FOR Mydin, this year’s Merdeka celebration will be indeed a new beginning for the country after the new government pulled off a shocking election win.
Following the fall of Barisan Nasional’s 60-year rule, Mydin’s managing director Datuk Wira Ameer Ali Mydin says Malaysians have an opportunity to hold their heads high by correcting previous mistakes that made headlines worldwide, referring to corruption scandals.
“This time, it is like being reborn. Let’s hope that the rakyat and politicians do not squander this rare opportunity.
“If we accept each other for better or worse, we will rise up and achieve the impossible,” he adds.
When asked what Merdeka means to him, Ameer, 62, said: “It means we have the power to bring up the country the way we want. We must think and work together for peace, harmony and wealth.”
The owner of the Mydin chain of hypermarkets urges Malaysians to give the new government space and time to get the country back on track. He feels that criticising the country’s shortcomings is like biting the hand that feeds you.
“Sometimes we forget to appreciate our country the way we appreciate our family. In the end when you need help, it is your family that will come to your rescue,” he quips.
Walking down memory lane, Ameer, who holds a Master of Arts in International Management from Western Michigan University in the United States, resided overseas in the mid-1970s. But his interest in opening a company for Malaysians pushed him to return home.
“We wanted Mydin to become a Malaysian icon. It was my decision to embark on my journey in business as the entrepreneurial spirit runs in my blood,” Ameer says.
Now, with 78 outlets nationwide, Mydin is targeting to open three outlets each year from 2020 onwards due to the availability of landbanks.
Moving forward, Ameer intends to tap into the e-commerce business by acquiring or partnering with an online business by the end of 2019.
“We will most probably do joint ventures on the e-commerce business as I do not personally think we can do it on our own. The survivor will be the one who is strong in all channels, which is both brick and mortar and e-commerce business.”
Being philosophical in his approach, he believes success comes from contributing to the nation by getting down to the nitty-gritty.
“Don’t litter, pick up rubbish, don’t wait for cleaners, don’t spoil government assets and facilities, turn off lights when no one is around and offer seats to the elderly or pregnant woman. Contribute to this country by being all you can be,” he advises.
Apart from Malaysians seeking government benefits, Ameer hopes that citizens can adopt a selfless approach in these challenging times, referring to the country’s mammoth debt of RM1 trillion.
“Believe in the government. Do not ask for subsidies. Work hard and with integrity,” he says.
With the opposition inciting race-based politics, Ameer feels the new government is expected to face an uphill task to spread moderation across the nation, adding that it is the duty of each citizen to practise moderation of religion to live in peace and harmony.
Furthermore, Malaysian women have played an integral role in national development. Ameer says women must continue to invest in themselves by growing professionally and focusing on self-development.
“On Merdeka, I would like to thank all Malaysian women who have been instrumental in developing families, communities, organisations and the country,” he adds.
This year was also declared a Women Empowerment year, recognising women’s contribution to the economy, by former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
Going forward, Ameer hopes the new government will “walk the talk” in rebuilding the country and work with the private sector to enhance economic activities and purchasing power of consumers.
To reduce the cost of living, he calls on the government to look into ways to strengthen the ringgit, as it impacts the cost of goods which are mostly imported from overseas.
“We see that the new government is taking a positive step ahead to maintain the rule of law. Despite the hard circumstances, they need to uphold the integrity and continue to do the right thing,” Ameer says.
More stories: Star Special - National Day 2018
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