Al-Fatihah: Tan Sri S. M. Nasimuddin

Tan Sri S. M. Nasimuddin S. M. Amin (25 Jan 1955 - 1 May 2008)

The founder, chairman and chief executive officer of the Naza Group passed-away untimely at the age of 53, 1.15am on Friday (Malaysian time) in Los Angeles, where he was undergoing treatment for cancer.

The low-profile businessman founded the Naza Group in 1974, starting his automobile business with an allocation of Approved Permits (APs) to import foreign cars, and made his first million in about a year.

The Group, formed in 1974, has 14 business divisions including motor trading, bikes, manufacturing, transport services, machine tools/parts, engineering, plantation, cigarette distribution, credit & leasing, water crafts, properties, hotel operation and insurance agency.

Last month it ventured into the food business by launching the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurant and Market, but still remains most known for its automotive business, holding the local franchise for South Korea's Kia and France's Peugeot, as well as import permits for Mercedes Benz and Mazda.

Born in 1955, Nasimuddin was always interested in cars and the automobile industry. He studied at Sekolah Menengah Tuanku Muhammad in Kuala Pilah, Negri Sembilan.
In 1974, when he was 19, he had RM80,000 in his bank account which he saved from his remunerations from helping out his contractor father.

Going into business
With the RM80,000 he bought 20 APs and then flew to Japan. He spent three months there and brought in his first 20 units of used Japanese cars, which he sold in three months.He made his first million in about a year.

Nasimuddin started his automobile business with a shoplot in Taman Maluri selling 10 to 15 units of cars each month. In 1979, he opened a branch in Kampung Baru, Kuala Lumpur doing retail and selling 40 to 60 cars monthly.

During those years, Nasimuddin had already shown his business acumen when he decided to import used Japanese cars at a time when Japanese cars were popular with Malaysians.

He faced some challenges, including financing and how to convince customers to buy used cars when many were then not keen on foreign cars. But his passion and faith in the business drove him to success.

“To succeed you must love what you do and you must know what you are doing. You must plan ahead and have direction,” he said. “In business you must start from small, study everything and go step by step.”

Despite being a highly successful and wealthy businessman, Nasimuddin says he has not changed much. “The only difference is that I started off with five employees and now I have about 4,000,” he claims.

The Naza Group now has 14 business divisions covering industries such as cigarette distribution, credit and leasing, engineering, hotels, insurance, machine tools and parts, manufacturing, motorcycles, property, transport services, plantations and water craft.

He owned TTDI Development which is one of the most prominent real estate companies in Kuala Lumpur.

The Naza Group currently holds the Malaysian franchise for South Korea's Kia vehicles, and France's Peugeot vehicles. It also holds the import permits for Mazda vehicles. Naza has now also become the biggest and most prominent importer of luxury high-end vehicles like Mercedes Benz in Malaysia with endeavours such as Naza-Brabus.

He was reported to be interested in buying a 40% interest and taking over Malaysia's national carmaker, Proton, which was reported to be in financial turmoil. He stated that he had already drawn his plan in turning around Proton if the Malaysian government gave the nod for him to buy a controlling stake of the company.[1] He planned to build a RM1.2 billion factory in Bertam, Penang.

In April 2008, he ventured into the food business by launching the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Restaurant and Market.

Former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad described Nasimuddin as an example of the New Economic Policy's (NEP) success, Bernama reported.

He said Nasimuddin had an extraordinary approach in developing his business, starting with selling imported used cars from Japan and then going on to collaborating with foreign companies to produce and sell local cars under his own brand name.

"He proved that the NEP was capable of producing successful bumiputras if they seized the available opportunities well. If all had the same opportunities and did what he had done, we may have achieved more than the NEP objectives," Dr Mahathir told Bernama.

Awards and Recognition
In appreciation of his services and contributions, he was bestowed with several awards, which among others, include the federal award Panglima Setia Mahkota (P.S.M.) by His Majesty Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong, which carries the title Tan Sri.

Tan Sri SM Nasimuddin SM Amin received one of South Korea’s highest awards for his contribution to the automotive industry. He received the Presidential Award industrial service medal from South Korean ambassador to Malaysia Son Sang-Ha, on behalf of the President of South Korea, at a ceremony at the embassy in Malaysia. He is the first Malaysian to have received the award

A lifelong smoker, Nasimuddin died of lung cancer in a California Hospital, Los Angeles, USA on May 1, 2008. He was 53 years old. His sudden death makes a big blow to the Malaysian automotive industry. His body was brought back to Malaysia and laid to rest at Batu 9 Muslim Cemetery in Hulu Langat, Selangor.

He leaves behind his wife Puan Sri Zaleha and five children. His body was flown home and the funeral held in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday 4th May 2008.

With the death of his father, Tan Sri Sheikh Mohd Nasimuddin, many people guessing who will continue the legacy. But I believe those in corporate world know that the late Tan Sri has groomed his son SM Faisal in the corporate world and he has been in the management of NAZA for quite a while as:

  • Chief Executive Officer of Naza Italia
  • Vice President of NAZA Group
  • Most Promising Young Man 2006
May his family would garner strength in facing the tragic loss of Allahyarham SM Nasimuddin.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Belated as it may...i would like to salute the late Tan Sri for he truly is a great businessman who did good with what little opportunity he had in the beginning.
As the saying goes....the good always die