Foreword from the Chairman
It gives me great pleasure to introduce this chronicle of Sime Darby’s history, in conjunction with the 110th anniversary of the company’s establishment.
These 110 years have been an extraordinary journey for the company. Founded in the colonial era, it is one of the few companies that have survived for more than a century and ﬂourished through the years, blossoming into global players in their own right. From humble beginnings as a ﬁrm of rubber estate specialists, the company survived through two World Wars and the eclipse of the British Empire, and thrived in independent Malaysia. Throughout all this, the core characteristics of Sime Darby have been resilience, adaptability and the spirit to explore new markets and new businesses.
In the ﬁrst decade of the 21st century, Sime Darby underwent a transformation without precedent in Malaysia’s corporate history. In 2007, the Group merged with two other major Malaysian corporations—Kumpulan Guthrie Berhad and Golden Hope Plantations Berhad—to form the world’s largest oil palm plantation company in terms of planted area, and Malaysia’s leading diversiﬁed conglomerate with businesses in property development, the automotive industry, heavy equipment and engineering.
In the second decade of the new millennium, the company evolved yet again, into three pure play businesses in the plantation, property and trading sectors. Today, Sime Darby Berhad is a lean, focused and driven multinational that continues to share a great deal of commonality with the Sime Darby of 1910, not just in terms of business but also in ethos—that pioneering spirit, a global mindset, the desire for growth and the ability to endure challenges and obstacles.
It was not a smooth road, and we had our fair share of disruptions, but these challenges only made us stronger and more determined. Since the pure play exercise in 2017, the company, now focused on the industrial and motors businesses, has grown in leaps and bounds, expanding its business in its key markets in Asia Paciﬁc. Sime Darby Berhad is today a leading Caterpillar (Cat) dealer in Asia and one of the largest automotive players in the region.
In the context of all these changes, the publication of this book is timely: in these pages we see how the early founders of Sime Darby were determined to succeed, exploring new industries and opportunities, and constantly innovating while always being anchored deeply in integrity, accountability and sustainability. I personally believe that it is this foundation of governance and compliance that will see the company through the next century and ensure that the Sime Darby brand is one that is trusted and stands for fairness. Whatever business we are in, wherever we choose to operate, we must treat both our internal and external stakeholders with honesty and integrity.
I hope this book will serve as a useful reference for those interested in the evolution of corporate Malaysia as well as in the mercantile history of British Malaya—but above all, my wish is for this book to inspire the next generations of the Sime Darby family so that, in 110 years from now, our successors can look back on the same company, with the same DNA, and be just as proud as we are today.
Tan Sri Samsudin Osman
Chairman, Sime Darby Berhad