Youth Minister attacked by soft drink Hausboom in promo deal gone sour

Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman said February 5, 2019 that he has an independent committee that chooses which products by youth entrepreneurs the ministry could promote. — Picture courtesy of Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman
Youth and Sports Minister Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman said February 5, 2019 that he has an independent committee that chooses which products by youth entrepreneurs the ministry could promote. — Picture courtesy of Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 5 — Syed Saddiq Abdul Rahman has been attacked today by the founder of local brand Hausboom, who claimed that the youth and sports minister did not live up to his promise to promote the soft drink.

Firing back on social media, Syed Saddiq however said he had even brought the product into Cabinet meetings, and met businessman Tan Sri Vincent Tan to have the local brand available at the convenience store chain 7-Eleven.

“I did all of that with the intention to help. To the point I met with the main operator of 7-Eleven and thanking them for increasing the number of products made by young local entrepreneurs in their branches, including Hausboom.

“Before this it was difficult, but gradually it’s changing. I would also like to see Tesco and others follow this positive development,” he wrote, referring to a hypermarket chain.

The Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia Youth chief said he was upset when he was told one of the young entrepreneurs that he helped in promoting had mocked him, with a demeaning post using the word babi, or pig.

“I am not a person to rant out like this, but I am truly disappointed. Many had said this is a tactic for him to promote his product and that I should not respond because that is what he is asking for.

“To be honest, if it helps him, praise to God. But my disappointment stands. I will always pray that his product will succeed,” he said, adding that he has instructed his team to pay the cost of the products given to him in full as the said entrepreneur had claimed that he did not consent to giving the items for free.

Earlier, Hausboom founder Azri Zahier Azmi had posted on his Facebook page that he had been cheated by the Muar MP, after being promised that his business profile would be read to Cabinet ministers during their meeting, as well as to be promoted on Syed Saddiq’s Instagram profile.

However, Azri claimed that his products were only placed on the Cabinet meeting table, but his business profile was not read and the product was not posted and promoted on Syed Saddiq’s Instagram as promised.

Azri said the offer was made four months ago, and claimed another entrepreneur had lamented the same fate of being promised to have his products promoted and after giving it out to Syed Saddiq’s ministry for free, nothing materialised.

In his post, Syed Saddiq said he has an independent committee that chooses which products by youth entrepreneurs the ministry could promote.

The controversy came after the minister had promoted on his social media accounts a chocolate cake by the company Absolut Chocolat, purportedly owned by PPBM Youth executive council member Ben Ali, prompting accusations of cronyism.