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Mr Tan Sri Dr Palan
Life Member
Professional Member

* Darjah Kebesaran Panglima Setia Mahkota (PSM), which also carries the title Tan Sri,
* Darjah Datuk Paduka Mahkota Perak (DPMP), which carries the title Dato’
* Johan Bintang Kenyalang (JBK) from the Governor of Sarawak, DiPertua Negeri, Sarawak.

A world class keynoter; an author of over 15 books. The CEO of a public listed corporation and the Pro Chancellor of a University. All fees generated from his keynotes are donated to charity.


Human Resources/Labor Relations


Dato' Dr. Palan's life purpose is to help people learn and perform at the workplace; the goal is to enable individuals achieve their best. He has worked internationally in 30 countries though his focus is very much Asian. An author, speaker, trainer, consultant and an entrepreneur, he is very much committed to developing best practices. This commitment has led him to pioneer innovations in the field. His creative training tools, competency and performance management models have been implemented widely.


Palan is presently the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of SMRT Holdings Berhad, a company listed the Malaysian Stock Exchange. SMRT Holdings Berhad is involved in Education, Training and Technologies. He is also the Pro Chancellor of Cyberjaya Uiversity College of Medical Sciences. He is the Executive Director of the Holding Corporation of Asia Metropolitan University.

The Malaysian based organisation operates globally and has expanded to Singapore, India, Bahrain and with representatives in several other countries such as USA, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Brunei, United Arab Emirates and Qatar. The organisation employs about 1000 people.


Palan's current research and professional interests revolve around the following key areas:

Entreprenuership: The Global Journey of an Asian
The FUN approach to Learning
Transformational Leadership
Workplace Competency Management
Inspiration: Creating Your Own Rainbow


Palan has written 15 books and his work is also available in video and audio. He also produced management games and software programs. His book titles include the following:

Human Resources Management

1. Competency Management: a practitioner's guide
2. Performance Management & Measure: The Asian context Human Resources Development
3. The Magic of Making Training FUN!!
4. Creating Your Own Rainbow
5. Frequently asked questions in HRD
6. Tips for Creating Your Own Rainbow
7. Tips to Make Training FUN
8. Tips for High Impact Training
9. People Development in Sarawak: The Journey of Taib Mahmud
10. Creative Training Tips
11. Frame Jokes for Trainers, Managers and Lecturers
12. 101 Questions in Training (co authored with Jeremy Spoor)
13. Games for Asian Trainers ( co authored with Thiagi and others)
14. Tips on Competency Management
15. The Global Journey of an Asian


Palan has written numerous articles. His articles have appeared in several publications including the International Society of Performance and Instruction, USA. Please visit www.palan.org to locate the publication's website to download the article. Some of them are listed below:

1. Does Employee Training lead to Attrition?
2. Impact of Training on Organisations?
3. The Magic of Making Training FUN!
4. Making Performance Appraisals work for you
5. Creating Your Own Rainbow
6. Managing Conflicts
7. Knowledge Management and the Role of the HRD Professional (March 2000)
8. Bureaucracy or Flexicracy: A Preliminary Study on the Nature of Organisations in Malaysia (July 1997)
9. Applying EQ at the Workplace
10. Behavioural Event Interviews


Palan completed his primary education at St. Francis Institution, Melaka, Malaysia and his secondary education with the Jesuit boarding school run by the Irish priests, St. Campion High School, Trichy, Tamilnadu, South India. Then, he embarked on his Pre Medical/Pre University studies at the Madras University (Bishop Heber College, Trichy, Tamilnadu). Instead of entering the Medical school, he continued to complete his Bachelors in Science (B.Sc.) with a major in Chemistry and minor in Physics, Zoology, French and English at the Madras University (New College, South India Muslim Trust, Chennai). Subsequently, he completed his Professional Masters Degree in Social Work (M.A.) with emphasis on Psychiatric and Medical Social Work and Human Resources Management from the distinguished Madras School of Social Work. He also pursued a second Masters Degree in Occupational Psychology (M.Sc.) from the University of Leicester, United Kingdom. He completed his Doctor of Philosophy in Management (Ph.D.) from the California Coast University, Santa Ana, U.S.A. and pursued his Ph D in Skills Management from the University of Ballarat, Australia. Palan also completed his Advanced Management Programme with the Harvard Business School.

Palan completed the Human Interaction Labs with the National Training Laboratories, U.S.A. initiated by the legend Kurt Lewin, founder of modern social psychology and then the Director of MIT's Research Center for Group Dynamics.


Palan pursued his first skills training not in Human Resources but in Plastics Engineering. He completed the Certificate from the Central Institute of Plastics Engineering, Guindy, Chennai, Tamilnadu, South India while a graduate chemistry student. On return to Malaysia, he pursued the Certificate in Personnel Management and Industrial Relations organised by the Malaysian Institute of Management and run by experts such as Mr. K. Rajkumar, one of the founders of the Malaysian Institute of Human Resources Management. He also attended the Certificate in Training & Development, and the Diploma in Training Management, programmes offered by the then Institute of Training & Development, United Kingdom and facilitated by Darek Celinski and Mike Bond. In the USA, he completed his Myers Briggs Type qualification programme in Chicago with the Association of Psychological Type, U.S.A. He completed the Games Designer programme with NASAGA (National Simulation and Gaming Association, America) in Vancouver, Canada.


Palan's commitment to lifelong learning has led him to continuously develop himself in the Marketing, Corporate and Human Resources areas. He has attended programmes with renowned experts such as Noel Tichy of GE, thinking experts Edward DeBono, Tony Buzan, celebrity management experts such as Professors Jim Collins, Ram Charan, Sumantra Ghosal, Christopher Bartlett, Tom Peters, Robert Sutton, Dave Ulrich and Robert Reich. In the areas of skills training, he has attended programmes with Don Kirkpatrick, Ken Blanchard, Robert Pike, Thiagi and Norm Smallwood.


While Palan worked in five different countries (Malaysia, India, Thailand, Brunei, USA) in a variety of human resources, marketing, teaching and leadership positions both in public and private sector, he can best be termed as a nomadic. He stared off his career initially as a chemist at the University before attempting to be a community organiser, professional counsellor working in schools and the various hospital departments of rehabilitative orthopaedics, dermatology and psychiatry.

His teaching career in the University tapered off when his creative tensions led him to the world of cinema where he tried to impose his philosophical orientation of enabling people to achieve their best with renowned directors in the Indian cinema. It did not last for long due to his passion to change the world with cinema did not become a reality. He became an entrepreneur in Malaysia distributing films that he liked and soon he realised there is a huge gap between intentions and reality. Going back to the University to teach and develop a business led him to the world of human resources where he started off from the lower rungs of coordinating and administering human resources before he grew into senior positions. Moving away from Human Resources, he ventured into Marketing and General Management. He worked as a Marketing Director and CEO, in the hospitality industry, the oil and gas, insurance and paper industry, mainly specialising in marketing communications and distribution. He then built his own professional services firm, growing it from a training and publications business to consulting and outsourcing, software, conferences, executive search and English language training. Today, he runs an Education and Training conglomerate.
S.No Topic Title Target Audience
1 Entrepreneurism THE GLOBAL JOURNEY OF AN ASIAN Entrepreneurship
2 Training THE MAGIC OF MAKING LEARNING FUN! For Presenters, Teachers and Trainers
3 Leadership TRANSFORMATIONAL LEADERSHIP Focussed on Business Leaders and Managers
4 Productivity  WORKPLACE COMPETENCY MANAGEMENT Competency Management
5 Inspirational CREATING YOUR OWN RAINBOW Inspirational / life-changing