Fellow Motorist: Khalid Latiff, Asia regional managing director, Petronas Lubricants International

Published by on . Updated on 13 Dec 2023
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Mr Latiff, 49, is a Petronas senior executive who raced at Sepang for recreation. We chat with the Malaysian gentleman at a Petronas Syntium training seminar in Sentosa.

How long have you been a motorist in Singapore?

From very young. I loved cars growing up, because I had a family of petrolheads. Even before I got my driving licence, I used to "drive" within the taman (housing estate). 

And the moment I got my licence, I was so excited, wanting to drive everywhere and be the designated driver for everyone. I got my licence when I was 18, the day I could qualify for my licence was the day I rushed to complete the test. 

When I was 15, in my room that I shared with my elder brother, the walls were filled with car posters. Ferrari F40, Lambo Countach, in those days. We had a small project to decorate our room, so we used to go to car showrooms to collect car brochures and stick them on our bedroom walls.

When I was 15 and about to take the SRP (national exams), my mum nagged me to stop focusing on collecting car posters and start focusing on my studies! [Khalid laughs]

What do you like about motoring in Malaysia? 

Well, I like the fact that there is a very active automotive scene in Malaysia. The car culture is maturing and evolving in both Malaysia and Singapore. The car scene is fast turning into lifestyle events with a lifestyle proposition. I find myself driving on weekends with different car clubs in Malaysia. 

Ulu Yam up to Genting Highlands, it’s a back way, the roads are very nice, we're always driving there on weekends.

What do you dislike about motoring in Malaysia?

Potholes. Impatient motorists. 

What is your company car? 

I don’t have a company car. I was actually stationed in South Africa, Cape Town for four years, I just got back a couple of months ago. So I brought back my sports car from South Africa, a 992-generation 911 Carrera S, blue colour. It’s still at the port, clearing in about a month. For work in South Africa, I had a BMW X3 personal car.

Do you remember your first car? 

Yes, of course! Old 1969 Mini, the one with two round lights, 1,000 cc, and mine had dual SU caburettors, I fitted them as a modification. That was in 1997 when I was 22. It was bright orange colour and I was still in college at that point, and I used to be known as the “orange Mini guy”. 

I loved the car, it didn’t have air-conditioning, every time it rained I had all the fog in the windscreen, but I loved it. I absolutely adored the car. 

Before I went to South Africa, I had a track car, a Subaru WRX. I had it for about three years. I fully modded the car. It was street-legal, but the suspension was hard, which made it uncomfortable for road use. I raced the car at the Sepang and Kampung Gajah circuits. 

Read More: Fellow Motorist: Ng Khee Siong, managing director, Inchcape Singapore

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