AT 11.00 A.M.


Yang Berbahagia Dato’ Dr Mohamad Musa bin Md. Jamil, 

Chairman of Guan Chong Berhad,


Yang Berusaha Mr. Brandon Tay, 

Managing Director of Guan Chong Berhad,


Distinguished Board of Directors of Guan Chong Berhad,


Honoured guests, 


Members of the media,


Ladies and gentlemen. 

Assalamulaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh and Salam 1Malaysia


1. First and foremost, let me express my deepest appreciation to the organizer and Guan Chong Berhad for the invitation to officiate the opening of the GCB’s new industrial chocolate factory. To the organizer, I wish not only to congratulate you for your erstwhile effort in organizing this event but more than that you have certainly brought back all the good memories I had with chocolates during my childhood days. For that reason I thank you. 


2. In my opinion, what makes today’s event even more momentous and special is that we are standing tall on one of the thriving hubs of international trade in Johor which is famously known as Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP).  I am sure, GCB has benefited from it on various grounds just like many other companies that continuously meeting not only domestic demands but also that of the world.  


Ladies and Gentlemen, 


3. GCB a company of its stature needs no further introduction in the world of international cocoa grinder. We gather here this morning to witness another quantum leap taken by the company to become a centre of excellence in chocolate and cocoa industry. Given its new factory outlook, new fully-equipped facilities and state-of-the-art R&D centre, ambitious business expansion plans,  dedicated to innovating new products, and improving cocoa applications, I have no doubt that such efforts would certainly place GCB and Malaysia in a more significant stead in the international cocoa arena. 


4. In this respect, the State Government is proud to count GCB as one of the key success stories in Johor, which simultaneously point to the success of progressive policies put in place by both the State and Federal Governments to boost the manufacturing and export sectors. 


Ladies and gentlemen, 


5. The cocoa industry in Johor is certainly dynamic and vibrant. Just recently, we successfully attracted major Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) from The Hershey Company worth of the amount of RM816 million which is the company’s single-largest investment in Asia to date. The Hershey Company’s Johor plant is expecting to be completed in 2015, where more than 400 jobs will be created in the state.  What is remarkable about this plant is that it will be the distribution centre for the Asian region.


6. Furthermore, according to the Malaysian Cocoa Board, Malaysia has a cocoa grinding capacity of 300,000 tonnes annually. Of this, about 85% of this grinding capacity is based in Johor. Hence, it is strategic for the state Government to encourage downstream chocolate manufacturing activities, potentially making Johor a key chocolate hub not just in Malaysia but also in the region. 


Ladies and gentlemen,


7. Looking at the global scenario however, the world demands for cocoa products will continue to increase but according to The International Cocoa Organisation (ICCO) has forecasted a global shortage of about 70,000 metric tonnes of cocoa in 2014 alone. If this pattern continues, ICCO predicts a deficit could continue through the rest of the decade.  


8.   Given this opportunity, and in line with the Government’s commitment to encourage a diversified agriculture base, the Government aims to increase land under cocoa plantation to 40,000 hectares (or 98,842 acres) by 2020, from 21,710 hectares (or 53,647 acres) at present. 


9. This will increase Malaysia’s grinding capacity to 360,000 tonnes per year, and generate an estimated RM4.0 billion revenue for the country by 2020. This is a favourable upside from the RM3.7 billion in exports of cocoa beans and related products recorded in 2012. 


Ladies and gentlemen,


10. While it is important to increase supply of cocoa beans to meet world demand, it is equally imperative to highlight the issues of Chocolate RND on health and measures to encourage sustainability for the growth plans of home-grown chocolate entrepreneurs. 


11. Although many consumers view chocolate as an occasional treat and do not obsess over its effect on health, fat is becoming a major issue for manufacturers. So-called ‘fat taxes’ are threatened in a number of major economies, including the US and the UK, while European countries such as Denmark and Hungary have already introduced surplus taxes on unhealthy food. In Japan, the government has gone one step further and is taxing companies and local authorities with a high proportion of overweight employees or residents.


12. An increased emphasis on healthy lifestyles is an imperative for governments facing rising healthcare costs, particularly in developed economies that are battling childhood obesity. To combat this, the industry should debate the potential health benefits and enable chocolate to be among the next generation of functional foods, pushing the antioxidant effects of dark chocolate or investigating the energy-boosting properties of bars with oats, nuts or ‘super fruits’.


Ladies and gentlemen,


13. Secondly achieving sustainability for the home-grown entrepreneurs is not only about assisting or creating business opportunity. But it is a combined effort, in which the entrepreneurs, government and industry must work hand-in-hand to sustainably produce cocoa without destroying the ecosystem.  The market end of the chain including the traders, processors and manufacturing companies, several of whom are represented here today must genuinely share a common vision and play their particular role to make sure that profit goes in tandem with the chain-flow of the ecosystem.  We must see within the next 5 years that the mainstream market accepts the challenge to commit to sustainability and integration of biodiversity conservation in the cocoa and chocolate value chains.


14. Our vision for cocoa is an industry that empowers the cocoa farmer and home-grown entrepreneur to thrive alongside suppliers and manufacturers. We must all stand ready to work with anybody who shares that goal, and look forward to a day when everyone in the industry can reap the benefit together. 


Ladies and gentlemen, 


15. Let me once again take this opportunity to express my heartfelt thanks and sincere gratitude to the organizer of this event for inviting me to officiate this unforgettable occasion. 


16. On this note, I officially declare open the GCB’s new industrial chocolate factory.


Thank you.