Speech at Texchem Group’s 40th anniversary dinner

Speech by YAB Mr. Lim Guan Eng, Chief Minister of Penang at Texchem Group’s 40th Anniversary Dinner –
2 December 2013 @ Equatorial Hotel

Good evening ladies and gentlemen.

It is a pleasure to be here tonight to join you all to celebrate the Texchem Group’s 40th Anniversary. Anniversaries and birthdays are always good times for reflection, for friends and associates to get together and look back at the good times and the difficult times that have been shared.

Reaching 40 years is a tremendous milestone for the Texchem Group and is something to be rightfully proud of. The transformation of the Texchem Group from its early days as a dyestuff trader into a diversified multinational is an inspirational story of one man’s vision and determination. The one man is none other than Tan Sri (Dr) Konishi himself.

I first had the pleasure of meeting Texchem’s founder – Tan Sri Konishi – back in year 2008 and I remember being immediately impressed by his energy and zest for life. I was very curious to find out more about Tan Sri Konishi, a cultured Japanese gentleman and how he came to call Penang home.

I later found out that Tan Sri Konishi’s love affair with Malaysia began when he was in a student exchange programme at Universiti Malaya. After his graduation, he was looking for the opportunity to stay on in Malaysia and began a career starting his own business as a dyestuff salesman travelling up and down the country.

They say that all great men and visionary entrepreneurs have a pioneering spirit inside them, and I believe this to be true of Tan Sri Konishi. He could have taken the easy route after graduation by returning to Japan to begin his career, but he chose to stay in Malaysia and take on new challenges. Malaysia in the 1970s was very different from the industrialised nation it is today.

Like all successful businessmen, Tan Sri Konishi must have believed in his own abilities and sensed that there were opportunities to be made in his newly adopted home. From his small office on Beach Street in George Town, Texchem was born and has gone on from strength to strength.

From dyestuff trading the Group has diversified into a trading house, ventured into household insecticides business, seafood, restaurants and high technology polymer engineering. What began as a modest sole trader is today a billion Ringgit organisation with operations around the world.

Texchem brands such as Sushi King are household names in Malaysia, and the Group currently employs over 5000 employees. As the Chief Minister of Penang I’m very proud that Tan Sri Konishi and the Texchem Group calls Penang home. Despite the Group’s international expansion it’s heart is very much still here in Penang. Tan Sri Konishi has demonstrated his love for Penang by building his magnificent home in Penang.

I believe this long and happy relationship between Texchem and Penang is a testament to the State’s wonderful living environment and business-friendly approach.

Since 2008 to 2012, the Penang state has attracted RM36.1 billion of investments. Many industry captains including Texchem have a major role in achieving this important milestone. All this is only possible because companies such as Texchem remain confident of the current CAT government that allows creativity, enabler and innovation to flourish in the state.

In closing, I would like to thank Tan Sri Konishi for inviting me to share this milestone with you all. The Texchem Group has achieved plenty of accolades in its four decades and I believe that under the stewardship of your Group President & CEO – Brian Tan – that it will continue to do so, as Brian is a born and bred Penang boy.

I also have the pleasure of knowing Brian and feel that he too is a man of vision and great integrity. This is the man who has made the Texchem Group’s 40th Anniversary theme as “Change through innovation.” Change is the keyword.

There is one point in the history of any organisation where dramatic change allows it to make a giant leap to a higher performance level.

“Change through innovation” summarises his bold belief and I have confidence that the next few decades will see the Texchem Group undergo tremendous change and growth. I offer the Group my congratulations and wish it many happy, productive and profitable years to come.

Thank you.