The Young Engineer
Nelson was immersed in the world of engineering from an early age. Curious about how time works, he opened his father’s Timex watch with a steel nail.
“At the age of 7, I wanted to know why the arrows were rotating clockwise, but not reversing. Since I didn’t have any equipment, I used a steel nail. That’s how my very first engineering started”.
When he was 9 years old, he tried driving his father’s car, accidentally reversing it into a lime tree. Then, he conducted his own experiment by inspecting the car’s internal parts.
“My father used to say that I’ve made big mistakes. Nevertheless, I won’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for the mistakes”.
The Young Businessman
Watching the Chinese bosses coming to his village in Mercedes-Benz to pay their estate workers, Nelson wondered when he would own his own Mercedes-Benz, and provide salary to his employees.
At the age of 10, he was inspired by an ice-cream man.
“The first business hero in my life was the ice cream man at my estate. He sells homemade ice cream at 5 sen each. Those days, I need to clean at least 500 rubber tree containers to earn 5 sen from my mother. You can get a lot of things with that money. Yet, the ice cream man was able to earn the 5 sen very easily”!
To be mindful of the past struggles, Nelson still collects coins in his personal coin box.
Journey to Kuala Lumpur
At the age of 20, Nelson realized that there were not many developing industries in Sungai Siput. His father encouraged him to join the Associated Pan Malaysia Cement (APMC), one of the biggest cement factories in Kanthan. Knowing the risky working environment, Nelson refused the offer and left his estate.
He took his motorcycle, followed the express bus all the way to Pudu Raya. He had no place to stay, hence, he slept in a temple for a few nights.
His first job in KL started in Dunlop as a temporary tyre maker for almost a year.
He married his childhood friend from school. They have 3 daughters together.
How He Became Mr Nelson Murugan
Nelson stayed at a quarters house in Old Klang Road, where his neighbors are mostly Christians.
“One of my neighbors, Mr. Nelson Narayan, always brings me to his church. I listened to his speech. Eventually, I was really touched by the words of God. Therefore, I’ve included his name in mine”.
Nelson received a few working opportunities from his neighbors. That was when he got a license to drive children from the quarters houses to attend Sunday School.
Pursuing His Passion
For Nelson, effort is the major key to success. He started his first company, known as PMN (Periannan Murugan Nelson) Dispatch Services, and invited his acquaintances from Sungai Siput to work for him. Apart from delivering letters, Nelson produces press releases for his clients.
Few years later, Nelson had a chance to visit New Zealand. He used the opportunity to import beverages such as skim milk powder, honey lemon juice and so on into the Malaysian market.
Upon returning to Malaysia, he drove a Limousine as a parttime job. One day, he picked up the General Manager at Mitsui Corporation Malaysia, Hidayaki Hori, from Subang airport.
Hidayaki invited Nelson for dinner at his hotel the following night. They had a long thoughtful conversation.
“Hidayaki said anyone can drive Limousine. It does not require any special skills. He motivated me to pursue what I have learned as an engineering student”.
The meet up with Hidayaki prompted Nelson to sell his car. He bought some equipment, and went from house to house to offer plumbing services.
In 1995, Indah Water Konsortium (IWK) was established. Nelson was approached by Mr. Din Sariat Para, a humble Kelantanese man. He was a unit manager at Pandan IWK which was the biggest sewerage treatment plant in that area. They exchange ideas on sewerage treatment plants development and technology.
In 1996, Nelson gave up his part time job as a Limousine driver, and registered Berjaya Sewerage Services Sdn Bhd.
“I named it Berjaya because I want it to be successful”.
From one man show startup to almost 350 employees, Berjaya Sewerage Services Sdn Bhd took over almost 3000 units in Klang Valley for sewerage maintenance.
In 1997, Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah, the founder of Sunway Group opened the Sunway Lagoon Resort. Nelson was approached by their chief engineer, Mr Hugin for emergency services.
They have been working together ever since.
In 1991, Nelson completed his advanced Diploma in Engineering, majoring in Civil and Environmental Engineering at the Methodist Institute of Technology, Canada.
From 1991 to 1993, he worked with the United Nation in Cambodia for procurement. He traveled to numerous Asian countries (Thailand, Papua New Guinea, India, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Philippine, Sudan, etc.), looking for new opportunities in timber related business, as well as oil and gas companies.
Motivating and Inspiring Youth
Successful people are generally willing to share what it really takes to make things happen. Nelson continuously guides those who are interested in sewerage services and environmental engineering. He encourages entrepreneurship in young people.
He always says, “Be your own boss. Don’t work for someone else”.