Spiky Durian Politics

Hello Stinky Spike Fans,

In case you happen to see frozen Malaysian Durian in China or fresh or packaged Durian from Thailand in China, after reading these articles, you’ll know why.

Maybe we should be exporting Durian Potong Sticks or Durian Mooncake (already very popular here for years) to China instead of just frozen durian which requires expensive cold chain handling and very perishable…


Frozen durian and China’s market

* Opinion

2011-04-29 11:36

Translated by Soong Phui Jee
Sin Chew Daily

A former Plantation Industry and Commodities minister said that China has 1.3 billion people and if each of them consumes a tablespoon of palm oil a year, Malaysia would not have to worry about no market for palm oil.

Indeed, China has been for many years the greatest importer of Malaysian palm oil. In 2010 alone, China had imported 3.4 million tons of palm oil from Malaysia. However, are Malaysians contented with the export of crude products? How would Malaysian businessmen be contented when they have to compete with Chinese goods in local market while other countries are sharing the big cake of the Chinese market?

The bilateral talk between Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is fruitful. China agreed to stably import Malaysian palm oil and advantageous products, including frozen durian which was mentioned specifically. Why durian? Some people might be puzzled and wonder how much foreign exchange the fruit could earn. Why didn’t they fight for the export of national car or steel?

China also manufactures cars and steel and Malaysia is still implementing protection policies on the industries. Therefore, it is not practical to expect China to open up its market to us. It is more practical for Malaysia to let its advantageous products lead the charge of finding a place in the highly competitive Chinese market.

Durian can become a brand of Malaysia. However, Malaysian durian is not particularly thriving in the Chinese market. Thailand has started exporting durian to China many years ago and in 2009, the total sales of Thai durian in two months reached 1,800 tons, which was also 20 times the sales of the year before.

Road Map of Bangkok - Kunming (Thailand - China link)

Bangkok- Kunming Highway

Thai fruits and vegetables are exported to Mohan city of Xishuangbanna, Yunnan from Amphoe Chiang Khong, Chiang Rai with the total distance of 1,104km. China and Thailand signed an agreement to grant zero tariff for Thai fruits and vegetables on 1 October 2003.

The example is cited to show that other Asean countries have exploited the Chinese market many years ago and Malaysia is in fact lagging behind. Thus, Malaysian products are facing difficulties and fierce competition in China.

Take durian and tropical fruits as an example, Malaysia is unable to compete with Thailand. The agricultural technology in Thailand is more advanced compared to Malaysia. Even if Malaysian durian is more tasty than Thai durian, but who wants to eat frozen durian? Thai fruits are exported to China through the Kunming-Bangkok Highway, which has shortened the transport time by two to three days and extended the storage period. Malaysian fruits have lost the advantage.

It is a depressing fact. We have lesser and lesser advantageous products due to the lack of promotion, research and development over the years. It is difficult for Malaysia to share the big cake of the Chinese market. Even electrical and electronic products which have been our pride are unable to compete with cheap China-made products.

Therefore, Malaysia should come out with different strategies, such as joint-venture projects, to share the big pie.

The agricultural industry of Malaysia is lagging behind while agricultural products are not enough even for self-sufficiency. Therefore, joining venture with Chinese state-owned companies is a way out. Under the joint venture programme, agricultural products can meet domestic demand, being exported to China while avoiding direct competition with Thailand.

Malaysia and China have signed an agreement to expand and deepen economic and trade cooperation while several Malaysian infrastructure projects are opened to Chinese contractors. It is believed that the joint venture and technology transfer programmes will be a success and the cooperation between the two countries will be enhanced to a higher level.

And previously…. more on this story…

February 22, 2011 17:42 PM
Asia Shangtex Signs Contract To Supply Frozen Durian Products To China
KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 (Bernama)– Asia Shangtex Sdn Bhd, the concessionaire to supply agriculture products from Asean to the Shanghai-Xijiao International Agricultural Products Trade Centre, has signed a 10 million yuan (about RM4.6 million) contract with Shanghai Lingyuanjiayu Trading Co. Ltd, to supply frozen durian products to China.

The contract is to supply a wide variety of durian products in large quantities to the Chinese market for one-year through Shanghai Lingyuanjiayu.

“China imports fresh durian mainly from Thailand as Malaysian durians were unable to enter their market due to some technical issues at the government-to-government level,” Asia Shangtex’s senior manager Yap Jian Shoong told reporters after the signing ceremony on Tuesday.

The signing was witnessed by the Deputy Secretary General of Tourism Ministry Rashidi Hasbullah.

Yap said the signing was a significant milestone for producers of tropical fruits and products in Malaysia as it had opened a door for Malaysian products to enter the China market in a big way.

“Asia Shangtex is also in the midst of concluding negotiations to market other Malaysian fruit products, such as the dragon fruit, to China,” he added.

Asia Shangtex, a joint venture company with Shanghai Hu-Shang Agricultural Products Co. Ltd, holds a 20-year exclusive concession to use part of Shanghai Xijiao International’s exhibition and direct sales area for Asean agriculture products.

With a floor space of 450,000 sq metres, the RM1 billion trade centre was set up by the Shanghai government to serve the needs of the domestic and international markets, as well as for wholesale and retail purpose.


Mr Asia: Not the Durian that caused my heart attack

It’s awkward to blame health issues on fruits (especially Durian!), and a former Mr. Asia champion realized this.

Malek doubts durians caused heart attack



IPOH: Six-time Mr Asia Datuk Abdul Malek Noor does not think durians he consumed prior to a charity football match triggered his heart attack.

“I don’t think the durians had to do with the blockage (of the arteries),” he said when met at Pantai Hospital Ipoh yesterday.

A Malay tabloid had speculated that his attack was triggered by durians which Malek had eaten before the charity match.

Malek was part of a National Athletes Welfare Foundation delegation to Perak and the football match last Wednesday was part of a fund-raising programme.

He collapsed shortly after the charity match began.

Malek giving the thumbs up to indicate his recovery with his godsons (from left) Nik Amirul Hariz Nik Muhamad Nuzul, seven, and Nik Amirul Hafiz Nik Muhamad Nuzul, 10, at Pantai Hospital Ipoh yesterday. With them are Malek’s godbrother Baharuddin Yaakub, 65.

Malek, 54, said his heart had stopped beating before he was sent to Pantai Hospital Ipoh from Raja Permaisuri Bainun Hospital.

“I told myself that this is not how I want to die. I prayed to Allah to give me a second chance and it was answered. I will live my life to the fullest after being granted a second life’ and promise to take good care of my health,” he said.

Malek is recovering well but is still being monitored closely after being moved from the intensive care unit to the normal ward.

“I can walk on my own but the medicine makes me drowsy. The doctor said I can be discharged from the hospital within four days,” he said.

He said that he experienced heart attack symptoms after returning from his umrah in Mecca last Saturday.

“There were times that my breathing was laboured and I felt tired easily. I thought it was the weather and I just brushed it aside, thinking it was nothing,” he said.

Malek said that Perak Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Dr Zambry Abdul Kadir visited him on Saturday.

“He came with flowers and wished me a speedy recovery,” he said, adding that many concerned people had also visited him.

“Some of my Facebook friends from overseas said they are coming to visit me too,” he added.


Social Dessert Menu at GTower: Durian Cheesecake etc.

The Social @ GTower Hotel KL

I didn’t eat it but I want to tell you about it anyway…

It was a Wednesday evening and I was supposed to meet a friend who was visiting from HK for drinks at the Hilton. She canceled on me last minute and I ended up tagging along with SW for dinner and drinks with a friend visiting from Singapore. I asked SW where we should go for dinner and immediately he suggested that we eat in the hotel where the friend was staying, the new-ish GTower hotel on Jalan Tun Razak. It wasn’t a natural choice for me, the last time I went there to the Bridge Bar to have a look around, I was sorely disappointed. It was quiet with no view of KLCC and really weird security issues to get into public spaces. Anyway, we walked around and opted for a casual setting of  “The Social” eatery and bar over the posh italian restaurant Tanzini upstairs.

The Social dinner place was practically empty, a few office types were having a drink downstairs at the bar. I think the lunch set menu probably draws more of a crowd than dinner. My chicken rice and SW’s pizza looked great but it lacked the care and tenderness of a specialist. The salad was fresh but mildly lacking in quantity. Fortunately the service was prompt (well, there wasn’t anyone else to attend to) but the waitress told us we had to leave at 10pm as that section was closing. We would however, be welcome to order our desserts and tea/coffee at the bar downstairs.

Trundling down the stairs, we realized just how large the place was, downstairs there was a stage for a live band

The Dessert Section

and a DJ, playing relatively decent top hits. We sat sort of “al fresco” (which isn’t really al fresco because we were still in the building), we were just sitting outside of the door of the bar. Upon presentation of the menu, I noticed that they had two pages of dessert, one page containing the more conventional choices – tiramisu (a house special), chocolate tart, bread and butter pudding (another house special) and the accompanying page listing a fairly impressive assortment of cheesecake.

I was tempted to have the durian cheesecake but confess that as it was my first time there, I went along with the waiter’s recommendation for a house special and chose the tiramisu. SW and friend went for opera cake and blueberry cheesecake respectively. Both of them were pretty happy with their cakes, but my tiramisu on second bite didn’t sit well with me ( it seemed the cream was past its due date) and when the nice waiter came back, I told him my opinion of their house special. He was apologetic and went and got the manager. I repeated my opinion and the manager suggested a change to the chocolate tart instead. This was a much better dessert and thoroughly enjoyable as it was warm, small and very rich dark chocolate.

But I should have asked for the Durian cheesecake instead. Ah well, next time…