KUALA LUMPUR, April 4 — The late founder of Habib Jewels, Datuk Habib Mohamed, was more than a jeweller and a businessman to those who knew him.

To them, he was a source of inspiration, a testament to what was achievable through grit and tenacity.

“His (Habib) was a rags to riches story. He encountered failed business ventures before finally succeeding with Habib Jewels. He was a very wise man and when we were young he always advised us to do well in our education,” nephew Muhammad Shakir told Malay Mail.

“When I wanted to start any business ventures, he would remind me to never give up, to work hard, to always be honest and humble. He told me, that in business the sky is the limit.


“His story was an inspiration for our family and the Indian Muslim community in Penang.”

Muhammad Shakir, 35, said his late father, Dr Ameer Mohideen, had always treated his elder cousin as a father figure, especially since the jeweller had strong beliefs about the importance of family.

Now a Shah Alam councillor, Muhammad Shakir recalled when in his youth he would attend weekly family gatherings at Habib’s house, and later in the 1990s, his father would make the weekly visit mandatory so he may look into the late Habib’s health.


Despite being 30 years younger, Dr Ameer died nearly 17 years ago.

“When my dad passed away in 2001, Uncle Habib would mention to me about how my dad had helped him. He said he would pray for our happiness. Upon my dad’s passing, Uncle Habib was like a bedrock who assisted us to cope with our loss.

“That was very meaningful even to this day when we have all grown up and have our own careers,” said Muhammad Shakir.

According to Muhammad Shakir, Habib was also a good storyteller who loved to recount tales of his experience and exploits.

The late Habib’s philanthropic nature not only inspired members of his own family such as Muhammad Shakir, but even those who knew him in passing such as Petra Group chief executive Datuk Vinod Sekhar.

“I am closer to his son, Datuk Seri Meer Sadik Habib. I knew him more as Uncle Habib who in my eyes contributed heavily into nation building in his own way. He conducted his business with integrity and his vision was not just about making money but what to do the moment he achieved success.

“You can see his philanthropic side and how he successfully transferred those ideals to his children, his company and to society. Datuk Habib was a social capitalist and he did not even realise he was one.

“He is one of the sources of inspiration for me when I look at self-made Malaysian tycoons,” said Vinod, adding that he hoped he could emulate how Habib transferred his idealism and philanthropy to the latter’s daughters.

Bukit Bendera MP Zairil Khir Johari, a family friend to Habib’s family, echoed Vinod’s sentiments on Habib’s business ethics, finding it an inspiration when he was a businessman himself.

“I learned (from observing him) how success is built on good work ethics. One of the key factors of habib’s success, besides cutting edge designs, is their customer service which makes customers feel appreciated.

“It’s all about the customer experience and they discovered that early on,” said Zairil, adding that it was a great loss to the nation as the late Habib was a great example of a son of Penang who managed to build one of the most recognisable brands in Malaysia.