The Best Decision

The Best Decision

Chee Wah with Datuk Ameer

“The best decision I made is the wife I married. Choose your spouse carefully.”

“I don’t buy flowers on Valentine’s Day,” quipped Datuk Wira (Dr) Haji Ameer Ali Mydin, Managing Director of Mydin Mohamed Holdings Bhd.

“When you love someone, show him or her anytime of the year.”

It was a revelation from an entrepreneur who is recognized as Malaysia’s Master Entrepreneur Of The Year. With its strategic marketing direction, it has been reported that Mydin achieves RM3.5 billion sales revenue annually since 2007. 

“I was having back to back meetings in a day. I knew that my wife was about to touch down at KLIA in the evening. Even with that little time I had between meetings, I asked my driver to send me to the airport. I caught up with my wife and gave her a bouquet of flowers. Just for that short two minutes, I said what I needed to say and I left.” Datuk Ameer reminisced. “And that special gesture got her to talk about it for years to come. Even until now, she still remembers it.”

Do you like a boss who keeps coming into the office and immediately launches a to-do list? Or would you prefer to have a boss who would like to know how you have been doing lately? Datuk Ameer listens to his staff’s feedback about the retail business. Someone wants to bring in goods that are higher in value so that Mydin can draw in medium high income spenders. The experienced entrepreneur said that he liked the idea but Mydin has been catering to low income group of consumers who make up almost 40% of the local market. He felt that they should not forget their initial mission of helping those who need lower priced items.

Datuk Ameer said that the comments came from one of the staff who started with Mydin on a low management position with a lower pay and moved up to the top management level over the years. The staff was happy of getting the low priced consumer goods for the family then but since the staff’s pay has increased many folds over the years, taste and preference have also been elevated. But that should not be the determinant of the change of the company’s direction.

With a conglomerate of hypermarkets, emporiums, bazaars, mini-marts, convenience stores and grocery stores, there is no stopping of what Mydin will do next. The competitive edge that Mydin has over the rest of the hypermarkets is their insistence of getting in affordable halal merchandise. Visit any of the Mydin hypermarkets and you will find almost anything that a Muslim customer will need. Even those hard to find Muslim apparel and prayer necessities, if you could not find them anywhere else, you will definitely will be able to get them at Mydin – at a very affordable price too.

Datuk Ameer laughed, which he likes to do often, and said “Even when we started Kedai 1 Malaysia, to see a customer being able to afford a loaf of bread and then break it up to share with another family is truly an emotional sight.” This is the direction of serving the lower income group of consumers that Mydin will stay true to its business strategy, he explained.

Coming back to relationship, he advised that, “Marry the right person. Your spouse who will always be there to support you through thick and thin. Even when you spend most of your time getting things right for your business, you will feel secured knowing that someone at home is taking care of the domestic affairs and the kids when they were growing up.” Feeling blessed, he stressed that his wife is a caring and supportive spouse he is forever grateful. “Remember that when we first started many years ago, I was so poor. The day I got married, there were holes in my shoes. Despite that, my wife has been quietly supporting me in my work from day one.”

That would have explained the bouquet of flowers at the airport and his appreciation of his wife all the time. “Flowers are overpriced on Valentine’s Day, I don’t buy?” he laughed.

FOOTNOTE: This article is the writer’s interpretation of what he heard at a BFM forum. (Published with permission from Datuk Ameer.)

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