An Interview with Ramlie Kamsari

CEO and Executive Director of CIMB-Principal Islamic Asset Management, Ramlie Kamsari talks about TalentCorp’s support and Malaysia’s working culture

by / Published: 22 May 2014

An Interview with Ramlie Kamsari

Content sponsored by TalentCorp

The CEO and Executive Director of CIMB-Principal Islamic Asset Management, Ramlie Kamsari, is no stranger to Malaysian shores. Hailing from Singapore, he talks about TalentCorp’s support and Malaysia’s working culture.

I have to say it is immensely gratifying to be recognised under the Resident Pass–Talent (RP–T) initiative. Having been in Malaysia for ten years, I feel it’s also an acknowledgement of the services I’ve put into CIMB and the country as a whole. In my line of work, I’ve been involved in many initiatives led by bodies such as the Securities Commission Malaysia and Bank Negara; I feel I’ve contributed to the development of Malaysia’s Islamic finance industry in one way or another.
TalentCorp acted as a one-stop centre when it came to my residence pass application; not just for me, but for my wife and children too. Previously, I had to deal with so many agencies, but my experience in receiving the RP–T was very smooth, efficient and fast. It was brilliant. If I recall, I’d just gotten back from a business trip. I went to TalentCorp directly from KLIA, with my documentation ready. The total experience, from the time I stepped in and left the office, was very pleasant and hassle-free.
The TalentCorp officer assigned to me was very helpful and supportive too. I was feeling quite fatigued after coming back from the business trip, but everything was done to my satisfaction.
For expatriates, especially someone who’s setting foot in Malaysia or the region for the very first time, the RP–T takes away a lot of stress, allowing you to focus on what’s important such as settling into your job and making sure that your family’s doing fine, either at home or at school.
Malaysia offers you the freedom to think outside the box. There are guidelines, but there are also broad areas where you can exercise discretion, initiative and tactfulness. You can navigate your way to the best of your ability to produce the best results.
Everyone might not be following the same path, but combined, you get a more superior outcome. In Malaysia, when you come across a stumbling block whilst doing something on your own, you seek out friends, associates and partners to help overcome the barrier—that’s where collaboration and innovation happens.
I like the fact that Malaysians are generally very personable and they take time to develop genuine relationships too. I’ve built a wonderful circle of friends in my ten years here, which extends to the family and our kids.
Even though Malaysia and Singapore are close neighbours, I had to make some initial adjustments when it came to work culture. The natural pace in Singapore may be much faster and more driven. That said, I feel Malaysia’s work culture is just as dynamic while allowing talents room to grow professionally. Looking back, I realise that I did not really understand the audience I was working with. Over time, I learned to tweak and mix my leadership skills. 
My philosophy has always been that you should try to find positivity in every challenge. When it comes to work, I believe that in order for me to succeed, my team members have to succeed as well. I used my experiences to develop a platform that allows me to engage my team more, relying on their feedback too.
It’s from this engagement and consultation process that you find the perfect equilibrium to work effectively as a team.
I consider myself a global citizen—I can base myself anywhere—but Malaysia’s provided me with the one-of-a-kind opportunity to achieve my global ambitions through what I’m doing. I’m at the epicentre of where I want to be in Islamic finance.
As CEO and Executive Director of CIMB-Principal Islamic Asset Management, a company with world class aspirations, I’m given the platform and facility that enable me to achieve global targets, be it my own or the company’s. I relish the challenge to do well for myself and CIMB too.
Malaysia has a very strong focus and commitment in becoming the top player of Islamic finance internationally. There’s plenty of support coming from the Government, authorities and regulators to ensure the industry’s success.
It’s great for CIMB; we’re ASEAN-based and this gives us the chance to rise as a global leader in Islamic banking.
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