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Sakmongkol ak 47

Friday 26 July 2013

Other's Bread is too salt: Gardenia vs Massimo( Part 3/3)

Where big business interests are locked in a tussle for market share, truth and justice are often sacrificed. While Gardenia’s competitors have publicly denied any complicity in it, anonymous, suspicious and sneaky supporters of big business interests have been busy exploiting racism and politics in an attempt to shift consumers away from Gardenia, to its competitors. Internet ghosts, and even Facebook campaigners, have been promoting the ‘Boycott Gardenia’ cry with grossly misinformed and misleading claims that for every loaf of Gardenia bread one buys, 16 cents goes to UMNO and Rosmah! Rosmah must now sell ‘roti’ to make a living. The mysterious authors of these vicious and racist email and other hate-attacks against Gardenia seem to be targeting the Chinese in particular, to alter their spending and eating habits in favour of competing brands.
Consumers must know that Gardenia is 70% owned by QAF Ltd. which is a  public listed company on the Singapore Stock Exchange. The remaining 30% shareholding was sold to BERNAS at a premium in 2001, in line with MITI’s conditions for granting Gardenia a manufacturing licence. This was long, long before Syed Mokhtar took control of BERNAS via Tradewinds in 2009 and Rosmah was anywhere within sight of Putrajaya! Understand this: Syed Mokhtar’s ownership of Gardenia was automatic upon his taking over of Bernas.
In view of its 30% shareholdings, Bernas has board of director’s representation in Gardenia. However, it has never interfered in Gardenia’s operations or management, nor ever forced it to buy flour from Syed Mokhtar-controlled companies. In fact, in over 25 years of production, Gardenia has not bought a single gram of flour from any flour mill owned by Bernas, Syed Mokhtar Bukhari or UMNO. Gardenia is still buying flour from Chinese owned millers, especially the Teh family of LUmut.
Gardenia has not bought any flour from Federal Flour Mills (FFM) owned by uncle Bob Kuok’s Group, for over 15 years. That was even before Syed Mokhtar got into the bread business. There was no truth in the vicious campaigns that suggested that UMNO or someone powerful suddenly instructed Gardenia to terminate business with FFM. This was a lie.
 The truth behind buying flour elsewhere is grounded more in terms of trade secrets.    Every bread company has its own secret flour formulations and ingredients for its range of products - white bread, wholemeal, bun, waffle etc. Gardenia decided to part ways with FFM shortly after 1998 when FFM took to also supplying the same formulated flour to Gardenia’s new competitor. FFM was outright unethical in wanting to sell the same formulated flour sold to Gardenia to others.
In response, Gardenia then shifted its orders to other flour millers as they felt there was a conflict of interest issue with FFM which could not be resolved.    Clearly, Gardenia’s move to turn to other local flour millers as far back as 1998 was a commercial and business decision, to protect its trade secrets. The question of race had no bearing whatsoever on its strategic directions then, or even now.
Racism in any form - overt, covert, subtle, must be condemned by right thinking Malaysians. This scurrilous attempt by a group of, obviously Malaysian Chinese to appeal to extreme chauvinism in commercial business matters is racism by any other name. This is most detestable and should be rejected outright!
But that is not all. Our government has been subsidising flour, oil and sugar for the last 50 years, to the tune of billions of ringgit every year. Guess whose businesses have been some of the happy beneficiaries of this taxpayer-funded largesse? Are we ready and willing to concede that the party that enjoys the most in terms of subsidies must therefore be more of a crony to UMNO than the others who do not enjoy the same?
Because FFM enjoys more subsidies that the rest of flour millers including than the Chinese owned miller who supplies to Gardenia, then FFM and Massimo is a better and deeper crony of UMNO. Currently, Gardenia's main formulated flour supplier is controlled by the Teh family from Perak, while it's other major supplier is owned by Indonesian and Australian parties. So, where do stories of Malaysian Chinese business interest being decimated come from? I suspect that race is being exploited to scare the Chinese in the same way that Mahathir, Ibrahim Ali and Perkasa employ it as a tactical weapon to keep the people apart. The Chinese have their own Ibrahim Alis, Zul Nordins and other fascists. 

Next: who gets the most from BN's Flour Subsidy? the Bigger Crony. 


Jamal Majid,  26 July 2013 at 15:29  

Dato, what do you expect?

Firstly, big business in Malaysia is highly politicized. For government-owned entities being privatized and government contracts being awarded, open tender is the least prefer way. Monopolies and giant conglomerates are either owned by GLCs or the current favored sons of powerful politicians. Hence perceptions whether correct or otherwise are formed.

Secondly, every issue now days that crops up must be given a racial or religious tint. And this is mostly propagated by we all know who. A misstep by a headmaster in the toilet-canteen incident need to be given a different perspective in this Ramadan month. A straight forward kidnapping and extortion case by 4 glue-sniffing youths need to be given an Islamic twist; with the IGP in full agreement.

Hence why should we be surprised that even the man in the street are caught up by these propaganda and counter propaganda. This Gardenia-Massimo bread war is just a symptom of the greatest threat that is engulfing our nation; its division along racial and religious lines. And sadly, our government is the puppet master.

Anonymous,  26 July 2013 at 20:24  

Well said Dato. Sock them hard all these racists no matter what their skin colour, and when the occasion demands, sock the pupper masters both from Putrajaya and those from the Opposition bench doubly hard.

Anonymous,  26 July 2013 at 21:31  

Congratulations on your appointment as gardenia ambassador!

Anonymous,  27 July 2013 at 04:03  

i am a crony too if crony means i have enjoyed continous benefits given by the UMNO led government all these while... Eg fuel subsidies etc. maybe to remove the cronyism forever, PR should tell its members to stop being a crony..lets start by paying full price for the fuel as an affirmative action for PR members to get the UMNO led government to dismantle this cronyism habit. What say you Dato? Action speak louder than words..

Washine,  27 July 2013 at 10:40  


You must have done some research to come out with these cogent writings on the bread trade. I can only thank the voters in Raub for putting you in the Parliament which many believe is fast turning into a circus. I hope you,along with some other quality MPs, can turn this perception around.

walla 27 July 2013 at 11:06  

Q: What's your choice of bread?

B: As in roti or gabenor or the rock band?

Q: (grits teeth) How about roti?

B: Either white or black.

Q: (eyes widen). I'm astonished. Ne'er thought you're a racist.

B: (sighs). I was meaning white bread which is somewhat less healthy but goes well with anything, or black bamboo charcoal bread which has a nice flavor.

Can i make you a sandwich of one slice white and the other slice black? Like the ivory and ebony keys of a piano?

Incidentally, take either one off, and music can't be made harmoniously from that instrument.

But you already knew that, didn't you?

Q: What's in between your white-black sandwich, then?

B: Nothing. Aren't we not supposed to talk about gabenor?

Q: Umm. Back to this gardenia versus massimo debate. Where do you stand?

B: (looks at the ground sheepishly). Sini?

Q: Seriously and surely, there must be some issue in it all?

B: Ok, but only if you insist.

I think if we widen our mental horizon, the matter is all about people and principles.

Now if we converge people and principles into a complex and extend that complex upwards to an absolute end, then we reach a certain Destination which carries a certain message.

Take me for instance. I am now doing what i was doing ever since the country started. It's like the message is saying, go back to remedial class and relearn the lesson. A second chance before exit, perhaps.

Q: Hmm. That either sounds sad or encouraging, or both.

B: Yes, life is about choices within the swirl of destiny. People can choose the principles they want to practice. However the outcomes may turn out other than expected.

Now, what is the principle behind this bread equation?

That value for money should be independent of race.

That if we continue to see everything through the lens of race, then we will only extend what we want to end.

Because the other principle of life is all about action and reaction, and it operates continuously.

You react by race and i will act by race to counteract your reaction.

Then you react to my reaction and the cycle continues, enlarges and deepens.

And that because those who want to keep this cycle in order to justify their own importance will be more than willing to lend a mischievous hand to make it happen perpetually.

Somehow, someday, somewhere, we must cut this gordian knot that is snuffing out our instinctive predisposition for kindness, compassion and goodwill towards all fellowmen and women.

(especially women).

Because an eye for an eye makes all blind and the world a monochrome of darkness. Mehr licht, mein kinde getan!

I think it's long overdue, and GE12 and GE13 have shown as much that the Rakyat of Malaysia realize it is not about being civilized to one another for just political expediency which is the solution.

In fact, it is the problem, for it strengthens the very structure that must be dismantled because that structure propagates differentiation and division in order to usurp power from the people.

So that when people are weakened by that, principles suffer as well and the long hard path to the absolute end becomes harder to discern.


Q: Can i make you a cuppa coffee to go with the sandwich you're going to make me?

B: Why don't i make both for you, and you can add something in between the sandwiches for both of us?

Q: Ah, i get what you're not saying.

B: Right now, who is really running the country? The gabenor in a piece of paper. The value of that paper has been dropping. Meanwhile the functions of commerce and industry have been propped by subsidies denominated in that currency. This actually double erodes the fixed deposits of reserves for future generations besides raising financing charges that swallow up any hard-earned gains.

Therefore one cannot escape the conclusion people who are thankful to a government just because it gives subsidies forget their own future generations will be the ones paying for those subsidies utilized today, in too many cases just to survive. Yes?

walla 27 July 2013 at 11:08  


Q: But what would you want the government to do otherwise?

B: Do the right things.

Clean itself up.

Be more self-critical than trying to tar others who want to represent the middle majority of moderates and pragmatists.

Uphold human and people rights independent of religious connotations.

Practice real democracy even if it means hollowing itself out. After all, a good government won't want to hold monopoly over people.

Next, axe racism, racialism, chauvinism and parochialism. They know what they are. They started them.

And importantly, never help one up at the expense of others. Help all up equally. It's not about catch-up to equalize. How can equalization be truly achieved if one is given and the other really worked for it, furthermore against artificially constructed hurdles?

Even in bread-making, you can see there has really been no sustainable equalization. Because of the principle of action-reaction. People rail against injustice and unfairness. You can't expect otherwise. It's in human nature. That's an antidote against despotism.

In other words, stop all those nonsensical zero-sum hunger games that says more for me can only happen if i make sure less for you.

Some nut case makes it his life-mission to policy such a game just because he remembered he had to sell banana fritters when he was young. What about those who had to sell crullers when they were young because his policy had marginalized them?

Might is right again, is it? If that be the case, a government which only serves might is right has automatically and instantly disqualified its right to govern, for it is no different from the despotism of that tinpot.

And that is also why government procedures must be simplified but at the same time integrity and efficiency must be put on top and across all structures, otherwise you will have arrogation of power with all its temptations for excess. Such as seen, proven and recorded.

Next, support all business, industry and cultures without looking at race or religion. Suffice to say, they have suffered enough until their main skill is no longer about how to compete but rather how to remain crony of the day or shy when it comes to what truly matter.

Next, show the young that it is alright to realize we have fallen behind; then transform the education system into real and not fake world-class even if that means dichotomy of performance. Start by removing all those bovine menteri's, dead-woods and chauvinists.

Because that is the only way to stem slides, raise real standards, create true targets to aspire, and solve the human capital challenge that underpins everything from global mindset to relevant skills, thinking power and subsidy-free competitiveness.

Otherwise, you will get principals with no principles.

And don't waste public funds. Need i say more?

Q: Why do you think all that's so difficult for the present government?

B: Because its political party doesn't want to do it. Because once that is done, it unhooks the leash it wields with impunity over the race while derailing its own gravy train.

For once the community is free, as it should be, they will turn on those pretenders to leadership good only for making trouble, wasting public funds and messing up both society and nation besides destroying the real potential of the race.

Q: You reckon it will change itself?

B: Au contraire, these days it only serves itself. You can see as much in the way it is peddling its propaganda and practicing the zenith of double standards. One set of toll-free standards for us the elites and another set of toll-full standards on all you miserable cannon-fodder hoi-polloi.

Q: On which matter, i was wondering why it chose to pit itself against what it called the RBA.

walla 27 July 2013 at 11:08  


B: Why do you say that?

Q: I am puzzled. If it all along has been saying the DAP is the problem while also hinting that it is the local version of its past nemesis the PAP, then if the PAP was anti-red, how can the DAP be pro-red and thus the term red bean army?

B: What was it that you said you had for sarapan pagi? If still got, pass some over, huh?

Q: Red bean soup?

B:(a rumble, a grimace)

Q: I guess your basic message is people must make friends with one another across all races because real friends make trustworthy suppliers and customers, enlarges market space, and acts as reserves of insurance in times of need and changes. Besides, it fulfills the need of all to be naturally sociable and compassionate.

B: Yes, if Umno thinks it has fixed deposits, why can't the rakyat on their own and for better and more sustainable natural reasons?

Q: So back to bread. Which would you prefer?

B: I think Gardenia is not bad. Massimo is too ambivalent. However the Hainanese i understand make fluffy traditional bread easily toasted to a crisp crust that goes well with kaya and butter, of course all washed down with some piping hot coffee followed by a hand-rolled tobacco....and...oh never mind.

Q: Since you said that, i now ask you what you think of Proton cars.

B: I think the Saga is a good car but only easier on the pocket for the folks through subsidy to the company taken from excise duties on imports. That can't last forever. It's not fair and so uncool.

Furthermore, it seems to want to leave behind some easily detected and extremely irritating mistakes with each new model. Such as no coordinated sensing of the full tank which itself is too small so that i notice people spilling out costly fuel. After trying to close the doors without having to bang them around. See what i mean? improve here, un-improve there.

Q: I suddenly realize what you're saying is not about bread nor cars ...

B: Yes, what i am really saying is integration.

But bear in mind that's not monoculture assimilation which is what the racists in Umno are still attempting to foist after half a century of coexistence which had started swell but is now going downhill revived by each new pack of jokers and opportunists.

Instead, we should all be more easy-going with one another so as to share inputs and ideas that will improve all our products without assigning any racial connotation to them.

Q: But...

B: But those idiots in Putrajaya persist in trying to do one thing while saying and doing something the opposite in another place and time. And the rakyat have seen through it all for the last time. No credibility, no trust - so how to believe and accept? So they react which puts paid to all attempts at fostering cooperation and ending negative perceptions.

Q: Just let me ask you a simple question. If customers don't support a product, how can its manufacturer develop and grow to be independent of its backer?

B: Then let me ask you back a question. If customers are made to feel they are mistreated or ignored, why should they part with their hard-earned money to support products made by people given a head-start by a government that treats the customers shabbily in other areas?

Q: Then we are in an impasse, no?

B: Yes?

Q: Touche!

B: So how can this situation continue?

Q: Until the funds dry up and more leave. Soon, one presumes.

B: Is that why Kuok left?

Q: He saw far ahead of the world on China. That's how he had enlarged his investments.

B: It's also resilience. He had to sacrifice his roots when making his first fortune while working in the british isles.

We shouldn't underestimate the importance of resilience that interplays patience and perseverance which underpin long-term success built upon wisdom accumulated from learning through real experience acquired over long term.

Money can't buy that. It only comes from the seal of sacrifice and the salt of sweat.

The chinese in our midst may be faulted for being too tongue-tied in not articulating that enough.

Unknown 27 July 2013 at 12:44  

`They say, the taste of the Pudding is in its eating.' We all are bread people morning and tea time. We turn stale bread into puddings and rolled them in egga for French toast or make sandwiches with cheese, sardines, poached eggs, burgers or mincemeat.
Try the range of Gardenia loaves at RM 4.50 each (if they still produce them)Somerset and the nutty cereals are delicious. But is one is mindful of one's sugar intake then Gardenia (regular loaves) is not suitable.
You might like to check out its Seremban production plant which is located in Seremban Selatan 2. You can see for yourself if you will still buy it after viewing just the exterior!But they make do sustain poor and hungry as the Company is known to destroy those expired dates loaves just as hotels do with their pastries.
As for Massimo, the 600gm loaf goes at RM 3.20 though the amount state on the wrapper is RM 3.50 and the 300gm loaf comes in 4 varieties. Their buns are not as tasty as Mighty Whites'and Gardenias' buns are way off too sweet even for children.
Someone need to verify all its content claims as there was an article denouncing it!
I tried switching back to Gardenia but the children insisted on Massimo. So majority wins.
Happy trying..wassalam.

idrisfaizal 27 July 2013 at 12:52  

Anon 04.03,
You are a moron.Don't try to disguise it by suggesting something moronic in a polite way.Actually,you wanted to say that for those who doesn't kiss UMNO bum,please leave the country.They way you write suggests that you don't mind even if your wife(poor soul) get knock off as long as you continue receiving subsidies...hehe

Sam Yap,  28 July 2013 at 01:16  

Dear Dato,

Frankly, no matter what about the bread story, you are only describing the symptoms of what ails this country. Please do not apportion the blame on the Malaysian public. If you want to lay any blame, then please lay that bloody blame at the doorstep of the bastard parties collectively known as Barisan Nasional.

You know very well that every damn thing is politicized and shaded in racial colours ever since UMNO started their screwed up raced based policies in the biggest scam any country in this world has ever seen.

Now that the chickens have come to roost such that even the humble bread is politicized, you want to blame the public for believing in the bullshit about who owns what shares in the owners of the brands Gardenia and Massimo?

Your fellow Malaysians are sick and tired of all the bloody bullshit thrown at them by your ex-party UMNO that more than 53% (if we assume the voting trend as a general guide)are willing to inflict any damage, lash out in anger at anything which smacks of UMNO.

So if BERNAS in involved with QAF Sg which owns Gardenia brand and by extension is associated with Syed Mokhtar of Bernas - is it then any wonder, that the anti UMNO section of Malaysia public then boycotts the brand?

Now you want to take umbrage with your fellow Malaysians for the shitty racist state we exist in? Who was the architect of this state of affairs? Us?

It was your ex-party UMNO, who screwed up. Big time!

And why is it that now after almost 3 years of Gardenia Massimo battle, that you speak up? This is stale news. Yes, it may hurt QAF, but ..... hey, no one coerced them to do business in Malaysia. They know well what the heck is going on in this country and there is always that political risk. So, its really not the Malaysian public's responsibility whether QAF succeeds or fails. Its QAF's responsibility to fight back. Its a dog eat dog world in business.

And as far as the whole sordid bread affair is concerned. the bottomline for us Malaysians is : this is an excellent example of what UMNO has wrought.

Your duty as a responsible democratic politician (that's what you are selling to us?) is to put things right by formulating plans and strategies to kick out UMNO. Then lets talk.

Sam Yap,  28 July 2013 at 01:41  

Dear Dato,
Just to be sure I wouldn't be misunderstood, allow me a few lines more.

The bread war Gardenia vs Massimo is a symptom of the country's problems. A analogy is, fever is a symptom, the real problem is the flu virus infection.

In the context of the bread war, the real problem is the racial polarisation of our country, which is largely due to UMNO & its slaves in BN.

A simple test is this: do you think anyone would buy Massimo if the company named itself as Zul Nordin Sdn Bhd? And would you then think that everyone will rush to buy Gardenia? Fat chance. The truth is, quite likely, High5 brand will enjoy exceptionally good sales.

No doubt, someone saw the opportunity to exploit the Malaysian weakness - which is racism a'la UMNO style - and used that in cyberspace to de-market Gardenia.

And the Malaysian public, being who they are, after being shaped by racial policies and slogans - simply lapped up the stories and we end up withe bread war.

So, before you begin tagging others as racist, hey, ask yourself who is the real culprit? Who caused all these racial thingies? The Chinese? The Malays? The Indians? The Dayaks, Ibans?

Its the bastards in UMNO & BN!

Enough of the bread story already, lets move on. Lets hear something about how you and your Pakatan colleagues intend to correct the wrongs in the BIG picture.

Anonymous,  28 July 2013 at 02:18  

Wow Idris...definitely you are a tough act to follow. when you read one thing, your mind conjures something else and what come out is something else...Its just not smart for you to let everyone know your mind is only thinking about UMNO and bum and kisses and knocking off women..You should try is afterall the Ramadhan month

SiangMalam 28 July 2013 at 03:26  

Your article, Dato Sak, is factual and accurate. I worked for Gardenia Singapore and later Silver Bird (High 5 Bread) and you have presented a very factual, true account of the situation. Well done.

Anonymous,  28 July 2013 at 09:42  

Agree whole-heartedly. If Pakatan were to continue blaming others than themselves, there will be no difference in GE14.

Do you see any difference since GE13? Nothing!

We see continual barking from Pakatan, is this a government in waiting?

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