Ace Of Architecture

Malaysian Institute of Architects (PAM) President Ar. Ezumi Harzani Ismail exudes a calm and pleasant disposition. A veteran in the field of architecture, the Director of Akitek MAA Sdn Bhd is however also resolute at heart in carrying out his objectives.

He says his motivation stems from his childhood which was inspired by his  late  great grandfather who was a strict but a diligent and disciplined man.

“My life principles are based from his ways of doing things,” he shares.

Ezumi says his great-grandfather was a carpenter who single-handedly built the family’s kampung house in Kelantan which he grew up in.

He recalls admiring the intricate  craftmanship mainly utilising natural resources like timber, nibong and bamboo from the nearby village forest.

He also credits his late father who was an art teacher in several colleges from 1970 – 1992, as being an inspiration to him. He was chiefly instrumental in having encouraged Ezumi to take up art.

In addition to this, his art teacher Faridah Paimin during his college years further inspired his interest in this subject matter.

When he entered university, he discovered that there was an option to  pursue architectural studies at the School of Housing, Building and Planning (HBP) in University of Science Malaysia.

He found this to be a good option since the coursework had elements of design for him to express his artistic inclinations.

EARLY START

Ezumi recalls his early years of trials and tribulations before becoming an architect. Petroliam Nasional Bhd (Petronas) sponsored his first degree in HBP (Architecture) which is equivalent to the Board of Architects Malaysia (LAM) Part 1 qualification. To qualify as a full architectural graduate, one has to also qualify LAM Part 2 as a master degree programme.

Unfortunately, Ezumi did not manage to secure a second scholarship. Therafter, he pondered to find a solution. He finally managed to secure a job to finance his Part 2 programme.

In 1997, Ezumi decided to move to Kuala Lumpur and joined Akitek MAA Sdn Bhd as a design architect.

However, during the Asian Financial Crisis of 1998, he was retrenched.

“I was fortunate when an international company hired me as their project architect. There, I gained skills in interior design works for a hotel chain,” he says.

It was only a short span before he rejoined Akitek MAA. He then decided to be a professional architect by obtaining the LAM 3 qualification. In 2005, he became Partner and Director of Akitek MAA.

LED BY FIRM DECISIONS

Ezumi is a believer in leading by example.

“Being the President of PAM, I prefer to get the facts prior to decision making Therafter, I will make a firm stand based on the decision taken,” he adds.

Ezumi expects his subordinates to be efficient. Everyone has different interests and capabilities hence, he expects any task given to be handled well.

His admiration for the works of Hijjas Kasturi, a postmodern architect who designed Menara Tabung Haji, and Dato’ Mir Shariman who designed Menara Dayabumi together with Kam Pak Cheong have helped intensify his interest in architecture.

Commenting on the homefront, Ezumi wishes he can have more hours in a day. Although he has a busy schedule, dinner with his family is a priority.

“My weekends are mostly spent at home but I have to admit that sometimes, I also work from home too,” he adds. 

HOT PROPERTY INVESTMENT TIPS

Ezumi agrees it is always good to invest in properties although he is not a big-time investor himself. To him, a good deal is made more certain when a potential buyer has done his homework beforehand.

Being involved in the real estate industry, he has the advantage of getting information on new developments around the city ahead of time.

His advice to first-time property buyers is to bear in mind that the first property buy is not necessarily the property that one would live in for the rest of one’s life.

“Start with a property that you can afford now instead of saving and waiting too long for that perfect home at the perfect location,” adds Ezumi.

POSITIVE OUTLOOK

The property market has softened in the past three years but it didn’t come as a surprise for Ezumi. Unlike the recession of 1997, he says people are now better prepared in facing the current slowdown.

“Although the property market has softened, property prices have not shown any signs they would dwindle. Therefore, it is good if people do not rush to dispose their properties,” says Ezumi.

He opines that a slight drop in the pricing of high-end residential properties can rebounce later. This keeps price balance in place and can stabilise market price too.

An analysis done by the World Bank he says shows that signs of a global recovery will come around.

“A spectrum of recovery is coming whereby China’s currency will rebound and the recovery of the palm oil market will take place. In addition, improvements in the capital market too are good signs of economic recovery,” shares Ezumi.

Nevertheless, he says the market will still remain soft for the rest of 2017, with property prices expected to remain steady. This makes it a viable period to buy properties, he reiterates.

The government, Ezumi adds, has made wise moves to invest in infrastructure development which includes mass rapid transit (MRT), light rail transit (LRT) extension lines, highways, upgrade in utility supplies and more. All these additional infrastructure developments will add to the value of properties in the surrounding areas, he opines further.

“Developers are also ready to kick-off Transit Oriented Developments (TOD) projects in view of the pending economic recovery and investors are getting ready to grab the coming opportunities,” says Ezumi.

PROSPECTIVE PLANS

Ezumi’s objectives for PAM is to elevate the architecture profession to a higher level, being an affiliate of the construction industry. Following the  lead of previous agendas set by the past PAM President, Ezumi will continue the good plans already set in place via pursuing current goals with intensified engagements with policy makers and members of related professions in the real estate industry. He also encourages members to advocate quality of services and professionalism in carrying out their responsibilities.

In the long run, Ezumi hopes that engagements among the stakeholders and the public can raise further awareness on the importance of architecture to create better cities in the future.

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