PETALING JAYA: Property tycoon Datuk Tan Chin Nam (pic), 92, the co-founder of IGB Corp Bhd and Tan & Tan Developments Bhd, passed away yesterday.
Chin Nam started from humble beginnings as a street vendor selling vegetables, chickens and fruits, together with his brother the late Tan Kim Yeow, before setting up a trading company, Wah Seong (Malaya) Trading Co Sdn Bhd in 1955.
He then invested in his first property development called Petaling Garden in 1959. A few years later, he led the Tan brothers to acquire 200 acres in Ipoh to develop a housing project.
This led to the incorporation of Ipoh Garden Sdn Bhd in 1964, the forerunner of the IGB Group.
In 1972, Chin Nam and Kim Yeow formed another property unit, then known as Tan & Tan Sdn Bhd, which changed its name to Tan & Tan Developments Bhd and was subsequently listed in 1993.
The company built the first low-cost houses, earning Chin Nam the moniker “Mr Low-Cost Housing” back in the 1970s.
His other notable property projects include the first upmarket condominum, Desa Kudalari in KL as well as the first gated development, Sierramas in Sungai Buloh, Selangor.
Chin Nam is also an avid chess player and owns a number of Australia-based thoroughbred racehorses.
He is the principal owner of one of Australia’s most successful horse trainers, Bart Cummings.
Chin Nam is said to own at least a share in most of Cummings’ well-known horses, including Think Big, winner of back-to-back Melbourne Cups in 1974 and 1975, as well as the multiple Group One winner, Saintly.
He was the owner of the 2008 Melbourne Cup winner, and is one of four thoroughbred horse owners to win the Melbourne Cup four times.
Chin Nam retired from the corporate world in the early 1990s, while Kim Yeow passed away in 1997.
Under the second-generation leadership, Tan & Tan was managed by Chin Nam’s daughter Tan Lei Cheng, while IGB was helmed by Kim Yeow’s son, Datuk Seri Robert Tan Chung Meng.
The Tan family controls three listed companies – IGB Corp, Wah Seong Corp Bhd and IGB REIT, which wholly owns the Mid Valley Megamall and The Gardens Mall.