Can business help to contribute to the identity of a location? For this Sarawakian property developer, the answer is yes. Their dream as a developer is to build something that represents the spirit and identity of Kuching and can bring people of Kuching together. The Columnist talked to Dato Chris Chung, Group CEO of Saradise Sdn Bhd to understand more about their dream and what has inspired them to take this adventure.

Thank you Dato for accepting our invitation. First, would you mind sharing with us a brief overview of Saradise?
Saradise is a property development company that aspires to be a developer with a meaningful purpose. Our focus is on people’s needs. We are not just building houses and developing housing estates, but we are creating homes and growing a community. Our approach is centred on unifying the Sarawak identity, the arts and ecology, which are infused into the master plans of all our developments. Saradise is committed to transforming the quality of life of Kuchingites and the future of Sarawak.

We will be trendsetters and not followers who are building developments where people are disconnected from one another, where they have to face challenges in transportation and commuting, limitations in facilities as well as safety and security concerns. We want to address these concerns and establish the standards for ideal modern living.

This holistic approach is the first of its kind here in Sarawak and establishes a platform for us to introduce our value-added concept to the regional and international markets in the near future. Currently, we are developing an extensive and integrated township right in the heart of Kuching city. Our development serves as a place that supports growing the local community through our concept of modern communal living. This people-centric concept promotes functionality and convenience, connectivity and integration, as well as encourages the community to live their lives in a way they never thought possible.

Your company has a commitment to transforming the quality of life of Kuchingites and the future of Sarawak. Could you explain better how this fits into your property development business?
I am committed to introducing my vision of ideal modern living to Kuching. When it comes to buying a home, I understand and share the sentiments of my fellow Kuchingites. We are constantly searching for the perfect dream house. Transforming the quality of life and the way we live is very much influenced by creative designs, innovative features, advanced technologies and facilities management that are incorporated into property developments. As a property developer, Saradise is a source of inspiration in shaping people’s lives.

The key to providing that inspiration is focused on delivering a product that not only caters to what people need but also fulfils their wish list. In today’s modern living, a dream house is no longer adequate because it requires an integrated township as the platform for a safe and secure neighbourhood, thriving community, connectivity to amenities, and accessibility to infrastructures. Imagine an environment having well-maintained parks, schools, playgrounds, pedestrian footpaths, cycling and jogging trails, medical facilities, fresh food grocers, sidewalk cafes, and bustling restaurants all within a conveniently accessible distance.

Creating this blend of modern ecology living is an opportunity for us to improve the quality of life for Kuchingites. Our approach enables each of us to nurture a sense of pride and appreciation in our truly remarkable Sarawak identity, arts and ecological heritage. In addition, we seek to provide an avenue for Kuchingites and businesses to experiment and implement creative approaches and technologies to build a smart city. We are planning for events that will cultivate innovation and creative thinking at the community level. All this is reflected in the planning and design of our first integrated township which is Saradise Kuching.

Masterplan 3D perspective of Saradise Kuching. Source: Saradise

I believe Kuchingites would love a venue that brings together people from all walks of life throughout the day in a safe and secure environment that is conducive for leisurely strolls, sporting activities, retail therapy and gatherings amidst lush greenery and scenic moments. This is the vision of what I aim to deliver for Kuchingites, Sarawakians and prospective international buyers.

Saradise Edge – Kuching’s First Street Mall in a Garden (Artist Impression Only). Source: Saradise

What inspired you to do this?
I am truly inspired by my love for Kuching. As a Kuchingite, I am proud and appreciative of all the beauty and charms that this city has to offer, where a vast potential and immense opportunity for further growth still exists. In 2015, we invited all Kuchingites to express their love for our beloved city through stories by joining ‘Kuching for me’ Contest. The treasures of memories and beautiful stories that people shared through this contest affirmed our belief that our role as a developer is meaningful only when we build something that represents the spirit and identity of Kuching and helps to bring people of Kuching together.

Kuching for me Contest Prize Presentation Ceremony in 2015. Source: Saradise

Compared to many other parts of the world, Kuching is blessed with unpolluted air, clear blue skies, lush tropical flora and fauna, and strategic location as the gateway to the paradise that is Sarawak. We have an abundance of artistic and cultural heritage which is showcased by the annual Rainforest World Music Festival and Kuching Food Festival that reflects Kuching having one of the most diverse communities in the country with its multitude of races living together in harmony. In addition, Kuching generally enjoys a relatively low cost of living where accommodation, food and transportation costs continue to be among the most affordable in the country and the region. It had the privilege of winning the City of Unity Award in 2015, Tourist City Award in 2011, Sustainable City Award in 2010, Good Practices of Healthy Cities and Pioneers in Healthy Cities Awards in 2006.

I believe Kuching has the potential for being one of the top liveable cities in the region and possibly the world that not only takes good care of its inhabitants but is also welcoming to visitors from all over the world. My aspiration for transforming the quality of living for Kuchingites is a step towards the direction of helping Kuching fulfil its potential for greatness.

What do you think is the role of the business community in shaping a better future for all?
The business community has a responsibility to operate with a greater purpose than just generating profits. Shaping a better future for all is one such purpose. I believe this purpose can be achieved if everyone in business shares the mindset of growing together with the community. It is important for the business community to have an awareness of the impact that their businesses have on the community and the environment that they are operating in.

In addition to the influence on socio-economic factors, where employment opportunities are created within a thriving economy, we have seen an increase in social sustainability activities in recent years that have been initiated by the business community. I believe that an effective and beneficial community-based social engagement programmes would not only focus on charitable initiatives but also on efforts that encourage empowerment. For instance, through empowering the impoverished and physically handicapped, they could then take charge of their own lives and perhaps help others who may be as unfortunate as they had been. Through the ease of access to the resources at its disposal, the business community could be compelled to work together towards promoting shared values and creating an atmosphere that encourages such empowerment.

At Saradise, we truly believe in doing business with a meaningful purpose that transcends the role of being solely a profit maker. Shaping a brighter future that offers so much promise and potential would be easily achievable when this common purpose and values are shared within the entire business community.

Thank you very much for joining us.

This interview was conducted for The Columnist, a newsletter by Consulus that offers ideas on business, design and world affairs. The views expressed in this article are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views of Consulus.