Dato’ Ar Ooi Sian Hian
Ghee Hiang Executive Chairman
“We are a traditional biscuit maker, that’s our core strength that we will continue to build on.”
Ghee Hiang is a household name for many in Malaysia and Southeast Asia, particularly for its fragrant sesame oil but this 161-year-old company does not only produce sesame oil but had in fact, started out as a traditional pastry maker. This is the company that first introduced the traditional tau sar pneah and till today, continue to lead the way in manufacturing fresh quality handmade pastries.
Heading Ghee Hiang is its Executive Chairman Dato’ Ar Ooi Sian Hian who said it is time for the traditional pastry company to renew and capture the interests of the younger generation through a different strategy and
invigorating marketing style. The trained architect decided to bring changes to the company, the first of which is to introduce new and beautiful packaging for the products. “We are a traditional biscuit maker, that’s our other core strength that we will continue to build on and we have to continue to project our living heritage image through our packaging so that our customers can distinguish and continue coming back to us,” he said.
Another way is to concept-theme its various newer boutique outlets and more importantly restore Ghee Hiang’s original shop at 95 Beach Street to turn back time and return the building to its former traditional look. “We want to bring back the aura and feel of the olden days so that when people come to Ghee Hiang, it is not about buying pastries but about immersing in our local culture, our history and tradition that was entrenched for over 160 years,” he said.
“Ghee Hiang is going through a transformation to bring our handmade traditional pastries outside of Malaysia.”
There are plans to introduce Ghee Hiang pastries to the international market. “Ghee Hiang is going through a mapped series of transformations to bring our handmade traditional pastries outside of Malaysia,” Dato’ Ooi said. Other than its sesame oil and pastries, Ghee Hiang Group, under Dato’ Ooi’s leadership, has branched out into property development in Ghee Hiang Gardens, Green Lane Penang and most recently, ventured into its first ever lifestyle eatery -Teels Heritage Cafe. The cafe not only serves unique British Malaya inspired meals but introduces hot-from-the-oven Ghee Hiang pastries for a different experience.
Ghee Hiang first made its name all those years ago when people would queue outside its shop along Beach Street to be the first to grab some of its hot-from-the-oven pastries. Now, the pastries sold, though freshly baked daily, have been cooled before individually packed and sealed to maintain freshness in compliance to Food Safety Management standards. The novelty of the hot-from-the-oven pastries were lost and Teels is there to bring it back. “We want people to distinctively experience savouring our pastries fresh, fragrant and hot from the oven again,” he said.
Ghee Hiang has been around since 1856 and under Dato’ Ooi’s capable leadership, the group’s direction is heading towards many more decades of carving a name for itself in the food and beverage industry as a manufacturer and also an industry leader.
It is not only all business and profit for Dato’ Ooi. It is also about giving back to society and that is why Ghee Hiang signed a memorandum of agreement with KDU Penang College University in a scholarship collaboration to help students particularly in the field of Culinary Arts & Hospitality. It is a RM150,000 three-year collaboration in which Dato’ Ooi in addition had personally contributed RM60,000. “Education is very important and we believe it is our moral obligation and duty to give back to society through this collaboration with KDU,” he said.
“另一种方式是将我们的精品门店翻新为主题概念化，恢复义香当年在土库街 95 号的原始店铺风情，我们想让时光倒流，重现传统朴实的面貌。尤其是尽量修复酝酿过去的氛围和感觉，所以当人们来到义香时，不仅是买酥饼点心，而是沉浸在传统文化思绪，这是超越 160 年的历史时光隧道。”
至于有关将义酥饼糕点引入国际市场的计划。“义香正在历经一系列的改造进程，把我们手工制作的传统酥饼带到马来西亚以外的地方。”除了麻油和酥饼外，在拿督黄先贤的领导下也涉足房地产开发领域，包括义香集团属下的義香花园、槟城青草巷和最近名为 Teels Heritage Café 咖啡馆餐厅。这个首家品质生活方式的咖啡馆不仅提供独特的英国马来式混搭美食菜单，而且还重点介绍现场烘焙的义香招牌酥饼。
义香打响名号是源于许多年前，当人们在土库街的店铺外大排长龙，只为了购买新鲜出炉的热腾腾酥饼。直至现在，这些酥饼点心虽然依旧新鲜出炉，但为了遵守食品安全管理的保鲜度标准，在历经独立包装和密封之前已经冷却。而从烤箱里拿出来的酥饼丢失了热度，但 Teels Heritage Café 则将唤回原有的温度记忆。“我们希望大家能有独特的体验，可以再次品尝刚从烤箱中直接出炉，香气扑鼻而温热的酥饼点心。”
义香自 1856 年起就伴随着大家，而在黄先贤英明领导下，该集团正朝着数十载的长远方向发展，作为饮食行业的领头羊，也为制造商和业内领导者树立榜样。
至于黄先贤不只是关注商业和盈利，他也不忘社会公益，其中义香与槟城伯乐学院大学（KDU）签署了一份奖学金协作的备忘录，以帮助学生们在烹饪艺术和餐饮酒店服务的课程学习。在这项 3 年投入 15 万令吉的计划之外，他个人附加奉献了 6 万令吉。“教育非常重要，这也是我们的道德义务和责任，相信通过与伯乐学院的合作将极大化的回馈社会。”