When the British pulled out of Singapore in 1963, many companies established by the colonialists were put up for sale. One of these was Straits Trading, a tin mining and smelting company that owned many tin-rich deposits across Peninsular Malaysia. The company came under the control of the late Tan Chin Tuan, philanthropist and former chairman of Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp, who saw value in the company and acquired its shares.

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