KUALA LUMPUR: Even BN politicians don’t believe claims that that Malaysia’s richest man, Tan Sri Robert Kuok, is bankrolling the opposition.
Malaysiakini today revealed that this involved two prominent Barisan Nasional politicians from the southern state of Johor.
China Press in a front-page story, reported Tan Sri Shahrir Abdul Samad saying he knew Kuok as a businessman and not someone who interfered with politics.
The seven-term Johor Bharu MP said Kuok was a Johor Baru native and locals know his family well.
Shhrir said he could not understand why Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman would want Kuok to be grateful to BN.
“I am not sure of the sequence of events. I haven’t read Kuok’s memoirs… I’m not sure why Tajuddin would ask Kuok not to be a kacang melupakan kulit (be ungrateful),” said Shahrir.
Meanwhile, MCA deputy president Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong said Malaysia Today‘s allegations against Kuok was unreliable.
“What was said on the blog was just spin. There is no evidence. It is not persuasive,” he said.
Malaysia Today, run by Manchester-based and Terengganu-born Raja Petra Kamaruddin, had claimed that Kuok was funding DAP and The Malaysian Insight in a last-ditch effort to overthrow Umno.
His two articles claimed that Kuok had appointed his nephew, James Kuok as a liaison and had reproduced photographs of the nephew’s meetings with various DAP leaders.
However, the nephew has clarified that those photographs were taken at his restaurant, which was frequented by many Malaysian political personalities who came for the food, and not to meet him.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak last week said BN was responsible for Kuok’s success, while BN secretary-general Datuk Seri Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor suggested that Kuok had forgotten his roots.
Kuok is a Chinese Malaysian business magnate and investor. According to Forbes, his net worth is estimated at US$12.2 billion as of July 2017, making him the richest person in Malaysia and second richest in Southeast Asia.
His early fortune was made in Malaysia through sugar trading, earning him the moniker “Sugar King.” He later diversified into a slew of other businesses, before relocating his empire’s headquarters to Hong Kong in the 1990s.
He recently released his second set of memoirs titled “Robert Kuok, A Memoir” which chronicles his past dealings with the Malaysian government, how he started his business in Malaya and the building of his multinational empire from the 1960s.
Malay Mail Online reported today that DAP parliamentary leader Lim Kit Siang has rapped MCA for not defending Kuok.
In a press statement today, Lim reminded MCA’s top leadership, especially federal ministers, that the “sugar king” had aided MCA during its difficulties.
“Let me remind (Datuk Seri) Liow (Tiong Lai) and the other top MCA leaders that Robert Kuok had been the benefactor, and even saviour, of MCA in its trying times, and for them to stand idle while Robert Kuok was attacked gratuitously by Umno leaders would be one of MCA’s most shameful episodes.
“I said yesterday that in my 53 years in politics, I have not received a single sen from Robert Kuok, whether through his nephew James Kuok or anyone else.
“But I will not stand for a grave injustice, which is what the Umno leaders had perpetrated on Robert Kuok in their recent gratuitous attacks on Robert Kuok,” Lim said.
Lim said he has no personal knowledge of what the tycoon had done for MCA and BN, but based on the latter’s memoirs, it seemed that Kuok had contributed campaign funds to both whenever elections were near.