PENANG: Ooi Kooi How, the managing director of the company that makes Penangs famous Ghee Hiang tau sah pneah, collapsed at the opening ceremony of the companys new outlet in Macalister Road.
Ooi, 76, slumped into his chair about 10.30am just when Chief Minister Tan Sri Dr Koh Tsu Koon started his speech to officially open the outlet.
Ooi had earlier paused for a few seconds and had experienced difficulty in breathing when delivering his speech on the 149-year history of Ghee Hiang Manufacturing Sdn Bhd. He then returned to his seat next to Dr Kohs chair before collapsing.
Company directors, shareholders and staff members rushed to Oois aid, fanning him and loosening his necktie.
He was rushed to a nearby private hospital in a car and admitted for intensive care where he is reported to be in a stable condition. After Ooi was taken to the hospital, Dr Koh resumed his speech and urged Ghee Hiang to strive to establish the brand in the global market. Also present was Ghee Hiang chairman Chng Kar Jim.
Dr Koh later unveiled the companys plaque and witnessed a lion dance performance.
The company needs little introduction in Penang. Established in 1856, it is the originator of Penangs first tau sar pneah (green bean paste biscuit), which is popular not just with the locals but also out-stationers, and Singaporeans.
In 1926, it was bought over by three friends (remembered today as Chng, Ooi and Yeoh) whose partnership has lasted till today, four generations later.
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