Saturday, June 7, 2014

Crony Capitalism in Malaysia

Tycoon Francis Yeoh (left), who is YTL’s group managing director and eldest son of founder Yeoh Tiong Lay ranted about crony capitalism on Tuesday. It was not the first time. 

And The Malay Mail Online reported his remarks under the headline “Crony capitalism in Malaysia has to go, son of YTL founder says”. Yeoh was allegedly quoted to have said that Malaysia has to free itself from the constraints of “crony capitalism” and stop racial and religious rhetoric in order to compete on the global stage. 

He highlighted the fact that 85 percent of YTL’s businesses are in Britain, Australia and Singapore because these countries do not tolerate corruption, practice meritocracy and stand for the rule of law. 

“The good thing about these three territories, I don't have to kowtow to the prime minister before I do deal, I don't have to see them even, even after I’ve won the deal,” he explained. 

Of course, there was furor. How can Yeoh say things like that? How dare he? He is very much one of them. And he knows it.

Malaysians already know that Francis Yeoh is no different. He is a crony and he has benefited immensely when Mahathir Mohamad was in power. 

Former finance minister Daim Zainuddin publicly scolded Yeoh although he did it in a roundabout way. He said successful businesspeople in Malaysia shouldn’t criticize the government and the country and that they should be remorseful and grateful instead. After all, their prosperity was due to government help. 

[Yeoh’s personal wealth valued at RM1.15 billion made him the 26th richest Malaysian in 2011 (Webpage

On Wednesday, Yeoh issued an apology, saying that his views were misrepresented. He explained that he wanted to correct the misperception that the country practices “crony capitalism”. 

Yeoh is a plaster saint. A two-face. A hypocrite.

On Thursday, I was in Jalan Kuchai Maju 1, off KL's Jalan Kuchai Lama to attend the Great Castle Mandarin Toastmasters meeting – at the invitation of Vicky Cha. Although I didn’t understand most of the proceedings because it was in Mandarin, I still enjoyed the meeting. I even did a simple and short self-introduction in the language. My strong impression was that Mandarin-speaking meetings demonstrated power in the way they expressed themselves. This is something English-speaking clubs can adopt. 

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