000), The Institution of Engineers Malaysia (Aspects of Project Management – KLCC construction), Corporate HQ of RHB (Peter Drucker's MBO/KRA), NEC Semiconductor - Klang Selangor (Productivity Management), Prime Minister’s Department Malaysia (ISO 9000), State Secretarial Office Negeri Sembilan (ISO 9000), Hidrological Department KL (ISO 9000), Asahi Kluang Johor(System Audit, Management/Supervisory Development), Tunku Mahmood (2) Primary School Kluang Johor (ISO 9000), Consortium PANZANA (HSSE 3rd Party Audit), Lecturer for Information Technology Training Centre (ITTC) – Authorised Training Center (ATC) – University of Technology Malaysia (UTM) Kluang Branch Johor, Kluang General Hospital Johor (Management/Supervision Development, Office Technology/Administration, ISO 9000 & Construction Management), Kahang Timur Secondary School Johor (ISO 9000), Sultan Abdul Jalil Secondary School Kluang Johor (Islamic Motivation and Team Building), Guocera Tiles Industries Kluang Johor (EMS ISO 14000), MNE Construction (M) Sdn. Bhd. Kota Tinggi Johor (ISO 9000 – Construction), UITM Shah Alam Selangor (Knowledge Management/Knowledge Based Economy /TQM), Telesystem Electronics/Digico Cable(ODM/OEM for Astro – ISO 9000), Sungai Long Industries Sdn. Bhd. (Bina Puri Group) - ISO 9000 Construction), Secura Security Printing Sdn. Bhd,(ISO 9000 – Security Printing) ROTOL AMS Bumi Sdn. Bhd & ROTOL Architectural Services Sdn. Bhd. (ROTOL Group) – ISO 9000 –Architecture, Bond M & E (KL) Sdn. Bhd. (ISO 9000 – Construction/M & E), Skyline Telco (M) Sdn. Bhd. (Knowledge Management),Technochase Sdn. Bhd JB (ISO 9000 – Construction), Institut Kefahaman Islam Malaysia (IKIM – ISO 9000 & Internal Audit Refresher), Shinryo/Steamline Consortium (Petronas/OGP Power Co-Generation Plant Melaka – Construction Management and Safety, Health, Environment), Hospital Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (Negotiation Skills), Association for Retired Intelligence Operatives of Malaysia (Cyber Security – Arpa/NSFUsenet, Cobit, Till, ISO/IEC ISMS 27000 for Law/Enforcement/Military), T.Yamaichi Corp. (M) Sdn. Bhd. (EMS ISO 14000) LSB Manufacturing Solutions Sdn. Bhd., (Lean Scoreboard (including a full development of System-Software-Application - MSC Malaysia & Six Sigma) PJZ Marine Services Sdn. Bhd., (Safety Management Systems and Internal Audit based on International Marine Organization Standards) UNITAR/UNTEC (Degree in Accountacy – Career Path/Roadmap) Cobrain Holdings Sdn. Bhd.(Managing Construction Safety & Health), Speaker for International Finance & Management Strategy (Closed Conference), Pembinaan Jaya Zira Sdn. Bhd. (ISO 9001:2008-Internal Audit for Construction Industry & Overview of version 2015), Straits Consulting Engineers Sdn. Bhd. (Full Integrated Management System – ISO 9000, OHSAS 1800 and EMS ISO 14000 for Civl/Structural/Geotechnical Consulting), Malaysia Management & Science University (MSU – (Managing Business in an Organization), Innoseven Sdn. Bhd. (KVMRT Line 1 MSPR8 – Awareness and Internal Audit (Construction), ISO 9001:2008 and 2015 overview for the Construction Industry), Kemakmuran Sdn. Bhd. (KVMRT Line 1 - Signages/Wayfinding - Project Quality Plan and Construction Method Statement ), Amiosh Resources - (1) Lembaga Tabung Haji - Flood ERP (2) WNA Consultants - DID/JPS -Flood Risk Assessment and Management Plan - Prelim, Conceptual Design, Interim and Final Report etc. (3) Tunnel Fire Safety - Fire Risk Assessment Report - Design Fire Scenario), Safety, Health and Environmental Management Plans leading construction/property companies/corporations in Malaysia. Timur West Consulting (1) Business Methodology and System (2) Information Security Management Systems (ISMS) ISO/IEC 27001:2013 for Majlis Bandaraya Petaling Jaya ISMS/Audit/Risk/ITP Technical Team

* Has appeared for 10 consecutive series in “Good Morning Malaysia RTM TV1’ Corporate Talk Segment discussing on ISO 9000/14000 in various industries. For ICT, his inputs garnered from his expertise have successfully led to development of work-process e-enabling systems in the environments of intranet, portal and interactive web design especially for the construction and manufacturing. Some of the end products have won various competitions of innovativeness, quality, continual-improvements and construction industry award at national level. He has also in advisory capacity – involved in development and moderation of websites, portals and e-profiles for mainly corporate and private sectors, public figures etc. He is also one of the recipients for MOSTE Innovation for RFID use in Electronic Toll Collection in Malaysia.

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Friday, May 29, 2015


A stone’s throw away from Kota Baru in Kelantan is Pasir Belanda Resort — a charming place that allows a glimpse into kampung living.

Someone once said: “Today, give a stranger one of your smiles. It might be the only sunshine he sees all day.”

Well, we certainly saw loads of “sunshine” during our two-day stay in Pasir Belanda Resort, Kelantan.

Pasir Belanda Resort, comprising a cluster of traditional wooden houses, sits on the banks of Sungai Pengkalan Chepa in Kg Banggol, a 15-minute drive from Kota Baru.

But Pasir isn’t your typical resort where you laze by the pool and sink into a comatose state under the glaring sun.

As the Dutch owners Harry and Annemeike Mulder envisaged it, guests come to Pasir to savour an idyllic kampung stay, soak up Kelantan’s rich cultural heritage and mingle with the amicable villagers.

A whirlwind visit

The Star photographer Azman Ghani and I got our first dose of “sunshine” on the morning of our arrival.

As we sauntered around Kg Banggol looking for a warung to get a bite, locals on motorbikes flashed their smiles, kids waved and yelled hellos and a pakcik even stopped to offer us a ride in his van.

It helps that the resort opens its doors to the villagers. Local kids drop by to play on the swing and seesaw. The compound faces the main road that cuts through the village.

At Pasir, scarlet heliconias bloom on the grassy lawn while leafy palms, frangipani and coconut trees lend a tranquil ambience.

An idyllic scene as seen from Sungai Pengkalan Chepa.

A wakaf (rest pavilion) sits in the garden where guests can loll about.

The Mulders and their two kids, Jesse, 9 and Abel, 4, live in a 40-year-old, three-bedroom kampung house on the resort grounds.

Like the main house, the guest chalets sport distinctive Malay architecture with singhorra(terracotta) tiles, steep-tiered roofs with curved gable ends and sunbeam motifs on the roof. The sunbeam symbolises the beginning and the end of a day.

Harry was lucky to find a talented local carpenter, Pak Suji, to build the chalets from meranti wood.

Each chalet comes with a veranda where you can plonk yourself on a deck chair, get lost in a good book or just watch the world go by.

The rooms come equipped with twin or double beds, hot shower, air-conditioning, TV and tea and coffee-making facilities. The resort can accommodate up to 20 guests.

One of the best spots in Pasir is its jetty hut perched on the river bank. Guests can tuck into a breakfast of homemade bread served with jam and butter and fried eggs there, while indulging in bird-watching or gazing at a perahu gliding by.

Pak Soh showing the colourful wayang puppets he fashioned out of cowhide.

The Mulders’ good friend, Penang-based David Bakewell, finds the jetty an ideal spot to observe kingfishers, bitterns hunting for fish and the munias feeding on seedheads.

“I’ve also watched woodpeckers, orioles and malkohas feeding in the trees next to the jetty,” says David, an avid birdwatcher and photographer. Across the river, pond heron and mynas feed in the marshy areas, and the occasional rainbow-coloured bee-eater whizzes past.

But on our visit, the jetty was being rebuilt since it had collapsed during a monsoon in December.

Kak Yah, the neighbour

Other than breakfast, the resort doesn’t serve any other meal but Harry encourages his guests to dine at his neighbour’s.

Robayah Hassan, or better known as Kak Yah, whips up scrumptious lunches or dinners upon request. Guests who want to learn to cook Kelantan delicacies can also sign up for her cooking class.

Kak Yah’s husband used to trade textiles in Sarawak. Homemaker and mother of seven, Kak Yah, 51, cooks for wedding kenduri in the village to earn extra income. Nowadays, the regular stream of Pasir guests hankering for her cooking keep her busy.

Azman and I found out why when we requested for the “Special” package, the RM25 per person dinner. The sumptuous spread of Kelantan specialties was mind-boggling.

We had solok (fish blended with onions, shallots, ginger and grated young coconut stuffed into oversized green chillies and steamed), ikan percik, homemade acar, chicken curry with spices, pucuk ubi with sambal belacan and budu (fermented anchovy sauce) and stir-fried pucuk paku (ferns) with omelette.

batik-painting workshop for Pasir Belanda guests.

A local dessert called butih nangka, was a first for us. Little balls of glutinous rice flour are served with coconut milk, spiced with fenugreek, ginger and fragrant pandan leaves.

“Old folks believe that butih nangka helps release the wind in your body,” explains Kak Yah.

As we savoured dessert, she showed us a bunch of postcards and letters from the US, the Netherlands and other parts of Europe, raving about her cooking and congeniality.

Kelantan’s rich heritage

The next day, armed with Harry’s detailed map, we hopped onto the resort’s bicycles to explore the nearby villages. Our first stop was a kite-maker’s place on Pantai Cahaya Bulan (PCB) road.

His shop — which is more a wooden shack — was so unassuming that we almost flew past. But inside, a dazzling array of wau (kites) in different shapes, colours and sizes hung from the ceiling.

In one corner, a small and wiry man was bent over his kite, busy putting on the finishing touches.

Sapie Yusof, 61, has been fashioning kites from buluh duri (bamboo) frames and paper for 36 years. His kites cost between RM30 and RM11,000. Sapie actively takes part in various kite competitions around Malaysia.

Though Sapie was finishing up his kites for the Pasir Gudang International Kite Festival which was in a few weeks’ time, he obliged us with a chat.

Sapie’s wau shop is a modest shack filled with colourful and impressive kites.

A short five-minute ride from Sapie’s shop is a keropok (fish cracker) factory in Kg Kedai Buloh.

Engku Noraini Yaacob, 49, and her husband run a small cottage industry churning out keropok lekor and dry fish crackers for the local market. When we dropped by, the factory was idle due to the shortage of fish supply because of the rainy season.

Engku Noraini dished out some tips on how to choose tasty crackers. Tamban fish (Sardinella albella) is the best and a good keropok lekor (chockful of fish and not flour) shouldn’t be oily when fried.

The usual self-guided bicycle tour includes hopping on a ferry to Kg Laut and dropping by a well-known Tok Dalang’s (master puppeteer) panggung (theatre) cum workshop.

Yusoff Mamat or Pak Soh has been playing wayang kulit (shadow puppets) since he was nine.

At the workshop, visitors learn how the puppets are created from cowhide and how the Tok Dalang brings the puppets to life via characters from the Ramayana epic.

Aside from performing nationwide, Pak Soh, 59, has also travelled to Tokyo, South Africa and Indonesia to showcase his traditional art.

Engku Noraini Yaacob runs a keropok factory near Pantai Cahaya Bulan. — AZMAN GHANI/The Star

Our final stopover was at a batik “factory” run by Zahari Haji Daud.

A 10-minute stroll from Pasir Belanda, the shop — housed in a wooden shed — produces good quality hand-drawn batik priced from RM100 and above. 

At Zahari’s, visitors can also sign up for a batik-drawing workshop.

Dutch tourists Hendrik Jan de Ru, 60, and his wife, Anke Noorts, 53, took the same bicycle tour as us the day before.

“Staying at Pasir and in the village really stimulates your senses — different smells, sounds and sights and easy contact with friendly people,” says Hendrik.

“Places like Langkawi and Kuala Lumpur are beautiful but they’re too touristy. What we like is the feeling of authenticity, a real village with real people.”

Yes, for urban Malaysians like us, we too relish the down-to-earth village folks with their copious amounts of “sunshine” living in the heart of Kelantan.

Making a home in Kelantan

Pasir Belanda opened its doors to its first guests at the end of 2005.

Owners Harry and Annemeike Mulder from the Netherlands wanted to live outside Holland for a while and decided on Malaysia.

“I first came to Malaysia in 1989 for a six-month internship. During my travels around the country, I found that I liked Kelantan best. I told myself I would bring my future wife to see this beautiful place,” says Harry, 40, a former mechanical engineer.

The couple settled in Penang in 2003 because they had friends there and started a travel agency to bring Dutch tourists over. It took two exhaustive years before they found their dream house in Kelantan.

The house was built in 1969 by an Englishman, Datuk Howard Foster Biles (1916-2003). Biles came to then Malaya as a marine officer in World War II and was later appointed the Protector for the Orang Asli in Kelantan and Pahang.

After he retired in ’69, he became the supervisor of the Kelantan Royal Household. Today, the Mulders lease the house and land from the home’s Malay owner.

“There’s something special about it,” gushes Annemeike, 40. “It’s a wooden kampung house on stilts. It has a great view, breeze and nice neighbours. 

Since we liked it, we thought others might like it too.”

The couple’s son, Abel, 4, was born in Kelantan and today, the family has blended in comfortably with kampung life. The children attend international school in Kota Baru. Harry and Annemeike speak Malay with a Kelantanese dialect and share a great camaraderie with their neighbours. A primary schoolteacher in Holland, Annemieke now teaches English to the local kids whenever they request a class.

What are the Mulders’ long-term plan?

“We just live day by day, year by year,” Annemeike chuckles.

(Nik Zafri's comments "Sometimes I wonder, is it a coincidence that they name this place "Pasir Belanda" (Dutch Sand) and the Mulders are from Netherlands?")

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