Robert Quok, Richest Malaysian Back Home


All ears: Bai Tian listening to Kuok during their meeting

 

PETALING JAYA: The return of billionaire Robert Kuok to Malaysia sends an important message that the Government is getting advice from highly-respected experts, a move that could instil confidence and optimism among the business community and the public, say economists.

Prof Dr Yeah Kim Leng said it was reassuring that the Government is listening to the views of a tycoon who has a thorough understanding of the history, as well as the economic and business landscapes of Malaysia and the region.

“We now know that whatever new policies or changes introduced would have been passed through or reviewed by Kuok and the panel of experts.

“We are in safe hands. We are able to secure the best advice. It is comforting and reassuring,” the Sunway University Business School economics professor said.

Kuok, 94, was named as a member of the Council of Eminent Persons (CEP) by Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to help shape policies and programmes to achieve Pakatan Harapan’s 100-day promises.

Headed by former Finance Minister Tun Daim Zainuddin, the CEP also includes former Bank Negara governor Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz, former Petronas CEO Tan Sri Hassan Marican and renowned economist Prof Jomo Kwame Sundaram.

Kuok, who resides in Hong Kong, returned to Malaysia to attend his first CEP meeting on Tuesday.

Speaking to reporters later, he urged Malaysians to trust the council.

Yesterday, a video of Kuok meeting Dr Mahathir was uploaded on Kelab Che Det’s Facebook page.

He was seen saluting Dr Mahathir, saying: “I salute you. You saved the country.”

Socio-Economic Research Centre executive director Lee Heng Guie said Kuok and the other eminent persons conveyed a message that the Government was bent on making Malaysia better, more competitive and credible.

“Kuok is a prominent and respected entrepreneur. We can tap into his vast experiences in the corporate world. This will benefit Malaysia,” he said.

Lee expected Kuok to give his fair advice to the Government on how to ensure foreign investors would pour in to place Malaysia in the top of the list for investments.

Meanwhile, on the Government’s decision to review projects approved by the previous government – of which a substantial number of projects involved Chinese private and government-linked entities – Dr Yeah said Kuok could serve as the bridge between both countries.

“Some of the mega projects will likely see a need for a third party to intervene. Kuok will be an excellent intermediary.

“Investors will be more comforted if we have a intermediary that is able to facilitate discussion or smoothen out frictions if there is any,” he said, adding that this was to ensure the ties remained strong and not derailed should there be any hard decisions that needed to be taken.

Separately, China’s ambassador to Malaysia Bai Tian met with Kuok yesterday.

In an official statement, Bai spoke highly of the 94-year-old billionaire’s contributions to the development of Malaysia and the progress of China-Malaysia relations.

“He expects that Kuok would continue to contribute to the future development of China-Malaysia cooperation,” the statement said.

During the meeting, both of them agreed that friendly cooperation between China and Malaysia is in the fundamental interests of the two countries and their people.

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

“They recall the sound development of bilateral relations during Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad’s last service as Prime Minister, and are both confident that during the term of the new government, China-Malaysia relations will achieve greater progress,” it added. – The Star

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Strong navy steers more balanced, steady rise of China


 https://youtu.be/e9O21AljMow

 

On April 12, Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made important remarks during a naval parade held in the South China Sea. The event is the largest maritime military parade in the history of the People’s Republic of China, showcasing a new height of the People’s Liberation Army Navy via its Liaoning carrier battle group and the new-generation nuclear submarine. China’s ability to defend world and regional peace has reached another milestone.

During his speech, Xi noted that the mission of building a strong navy has never been more urgent. This is crucial to point out in today’s international environment and his tone carried a robust sense of mission.

Xi has expressed in several key reports that China is closer than ever to achieving the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. However, history reminds us that the closer we are to accomplishing a glorious goal, the more the pressure and risk. Building a strong navy, as well as national defense, has never been more significant to China.

After 40 years of reform and opening-up, China has risen to become the world’s second largest economy. In this process, China has further advanced its unstoppable economic potential. However, China’s elevated status, accompanied by its incredible progress, has attracted both friendly and hostile gestures. Thus, catching up in national defense is necessary to attain balanced growth. For any big nation, strong economic development without balanced efforts in national defense is a dangerous combination. This might give other powers the idea and temptation to subdue China with non-economic methods.

A country’s navy is considered the force that bears most pressure, while also being the most active in the modern military. Despite all the military forces of a country, the navy usually stands at the forefront in crucial moments. The technologies for naval forces are complex and at a high cost, representing the refined strength of its country. Strong naval forces only belong to a powerful country, reflecting the accumulation of a nation’s strength, and indicating the nation’s future and destiny.

The step-by-step development of Chinese navy is steady and strong. Through the South China Sea military parade, Chinese people can see that part of China’s economic strength is quickly converting to military strength. We can also predict that China’s ability to convert between its strengths will be stronger in the future.

The logic of maintaining peace is different among major, mid-sized and small countries. China must objectively understand the security situations we are dealing with and build the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) to show that it projects power and focuses on maintaining peace. This is an urgent task which requires racing against time.

China must ignore the noise of the “Chinese military threat” theory from some Western countries. The theory is a misrepresentation of China’s role as the world’s second-largest economy and its role in securing global peace. The theory is also a discrimination to China’s status as one of the world’s major powers.

To build a top-tier navy, China has a long way to go. To understand the enormous challenges China faces in building a blue-water navy, one should look at how other countries monitor and scrutinize China’s foreign ports and naval supply checkpoints. Furthermore, China’s navy needs to accumulate vast experience to become an effective instrument in China’s toolbox for deterrence.

There are two essential strategic questions for China: How do we show others our determination in defending national interest under the thesis of ‘China’s peaceful rise’? How do we communicate our simultaneous dedication to world peace and resolution to fight aggression?

Many WWII-era ships are still commissioned by other navies around the world, and yet more than half of the ships participating in this parade started their service around the time of the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. The Chinese navy has rapidly developed, and we believe it will continue to do so until it reaches its maturity. China will be more secure and the world more peaceful as the Chinese navy sails into the deep blue sea. – Global Times

Empowered President Xi warns China will crush ‘any attempt to split country’ in keynote speech


President sends out strong nationalist message in closing speech to National People’s Congress(NPC)

President Xi Jinping spoke at the closing of China’s National People’s Congress.

This year’s NPC carried special meaning for Xi. His status as the most powerful Chinese leader in decades was cemented over the course of the 16-day event.

The constitution was changed to remove presidential term limits – allowing him to stay on as head of state for as long as he sees fit.

The political theories that bear his name were also enshrined in the constitution, giving him the same political status as Mao Zedong and the former paramount leader Deng Xiaoping.

He also reshuffled the government and placed his trusted aides, including vice-president Wang Qishan, in key positions concerning the economy, relations with the US and the battle against corruption.

Xi addressed the legislature and the nation as the landmark session closed.

The end

Xi has finished his speech.  Premier Li Keqiang will be holding a press conference at around 10:30 am. Journalists are expected to ask him about China-US trade wars and other issues of concern. The South China Morning Post will be covering it live.

More Marxism

 He now returns to what he describes as the importance of the Communist rule in China by urging people to rally behind the party.

In his closing remarks also says China will continue its campaign to “root out” all corruption and purify the party.

China’s place in the world

He continues on the theme by setting out his vision for China’s place in the world – highlighting his signature Belt and Road policy

Xi’s speech has already lasted for half an hour, compared with his 20-minute speech five years ago when he began his first term.

He stresses to other countries.

“Only those who are threats to others will see others as a threat to them,” he says, without specifying which country he is referring to.

National sovereignty

The nationalist theme continues with comments about Hong Kong and Taiwan and a promise to crush any efforts to “divide the nation”, which is greeted with loud applause.

He emphasises that it will be “impossible” for any parts of China to leave the country, highlighting Beijing’s hardline stance towards any talk of independence for Taiwan and Hong Kong.

Xi makes sure to highlight China’s long-standing cultural history, as the roots for its present and future development. His use of the phrase “great revival of the Chinese nation” has been a slogan closely tied with him since he became president in 2012

Xi also refers to Marxist theory and the thoughts of Mao Zedong and Deng Xiaoping. He also mentions the theories by his two predecessors Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao, without mentioning their names.

He said stresses the role of the Communist party in engaging different sectors of the society.

He also says China will develop into a culturally strong country before highlighting his signature pledges of eradicating poverty and caring for the sick and elderly.

History and tradition

Xi’s first five years in office have been characterised by a nationalist agenda and in keeping with the theme his speech is full of references to ancient Chinese literature and folklore to support his vision for “great Chinese revival”.

By contrast, five years ago he began his speech by thanking his predecessor Hu Jintao for his 10-year governance

Xi tries to rally the public saying China has “defeated all fierce invaders and defended the freedom of Chinese”.

Xi puts special emphasis on the unity of the country. “A country that is split cannot make great progress,” he says.

How the Chinese government works?
Xi Jinping is the most powerful figure in China’s political system, and his influence mainly comes from his position as the general secretary of the Chinese Communist Party.

 

Stressing the innovative nature of the people

Xi Jinping, known for his nationalism, highlights the importance of Chinese ancient philosophers, and inventions, and ancient literature and architecture.

“I believe, as long as 1.3 billion can keep the great innovative spirit (like in ancient times), we can create miracles one after another.”

Xi Jinping begins to address the Legislature

Xi starts his speech by expressing gratitude to the support he received for the second term of his presidency. He stresses he would abide by the constitution.

He then states that all government officials should remember that they should always serve the public and put public interest first.

“People are the real heroes,” he said.

Source:  https://www.scmp.com/news

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China Constitutional change accords with times 

 

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China Constitutional change accords with times


https://youtu.be/K2Q0rbqSMAY

Western system not reference for China’s Constitutional change

The ongoing annual session of the 13th National People’s Congress adopted an amendment to China’s Constitution with an overwhelming majority on Sunday, which sets the guiding role of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era in the country’s political and social life. The most watched parts of the amendment include adding the clause that the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC) is the defining feature of socialism with Chinese characteristics, removing the term limits on the Chinese president and vice president, and listing the supervisory commissions as a new type of State organ in the Constitution.

Some Westerners used to intervene in China’s major decisions. This time Western opinion basically held that the Constitutional change was China’s internal matter. Yet there are still some in the West that are keen on grabbing attention by comparing the amendment to Western political systems.

But they have evaded two facts. First, in this juncture China faces a series of major challenges regarding its reform in and outside the country, which demands the Constitution be revised in accordance with the times. Major countries now are mobilizing their political resources to strengthen their decision-making capacity. The amendment is primarily driven by China’s internal needs for development.

Second, Chinese people are deeply aware that their happy life must originate from solidarity and stability, and that this has to be guarded by the whole of society led by the CPC Central Committee. In these years we have seen the rise and decline of countries and particularly the harsh reality that the Western political system doesn’t apply to developing countries and produces dreadful results.

Luckily China has maintained its steady rise for a long period. We are increasingly confident that the key to China’s path lies in upholding strong Party leadership and firmly following the leadership of the Party Central Committee with Comrade Xi Jinping at the core.

Upon its founding, the People’s Republic of China largely copied the Soviet Union’s socialist system. Since reform and opening-up, China has embarked on a socialist path with Chinese characteristics and become the second-largest economy. This shows political independence is key to how far China can go.

Most major phenomena facing China can’t be explained by Western theories. China must find solutions with its own wisdom. Whether our practices are good should be assessed by whether they respond to and promote China’s mission, and the actual results.

Despite the flood of information that poured into China after reform and opening-up, Chinese society has managed to deal with it and accumulated collective wisdom. In this process the leadership of the Party Central Committee has been instrumental. The Constitutional amendment comes at a good time as it consolidates the guiding thought, Party leadership, the leadership structure and the improved supervisory mechanism when China faces arduous tasks in the new era.

This is what Chinese people truly expect. Nonetheless some Westerners who fail to figure out Chinese people’s opinion want to be the backseat driver. They should have been more objective and modest in the face of China’s long history and great practice.

Source:Global Times

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Tycoon Robert Kuok stands tall amid the bashings from Umno leaders


Well-regarded: Kuok in his office in Hong Kong. Picture taken from ‘Robert Kuok: A Memoir’.

 

DURING the two week-Chinese New Year celebrations, with the tossing of yee sang for better times ahead, the key topic of conversation among the Chinese revolved around the general election.

But the sudden eruption of high-level political attacks on Robert Kuok last weekend sent shockwaves through the community. Since then, the richest man in Malaysia has been the talk of the town.

The onslaught could not be taken lightly as Kuok is not just any ordinary businessman but someone of stature held in high esteem not only in Malaysia and China, but also by the global Chinese community.

It is a known fact that Kuok helped to lay the groundwork for the end of communist insurgency in Malaysia, played a role in easing racial tension after the May 13 racial riots and contributed funds to Umno and MCA during elections.

His generous donations have benefited the poor and rich.

Kuok has always stood tall among everyone.

Dubbed the “Sugar King of Asia”, Kuok has set up a huge international empire with businesses spanning from commodity trading to hotels, sugar and oil palm plantations, wheat flour milling, property development and entertainment.

In Malaysia, he retains control of Shangri-La Hotels and the wheat flour business after selling his sugar and property businesses.

Hence, the Chinese community here feels hurt to see their business icon being smeared based on hearsay. They see grave injustice done to this man whose loyalty and commitment to the country is being questioned.

However, due to suspicion that the whole episode could be a politically driven scheme ahead of GE14 for various reasons, Chinese community leaders only spoke up after Kuok defended himself.

While many are aware that Kuok’s recent memoir had irked some quarters due to his disdain for the New Economic Policy (1971-90), they are perplexed by the timing of this smear campaign.

Kuok’s political revelations in his book have also earned him brickbats from some people.

This round, the criticisms against the tycoon were based on three articles posted by blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin on the online portal Malaysia Today.

The most startling allegation made by the controversial blogger, who has a record of stirring up racial hatred towards local Chinese in past writings, was that Kuok had donated hundreds of millions to the DAP in a bid to overthrow the Umno-led government.

Without verifying the content, Malay critics and senior Umno politicians told Kuok to be grateful to the Government as the tycoon had built his early sugar, rice and flour empire based on his good ties with Umno leaders.

The remarks by Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz were particularly scathing, as crude and offensive words were used. In addition, he told Kuok to surrender his citizenship.

The critics might have misconstrued earlier statements by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, who had said that some of the richest people, including Kuok, owed their success to opportunities created through government policies.

“If we look at the list of names of the richest people in Malaysia, such as Robert Kuok, who gave him the key to become the rice and sugar king? It was given to him by the ruling government,” said the Prime Minister at an event in Selangor on Feb 24.

“Yes, he is driven, hardworking, industrious and disciplined – but that is not enough. Everyone still needs the key to creating these opportunities,” he added.

Although DAP leaders promptly denied receiving money from Kuok, this failed to stop the tirade of aspersions cast against Kuok.

It was obvious that Kuok had to defend himself. He issued a statement last Monday, saying all allegations against him were “untrue, unjustified and amounted to libel”.

The 94-year-old Kuok, who moved his business headquarters from Kuala Lumpur to Hong Kong in 1975, denied funding The Malaysian Insight portal or opposition parties to overthrow the Government.

He also denied that he was anti-government, a racist or a Chinese chauvinist.

While Kuok’s hint of instituting libel suits might have some deterrent effect, the proposal by MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai to the Prime Minister to intervene in the matter could have shut the mouths of Umno leaders.

Liow tweeted: “I have conveyed the feelings of the Chinese community to the PM. We hope that the PM will intervene to put this issue to rest. Mr Kuok has contributed greatly towards the development of the nation.”

If the vicious attacks on Kuok were allowed to continue, the first casualty in GE14 could be MCA and Gerakan, and ultimately Barisan Nasional, as angry Chinese could be provoked to vote against the coalition in GE14.

And the unintended winner from this latest episode could be the opposition side.

The question now is: Faced with so many challenges in the coming polls, could Barisan afford to sow a new seed of discontent and allow it to germinate unchecked?

The Prime Minister’s Office issued a statement, saying Kuok’s success is “an inspiration” for other entrepreneurs.

Though this brief statement and its “cooling effect” came a bit late in the political sense, it was better than nothing.

In addition, a tribute to Kuok posted by Najib’s brother Datuk Seri Nazir Razak on Instagram is also a comfort to the Chinese.

“I may not agree with all his views but he (Kuok) is a patriot, the icon of Malaysian business and a first-class gentleman,” said Nazir, the chairman of CIMB Group Holdings Bhd last Wednesday.

However, the injustice done to Kuok on such a scale is unlikely to be forgotten soon, as this incident has also stirred up some debates.

Is there any hidden political agenda to vilify Kuok before GE14? Do successful businessmen owe their allegiance to ruling political parties? Is it morally wrong to change your political stand?

Dr Oh Ei Sun, former political secretary of Najib, offers some explanations to Sunday Star: “Robert Kuok has shown his contempt for the NEP in his book. This may be seen as questioning Malay supremacy and this attitude must be nipped in the bud.”

He adds that Kuok may not be forgiven for stating the obvious, which many Chinese have wanted to voice out but could not for fear of losing business opportunities.

In his memoir, Kuok stated that although the Chinese have played a significant role in the economic development of Malaysia and other South-East Asian nations, many did not receive just and fair treatment.

Sin Chew Daily, quoting unnamed Barisan sources, says the bashing of Kuok also carried a warning message to the business community to think twice before they contribute election funds to opposition parties.

“These attacks also sent a message to the Malay community that they must be united to support Umno, which is being ditched by others it has helped to prosper,” said the Sin Chew report last Thursday.

Although a life member of the MCA, businessman Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew believes people owe no loyalty to political parties.

He tells Sunday Star: “A businessman is expected to be loyal to his country, not to ruling parties. Politicians and political parties come and go.

“Whoever becomes the government has a duty to create a conducive environment for the people to prosper and live harmoniously. If politicians are not worthy of support, people are free to switch their political stand in a democracy.”

Apart from ordinary people, the business community is also watching developments linked to Kuok with concern.

“If the issue on Robert Kuok is not handled properly, there will be a negative impact on the sentiment of investors. We are all following these developments,” says a businessman at a CNY dinner.

by Ho Wah Foon, The Star

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Attacks against Malaysian multi-billionaire Robert Kuok from UMNO leaders and Raja Petra uncalled for!


https://youtu.be/cCoO3JEKZ48

PETALING JAYA: The recent attacks against multi-billionaire Robert Kuok, including those from Umno leaders and a prominent blogger, are regrettable, says MCA.

Party secretary-general Datuk Seri Ong Ka Chuan said it was a well-accepted fact that Kuok is a successful international entrepreneur.

“Kuok has made tremendous contributions to the country. These comments are made to spread hatred and create disunity,” he said.

Ong said Culture and Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz has no right to request any Malaysian citizen to give up their citizenship.

“This is not within his jurisdiction,” he said.

Last week, blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin posted three articles in his website Malaysia Today, alleging Kuok was funding various political parties to overthrow the Government.

In response, Kuok refuted allegations and that he would reserve the right to take action against the portal.

MCA publicity spokesman Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker concurred with Ong, saying there was no need to resort to harsh remarks against the 94-year-old tycoon.

“MCA is of the view that Kuok is a businessman who has benefited Malaysians in general.

“He is our business icon and revered by Malaysians from all ethnic backgrounds,”he said.

Ti said Kuok has every right to support whichever political party and that there were existing laws to deal with any attempts to undermine the Government.

“As a businessman, he could have supported many political parties and politicians from Barisan and Pakatan too. There’s no need to overreact by being ill-mannered in this instance,” he said.

But Ti pointed out that all businessmen who have benefited from Barisan’s policies should be thankful and reciprocate with support.

Two prominent Johor Barisan leaders – Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad and Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong – came out to defend Kuok, saying they believed the tycoon would not interfere in national politics.

Dr Wee dismissed Raja Petra’s claims as “unreliable”.

“What was said on his blog was just a spin. There is no evidence. It is not persuasive,” said the MCA deputy president and Ayer Hitam MP. – The Star

 

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