Mat, his wife Siti Kathijah Barlan with Deputy Science,Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Dr Abu Bakar Mohamad Diah (second from right) and Malacca Transport, Project Rehabilitation andInternational Trade Committee chairman Datuk Lim Ban Hong standing next to the car that was given away as a lucky draw prize.
MALACCA: A millionaire entrepreneur here rewarded customers with expensive gifts including a brand new car to thank them for, of all things, defecating.
Mat Jantan, 57, attributed human waste and garbage as what made him a successful businessman and his company, Haji Mat Sdn Bhd, is close to be listed on the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange (KLSE).
It was hardly smooth sailing for the businessman from Pokok Mangga when he first ventured into the waste management business in 1989.
“My friends dismissed the business as dirty and stinky but I saw a gold mine in it.
“I tried entering the industry as a contractor for local authorities but was rejected many times,” he said after presenting the prizes to lucky draw winners.
The lucky draw was held in conjunction with his company’s grand celebration, and prizes included motorcycles, electrical and electronic appliances.
Armed with a secondary education and the money given by his mother after pawning her gold chain, Mat Jantan bought a three-tonne lorry to start collecting waste in housing estates in the beginning.
In 1992, he saved enough to procure a sewage truck and later secured a waste suction contract before taking a bank loan to add to his fleet, two years later.
The father of five was ridiculed and even ostracised by some of his friends when they saw him in soiled attire.
“I was mocked with derogatory remarks on many occasions and no one wanted to date me at that point of time, but I was determined that there was a future in this business.
“Things turned better in the 1990s when I was awarded a contract by the local authority to handle sewage suction,” he said.
He was at that time the sole Bumiputera entrepreneur in the state venturing into waste management.
“I employed eight workers and I worked with them day and night to ensure that we meet the requirements of the local authority,” he said.
Mat’s waste management company has become a household name.
His company now owns a fleet of trucks servicing waste management concessionaires and the local government.
“I am rewarding the locals as I am who I am today because of their defecation,” he quipped.
He said it was also part of his company’s Social Corporate Responsibility (CSR) to recognise locals, especially the needy.
Mat is also starting an organic fertiliser production company which makes human waste and recycled items useful for the agriculture industry.
Mat said the younger generation shouldn’t be choosy, and should take up the gauntlet and venture into difficult, dirty and dangerous (3D) jobs if they wanted to be successful.
“Some degree holders sought employment in my company but they failed to show determination in simple tasks given and were unwilling to work in the 3D sector.
“There is no shortcut to success unless you are born with a silver spoon,” he said.