Based on historical records, Chinese hardware traders in the state of Perak were the earliest promoters in mooting for the of formation of a hardware association. In 1936, a pro-tem committee of the Perak Chinese Hardware Association was formally appointed, thereafter immediately tasked to setup the Anti-Japanese Fund, to protest against the occupation of China mainland by the Japanese Army.
Emulating the successful formation of the Perak Chinese Hardware Association, the Malacca Hardware and Metals Federation was formed in 1940 followed by the Selangor Hardware Association in 1943 and the Sibu Hardware Importers Association in 1955.
Thereafter, the hardware traders and merchants in Johor Bahru, Api, Kelantan, Penang and Pahang also followed suit to establish their respective hardware associations.
On the 31st August 1991, on the occasion of the 52nd Anniversary Celebration of Perak Chinese Hardware Association, hardware traders and merchants mainly from Perak, Selangor and Penang gathered and deliberated at length on the formation of a national body to champion the interests of everybody in the hardware sector.
4 bodies involved in formation of national pro-tem committee
Leaders of five bodies from four states namely Johor Bahru Hardware and Building Material Association, Perak Chinese Hardware Association, Penang Hardware and Machinery Association, Selangor-Kuala Lumpur Hardware Machinery Traders Association and Johor Bahru Hardware, Machinery and Building Materials Association, have joined hands to campaign for the formation of a national body.
In the subsequent nation-wide roadshow to canvass for participation, the founding team received overwhelming support from the hardware fraternity. Finally it was unanimously decided that a pro-tem committee be formed to proceed with the setting up of a national hardware body with Tan Kean Beng appointed as the Preparatory Committee Chairman while Mr Tan Leong Hong and Mr Koay Chan Guan taking up the positions of Treasury and Secretary respectively.
By 8th December 1994, the founding office bearers of MHMBA, led by Mr Tan Leong Hong, was officially sworn in before the then Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry Dato’ Chua Jui Meng.
Emphasis on unity
Immediately after taking office, the founding President Mr Tan Leong Hong adopted the preservation of internal unity and togetherness as his main thrust of his leadership. On 22nd June 1996, Mr Tan was re-elected for second term with Dato’ Pheng Yin Huah taking appointed as the new deputy president, Mr Yap Fui Kong, Mr Leong Pak Tit and Mr Chan Wai Yong elected as Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer respectively.
In compliance with the associations constitution, Mr Tan Leong Hong relinquished his post after two terms with his subsequent successor Mr Lim Kiam Lam of Selangor KL affiliation taking over at the helm. By this time, MHMBA who had already well matured and having solidly set up a firm footing, decided to invite and to accord the Philippines Hardware Association as their sister-organization.
At the initial stage, MHMBA membership consisted of only seven affiliated bodies, 4 founding members from Perak Chinese Hardware Association, Selangor-KL Hardware Association, Penang Hardware Association and Johor Hardware, Machinery and Building Material Association, and 3 fresh members from Selangor Kuala Lumpur Hardware and Machinery Association, Malacca Hardware Association and Pahang Hardware, Machinery Association.
Kelantan Hardware Association, Sibu Hardware Importer Association and Api Hardware Association later became affiliated bodies in 1996 and 1997. With these additions, MHMBA’s organizational network has extended to all states, with 11 affiliated bodies, including two bodies from Sabah with the Kuching Hardware Association was the latest to join in.
11 affiliated bodies
Being the umbrella body consisting of 11 affiliated state associations, MHMBA represents more than 2000 traders and merchants in hardware, machinery and building materials across the country
As MHMBA continues to grow from strength to strength, a hard truth remains that Trengganu, Kedah, Perlis and Negeri Sembilan have no representative in this national body.
Under the leadership of Dato’ Pheng Yin Huah (now Tan Sri), concerted efforts were made to initiate the formation of hardware associations in Trengganu, Kedah, Perlis and Negeri Sembilan. The then national president Dato’ Pheng and his fellow committee members coaxed all hardware traders in the four remainder states to organize themselves in forming their own associations enroute to joining MHMBA, so that the interests of hardware communities nation-wide representation is completed and articulated more effectively.
As the initial formation of MHMBA originated from Perak, the founding president also hailed from Perak and started operating from a registered office in Perak. By 1998 and in tandem with organizational expansion, MHMBA decided to move out of Perak to relocate to Kuala Lumpur, operating from a shared office with the Selangor Kuala Lumpur Hardware Association.
During the tenure of the then 4th President-Dato’ Pheng Yin Huah’s, MHMBA grew rapidly, riding on the sound foundations laid down by preceding presidents-Mr Tan Leong Hong and Mr Lim Kiam Lam. Dato’ Pheng in his vision to propel the Association further ahead, launched a 1.5 million building fund, to acquire a 3-storey shop house in Sri Kembangan..By December 2007, MHMBA has moved into the new shophouse and has since been occupying as its headquarters till now.
Upon shifting into new office premise, Dato’ Pheng continue to press ahead to set up affiliated branches in all states. Later, he organized several trade delegations to visit Thailand and Vietnam, to explore trade and investment opportunities in the rapidly globalising and integrated environment.
Buoyed by the need to stay abreast of the ever changing trend, Dato’ Pheng proposed and unanimously approved amendment the 10 years old constitution, paving the way for incumbent president to hold office for 2 consecutive terms, each term lasting for 3 years. Originally, the sitting president must relinquish his/her position after serving 2 terms or 4 years. Even though the term of office was extended, Dato’ Pheng declined to stay on, to make way for younger successors. He was later appointed as executive adviser to MHMBA.
On 12th June 2006, Dato' Siah Kok Poay took over as president while Dato’ Patrick Lim sat as deputy president. The Siah-Lim leadership team continue to render their utmost service to MHMBA, particularly in pursuing the unfinished mission to set-up affiliated branches in all states.
Pursuant to continuous and extended efforts being laid out, the Kedah Perlis Hardware, Machinery and Building Material Association was formally established and became a member of MHMBA on 25th August 2006. With this latest addition, MHMBA’s organizational network has penetrated almost to all states except Trengganu and Negeri Sembilan.
The then president Dato’ President Siah Kok Poay continued to strength internal unity while striving to improve overseas networking by taking MHMBA delegation to 6 destinations within neighboring Indonesia.
By 2008, MHMBA membership has extended to Sabah when the Sandakan Hardware, Machinery and Building Materials Association joined in as the 13th affiliation. Later in the year, MHMBA entered into a memorandum of understanding with Hardware Federation of Taiwan, to form a sister-organisation.
In 2009 Annual General Meeting, MHMBA amended its own Chinese name to project itself more appropriately as the national body for hardware, machinery and building material trades.