Malaysian tech billionaire gets Japanese award


Goh (left) receiving the Order of the Rising Sun from Japanese Ambassador Takahashi Katsuhiko.

For his contribution to business and education, Malaysian tech billionaire Goh Peng Ooi received Japan’s most prestigious award, The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold with Rosette.

The 69-year-old Silverlake Axis Ltd founder was conferred the award by the Japanese Embassy in Malaysia for his efforts in improving Japanese companies’ digital business by establishing a Japan-Malaysia joint venture and providing innovative information systems for retail businesses.

Goh may have a 40-year relationship with Japan but this recognition still came as a surprise.

“The Order is not something that everyone can or will get even if you wanted or aimed for it.

“However, I am happy to be recognised and this honour is not just for the bilateral relationship in businesses but also the education sector,” he said in an interview.

Goh, a nuclear physics student at the University of Tokyo back in 1975, received a scholarship to study there from the Japanese government.

Since then, the relationship has flourished with business ventures between Malaysia and Japan.

Goh looks at Japan as his second home, since he has travelled extensively there.

“I learned a lot from the Japanese, especially values such as discipline.

“In comparison to Western values, where the people are guided by ‘a singularity’, those in the East lean towards openness to something new,” said Goh, who hails from Penang.

A Mathematics enthusiast, he said his love for the subject gave him the opportunity to see the world as boundless.

There would always be a solution to some problems, Goh added.

The Singapore-listed company Silverlake Axis, which was founded in 1989 after he left his job at IBM, now provides financial software services to 40% of South- East Asia and remains the top banking software provider locally.

Aside from Goh, three other Malaysians were also conferred awards by the Japanese government for strengthening the bond between Malaysia and Japan.

They were Environment and Water Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Dr Zaini Ujang, former foreign ministry secretary-general Tan Sri Rastam Mohd Isa and former embassy staff member Roslaile Abdul Hamed.

The Order of The Rising Sun, founded in 1875 by Emperor Meiji, is awarded to individuals for exceptional civil or military merit.

Goh said the conferment of the award on Malaysians reflected the seriousness of the country’s efforts in strengthening the Asia-Pacific nations’ collaborations.

“This is a time where Asians will need to work together more and more,” he added.

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