Another tale from my uncles and their friends wakakaka, and it’s a finger licking good story.
I sought my elders’ views on KFC after reading The Malaysian Insider’s news article Perkasa wants KFC chain to stay in Malay hands.
Malaysia’s favourite ultra-bogeyman has urged the government to ensure the local franchise for the popular Kentucky Fried Chicken (KFC) fast food outlets remains in the hands of Malays, specifically a Malay company and not even a Malay individual.
Uniquely in Malaysia, KFC is probably the most popular western fast food chain, with 445 outlets throughout the country. When I first came to Australia I was shocked by the midget size of a typical KFC outlet in comparison to a typical Malaysian KFC restaurant. Then, in Oz’s KFC, chillie sauce has to be purchased in small sachets, unlike Malaysia where (at least during my time) a bottle stands on every table.
KFC is so popular in Malaysia that it’s a guaranteed big money earner for the franchise owner.
Today’s news report on Perkasa does not offend me as I support Ibrahim Ali’s appeal to the UMNO government to ensure the franchise ownership remains with a Malay company, Kulim, which oddly for its company name, is owned by Johor Corp, the investment arm of Johor State.
I presume many Malaysians would be like me, who do not want to see the magic 30% equity chipped once again by any individual through subsequent sale of the lucrative KFC franchise, nor for it to slip into non-Malay hands, thus providing reasons for perpetuating UMNO’s 'Never Ending Policy' (NEP).
But you know, not many people are aware that KFC, before it became known as KFC, and under its original name of Kentucky Fried Chicken, was franchised to a Chinese who opened the first Malaysian outlet in 1973 at a location in Jalan Tunku Abdul Rahman (which I believe was originally called Batu Road).
How, what or why led to the change of the local franchise holder, from a Chinese businessman to a Malay one, is a bit blur even for my elders after 30 odd years.
But what they do remember was that the Chinese bloke kicked up a mighty big fuss when he realized he was losing it. The story went that he put up lots of theatrics to publicize his unhappy (and, according to him, most unfair) loss of the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise, like employing people to wear Mickey Mouse masks and carrying balloons and streamers to stage protests at various strategic locations in Kuala Lumpur.
It would seem in those happier days (though obviously not for that particular Chinese businessman, but for us) the police were less politically inclined and more neutral. I doubt such privately organized shows of protest would have been allowed today, let alone tolerated.
Uncle also remembers his theme song, always played aloud at his staged demonstrations of protest, strangely or ironically one which ought to be ‘owned’ by Dr Mahathir, namely “I did it my way”.
And now the end is near
So I face the final curtain
Indeed, he lost the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise forever more.
Regrets, I’ve had a few
But then again, too few to mention
I doubt that, as he was protesting vigorously with gimmicks and theatrics. The fact was the Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise was far too profitable to lose gracefully, especially if the loss had been due to, according to his assertions, unfair means.
My uncles and their friends couldn’t confirm the reason for the Chinese businessman losing the franchise but he sure reminded them of how he was not losing it without dramatic exhibitions of his anger and outrage at what he perceived to be unfair means to deprive him of that franchise. His constant use of the word ‘unfair’ was testament to his humongous dissatisfaction.
Another kaytee's unconfirmed story wakakaka.