Interview with Hj. Mahmud, MD, Darussalam Holdings
Congratulations on winning the New Millennium Award, a prestigious award presented at the 36th International Award for the Tourist, Hotel and Catering Industry in Madrid, Spain.What does the award signify?
The award signifies the recognition given by an international organization for the efforts made in promoting tourism by Darussalam Holdings Sendirian Berhad. It also reflects the hardwork and effort as well as dedication of everyone in Darussalam Holdings Sendirian Berhad.
According to your Vision statement, your company aims to become one of the leading HAJ and UMRAH service providers and TRAVEL and TOUR operators in the Asia Pacific Region in the next 5 years. Clearly, you have set your goal way beyond Brunei and the ASEAN region. Tell us about the potential of this market that you are exploring.
There is definitely a huge potential outside of Brunei, especially in the tourism industry. We cannot be complacent and be satisfied only with the market within Brunei especially when we know it is very small based on the country’s population and there are many travel agents out there fighting for the same pie.
As such, going beyond Brunei and the ASEAN region is the right path and an early step not only to compliment the ASEAN region but at the same time promote Brunei Darussalam as well, as a travel destination to the other countries, before venturing further to other countries beyond the region. This will in return not just benefit Darussalam Holdings but also the country as a whole, boosting the economy and not relying only on the country’s primary resources. This effort would only be possible with the support from all relevant agencies whether from the private or the government sector.
What are the business principles you operate on?
As highlighted in our motto, ”Sentiasa Berkhidmat Dengan Petunjuk Allah” or “continuously providing service with the guidance of Allah”. With that in mind, our principle would always be to conduct our business in accordance to the teachings of Islam which is then translated in the day to day management and operations of the business. Providing good service to our customers, ensuring that they get products with value for money. Making effort to ensure logistic arrangements for our Muslim customers are cared for when traveling to certain countries, such as preparing prayer time-tables, ensuring food provided is Halal, doing research on the nearest halal restaurants and mosques.
Tell us about your company culture. Being a relatively small company, we are all like a big family. Supporting each other and providing service in order to achieve the vision and mission of the company, practising a Top-Down and Bottom-Up management style.
However we always strive for work-life balance to ensure that the employees of the company can always perform at their best. Weekly sports and social activities are organized to foster the relationship of the employees.
What advice do you have for the entrepreneurs in Brunei?
I believe there are many entrepreneurs out there far more experienced and have been in the business longer than us. We would probably still have a lot more to learn and a lot more experience to gain before we could give advices. All I could say is never give up in whatever we do, to conduct our business with honesty and patience and of course lastly to always seek for guidance and blessings from Allah. I hope with this award, it would be a motivator and proof to other entrepreneurs out there that even a small company from a small island can do the country proud in the big world.