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The Tenacious HealthPreneur DREAM, BELIEVE, ACHIEVE


“Rough Road Leads to the Heights of Greatness – Mr. Ng Kee Wei, CEO of AM PM Pharmacy Sdn Bhd”

A Healthcare Entrepreneurship

As the interview ended and everybody stood up to leave, he picked up the trays, emptied them and put them on top of McDonald’s waste bin, a practice seldom observed here in Malaysia. Yet it is not surprising as the figure in question is a man with a desire to make the world greener, one who is passionate about sustainable living.

The softly spoken, friendly and articulate young gentleman is none other than the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of AM PM Pharmacy Sdn Bhd, an expanding retail pharmaceutical chain, Mr Ng Kee Wei. Graduated as a pharmacist from The University of Sunderland, United Kingdom, Mr Ng had once dreamed of becoming a cattle farmer but ended up being ‘Healthpreneur’ of a pharmacy chain with an extensive 10 branches, employing more than 100 team members throughout the state of Johor. A ‘Go Green’ initiative has been implemented in all the outlets to promote sustainable living while the innovative endeavour of a ‘pharmacy-cum-cafe’ is on the horizon. When asked why he chose Pharmacy as his field of study, Mr Ng recounted the event that would prove to be the turning point in his life.

A Prescription That Set Forth the Path

The episode took place during Mr Ng’s voluntary stint at a local pharmacy in Tawau, Sabah, after he had completed his Sijil Pendidikan Malaysia examination. A lady in red had walked into the pharmacy one day seeking medication for abdominal pain. After careful evaluation of her condition, Mr Ng prescribed Lomotil and Buscopan as treatment but spending days worrying about his prescription. Three days later, the lady returned with appreciation and gratitude which left him touched and encouraged. A sense of satisfaction and fulfilment overwhelmed him and the decision to pursue a pharmacy degree was made.

At college, Mr Ng took his studies seriously as he grew in maturity and started to outgrow his teenage self. At university, he continued to work hard to overcome English language barriers in achieving academic success. “The secret is being brave to speak and being thick-skinned”, as he jovially shared his language learning curve.

After completed his Bachelor of Pharmacy degree, Mr Ng had worked at Moss The Chemist in the UK before returning to Malaysia in 2001. Upon returning home, he worked with Guardian Pharmacy in Johor Bahru, Johor for six months before setting up his own company AM PM Pharmacy in 2002. Despite lacking empirical experience in the pharmacy industry, his determination, focus and a never faltering belief in his dream led him to his success.

A Commitment to People and Society

With a people-oriented management style, Mr Ng considers his employees as treasured assets of the company. There is a whiteboard in the corner of his office dedicating to AM PM staff to express their feelings. He would even extends his thanks right down to the security guard before going home. Hence, he is affectionally dubbed the ‘gaffer’ by his staff as he is regarded not so much as a boss but an overseer, a foreman who appreciates their contribution. More recently, Mr Ng has expanded his focus on community-based initiatives as he sees the need to facilitate a strong, mutually beneficial relationships with the local community while promoting healthcare. The notion of corporate social responsibility (CSR) has prompted him to assume a role in promoting CSR activities and the setting up of a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) namely Evercare is in the process of formation.

Spiral Road of Success

The company’s continued commitment to customer and society triggered us to ask Mr Ng, on how he manages his company in this way. After a moment of sketching, Mr Ng held up a paper to show an image that he drew. A long road that spiral between two mountains. Even though he’s a pretty bad drawer for a CEO of a company, we realized the quality of the drawing was not the concern. And he answered our question in one sentence, “By not giving up”. He explained further, “You are standing on top of a mountain. Imagine you are traveling towards another mountain with your favourite vehicle – which is your career. While you’re concentrating on the driving, you realise that the longer you travel, the road gets tougher – it’s spiralling and full of sharp blind turns.

As the saying goes, the greatest success requires toughest journey, I don’t believe in shortcuts, which are nothing but the longest distances between two points. The only way for me to reach success is to pass through the rough path in front me.

My job as a CEO is to lead my team towards the final destination without giving up. The rough road and sharp blind turns are the challenges that make us stronger towards the end of the line, and in order for us to reach there, the team must carry three philosophies in common, which I’m deeply passionate about. Firstly, our company’s culture, core values and believes. Secondly, vision and mission, and thirdly, the synergistic value enhancement.

Again, the message is simple. Never give up.”

Today, the man of this story is looking to the future and lining up towards IPO achievement for AM PM Pharmacy.

Our best wishes to the man who has forgotten how to give up.

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