KUALA LUMPUR: Tan Sri Francis Yeoh (pic) has said he was not a crony of former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
The YTL Corp Bhd group managing director said he wanted to dispel the “misperception that successful businesses in Malaysia are a result of crony capitalism,” making reference to one particular news article that covered his speech at the Global Malaysia Series talks held on Tuesday.
In a letter issued to the media, Yeoh said: “When asked if I was a ‘crony’ of Dr Mahathir who purportedly awarded us a lucrative independent power producer concession, I categorically stated that I was not a crony of Dr Mahathir!
“In everything we did, we introduced innovative ideas to succeed – from unprecedented ringgit financing for infrastructure projects in developing countries, creating the first 15-year bond market and pioneering the IPC (infrastructure project company) listing category in Bursa Malaysia.”
His letter was in response to an online article entitled Crony Capitalism in Malaysia has to go, son of YTL founder says.
“The title of this article is inaccurate and it does not reflect the content of what I actually said at the forum sponsored by Pemandu,” he said in the letter.
Yeoh said he understood the purpose of the forum was to be as candid and transparent as possible to a cynical audience and if the opportunity arose, to clear some misperceptions of how business was actually conducted in Malaysia and globally. He added that he had always been enamoured with the Economic Transformation Programme led by present Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and transparently articulated through the Performance Management and Delivery Unit or Pemandu.
“I made it very clear that the achievements made were not a consequence of crony capitalism. I also wanted to dispel the audience’s misperception that successful businesses in Malaysia are a result of crony capitalism,” Yeoh said.
He added that throughout the interaction at the forum, he had defended the present Government’s concerted efforts to introduce more open competition and encourage greater transparency in business.
Yeoh said the article completely misrepresented what he had said.
“It automatically presupposes that ‘crony capitalism’ is how things are done in Malaysia. This is far from the truth! In fact, I said I wanted to correct this misperception that has hovered around and used by various political factions for 20 years.”