BRITISH American Tobacco (Malaysia) Bhd celebrated its centenary with a glamorous black-tie dinner at Shangri-La Hotel Kuala Lumpur on Thursday.
The dinner was graced by the Sultan of Selangor, Sultan Sharafuddin Idris Shah, and was attended by about 200 people, comprising invited guests and BAT Malaysia employees.
Also present were BAT Malaysia chairman Datuk Mohamad Salim Fateh Din and BAT Malaysia managing director William Toh.
Guests were treated to a cocktail reception earlier while being serenaded by the classical musical renditions of local trio Paolacia.
While enjoying the sumptuous dinner, guests were also entertained by performances from The Dazzle Showcase from Australia and Shila Amzah, the 22-year-old who emerged as the Asian Wave 2012 champion. Asian Wave was Asia’s first reality singing contest held in Shanghai.
In his speech, Toh thanked Sultan Sharafuddin for gracing the event.
“This is a significant milestone for BAT Malaysia. In the 1960s the company, then called the Malaysian Tobacco Company, set up its factory in Jalan Sungei Besi. It was listed in the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange in 1983.
“From a humble office in 9 MacArthur Street (now Jalan Tun H.S.Lee), we have now firmly established our headquarters in Section 19, Petaling Jaya,” said Toh.
Toh added that BAT Malaysia had now emerged as the largest tobacco company in the country with over 62% market share with an unrivalled portfolio of successful international brands.
“At BAT Malaysia, we do acknowledge that the nature of our business might often be seen as controversial, but that simply means that it is more important for us to demonstrate our commitment towards the welfare of the community around us, ensuring a fair and hospitable workplace, preserving our environment and operating responsibly in the marketplace,” said Toh.
Ending his speech, Toh explained that they were happy to celebrate the company’s 100th anniversary.
“For most of us, this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, if you compare this to the average life expectancy of our generation. I read that the average life expectancy of a Fortune 500 company or its equivalent is between 40 and 50 years. If you take a look at the Fortune 500 list from the 1970s, you will notice that more than a third no longer exist today,” he added.