Goh Miah Kiat is the CEO of the world’s biggest condom-maker which churned out approximately 15% of the world market last year, but despite his international success, Malaysian interests still play a big role in his business.
“The next thing I am trying to work out is a nasi lemak-flavoured condom.
“In Malaysia, the first thing we wake up in the morning, we talk about our nasi lemak. So I suppose it is something that will unite us all,” he said in a recent interview with Channel NewsAsia.
“We Malaysians are divided across our political ideas, religion and race,” Karex chief executive Goh Miah Kiat told AFP from his office in Port Klang, outside the capital Kuala Lumpur.
“I felt one thing that unites us all (is), ‘Where’s the best nasi lemak place you’ve been?'” Malaysia has been beset over the years by tensions between its Muslim Malay majority and its substantial ethnic Chinese and Indian minorities, with critics accusing the government of introducing policies that favour the Malays.
Karex – which sells condoms under the brand name Carex – spent six months carrying out tests before coming up with its nasi lemak prophylactic, which smells faintly of coconut and is coated with a warming lubricant.
The company is working on packaging and the limited-edition condom should hit shops in November or December.
Mr Goh insisted the range of wacky condoms were more than just a marketing gimmick, and were about trying to encourage contraceptive use in the Muslim-majority country.
“For me, it’s about public health, and I want to get the message across to people,” Mr Goh said.
Conservative attitudes are still common in parts of Malaysia and some people frown on the use of contraceptives in the belief they encourage pre-marital sex.