YBhg. Dato’ Sri Norazman Ayob, Deputy Secretary General (Industry) of the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) officiated the ASEAN Retail-Chains & Franchise Federation (ARFF) Chinese New Year Luncheon alongside other prominent guests to celebrate the auspicious Year of the Rabbit by setting a notable record for the largest pair of Chinese New Year calligraphy ever to be produced in Malaysia. In doing so, ARFF intends to commemorate the nation’s unique cultural diversity as a result of 60 outstanding years since the alliance of east and west Malaysia.
This year’s Chinese New Year Luncheon was held in conjunction with the 60th–anniversary celebration of the formation of Malaysia since the union of Sabah and Sarawak in 1963. The anniversary ties back to the significance of the 60th year in the Chinese calendar which marks the perfect completion of a ‘Tian Gan Di Zhi’ based on the cyclical time-measuring system. It also signifies the attainment of maturity in one’s life cycle, an event worthwhile to be celebrated.
Ms. Carmen Soo, Organizing Chairlady of the ARFF Chinese New Year Luncheon, said, “It is with great honor that we are able to cherish two momentous occasions, as we usher in the Year of the Rabbit. This year, we are setting a record in Malaysia because we want to remind the rakyat of the importance of preserving our cultures, traditions, and history. With that said, this monumental event emphasizes a very special year in which Sabah and Sarawak became a part of our glorious country.”
In accordance with the significance of the number 60, a 60-meter long ‘Chun Lian’ (Chinese New Year Couplet) Calligraphy was unveiled at the luncheon which was painted by Adam Ng from The Calligraphy Society of Malaysia. ‘Chun Lian’ is a unique genre of Chinese literature calligraphed in Chinese characters on two vertically positioned red papers. These red papers are usually placed on the main entrance of buildings and homes to symbolize prosperity and good luck to the owners. The Malaysian Book of Records was also present during the unveiling as the 60-meter “Chun Lian” was registered as a new record.
ARFF invited members of the association, key industry players, and members of the media to commemorate 2022, the successful year where the retail and franchise industry in Malaysia thrived during the endemic phase. This celebration served as an avenue to applaud the brands which collectively contributed to the nation’s GDP over the past year. Besides that, ARFF aimed to connect ASEAN entrepreneurs and empower them to constantly spur Malaysia’s economic growth.
YBhg. Dato’ Sri Norazman Ayob commented saying, “As opportunities continue to develop internationally, we have to formulate new strategies to evolve our retail and franchising industries. I believe that ARFF is on the right track by ceaselessly creating platforms for entrepreneurs to advance their development goals through cross-learning frameworks. Events such as this provide better connections and opportunities for our key industry players to drive Malaysia toward a developed nation.”
YBhg. Dato’ Mike Loh, President of ARFF, said, “2023 marks a significant year for the retail and franchise industry as we have fought tirelessly to boost the economy after a devastating series of events caused by COVID-19. On behalf of ARFF, I am thrilled to have played a part in contributing to the recovery of the retail and franchise industry within Malaysia and the ASEAN region. As we celebrate the lunar new year, we look forward to creating more opportunities for the local and ASEAN market to flourish as a destination for productive commercial activities.”