Faizal Othman Chief Executive Officer
Many of us do not consider what happens after we flush the toilet or pour the remnants of our food down the sink. As long as it is out of sight (and smell), it is out of mind. Of course, we will start thinking (and complaining) about it if the waste were to accumulate, resulting in a public health and hygiene crisis. Thankfully, Indah Water Konsortium (IWK) is there to ensure that such as possibility – not matter how remote – will not come to pass. Since its founding in 1994, IWK has been at the forefront of providing wastewater treatment to most of Malaysia, and in doing so help to safeguard our environment and well-being. Its CEO, Faizal Othman, speaks with International Business Review.
Presently, IWK is best known as being the national sewage treatment company. As wonderful a job as it has done so far, it aims to be more than that. It aims to evolve beyond domestic wastewater into treating industrial wastewater as well as those from nonpoint sources such as wastewater from the roads that flow into the drains. This, Faizal Othman, explained, is part and parcel of IWK’s rebranding programme, which is reflected in its vision to be “The Premier Wastewater Company”.
Of course for IWK to achieve its vision, it needs to set a proper course to follow. It did this in 2017, with the commencement of the IWK Transformation Programme 2020, which comprises four different themes – one for each year up to and including 2020. 2017 focused on Manpower Excellence, 2018 on Innovation, 2019 on Diversification, and 2020 will be when the vision to be “The Premier Wastewater Company” is realised.
This has encouraged staff to be more innovative, and with that IWK is setting the foundations for it to become a more effective services and solutions provider. One of Faizal’s aims, for instance, is to change the way treated wastewater is used in the country. Currently, after the solids (sludge) have been separated from the liquids at the treatment plant, the former is sent to a landfill for disposal while the latter is discharged into the river, after being treated.
While the discharge of treated water into the rivers help clean the rivers, it can also be used for industrial purposes. For instance, factories in Selangor alone use around 5,000 to 6,000 millions of litres of water per day (MLD). This is potable water, which people also drink. Since waters used in industries do not need the same treatment as drinking water, the ideal solution would be for factories to use treated wastewater for their operations. This, along with the use of sludge as biofuel, are two of the innovative ideas that Faizal has in mind.
It is clear that IWK is more than just a sewage company or even a wastewater treatment company, it is also a company that is very concerned with the environment and sustainability. This is why its CEO is optimistic about the changes happening in Malaysia, as he noted the new government’s strong commitment to sustainability.
It should also be noted that IWK is regarded as one of the top performing wastewater treatment companies in the region. This can be seen in how similar companies from countries such as Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines send their staff for training at the Indah Water Training Centre.
Through continued focus on innovation and excellence, Faizal Othman hopes to secure IWK’s reputation as an industry leader in wastewater treatment and in doing so establish Malaysia as a hub of knowledge in this discipline for the region.