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Building dreams: Gan Kok Seong

For Gan Kok Seong, there is no compromise when it comes to quality. As General Manager of UMLand, Gan is the driving force of its construction division, steering at the front line of the property development giant’s residential developments.


Based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, UMLand is an award-winning property development company with urban and commercial projects spread across the country. The company specialises in residential developments, integrated mixed developments, shopping malls, hotels and serviced apartments.

When Iskandar Malaysia became the hotspot for development in Malaysia, the company intensified its focus on this area. Today, UMLand is a major player in this region with flagship residential developments and self-contained cities proudly bearing the UMLand stamp.

“We have been delivering quality products for more than 25 years,” says Gan. “UMLand Builders Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary of UMLand Bhd, is a construction company, but we build homes and dreams. Each resident is like family to us – their lifestyle goals are our goals too and we will always strive to be better because of this.”

“Each resident is like family to us – their lifestyle goals are our goals too.”

It comes as no surprise that UMLand has earned a reputation as a trusted brand. From integrated townships and business hubs to serviced residences and upscale condominiums, UMLand has been delivering quality residential and commercial properties since it was founded in 1994.

While UMLand is known for its strong foothold in Iskandar Malaysia, its property portfolio is spread throughout other areas in Malaysia.

The company operates two development divisions: the Township Division, which delivers mixed township developments; and the Niche Division, which is responsible for developing serviced residences and mixed developments. Gan leads the building business unit within this.


UMLand believes and practises the design of sustainable developments for all projects, and its green efforts have been recognised. In 2018, the company’s Amari Johor Bahru hotel was awarded a Green Mark Gold Award. Low-energy, high-efficiency components are a hallmark of UMLand developments, as are innovative design and infrastructure components, with the company constantly adapting to the changing landscape.

Upgrading operational efficiencies is a priority for the company. To achieve this, UMLand regularly undertakes ISO Certification to monitor its operational efficiency.

“We’re constantly trying to improve our workflows, adapt to changing needs in the workplace and upgrade our equipment and work practices,” says Gan. “Our goal is to achieve a benchmark of excellence in our processes and operations while engaging subcontractors that work optimally and are able to deliver results that match our high standards. This is how we’re able to deliver quality, world-class developments on time, and to a standard we’re proud of, surpassing our clients’ expectations.”

The recently completed Suasana Iskandar Malaysia is an example of the calibre of quality accommodation developed by UMLand. This prestigious development features an internationally branded hotel, entertainment and retail hub and a 36-storey service residence tower.

This development forms an integral part of Johor Bahru city’s redevelopment and transformation. UMCity Medini is a project currently under development that is envisaged as a commercial hub for the urban dweller.

With its exciting and innovative development concepts, the company is taking its clients and the residents of Iskandar Malaysia into the future.

UMLand has a deep commitment to continuous growth and innovation. The company’s ability to infuse new technology and foster efficiency ensures they are at the forefront of development excellence in Malaysia.

The rise of prefabricated buildings is an example of how the company will put smart building techniques into practice in UMLand’s construction portfolio.


“Offsite construction will allow us to fine-tune the management of our project scheduling, budget and skilled labour requirements,” advises Gan. “By moving in this direction, UMLand will be able to control the quality and speed of construction to become even more hyper-organised and structured while minimising wastage.

“With our current production practices, we are heavily dependent on manual labour. With a shortage of skilled workers, automation of our processes will help reduce worker management issues. Construction can happen in a controlled environment.”

“We’re seeing offsite factories being used in Singapore and China with impressive construction speeds and results.
I think prefabricated buildings offer an exciting opportunity, and it’s an area UMLand is seriously exploring. The main priorities for developers will always be quality and timeliness of completion. Prefabricated construction achieves both.”

UMLand has a collaborative approach towards working with subcontractors and business partners. The company has worked in partnership with suppliers and contractors to deliver quality and smart homes for Suasana Iskandar.

“UMLand cultivates strong partnerships. It’s a way of maximising standard operating procedures, technology and knowledge,” says Gan. “It’s also equally important for us to have healthy relationships with each of the subcontractors in our supply chain – from senior executives to labourers on the ground. By understanding the individual roles and needs of our supply chain vendors, we can work more cohesively with them for the long term. “That definitely requires people management skills.

I think that’s the most challenging part of the job: getting the work done on time and at the quality expected of our company. We have a blend of cultures working together, which is another element to manage.”

Within the team, everyone is working for a common goal and heading in the same direction. “Although I’m results driven, we ensure each member of our team is motivated and passionate in their role to do quality work, and this I believe is what makes UMLand so successful,” Gan says.

“We ensure each member of our team is motivated and passionate in their role.”

“We have a great culture. It’s an excellent place to work and our executives contribute to this culture by being open, approachable and very supportive.

“I’ve been with the company for 19 years, and I’ve seen it grow during this time. It’s very rewarding to complete each project and be excited to transition onto the next. I know we can make a positive impact on those who choose UMLand residences as their home.”

With all the people and processes in place, it’s clear there will be more UMLand developments appearing on the Iskandar Malaysia skyline in the future.

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