About Palan

Palan – Palaniappan Ramanathan Chettiar.
Palan is a short form from the name Palaniappan. Ramanathan is patronymic, not a family name. Chettiar is a caste name. The person should be referred to by the given name, Palaniappan. Palan is a Malaysian Indian and the Chairman of SMRT Holdings Berhad and Group Managing Director of Minda Global Berhad. He is also the Pro Chancellor of Cyberjaya University College of Medical Sciences
Early life and Education
Palan grew up in Melaka and attended the La Salle brothers run primary school at St. Francis Institution, Malaysia and his secondary school in Jesuit run institution St. Campion High School, Trichy Tamilnadu, South India. He completed his tertiary studies from the University of Madras (a pre-university degree from Bishop Heber College, Bachelors in Science, Chemistry from New College) and a Master’s degree in Arts with a specialisation in Medical and Psychiatry Social Work from the Madras School of Social Work. Later he completed his Masters in Science (Psychology) from the University of Leicester, UK and the Advanced Management Programme (AMP) at the Harvard Business School. He completed his Ph.D. (Management) from California Coast University, Santa Ana, USA and he also completed a second Ph.D.(Education) with the Federation University, Ballarat, Australia

Palan had chosen a non-conventional route to study and specialise in human resources development. As a trainer, he was honoured to be conferred the highest level of membership, the Fellowship, in 2010 by the British Institute of Learning & Development, United Kingdom. As a speaker, he was honoured to be able to earn the highest award in the speaking profession from the National Speakers Association of the United States of America, the Certified Speaking Professional (CSP) in 2011. . As an entrepreneur, he took his start-up company public with the listing of SMRT Holdings Berhad on Bursa Malaysia Securities Berhad in 2006. As a writer he has written several articles on Learning, Human Resources, Leadership and Management. He has authored over 15 books including the Magic of Making Training FUN, Competency Management: a practitioner’s guide and the Global Journey of an Asian.


Palan was bestowed the Darjah Kebesaran Panglima Setia Mahkota (PSM), which also carries the title Tan Sri, in conjunction with the official birthday of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah. He is also the recipient of the Darjah Datuk Paduka Mahkota Perak (DPMP), which carries the title Dato’ from DYMM Paduka Seri  Azlan Shah, Sultan Perak Darul Ridzuan, and the Johan Bintang Kenyalang (JBK) from the Governor of Sarawak, DiPertua Negeri, Sarawak.

Family and Personal life

Palan was born to Pudupatti PRMP Ramanathan Chettiar and Sethuramayee Achi. He is married to Kamatchi Malayandi (Kamu), daughter of Aranmanai Siruvayal Mr & Mrs Malayandi from Kuantan, Malaysia. They have two sons Maha and Subu and a daughter Shrieeya. His mom celebrated her eightieth birthday recently. His siblings include two brothers and four sisters, the second sister passed away due to post-partum haemorrhage. His father passed away at a relatively young age of 51. On his paternal side, his grandfathers (Theradiyar family) were in the plantations business in Burma and Malaya. Eventually, the family decided to migrate to then Malaya and now Peninsular Malaysia about 100 years ago. His maternal grandfather was Koppanapatti MPM Narayanan Chettiar, a wealthy industrialist from Chennai, Tamilnadu, India. In partnership with his brother in law Shri A. Nagappa Chettiar, the famed India Leather Corporation was formed resulting in record leather exports globally.

Alma Mater