Dato Choo Beng Kai started his own property developing company, Masmeyer Holdings Sdn. Bhd. with just three employees in 2002 when he was just 24 years old. His mission is to “build harmony homes”. He persistently instills this message and intent to his team to uphold the highest quality in its products and services.
Masmeyer’s first development project comprises 17 units of single-storey terrace houses on a small piece of land in Butterworth. Total development value was only RM1,500,000. The project involved preparing the landscape, dealing with all the relevant government authorities, construction and handover of the property to the buyers.
In 2004, Masmeyer managed to enter into joint ventures with some big boys in the industry such as Rakyat Hartanah Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of Bank Rakyat, (GDV RM110 million) and Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Kedah (GDV RM90 million). Another flagship project was Marinox Sky Villas & Milrow Villas, in a joint venture with UDA Holdings Berhad. The development at Tanjung Tokong, Penang offers a unique living experience. Milrow Villas consists of 17 prime lots for those who seek an exclusive resort-style living. Marinox Sky Villas offers the best possible combination of living spaces, design and specifications. The utilisation of design is evident as each resident gets to enjoy the magnificent sea view coupled with versatile lifestyle facilities. This project is also the first project in Penang with a ‘Green Building Index (GBI) Provisional Gold Rating’ Certificate. The project is 95% sold, an achievement that is credited to a successful marketing strategy employed by Dato Choo. His no frills approach encourages his buyers to think twice before signing up as a buyer. The company does not offer schemes such as DIBS as it does not believe in inducing buyers to overburden themselves.
There are two upcoming launches in the pipeline. The first is a joint venture with Koperasi Polis Diraja Malaysia Bhd (KPDM) in Sentul, Kuala Lumpur which is located near the city with a mature infrastructure. The second is a mixed development project in Kelantan which consists of 182 units of residential houses and shops.
To ensure the highest quality, projects under Masmeyer are subjected to checks by its QAQC (Quality Assurance, Quality Control) team and no details are spared in any of the projects. The company also adheres to the Green Building Index and QLASSIC (Quality Assessment System In Construction) to provide an objective yardstick for measuring quality.
Initial projects handled by Masmeyer were not located downtown and Dato Choo’s innovation and creative ideas to make full use of the design to create space has made his housing projects popular among buyers. Dato Choo strongly believes that “If there is a will, there is a way!” This simple statement has been practiced by him since day 1 when he started Masmeyer Holdings. In 14 years of property development, Dato Choo has never purchased a single inch of land. Initially it was due to his limited resources, and eventually, he was offered land to work with the land owners.
Other than property development, Dato Choo had ventured into two Australian listed companies – Drillsearch Energy Limited and Republic Gold Limited and sat on the Board with the intention to learn the management culture in global companies. With a humble learning heart, Dato Choo travelled to Australia and actively participated in the companies’ management. The valuable exposure had upgraded his business sense and leadership skills.
Drillsearch Energy Limited is an oil and gas explorer and developer that focus on the prospective Cooper-Eromanga Basin. The company owns exploration permits for oil and wet gas in the Cooper-Eromanga Basin, and is currently categorized as an ASX 200 Company. Dato Choo sat on the Board from 2009 to 2013. The company grew 15 times larger when Dato Choo was on the Board. Republic Gold Limited is a mineral exploration and development company for the Amayapampa Gold Project in Bolivia. The company explores gold, copper, antimony, tungsten and tin. Dato Choo sat on the Board from 2008 to 2010.
In 2015 Dato Choo transformed his business structure and ventured into venture capital, wellness, leisure and ICT. In five years, Masmeyer Holdings will have a total transformation in terms of revenue contribution from different industries, thus creating a more stable platform for the stakeholders.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is an integral part of the company’s business model. In line with Dato Choo’s commitment to uphold human rights and ethical labour standards, Masmeyer Foundation was established to spearhead CSR initiatives to help the less fortunate and the local community.
Masmeyer Foundation is fully funded by Masmeyer Group to sponsor the below 4 main pillars:
Productivity Restoration Program provides financial support for patients with cataracts and to purchase prosthetic arm/limbs, and hearing aid/devices. From 2013 to 2016, more than 35 beneficiaries were fitted with prosthetic legs and were able to return to work.
Educational Assistance. Dato Choo believes everyone has the right to acquire knowledge. In line with this, Dato Choo’s principle of Philanthropy is to provide education and development opportunities to the needy.
Social & Sports Activities. To cultivating a healthy lifestyle by promoting sports and social activities, the Foundation sponsored the Penang Run for three consecutive years. Moving forward, Dato Choo aims to organize weekly morning exercises with the local communities.
Impact Investment. Dato Choo created a sustainable model to invest in social work that will generate income for the needy and at the same time provide returns to Masmeyer Foundation to help more people. For example, funding for a home for the handicap to produce fertilizers from oil palm waste. Sale of this fertilizer not only covers living cost for the home but also generates monthly surplus income to the Foundation.
Having joined the family business during the 1997 Asia Financial Crisis and riding the wave of the 2008 economic slowdown, Dato Choo has experienced and endured difficult times. “These are moments everyone will face, however we can overcome them by facing challenges positively.” Dato Choo believes these experiences made him stronger and who he is today. He believes that “the winner is the one who survived the storm”.