The Comeback Kid
At that point Datuk Vinod was at the lowest point as far as business was concerned, and so the only direction in which he could move was up. Before the crash, he had invested money overseas and the pay offs were beginning to show. The time was ripe for his comeback, but first he had to decide in which direction he wanted to move or as he puts it, “whether to depend on friends and government contracts or go back to what I believe in... go back to technology and the toys I believe in.”
Bill Clinton in 1992, George W Bush in 2004, Donald Trump in 1994 and Liverpool in 2005. All great and famous comebacks and although Datuk Vinod Sekhar may not be, as yet, internationally renowned as them, but the nature of his return was no less impressive.
The key to his and The Petra Group’s comeback is one of Petra’s anchor technologies developed by his father, Tan Sri Dr. Balachandra Chakkingal (B.C) Sekhar. This would be a good time to introduce the person of Tan Sri Dr. B.C Sekhar, a man whom Datuk Vinod describes as one of the biggest influences in his life. He helped cultivate the strong feeling of nationalism and patriotism that is apparent in Datuk Vinod today. The first Asian Director of the Rubber Research Institute of Malaysia and the recipient of the 1973 Ramon Magsaysay Award for Government Service, Tan Sri Dr. B.C or “Mr Natural Rubber” as he is fondly called developed a technique for the recycling of vulcanised rubber and it was this that Datuk Vinod decided to venture in for his business comeback.
In today’s Malaysia of skyscrapers, multi-national business deals, computer hardware and software and telecommunications to name but a few, people tend to forget that the foundation of the country’s success can be traced back to the tall but humble rubber tree.
Rubber and Malaysia are invariably linked with each other, the problem with rubber though is that once vulcanisation takes place and the molecules are linked with each other, they cannot be unlinked. Throughout the world, rubber is used in many applications, one of the most common being car tyres. But when the tyre threads are worn out and the tyres are no longer road worthy, what then happens to them? Some end up in children’s playgrounds, an extremely small percent end up being crumbed and then being used in the manufacture of new rubber products (a process that adulterates the quality of the former), some (unfortunately) end up in the sea or a body of water. But for the most part, many end up in “tyre mountains” decomposing slowly and seeping chemicals into the ground.
What about recycling then? To many people such a concept was laughable. For more than a century since Charles Goodyear discovered the vulcanisation process, the general rule of processed rubber is that rubber cannot be recycled. “It is impossible!” the detractors cried.
But the “impossible” was what Tan Sri Dr. B.C Sekhar discovered and this technology, known as De-Link, has become one of the mainstays of The Petra Group’s businesses. The sheer benefits of this technology cannot be exaggerated. What De-Link and Green RubberTM, which is the result of De-Link, offers is a solution to one of the world’s most pressing waste problems. In countries with a high amount of traffic such as the United States and China, the demand for rubber is so great that the world’s supply of rubber cannot possibly sustain it. The only solution then is to recycle rubber, which is what Datuk Vinod and The Petra Group are doing.
Each article featured in this page have been previously published and will be credited to their respective authors/publications. All other posts are Datuk Vinod's personal essays and may be found in his personal FB page.