Billionaire Robert Kuok celebrates 100th birthday

PETALING JAYA: Messages of congratulations poured in for Malaysian-born billionaire and businessman Robert Kuok (pic), who celebrated his 100th birthday.

According to the South China Morning Post, Kuok, dubbed the Sugar King of the East, was born in Johor in 1923 to Fujianese parents.

According to a report by the daily, Kuok was congratulated by influential individuals including Hong Kong’s wealthiest man, Li Ka-shing, 95, and his son Victor Li Tzar-kuoi, 59, who praised Kuok’s friendship.

The Lee family of Henderson Land Group also extended warm wishes, recognising Kuok’s visionary leadership.

“Your visionary leadership and remarkable contributions to the industry have left an incredible mark.

“Here’s to a century of achievements, good health, and continued happiness!” the company’s founder Lee Shau-kee, 95, and his sons Peter Lee Ka-kit, 60, and Martin Lee Ka-shing, 52, were quoted as saying in the report.

SCMP chairman Joe Tsai, a newspaper once owned by Kuok, also offered his best wishes and acknowledged Kuok’s mentorship.

Kuok’s wealth is currently estimated by Forbes to be at US$10.3bil (RM48.7bil), making him the world’s 155th richest person.

Inheriting his family’s rice distribution business along with his two brothers after his father’s death in 1948, he later diversified his business into other business interests, including the Shangri-La Group, which now owns, operates and manages over 100 hotels and resorts in 78 destinations.

Kuok, who was appointed as a member of the Council of Eminent Persons by then prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad during the Pakatan Harapan administration in 2018, also has a wide political influence.

Besides Dr Mahathir, he has close relationships with the late Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Kuan Yew and other political figures.

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