THE rags-to-riches story of Datuk David Chua Kok Tee, 70, is a classic example of how a professional can become a businessman and join the rank of millionaires.
Born to a poor family in Batu Pahat, Chua joined Selangor Properties Bhd in 1973 after graduating from Universiti Malaya with an arts degree.
After five years, he hopped over to Sri Hartamas Bhd, another property company, until 1989.
While in Sri Hartamas, he joined the MCA and became its candidate for the Seputeh parliamentary seat during the 1986 general election. He lost. This set him thinking about his future.
He decided he should drop politics if he entered business. “These two should not mix,” he feels.
As he was developing small property projects in Johor and the Klang Valley under his company DC&A Development Sdn Bhd, he began to render expert service to trade organisations.
This led him to becoming a key leader of the Associated Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia. In 1990, he was appointed to the National Economic Consultative Council to draw up plans to save the recession-hit economy.
He had also served as director of the board of UM from 2007 to 2015. Last year, he was conferred an honorary degree of Doctor of Business by UM, after helping the university to plan and develop property projects.
Currently, Chua is a director of Malaysia-China Business Council. He is also a member of the debt restructuring committee of Bank Negara Malaysia, director of Credit Guarantee Corporation of Malaysia, and sits on the advisory board of the Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission.
Due to all these major posts he holds in government committees, Chua has become a very cautious person.
He spoke with measured words and reservations during the interviews with Sunday Star in his Kuala Lumpur office and Pangkor Island site office recently.
His son Chua Hung Tatt, a civil engineer, is helping him in his business that includes managing Pintar Hotel in Batu Pahat. —
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