KUALA LUMPUR: He was not in the best of health but the founder of the YTL Group of companies Tan Sri Yeoh Tiong Lay was a caring father to the end.
Relating the final dinner the family had with him at home last Thursday, his youngest son Datuk Mark Yeoh said his father nagged him about his weight and gave him a lecture about his travel schedule.
“My father told me that I’ve worked very hard and done well but he said: ‘I don’t need the hotels, I want you, so get your act, get your health and your life together.’
“This was the man who was more concerned about other people than himself. It’s not about his glory, it’s always about his family,” Mark said in his eulogy during the wake at the family residence last night.
Mark is executive director of YTL Corporation and is with its hotels and resorts division.
“My father supported a lot of education charities because he never had the privilege of education and always wanted us to have the best education. He set very high hopes for us, like Oxford and Cambridge. Unfortunately, none of us made it but thankfully the next generation did.
“He could’ve been angry because we didn’t really excel but he accepted it as long as we tried our hardest, then that was good enough for him,” Mark said.
“While we are sad, we take comfort in the fact that he’s in a much better place and he’s preparing a home for us as well,” he added.
Tiong Lay’s youngest daughter Datuk Yeoh Soo Keng said her father had a deep sense of public duty that even until his last days when he fell ill, he still wanted to attend functions.
MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, who paid his last respects to Tiong Lay yesterday, said the party was sad over the demise of a friend and a good man.
“We’ll always remember him for his good deeds and generosity in aid of the community.”
Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi also paid his last respects to Yeoh, spending some 10 minutes there yesterday at noon.
Star Media Group managing director and CEO Datuk Seri Wong Chun Wai said Tiong Lay was one of the last great Chinese leaders who had contributed enormously to education and philanthropic causes.
“It’s quite sad to see him go away but on the other hand, I rejoice with the Yeoh family that their father has accepted Christ,” he said.
Top Glove Corp Bhd chairman Tan Sri Lim Wee Chai said: “We always had lunch or dinner together at least once a month. We miss him so much.”
Among other dignitaries who paid their last respects yesterday were former Prime Minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, former MIC president and minister Tun S. Samy Vellu, Huazong president Tan Sri Pheng Yin Huah and Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin.