As the only son of a Chinese school principal from Sibu, Sarawak, Dominic has always been an enterprising boy whose dreams have always been a little different. As a result of his outstanding academic performance, Dominic was offered a special incentive to attend Raffles Junior College in Singapore for a year before he subsequently completed his tertiary education in Australia with a Bachelor of Science and a Bachelor of Engineering in Electrical Engineering from the University of Sydney.
Fate brought Dominic back to Singapore thereafter, where he was offered an engineering job in the republic during the early 1990s with a renowned consulting firm. It was then that he started to develop an avid interest in construction and properties. In the spirit of learning, Dominic studied part-time and eventually obtained a Degree of Master of Science (Building Science) from the National University of Singapore in 1996. This was the start of his career in building and property development.
Dominic started building his property development empire in the early 2000s when he was first engaged as a non-executive advisor by Regal Advantage Sdn Bhd, a small building construction and property development company in Kuching, Sarawak in 2004. With his substantial experience then in the building construction and property development industry since 1997, Dominic efficiently rose beyond his duties and started managing all operational aspects of the business, including project feasibility study, building design, approvals, project scheduling and execution.
Along the way, Dominic improvised on the conventional ways of deal making and invented the “property joint development” concept where the company seeks out prospective land owners for joint developments, bartering completed property units with them instead of direct cash purchase of the land. Land owners are promised premium property units which are expected to appreciate in value upon completion, while Regal can be more committed to the quality of the construction and take on more development projects concurrently with this asset light model. This ingenious brainchild spurred the expansion of the original company, and eventually the founding of the existing Regal Group.
Dominic believes in turning “impossible into likely impossible; likely impossible into maybe possible; maybe possible into possible; possible into reality”. His optimistic outlook and “never-impossible” attitude is the core philosophy behind his success today, successfully transforming a small building construction and property development company from East Malaysia into a public company, dual-listed on the Singapore Stock Exchange (SGX) and the Taiwan Stock Exchange (TWSE) in 2014, within a short span of 10 years. Dominic took on the role of Group CEO in 2008 and took the Regal Group on a fast track growth.
Starting from mediocre projects encompassing of not more than 30 units of landed residential houses and shop lots in 2005, Regal Group has achieved an impressive track record of completing more than 20 property development projects and constructed numerous property units in Kuching and Kota Samarahan area of East Malaysia in the past 10 years. Its diverse property portfolio includes shop houses, terrace houses, landed properties, condominiums, commercial and industrial units.
Today, the Group is developing Tropics City, a 600-unit mixed development project involving SOHOs, residential apartments and a mall in the prime district of Jalan Song in Kuching. The company has also expanded to Negri Sembilan and Bintulu. The mini-township project named Airtrollis in Negri Sembilan consists of 1104 units of apartments, shop houses and a mall, all located within the accessible vicinity of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA); while the company’s latest foray into Bintulu involved over 600 units of apartments, shop houses, a petrol station and a supermarket at Kemena Heights.
In 2014, Dominic made the bold move and initiated a reverse take-over of a Singapore listed company. He managed to list Regal Group on the mainboard of SGX and made the Regal Group the first East Malaysian property company to be listed. Today, Regal Group consists of over 20 subsidiaries and associated companies involved in a spectrum of activities in property development and other related activities.
Employing over 100 staff in Kuching and Singapore, Dominic is highly concerned about the well-being and professional development of the “members of the big Regal family”. “People are the reason for our success,” Dominic stated. “I value all staff in Regal. Without their commitment and faith, we would never have come so far.” Employees’ birthday parties, regular staff gatherings, company-wide festive celebrations and periodic enrichment programmes are contributing factors towards creating the harmonious Regal work culture. Employee development wise, Regal Group has been sending its staff for training and self-improvement classes on a regular basis. Internal sessions were also held where senior managers shared their experiences and expertise with lower-ranked staff in the company.
With an innate trust in his employees, who in turn also trusted him wholeheartedly, Dominic has always been the benevolent yet demanding boss who is more than willing to provide platforms and opportunities for the employees to realise their potential. Besides academic qualifications, Dominic is more appreciative of the entrepreneur and “can-do” attitudes in his people.
Perhaps a little unusual in terms of corporate practices, Regal Group adopts a very open policy towards employees changing departments and switching professions if they think will be better and happier. Dominic believes “Happiness is for everyone. It should be shared and given out, in order for it to come back to you, multiply and stay on.”
Under Dominic’s directive, Regal Group has been actively involved in charity works and philanthropic deeds involving orphanages, old folks homes, the Salvation Army and school donations in Kuching since early 2010. Company sponsored lunches for the needy at the Salvation Army and old folks homes were done regularly on a monthly basis, while special Ang Pows or essential items are given to the less fortunate during festive seasons such as Chinese New Year or Christmas.
A true-blue Sarawakian at heart, Dominic has immense pride in the lush and bountiful homeland. He is not only committed to offering help to the needy native communities on a regular basis, but harbours the dream of presenting Sarawak to the world. Through the Regal Group and its extensive connections, Dominic pledged to be the bridge connecting international investors to the abundant resources and opportunities in Malaysia and Sarawak, his much cherished Land of the Hornbills.