Robert Kuok - A Malaysian with a mission for Malaysia

Robert Kuok’s mother, Tang Kak Ji, c 1917. Photo: Robert Kuok, A Memoir
In the debut instalment of six extracts from the first-ever memoir of Malaysian tycoon Robert Kuok, reproduced exclusively here, he recalls how mother shaped his views of China, and why he left Singapore and Malaysia for Hong Kong
24 NOV 2017 / UPDATED ON 26 NOV 2017
Malaysian-born billionaire Robert Kuok has just published his memoirs – due out at bookshops this weekend – but they are by no means a tell-all. For starters he reveals few clues on the decades-old question of who will succeed him at the helm of the corporate empire he built from scratch in the post-war years. Still, the 376 pages offer a rare glimpse into the private life of a magnate, 94, who despite once owning the South China Morning Post is well known for having avoided the media limelight throughout his enigmatic rise from a small-time sugar merchant to becoming one of Asia’s richest and most influential people. Kuok is among the handful of Asian magnates born in the early 20th century who, having steeled themselves from the horrors of war and the injustice of colonial rule, forged businesses that grew with the newly independent countries that replaced the vast Western empires … for more, go to 

Robert Kuok - A Malaysian with a mission for Malaysia

KUALA LUMPUR (May 2018): (Tan Sri) Robert Kuok, the 94-year-old Malaysian multi-billionaire who made it good in China, is back to his home state with a mission.

The self-made international business tycoon, who needs no introduction to the rest of the world, touched down in Malaysia on May 22 in his private jet.

Kuok was named by newly elected Prime Minister (Tun) Dr Mahathir Mohamad (Dr M) as one of the five members of the Council of Eminent Persons set up to help the new Malaysian federal government to clean up the grossly financial and economic mess left behind by the (Datuk Seri) Najib Razak-led Barisan Nasional administration that was toppled by Malaysians in the May 9 14th General Election.

The 93-year-old Dr M, who was Malaysia’s premier for 22 years, made a successful comeback to active politics after a 15-year retirement.

He and his Cabinet have a mammoth task of consolidating Malaysia’s financial state that had been jolted by the internationally infamous 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) money-laundering scandal.

The Najib-linked scandal has resulted in Malaysia being dubbed by the rest of the world as a kleptocrat (a government or state in which those in power exploit national resources and steal; rule by a thief or thieves) state.

I Love Malaysia-China Silk Road believes Kuok is back to his home country to help Dr M and his Cabinet to clean up the kleptocratic mess left behind by the BN.

Kuok, with his vast experience and business influence in China, is expected to focus his attention on consolidating China’s investment projects in Malaysia, especially the multi-trillion-dollar Belt Road Initiative (BRI).

China had picked Malaysia to be BRI’s Southeast Asia’s rail hub link to serve Indonesia, Singapore, Brunei and Malaysia.

When completed, Malaysia’s multi-billion-ringgit East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), for which construction is in progress, will connect Malaysia to at least 69 cities and countries in Asia, China, Europe, Scandinavian and Nordic countries.

The ECRL has sparked controversy in Malaysia because it was awarded to China Communications Construction Company without open tender last year by the toppled BN federal government that had ruled Malaysia for six decades.

The more than RM55 billion ECRL is deemed by many as too costly.

Should the ECRL be scrapped by the Dr M-led Pakatan Harapan (PH) federal government, Thailand is expected to reap BRI’s potential gains from enhanced trade and business activities as BRI’s SEA rail hub.

Read these for context: (No way Malaysia will scrap ECRL-BRI rail link) (The Star thinks Dr M’s PH government will cancel China’s projects in Malaysia!)

"China envoy meets Robert Kuok, says enhanced relations to come

Wednesday, 23 May 2018
6:07 PM MYT

PETALING JAYA: China's ambassador to Malaysia, Bai Tian, met with Robert Kuok, a member of the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) on Wednesday (May 23), to discuss continued cooperation between the two countries.

In an official statement on Wednesday (May 23), Bai spoke highly of the 94-year-old billionaire's contributions to the development of Malaysia and the progress of China-Malaysia relations.

The statement was issued after Bai met Kuok on Wednesday.

The statement said they both agreed that friendly cooperation between China and Malaysia is in the fundamental interests of the two countries and two peoples.

"They believe that, as an important country along the 21st century maritime silk road under the Belt & Road Initiative, Malaysia could further benefit from mutually-beneficial and win-win cooperation with China," it said.

"They recall the sound development of bilateral relations during Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's previous service as Prime Minister. They are both confident that during the term of the new government, China-Malaysia relations will achieve greater progress," it added.
China's Belt and Road Initiative - Education
(Information current as at 27 November 2017)
The Belt and Road (B&R) initiative (short for the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st century Maritime Silk Road) is a strategic foreign policy and economic strategy which was announced in September 2013 by Chinese President Xi Jinping. The initiative aims to strengthen connectivity and economic collaboration between China and countries in Asia, Europe and Africa, and has since become a major focus for China’s economic development … for more, go to