Jeremiah rises to the challenge at SDB despite disabilities

Publicly-listed boutique property developer Selangor Dredging Berhad (SDB) has always been committed to creating greater awareness and giving back to the community by embarking on innovative corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives that not only provide support but also employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities or who are differently abled.

During these trying times, the adverse effect of the pandemic has not only affected the employment opportunity of ordinary people also those who are less fortunate, particularly people with learning disabilities. 

“We are conscious of the employment difficulties faced by individuals with learning disabilities in the working world. The reality is that there are only a handful of companies out there that are fully prepared to employ and provide appropriate support for them in the workplace,” said SDB group managing director Teh Lip Kim.

SDB believes that there are many potential talents that are yet to be recognized and absorbed into the job market. And by having disability inclusion into our workforce, the company is able to give back as much to society while having better access to these uncharted qualified talents – in line with its commitment and brand promise of “Driving Excellence, Building Lifelong Relationships.

To date, SDB has embarked into several CSR initiatives namely, One-Two-Juice, One-Two-Wash, One-Two-Gift and latest project, One-Two-Boost. The main objective of these initiatives is to create greater awareness on the importance of creating equal opportunities for such individuals to have a sense of belonging in society as they acquire skills to become independent. 

In addition, SDB has also expanded its disability inclusion into the corporate workforce to help nurture such individual’s strength – to do their best work according to their capabilities.

One of the newcomers to SDB’s workforce includes Jeremiah Leong Cheok Weng (pic) who started his career as an Account Assistant at SDB in May this yar, in hope that he could grow as both a person and professional, while contributing value to the organisation.

According to his therapist from Bridging Hope, Peggy Lam, Jeremiah possesses Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Executive Functioning Disorder where he faces difficulty in problem solving and will struggle if he is unable to plan, organise, and deal with issues associated with his working memory. He will also feel anxious if the tasks require him to interact with others as he lacks self-confidence in his communication skills.

“Generally, individuals struggling with Executive Functioning Disorder will have challenges dealing with working memory and overloaded information. However it can be resolved by strengthening through exercises and strategies such as ensuring routine tasks are broken down into smaller parts to ensure prioritization,” said Peggy. “Jeremiah will feel more comfortable and confident if his work is structured and expected where he learns best and works better when guidelines are provided to him.”

As an Account Assistant, Jeremiah is given the opportunity to lend a helping hand to the team by performing accounting activities including but not limited to payment transactions, bank reconciliation, fillings and other billing needs.

Jeremiah has issues with executive functioning and he faces difficulty in understanding the communication and instructions provided to him. That said, however, Jeremiah possesses vital skills such as having sustained attention and goal-oriented persistence that allows him to focus on the people and work assigned to him for a period of time.

“I tend to feel more comfortable and confident if the work is structured and prioritised. When there are different approaches that arise, I would then ask why things are done in different ways as this would help me understand what’s needed,” said Jeremiah

Jeremiah also shared that he is thankful for the guidance he received throughout his tenure at SDB along with the variety of tasks assigned to him. The conducive work environment motivates him to look forward to come to work every day.

Work can be stressful and tough for most people when there is a need to manage responsibilities and juggle between deadlines. And the same is true, if not even tougher for people with disabilities or differently abled.  

His superior, Felicia Choong E-Teen has been with SDB since 2011 and finds that, not only is Jeremiah resilient, he can be counted upon to responsibly perform his assigned routine tasks independently.

“Prior to his arrival, I was indeed concerned if I could handle this challenge as this is a fresh experience for me. However, after understanding his condition and preference, it made me appreciate Jeremiah as an individual who is determined, polite, and respectful, and is an asset to our department with the right guidance. 

“In fact, I have seen significant improvement in Jeremiah’s progress from the first day of his arrival until today. Apart from that, I hope he feels happy and comfortable being part of a team with his continued determination to accept more responsibilities in this field,” she added. “He has been very helpful to the department and, although a little shy, he is still willing to accept new challenges and to seek help whenever he faces difficulties in his daily work routine.”

SDB will continue to build awareness and employ potential employees who are differently abled from diverse backgrounds into the current workforce. By doing so, the company ensures that everyone has an equal employment opportunity in a conducive working environment to contribute to society, and that other employees also acknowledge and accept how disabled people are rising to the challenge in the workplace.

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