Friday, June 1, 2012

The Super Rich Malaysians...

I wonder how many Malaysians can rattle out the names of the 40 or so billionaires and multimillionaires of the nation, the greatest number in South East Asia? More importantly know them by some of the great contributions they had made to the nation and the business they are in? I do believe that many Malaysians do know the names of the great billionaires and multimillionaires from other countries especially USA, UK, Japan etc. Why? Because they have contributed directly to the welfare and well-being of the common people, and not just to the economy of the nation in general.
How and what's the difference? All billionaires and multimillionaires certainly have played a major role in developing the economy of the nation and developing the area of business they lead such as in the sugar industry, rubber, tin, forest product, telecommunication, entertainment, casino, banking, real estate, oil palm etc. etc. They are of course famous in their field of expertise and industry, and among the other rich Malaysians who have some dealing with them.
But they might be totally unknown to the common Malaysians unless they have some institutions , service or industrial products, or other philanthropic contributions that have benefitted the common men and women directly. The late Lim Goh Tong for example is famous for his Genting casino and entertainment city visited by all Malaysians ( not the casino which is out of bound to the Malays). Robert Kuok maybe famous as the Sugar king but do the man-in-the-street know him unless he or she reads the papers and listens to the national news often enough in order no to miss the name being mentioned. Do the average Malaysians, especially at the village level, know know Ananda Krishnan? Or do they know the ex-Globe chief Tan Sri Kishu better.

I'm pretty sure that most of the names of the billionaires ( I don't want to mention names, just google if you want to know) are completely foreign to the average Malaysians in the city and the more so in the rural parts of the country. Their contributions to the economy of the nation and to the nation in general just do not touch or effect the life of these common men and women. Not as much as Tan Chong through Tan Ching Motors, or Hong Leong through the Hon Leong Bank, or Lim Kok Wing through his educational institutions or Loh Boon Siew through his Honda motor cycle outlets.
What I want to say is that the super rich and mighty could be so busy managing their mighty financial empires that they forgot to do something for the common men in the street and in the 'kampungs'. Their contributions to the the powers-that-be in the nation or the government could run into millions but not a single cent might rich the common folk. Are there schools, libraries, medical centers, centers for the disabled or retarded, low budget stores etc,etc, initiated and funded by these super rich tycoons to benefit the ordinary folks. Are there some institutions, funds, grants, scholarships etc. established by them which the ordinary folk could appreciate? The universities and institutions of higher learning are always short of funds to do research, to commission writers to do some studies or write some literary work, to undertake experimental works for some innovation etc. Don't they ever think of contributing to these institutions if not to establish new ones in their names?

If they have already done so in some unknown ways, it's not enough to make the common Malaysians appreciate and applaud their status as a Malaysian billionaire or multimillionaire. The common folks might still think and feel that these supper rich are only interested in doubling and tripling their wealth.


kaykuala said...

Akhi Norzah,
What has been assumed and rightly so that these special people have that special quality of being careful with their money. Otherwise it would be a case of a 'fool with his money are soon parted' There's Mike Tyson who earned $millions who now is giving exhibition bouts to survive, Alan Bond who sponsored the Australian entry in the American Cup (sailing challenge) but got caught in 'Black Monday', Mark Lester, child actor in Oliver Twist who threw his money away on parties and 'friends' are just a few.

Let these other rich folks make money and provide jobs as their contributions to society sometimes are not readily publicized.


norzah said...

The question often asked is whether they have contributed enough to the society through which they make their wealth, Akhi Kaykuala. Especially when the country in which they make their wealth is NOT the country of origin but is an adopted country, In its efforts to bring development and modernization to its people have the superrich played a role equivalent to the benefits they have derived from the country? Or dare they just looking after and consolidating their wealth? Of course there many superrich who ultimately became poor again., as you have beautifully pointed out.

abdulhalimshah said...

I have not seen the likes of Rockefeller or Carnegie Foundations that spread their good fortunes to the millions of beneficiaries all over the world. Perhaps these extremely wealthy individuals should emulate those Foundations and leave their mark on the world as part of their obligations to society. The Al-Bukhary Foundation is one such example. We should have hundreds more and relieve the chronic poverty of those trapped in the lower levels of the population.

norzah said...

The fact that even some of the names in the list of billionaires are not known to the vast majority indicates that they have not made any direct contributions to society that would make them popularly known. Those who have established some charitable foundations would certainly be known by people, Akhi Halim. We certainly do not have the like of Rockefeller or Carnegie even to a tenth degree. Thats the sad part. They don't seem to be playing their role side by side with the government to eradicate poverty or raise the living standards of Malaysians.