Umno leaders have been criticising Robert Kuok since blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin made several controversial but unsubstantiated allegations against the billionaire last week – attacks that Pakatan Harapan (PH) president Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said today are “insulting”.
Kuok to take action against Malaysia Today portal over allegations in its articles that he denies, including:
- Funding political parties with the aim of overthrowing present government
- Manipulating Malaysian political process and democratic system
- Being anti-government, a racist, a “Chinese chauvinist”
Calling Kuok a “true patriot”, Mahathir said, “We know his stand. He was born here, he is a Malaysian. He loves Malaysia and is patriotic to Malaysia, not to any (political) party.”
Yesterday, Kuok said he would take all necessary steps against Malaysia Today portal, which is owned by Raja Petra Kamarudin, to address what he said were false allegations made in several of its articles, The Star reported.
Media Statement from the Office of Mr Robert Kuok:
In the last week, articles have emerged that have cast aspersions on Mr Robert Kuok’s commitment to Malaysia and the integrity of the country’s democratic processes. Mr Robert Kuok wishes to state that any assertion that he has forgotten his roots are entirely false.
Mr Robert Kuok would also like to place on record that he has a deep appreciation for the opportunities he has had and recognises the contributions made by Malaysians of all creeds, races and religions towards the development of Malaysia to date, and the continued commitment shared by all Malaysians in ensuring a bright future for the country.
Mr Kuok holds in the highest esteem the leaders of Malaysia who have throughout their lives done everything they can to contribute to the well-being of Malaysians.
In particular, Mr Robert Kuok refutes and emphatically denies the false allegations contained in the three articles published on the online blog, Malaysia Today, namely:
“Malaysian Insight Funder Fingered” on Feb 21; “Robert Kuok Wants Chinese Rule in Malaysia” on Feb 21; and “Robert Kuok’s Last Chance at Changing the Government” on Feb 23.
The false assertions made in these articles include that he was funding The Malaysian Insight and various political parties with the aim of overthrowing the present government of Malaysia; embarking on a campaign to manipulate the Malaysian political process and democratic system; being anti-government vis-à-vis the ruling Barisan Nasional Party in Malaysia; and being a racist and a “Chinese chauvinist”.
These allegations are untrue, and Mr Robert Kuok expressly denies them in their entirety.
Since the publication of the Malaysia Today Articles, further articles have been published in Malaysia on the online portal known as Malaysiakini as well as in The New Straits Times, The Star, The Malay Mail, Utusan Malaysia and Berita Harian, amongst others.
In no uncertain terms, Mr Robert Kuok states that the Malaysia Today articles constitute very serious libel. Moreover, the allegations made are false and the attack on him wholly unjustified.
Mr Robert Kuok takes these baseless allegations very seriously, and reserves the right to take all necessary steps against Malaysia Today and the author to address the false allegations contained in the scurrilous articles.
Both DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang and secretary-general Lim Guan Eng have denied receiving any funding from Kuok.
“The latest fake news is that I have received astronomical donations from tycoon Robert Kuok through his nephew, James Kuok. I have not received a single sen from Robert in my 53 years in politics, whether through James or anyone else,” Kit Siang said on Sunday.
Yesterday, he lambasted MCA for not stepping up to defend Kuok who has been “attacked gratuitously” by Umno leaders.
He reminded MCA’s top leadership that the magnate had aided MCA during its difficulties.
He said he has no personal knowledge of what Kuok had done for MCA and BN, but based on the billionaire’s memoirs, it seemed that Kuok had contributed campaign funds to both whenever elections were near.
Also slamming critics for “bullying” Kuok, Guan Eng said accusations against the 94-year-old Hong Kong-based tycoon are baseless.
“Robert Kuok is one Malaysian we should be proud of for his success outside of Malaysia and yet he was faced with these baseless attacks,” he said.
Guan Eng condemned Umno, BN and “BN newspapers” for playing up what he described as racist, extremist and baseless attacks against DAP and Kuok.
He reiterated that DAP has no financial ties or any direct connections with Malaysia’s richest man.
“As the top leader in DAP, I did not know at all that Robert Kuok donated to DAP. Show proof that we received funds from him, I want to know where is the money,” Guan Eng said.
He also challenged Umno leaders to show evidence that the DAP had received funds from Kuok, failing which they must apologise.
Kuok’s nephew James also denied that he acted as the middleman between his uncle and DAP in the channelling of funds and challenged Raja Petra to substantiate his allegation.
James said he was a businessman and he knew a lot of people, including Kit Siang, who had dined at his restaurant, Sri Nyonya.
In an interview with Sin Chew Daily, he revealed that he would only ring up his uncle twice a year – on the Chinese New Year and his uncle’s birthday.
“We only talked about family matters. No politics!” he said.
Apart from accusing Kuok of funding DAP, Raja Petra also alleged that the low-profile magnate had an agenda to replace Malaysia’s leadership with DAP, so that the Chinese could be in power.
This prompted rebukes from Umno leaders who insinuated that he was ungrateful for the wealth he built from his previous monopoly on Malaysia’s sugar supply that earned him his ‘Sugar King’ moniker.
Prime Minister Najib Razak said it was the government that gave Kuok “the key to become the rice and sugar king”, The Star reported.
Umno supreme council member Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman said it was unbecoming for a man to forget the “hands that fed him”.
“This is a problem when someone becomes rich…‘lupa daratan’ (they forgot about their roots and those who have helped them), despite becoming rich thanks to Barisan Nasional’s policy.
“He (Kuok) did not become rich due to DAP’s policies. Do not be an ungrateful person who has forgotten his roots,” Tajuddin was quoted as saying in the New Straits Times.
Umno secretary-general Tengku Adnan Tengku Mansor said Kuok seemed to have forgotten his roots and that he owed his success to the BN government.
He reportedly said Kuok is akin to “one who bites the hand which fed him” and he also accused the billionaire of stirring up racial sentiments.
“I do not know why he (Kuok) wants to stir a sentiment and purportedly wants this country to be run by the Chinese. This can hurt the Malays and Bumiputera,” he was quoted as saying in the New Straits Times
Umno minister Nazri Abdul Aziz did not mince his words in criticising Kuok.
He challenged Kuok to not hide in Hong Kong but to return to Malaysia and contest in the election if he was truly interested in politics here.
“You are already rich, what else do you want? Who are you to teach us how to run the country? Don’t meddle in our politics.
“If you consider yourself rich, then join politics. Don’t be a coward and hide (overseas) just to fund DAP in order for BN to collapse. BN accepts your challenge.
“If you are man enough, then come home and run for election. Don’t be a ‘pondan‘ and hide in Hong Kong,” Nazri was quoted as saying in The Sun Daily.
Tourism and Culture Minister Nazri Abdul Aziz is the latest Umno leader to train his guns on billionaire Robert Kuok.He challenged the 94-year-old tycoon, who is based in Hong Kong, to return to Malaysia and contest in the coming general election.
Posted by Malaysiakini on Monday, February 26, 2018
“I consider Kuok as a man who has forgotten his roots. He is arrogant, boastful, and now living in another country and criticising his own,” he was quoted as saying at a press conference.
He reportedly also called on Kuok to “surrender his citizenship”.
Nazri came under fire for his salvo against Kuok even from within BN itself.
“He (Kuok) is our business icon and revered by Malaysians of all ethnic backgrounds.
“He should not be involved in any politicking, let alone challenged to contest in GE14 (the coming 14th general election),” MCA publicity spokesman Datuk Seri Ti Lian Ker said.
Ti said that as a businessman, Kuok has every right to support whichever political party he deems fit.
“It is not in our culture to call Kuok a ‘pondan’ over allegations of financial support.
“MCA is of the view that Kuok is a businessman who has benefited Malaysians in general.
“Personally, I believe that he as a businessman could have supported many political parties and politicians from Barisan and Pakatan too. There’s no need to overreact by being ill-mannered in this instance,” Ti said.
Kuok had written in his memoirs, which was published at the end of last year, that he was often asked to give substantial donations to the ruling parties, UMNO and MCA, after independence in 1957 and he gave willingly, happily and freely.
Nazri’s disparaging comments against Kuok also drew flak from another business magnate.
The news portal MySinchew reported that Country Heights Holdings Bhd founder Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew said in an open letter today that Nazri is “an honourable MP who is not honourable, but is rude, very rude,” referring to the minister’s tirade against Kuok.
“Anyone, including Mr Robert Kuok, needs not be loyal to the party or government
“As a minister, you draw your salary from the State, and spend the tax money contributed by the rakyat, including a big bulk from Chinese Malaysians and a small part from the Kuok Group.
“Mr Kuok is a respected businessman, a role model for all Malaysians, especially Chinese Malaysians who are very proud of him and respect him a lot.
“You might have been in office for too long that you have forgotten how to practice democracy, believing this country belongs to your party.
“Your abusive remarks have hurt him and the entire country. I am sure as a magnanimous man, Mr Kuok will not want an apology from you, but for the sake of this country, I demand that you apologize to him, especially when you are a cabinet minister, a culture minister!”
Nazri said today that he will not apologise to Kuok.
He added that it was good that Kuok denied the allegation that he had funded the DAP to topple the BN government but he should have done it much earlier.
BN leaders who do not believe the allegations against Kuok included Johor Bahru MP Shahrir Abdul Samad and MCA deputy president Wee Ka Siong.
Shahrir said he knew Kuok as a businessman and not someone who interfered with politics.
In view of this, he said he could not comprehend why Tajuddin would want Kuok to be grateful to BN.
Wee said the source of the allegations against Kuok – the Malaysia Today website – was unreliable.
“What was said on the blog was just spin. There is no evidence. It is not persuasive,” Wee said.
Meanwhile, MCA secretary-general Ong Ka Chuan said Nazri has no right to ask Kuok to waive his Malaysian citizenship.
“The tourism minister has no right to demand any Malaysian to surrender his or her citizenship. It is not within his authority to do so,” he said.
He stressed that Kuok was not just a successful businessman, but a person who has contributed to the country.
He warned that Umno’s onslaught against Kuok may sour race relations
He also said allegations by Raja Petra and several Umno leaders were attempts to spread hatred and cause disunity.
“The victim will not just be Kuok, but inter-communal ties,” Ong said.
National Patriots Association (Patriot) also came to the defence of Kwok, describing the series of articles by Raja Petra as baseless.
Patriot president Datuk Mohamed Arshad Raji said the articles were also malicious in nature.
“We abhor the unsubstantiated opinion pieces by Raja Petra and consider them as fake news.
He added that what was clearly wrong was the intent to incite hatred and mistrust towards others.
“The manner in which the articles were written is one of a master propagandist with an evil intent. A very unprincipled person.
“He knows he is in safe sanctuary in Britain. Otherwise, if back home, he will face the fury of legal pursuit,” said Mohamed Arshad.
Former minister Zainuddin Maidin claimed that the prime minister has fanned Malay sentiments and emotions with his comments against Kuok.
“I don’t know why the prime minister feels the need to fan Malay sentiments and emotions against Malaysia’s richest man Robert Kuok based on information from someone who has no credibility, and without considering Kuok’s role in the country’s history, particularly in normalising relations with China and the May 13 incident,” Zainuddin said in a blog posting.
“Perhaps, faced with the general election and in a state of panic, Najib had easily believed whatever information given to him without considering whether it is fake.
“It may be that he believes all information from Umno and government supporters must be true, including those that come from Raja Petra,” he said.
Today, however, Najib praised Kuok for his contributions to the nation’s progress.
“Robert Kuok’s entrepreneurial success is a Malaysian success story and is an inspiration to entrepreneurs who want to succeed,” said a statement issued by his press secretary Tengku Sariffuddin Tengku Ahmad.
Related report: Feb 25, Najib: Some of Malaysia’s Richest Owe Their Success to Government Policies