Robert Kuok

Good neighbours, good economics

SINGAPORE (June 25): Malaysia’s new finance minister Lim Guan Eng is appealing to the Singapore government to be more understanding of his country’s tight financial position. Malaysia says it cannot afford the RM110 billion ($37.3 billion) bill for an agreed-upon high-speed rail (HSR) project connecting Kuala Lumpur with Singapore. But pulling out could cost Malaysia RM500 million in compensation.

Robert Kuok to return

KUALA LUMPUR (May 21): Tycoon Robert Kuok will return to Malaysia this week to attend a government advisory council meeting, several media reported yesterday.

In an exclusive interview with Nanyang Siang Pau, Team of Eminent Persons head Tun Daim Zainuddin confirmed that Kuok will return to Malaysia this week to attend a government advisory council meeting.

Daim said he had spoken to Hong Kong-based Kuok over the telephone.

Malaysia's special advisory council committed to meet first 100-day promises, says Maybank

SINGAPORE (May 16): The five-member Council of Eminent Persons, a team of special advisors announced by Malaysia’s prime minister Mahathir Mohamad on May 12, has hit the ground running.

Led by former Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin, the council also includes former Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) governor Zeti Akhtar Aziz, former Petronas chief Hassan Marican, business tycoon Robert Kuok, and esteemed economist Jomo Kwame Sundaram.

Malaysia investors shift to Mahathir's camp from Najib-linked losers

(May 14): Investors sorted Malaysia’s political haves from the have-nots on the first trading day after a shock election result, dumping shares in firms associated with supporters of ousted prime minister Najib Razak and projects backed by his government.

Veteran politician Mahathir Mohamad came out of retirement to lead the opposition Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) to a stunning victory over a ruling party he had once led, defeating Najib, a former protege he had accused of corruption.

Mahathir names Lim finance minister, returns Zeti to council

(May 13): Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad named Lim Guan Eng as finance minister and set up an advisory board that includes a billionaire and a former central bank governor to carry out his economic plan.

Mahathir, 92, is forming a council of five elders including palm oil tycoon Robert Kuok, former Finance Minister Daim Zainuddin and Zeti Akhtar Aziz, who led Bank Negara Malaysia for 16 years. The people will be tasked with advising the cabinet and probing government personnel.

Singapore's entrepreneurial scene looks less boring with spate of megadeals

SINGAPORE (Nov 30): Back in 2002, as the city-state was emerging from its worst recession since 1964, the government was getting impatient over the economy's disproportionate reliance on multinationals and a handful of globally competitive state-backed firms like Singapore Airlines.

A panel on "entrepreneurship and internationalisation" noted that only 5% of Singaporeans ran their own companies, versus 12% in the US. Then-finance minister and future Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong vowed to end red tape and allow new structures like limited partnerships.

Billionaire's 28-year-old son picks digital music empire over palm-oil riches

SINGAPORE (Aug 26): Kuok Meng Ru didn't spend much time with his billionaire father when he was growing up.

As the third child of an agribusiness tycoon, he was sent off to a British boarding school at 10, graduating later from Cambridge University with a mathematics degree.

His father Kuok Khoon Hong was busy building Wilmar International into the world’s largest palm-oil business, starting from scratch in 1991. The younger Kuok's mother constantly reminded him: "Much has been given, much will be expected."

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