When bread is all about dirty politics


Lim Victor

KUALA LUMPUR (Aug 11, 2012): The ongoing corporate and political battle between Syed Mokhtar Albukhary’s Gardenia and the world’s sugar king Tan Sri Robert Kuok’s Massimo has not only intensified but got dirtier.

It is now a free for all with race, religion and allegations of homicide thrown in.
Yes! This is a free world but that is not a license to malign or defame till kingdom come.
This is a free world, economically that is. So, for Kuok to set up Massimo is just another business venture.
What must have irked Umno’s crony, Syed Mokhtar, is when certain quarters started a campaign to promote Massimo in cyberspace.
A call for Malaysians to boycott Gardenia and opt for Massimo is indeed political because the basis for the boycott is to stop supporting the racist Umno and Syed Mokhtar.
Who is behind this campaign is still unclear. Of course Syed Mokhtar and Gardenia would naturally point their fingers at the Opposition Pakatan Rakyat, Kuok and Massimo who have all denied having any hand in the cyberspace campaign that has gone viral and effective.
The power of the internet – via emails and facebook – has been so effective that you can clearly see, from the bread shelves, how Gardenia’s bottom line has been slashed.
Unable to counter the freefall in the bottom line, through corporate advertisements to downplay Syed Mokhtar’s stake in Gardenia, we now see a downright dirty campaign in cyberspace. Look at this poster:
The translation – MUST READ! Robert Kuok’s caption reads: This is Malaysia’s richest man who is willing to sell his race for continuous wealth.
The text: Robert Kuok has cheated Malaysians especially the Muslims because his flour enriched with Vitamin B1 is sourced from pigs and laced with poison (Benzoyl Peroxide) used to whiten the flour and causing many Malaysians to be inflicted by various chronic diseases. Massimo bread also uses the flour ‘bleach’ which is poisonous and also banned in China. Let us not support and buy the following products:
Again, it is only natural for Kuok, Massimo and PR to point their fingers at Syed Mokhtar, Gardenia and Umno for such a seditious campaign. Again, there is no evidence to accuse Syed Mokhtar, Gardenia and Umno.
But, Malaysians in general, are appalled by the outrageously seditious theme of the campaign. The campaign not only insults the intelligence of Malaysians, it is just plain moronic.
If all the allegations against Kuok are true, then why are the products still allowed in the market shelves? Is the government equally moronic? Where are the deaths related to consuming Kuok’s flour, bread and cooking oil?
To me, the current attack on Kuok, will just backfire. It needs no further attention or response from Kuok, Massimo or even the Opposition.
What must worry Malaysians is whether the majority, especially the Malays and Muslims, will fall for such dirty and nonsensical campaigns that insult our intelligence.
The seditious elements in the campaign are also no less inflammatory.
A campaign to boycott a product based on political support is part and parcel of a democratic political environment. But a campaign to boycott a product based on race and religion, insensitive and inflaming emotions is just unacceptable to national unity.
What Syed Mokhtar and Gardenia need is imaginative and innovative marketing elements to counter Kuok and Massimo’s continuous growth in sales.
Gardenia also needs to honestly review its product quality and ingredients compared with Massimo’s. Only then can it check its rot in sales.
Massimo will not sell, no matter what the campaign strategy is, if its product is inferior to Gardenia’s. Now, Gardenia and Syed Mokhtar, do you get it?