Dr Mahathir Mohamad said he had wanted to sell bakery franchise The Loaf to help fund his party’s election campaign, but could not find a buyer.
“I couldn’t find a buyer … and I couldn’t support the losses so, I decided to close it down,” he was quoted as saying by Singapore’s The Straits Times during a walkabout in Langkawi yesterday.
The former prime minister who now heads the four-party Pakatan Harapan opposition coalition, said one prospective buyer had been approached by income tax officers who “demanded that he should pay a lot of taxes”.
“This is the way the government pressures people from supporting the opposition,” he told the paper.
The Loaf, which opened its first outlet in Langkawi in 2006, ceased operation on Apr 12.
“Thank you very much for enjoying and supporting the Loaf and our breads all these long years. We are truly happy and proud of the fact that the Loaf has been able to contribute to the betterment of quality of breads and bakery industry in Malaysia,” said a notice posted on social media last week.
Yesterday, Mahathir denied owning a stake in the business.
“I only have some 200 unit shares with a tobacco company and with PNB which were awarded to me when I launched PNB products (when I was PM), ” he had said.
Malaysian lifestyle bakery and bistro The Loaf, owned by former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad, is shutting down after 12 years in business.
Financial advisory and restructuring provider Ferrier Hodgson’s liquidator, Andrew Heng, said the owners of the bakery have chosen to wind down the business.
“They are closing down all 12 outlets in the country,” he told The Star on Friday (April 13).
The Loaf is run by M&M Consolidated Sdn Bhd, a joint venture between Dr Mahathir and Motoko Resources Sdn Bhd. Dr Mahathir holds a 51 per cent stake in the company.
Mr Heng said the owners of the business felt that it was not possible to continue the business following losses for the past few years.
“Basically it was not possible (to continue). There are just too many similar types of businesses and competitors. They are not doing good enough for profit,” he said.
A report in a Chinese daily cited an unnamed director of The Loaf as saying that Dr Mahathir was not a major shareholder of the bakery, but only the founder of the business. The director said a press conference will be organised to clarify matters.
Dr Mahathir’s foray into the bakery business started when he used to purchase bread from a bakery in Tokyo called Johan.
After his retirement as prime minister, Dr Mahathir said he wanted to try his hand at business. He decided to go into making Japanese bread as he considered it to be of high quality.
The Loaf opened its first branch in Telaga Harbour, Langkawi in 2006.
Over 12 years, it expanded to 12 branches, including at KLCC, Pavilion and Sogo malls in Kuala Lumpur and Empire Shopping Gallery, Subang Jaya.