CMS: Nurturing people, sustaining communities


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As Cahya Mata Sarawak Berhad (CMS) goes about in its day-to-day business, the top management is also cognizant on the need to create long-term shared values for various stakeholders to secure the Group’s future.

“CMS was incorporated on Oct 8, 1974 and we will be celebrating our 46th anniversary next week. Throughout our history, we remained steadfast in balancing out our financial performance with responsible environmental and social considerations to ensure we deliver sustainable operations,” said the man in the driver’s seat, Dato Isaac Lugun.

CMS’ sustainability agenda forms part of the Group’s key foundation stones which embed sustainability as a culture, emphasising care for customers, environment, employees and the community. This ties in with the Group’s goal to become the “Most Admired Company in Sarawak”.

As a major employer in the State with a desire to develop and train highly-skilled local workforce, CMS makes an important economic contribution to the communities in which it operates. Its success to date is owing to strong ties with its employees.  It has built up a caring CMS family culture deeply rooted in its daily operations and among its people.


Caring for its people

Caring for its workforce is top of the list for CMS.  This comes across clearly when we speak to the employees of CMS who expressed loyalty and gratitude towards the Group.

Soft-spoken Edward Suka is grateful to CMS for the opportunity to fulfil his professional potential and the confidence entrusted by CMS to head the often-challenging human development department. He has been with the company for 26 years.

The mild-mannered Iban from Saratok said it’s rewarding working for CMS as the company provides good benefits, remuneration and excellent welfare for the staff and he feels blessed that he is the one taking charge of human resources as well as staff training, welfare and discipline.

“I’m proud to say the company treats its staff very well.  The management listens to the employees and tries to meet their expectations based on affordability and profitability.”

Azmi Hamit found out he had nasal cancer in March last year and felt like the world had crashed down on him. He could foresee a bleak future of painful and costly treatments.

“When I fell ill, CMS did not give up on me.  Instead, they went out of their way to help me.”

“It was the best help I could get from anyone. You could not imagine what it was like, having the huge burden of treatment costs taken off my shoulders. It lightened my family’s load in a way no one could imagine except my family and myself.

“The health benefits provided by CMS are real – not empty promises written on a piece of paper but commitments that will be honoured and fulfilled.”

“I believe no other company cares for its employees like CMS. My family and I are grateful that I have CMS as my employer,” he said.

The CMS ‘Doing Good’ Programme

Today, all the Group’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts come under the ambit of the ‘Doing Good & Building Sustainable Communities’ programme. Fuelled by employee volunteerism, this initiative underscores CMS’ endeavour to undertake tangible CSR initiatives that will create a lasting positive impact on communities across the State.

This program has its own Facebook page which sets out activities undertaken and importantly, also curates exemplary CSR initiatives from local and global sources to inspire others to follow suit.

Over the tenure of the CMS ‘Doing Good’ programme, CMS employee volunteers have invested 363,926 man-hours across 393 different projects. In recognition for its efforts, CMS clinched the Gold Award in the 2019 CSR Leadership Category in the Global CSR Summit and Awards, which is recognised as Asia’s most prestigious CSR awards.

To bolster ties with Sarawak’s diverse communities, CMS launched the ‘Building Sustainable Communities’ initiative under the ‘Doing Good’ banner in March 2019. The aim of this platform is to work with communities where CMS can truly make a long-term difference in the areas of uplifting lives, improving lifestyles and creating opportunities.

In 2019, CMS employees clocked in a total of 43,894 man-hours as they rolled out diverse CSR activities and raised a total of RM86,535 in funds that was distributed among local communities.

“Engagement efforts are underway on a Group-wide basis to foster employee volunteerism in a manner in which our people take strong ownership of CMS Doing Good projects that are relevant to their communities. At the same time, we will ensure corporate donations are redirected in a manner which truly impacts beneficiaries for the better,” said Isaac.

Building Sustainable Communities

CMS continues to make strong advances in its community engagement efforts to elevate the lives of people in communities across Sarawak. Special efforts were placed in the vicinity of Mambong where the CMS Integrated Cement (CMSCI) Plant is located.

Engaging and communication with Mambong communities are CMS’ priorities. Open dialogues take place annually involving the senior management of CMS, community leaders and village heads from the eight villages in and around the Mambong area to strengthen ties and understanding.

In addition, whenever there is a need to carry out surveys on quarry lands, the Group will first engage in open dialogue with the local communities to ensure that they are well informed of the activities and with no encroachment into natives’ lands.

CMSCI prioritizes the recruitment of candidates from local communities.  As of August 2019, more than 50 per cent of the Mambong Integrated Plant employees were from the surrounding villages.

CMS also made a difference to the younger generation. An English reading programme for primary students of SK St Augustine was initiated with the aim to improve the students’ English language.

Since its implementation in 2016, there has been an increase in the percentage of passes in English which in turn has contributed to the performance of the school. CMSCI continues to support SK St. Augustine Mambong through the provision of an annual grant of RM10,000.

Corporate Philanthropy

CMS remains committed to helping better society by lending financial support to causes that make a positive impact on local communities. Based on the Group’s Annual Report for 2019, RM1,740,587 was spent on philanthropic causes and donations.

All donations and sponsorships were made to charitable and sporting events within Sarawak. This includes rehabilitation of schools, subsidising water and electricity bills for mosques and sponsoring tourism and cultural events such as Sarawak’s flagship Rainforest World Music Festival.

Bringing it Forward

Several developments have taken place which demonstrate that CMS is on track with its agenda of sustainability. One of these is greater involvement by the Group’s leadership in sustainability initiatives. With stronger Board and Management oversight in this area, it has gained greater momentum and is being cascaded down across the organisation in a reinvigorated manner.

Isaac stressed that welfare begins at home, or in this case, at the workplace which is akin to a second home.

“Good performance comes from operating in a conducive working/living environment, where if your employees and community  (two important stakeholders of CMS) are well-taken care of then our aim of creating a performance-driven organisation, becoming a model for giving back to the community – in short ‘to be the most admired Company in Sarawak’ – is being met.  The CSR and sustainability initiatives of CMS in the past, the present and future will be carried out with that aim in mind”.

The CMS Group is focused on building a legacy while preserving the environment and minimising carbon footprint.  The long-term goal is to build a sustainable business without compromising its heritage.— DayakDaily