Many believe Lee’s passing is a great loss to Malaysia


KUALA LUMPUR: Condolences and tributes are pouring in for the late Tan Sri Lee Shin Cheng and many felt his passing was a great loss to the nation.

In conveying condolences on behalf of the management and employees of the company to the family of the IOI Group founder, Sime Darby Plantation Bhd managing director Tan Sri Mohd Bakke Salleh said the nation’s palm oil industry had lost one of its pioneering leaders.

“His success and legacy were built on the foundation of sheer determination and hard work.

“Together with his compassion and valuable contribution to the community, they will forever be etched in the cornerstone of our history and our memories,” he said.

Kuala Lumpur Kepong Bhd chief executive officer (CEO) Tan Sri Lee Oi Hian said that Lee was possibly the most successful entrepreneur of this generation.

“With his bold, courageous visionary moves, he built his huge empire in plantations, properties and industry.

“Yet he was approachable, helpful, charitable and we learnt much from his simple, direct approach to businesses,” he said.

TSH Resources Bhd chairman Datuk Kelvin Tan, who has been in the oil palm industry for more than 30 years, said the industry lost an exemplary, successful entrepreneur.

He said Lee was a visionary man.

“Very few people in the palm oil industry are like him. He started from scratch and his achievements are remarkable.

“And despite being successful, he was very humble and thrifty,” he said.

Lee died peacefully on Saturday after a period of illness. He was 79.

He leaves behind his wife, six children and 12 grandchildren.

Eldest son Datuk Lee Yeow Chor is the CEO of IOI Corp Bhd and the chairman of Malaysian Palm Oil Council.

His younger son Lee Yeow Seng – who is married to Energy, Science, Technology, Environment and Climate Change Ministry Yeo Bee Yin – is the CEO of IOI Properties Group Bhd; while his second daughter Lee Yoke Har is the executive director of IOI Properties Group Bhd.

A joint statement issued by IOI Corporation Bhd and IOI Properties Group Bhd said: “It is through (his) vision, hard work and enterprising spirit that both of our companies have become leading corporations in our respective sectors.

“IOI Corp Bhd is an integrated palm oil company which has operations in eight countries across Asia, Africa, Europe and North America; while IOI Properties Group Bhd is a property development and investment company which has a substantial presence in Singapore and China.”

It added that apart from helming IOI Group, Lee was also the patron and adviser to many communities and business associations in the country.

“Among his most notable contributions was leading the redevelopment of the 111-year-old Kuen Cheng Secondary School as the chairman of its board of directors over the last 20 years,” said the statement, adding that Lee had also contributed to educational and community welfare activities for the last 25 years.