Desaru Coast CEO Roslina Arbak on the future plans for Johor's integrated resort destination

Set amid 3,900 acres of land, the destination is accessible via air, land and sea.

Arbak appreciates her team who have been working alongside her to achieve Desaru's objectives (All photos: Desaru Coast)

When did you join the company and what are your future plans for Desaru Coast?
I joined the team on Sept 1, 2016. My first assignment was to help with the development and operationalisation of Desaru Coast. How do I see Desaru going forward? Definitely a holiday destination for foreigners as well as locals all year round. It will be an escape for everyone. We want to make sure we curate programmes, activities and packages that appeal to the key markets we are targeting. We work very closely with the local authorities and neighbouring property owners to ensure Desaru Coast remains attractive for many years to come.

How long have you been in the hospitality industry?
In terms of the operational side of the industry, this is actually my first stint. For the development side, I have been in environmental development for about 20 years.

There are plenty of events lined up for Desaru Coast. Which are you looking forward to the most?
This year, we worked very hard towards the launch of Desaru Coast and the inaugural Ombak Festival in early July. Next, we are looking forward to work with strong key partners like National Geographic for the NatGeo Run in October. Another big event we are having in September is Desaru’s first International Bike Week. We are looking at almost 20,000 bikers coming over in a period of four days, so the team is really being pushed to work very hard. I have a wonderful team who has been with me all the way, tirelessly trying to achieve our objectives.


Desaru Coast consists of four globally renowned hotels and resorts, including the Westin Desaru Coast Resort

What has been you career highlight so far with Desaru Coast?
I would not say it is my achievement personally, but the achievement of the whole team in being able to operationalise most of the projects we’ve got, like Hard Rock and Westin and very soon, Anantara and One&Only as well. Another key highlight is getting the relevant authority’s approval to open up our own CIQ (customs, immigration and quarantine) complex for a ferry terminal. Once the terminal is in place late next year, we should be able to connect to Singapore directly.

What book are you reading at the moment?
I am halfway through Robert Kuok’s book. That is the book currently on my side table.

What do you like to do on your time off?
Ever since I started working here, my time off is really about catching up on rest, some leisure reading and family time. I cannot indulge in my previous sporting activities like golf because it takes too much time. I need to rest over the weekends!


This article first appeared on Aug 12, 2019 in The Edge Malaysia. ​


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