The magnate and his many roles in Malaysia

l He believes in meritocracy and helping the needy, and upholds integrity in his personal and business dealings.

• Served as unofficial adviser to Malaysian leaders in the early economic development of the country after Independence.

• Played a role in normalising relations with China and the easing of racial tensions after the May 13 riots.

• In the 1980s, acted as intermediary between Malaysia and China. This led to the end of the 30-year communist insurgency in Malaysia.

• Donated funds to Umno and MCA during general elections.

• In the 1980s, he was asked to help when MCA was facing financial ruin.

• In 1986, he posted RM20mil bail for MCA president Tan Koon Swan, who was charged with criminal breach of trust in Singapore linked to the Pan-El crisis.

• In the late 1980s, Kuok headed a team to rescue MCA’s Multi-Purpose Holdings, turning its businesses around.

• Set up Malaysia International Shipping Corporation, now controlled by the Government, to reduce costs in import and export of commodities.

• Called in to help clean up three major government-linked corporations.

• Kuok Foundation helped students from poor families.

• In the early 1970s, Kuok helped China to secure 300,000 tonnes of cheap sugar at low prices via a complex scheme of depressing sugar prices in the futures market. China was facing a sugar shortage amid a rising market.

In the three-month operation, he made £2.5mil (RM13.5mil).

He delivered sugar within China’s price range and the profit in futures market to Beijing.

• Kuok was one of the early investors in mainland China to help boost its economic development.

• He has played an important role in deepening Malaysia-China relations. He gave RM100mil to Xiamen University Malaysia for its development fund.

• He is the only Malaysian citizen invited to have private meetings with top Chinese leaders from Deng Xiaoping to current President Xi Jinping.

Source: Robert Kuok: A Memoir


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