A conversation with Kevin Chun Tek Lim: from Malaysia to Germany

“When you make discoveries, you generate more unknowns. The same goes for water management. You can implement something, but the after effect is still unknown until it occurs or a crisis actually happens.”

Kevin Chun Teck Lim hails from Malaysia’s Labuan Federal territory, a small island off the north-western coast of Borneo, known for its lush rainforests and picturesque beaches. He spent much of his childhood around water and he credits his upbringing to developing his appreciation of water.

“I lived in a pretty diverse region – different cultures, languages and religions. My Dad is Chinese and my Mum is an indigenous person of Sabah, in Malaysia. But I grew up like a normal kid. I think my interest in water really started early on and built more with my career.”

Kevin’s journey began with a Degree in Chemical Engineering from Universiti Teknologi Petronas in Malaysia. This led him to a graduate program with Continental Tyres. The program saw Kevin head to the other side of the world, to work in the Continental Tyres’ headquarters in Germany. Over the next three and a half years, he worked on a number of projects centered around European utilities. It was his experience working with utilities that made him want to know more about water resource management and conservation.

His time in Germany also opened his eyes to the importance of environmental management. After seeing the care and effort put into the water sector in Germany, and in particular the stringent controls around water regulation, Kevin came to realise how different it was to his home in Malaysia.

“In Malaysia, we don’t have the mindset of needing to save water. Eventually, we will be wasting water. And we also have leaks in piping everywhere because the water industry doesn’t care about fixing them, and this leads to big water losses.”

Kevin hopes to use his experiences to help change the mindset of the people of Malaysia, to improve actions around water conservation. Ultimately, he hopes to use his skills and knowledge to change the way Malaysia and its people see water as a resource – a challenge he is eager to take on.

Kevin Chun Tek Lim is completed the Master of Integrated Water Management at the International WaterCentre.

Written by Dahna Morrisson