Keeping It Real (Estate) With Tan Sri Abdul Rahim
What makes a good employer?
“You must always lead by example. If you expect your staff to be professional, you yourself have to be professional. In our profession, we must carry out your jobs to the satisfaction of your clients. Your staff must be able to trust you. If you they do not have confidence in you, you can never make it. Therefore, leadership is important.”
“You must work hard. Nothing comes easy, therefore, if you expect your staff to work hard, you yourself must work hard. Meaning, if you expect your staff to come in at 9am, you yourself must be at the office at 9am.”
“Share your profits. I share my profits with my staff. That means I will give them credit, bonus and increments where and when it’s due. Kalau makan ayam makan sekali, kalau makan ikan kering makan sekali … In other words, do not expect to earn all the money and keep all the money to yourself and not give some to your staff. That’s why I pride myself in having a low turnover rate. I have never had to retrench my staff. Of course, there are exceptions, such as when they do not act professionally, or if they are corrupt.”
Advice for buying into real estate
“You must always buy within your means. First of all, if you can only afford a RM300,000 house, don’t go and buy a RM1,000,000 one. You must look at your capability of repaying.”
“Location is important. Location of the property is very crucial. You must always consider the nearness and convenience to your place of work, because there’s no point in buying a house that’s further but cheaper, but you’re going to spend a lot of money on transport. So, it must be at the right location, at the right time.”
“Do not be pressured. Though it is the aspiration of every parent for their children to own homes, if you cannot buy one, there is no harm in renting one. The mentality of having to own a home as soon as possible must be changed. You shouldn’t commit yourself to a home if you cannot afford it. Save enough money, pay the deposit and make sure you also have enough to pay off the loan. So always be prudent in making these sorts of decisions.”
Though it is the aspiration of every parent for their children to own homes, if you cannot buy one, there is no harm in renting one. The mentality of having to own a home as soon as possible must be changed.
Who are the most important figures in your life?
“My mother. She was not educated. In her own way, she was successful in life, in terms of doing business. In our day, one of the things she did was to buy chicken. She journeyed almost half a day to get the chicken to sell it when she came back, and made money out of it. She then had enough to set up shop. That inspired me to be in business.
"My father. In the 1950s before Merdeka, there was very little opportunity for secondary schools in Kelantan. In those days, secondary schools were English schools. And at that time, it was considered haram (forbidden) to send your kids to an English school. Despite that, my father, who was a teacher, made sure I got the education and got through secondary school. He inspired me because being a teacher in those days, being paid peanuts, he was able to raise three children and made sure I went to school.
"My late wife, Puan Sri Zainab. She was the one who was always behind me in all the decisions that I made, especially in starting this business. And because I wanted to open a business of my own, she left her teaching profession to join me full-time as an estate agent. Like they say, behind every successful man there is a woman. And that is virtually what my wife was to me.”
What are the best strips of advice you can offer someone?
1. Nothing comes easy in life, you have to work hard.
2. You have to fight for your place in society.
3. You must always be considerate and kind to people.
4. Never create enemies.
5. When the time comes for you to raise your family, you must ensure that your children get their education.
6. You must never forget your roots.
Those familiar with Rahim & Co must know that the company’s slogan is inspired by its chairman who lives by the same saying: “Anything worth doing is worth doing well. I believe in doing a job well. I’d rather not do a job or accept a job if I know that I cannot carry it out,” he explained.
And one thing that Tan Sri Abdul Rahim does exceptionally well is taking good care of his staff. “I have absolute pride in saying that we have the lowest turnover rate when it comes to staff. I never had to retrench, with exceptions to those who do not behave professionally. When this happens, I will confront them, tell them what they have done wrong, and explain that we have no alternative but to let them go. If we don’t do that, the contribution to the company and society would be lost.”