Monday, June 2, 2014


With the current brouhaha on the 'tainted' Cadbury chocolates and the call by Muslim NGOs and that Tee Chuan Seng fella, to boycott all food sold by non-Muslim companies, revoked the license of Cadbury, burn down the company, etc, it left me to wonder whatever happened to a Muslim manufacturer like Zaitun Industries.

The company first started its operations in 1978 by one Dato' Seri Mutiara Mohd Eusuff Teh, a Chinese Muslim, to manufacture toiletery, cosmetic and food products to meet the needs of the Muslim market. Then came the news that the company was delisted from the stock exchange on August 11 2003 citing reason : "The company does not have an adequate level of financial condition to warrant continued listing on the official list of the Exchange." After this, it was rumoured that the company was bought over by Colgate Palmolive.

If the company's business objective was to cater strictly for the Muslim market and maybe to a lesser extent, the non-Muslim market, how could it possibly fail when the Muslim population was hovering around 16 million?

Questions that need to be answered :
1. Did the Muslims in the country find the products wanting and thus opted for other well known products sold by non-Muslims? For example, Zaitun's product range included cosmetics. Did the Muslims opt for brands such as Revlon, Shisheido or Avon instead?
2. Did they price themselves out of the market?
3. Was their A&P appealing to the Muslim consumers?

The Muslim NGOs should do a re-thinking before jumping the gun that non-Muslim companies like Cadbury was out to 'cheat' them. If Muslim consumers decided to ditch Zaitun and opt for non-Muslim manufactured products, what are we to say? Put up signs everywhere from eateries to departmental stores to pharmacies that read, "For non-Muslim customers only". That would be outright discriminatory and bad for business. If they don't trust non-Muslim companies, then it would be a good idea for the NGOs to pool their financial resources together to start a company that manufactures only halal products. QED.

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