Hornbill Unleashed

June 4, 2014

Crony capitalism in Malaysia has to go, son of YTL founder says

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM
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YTL Corporation Bhd Group Managing Director, Tan Sri Dr Francis Yeoh speaks during Pemandu's Global Malaysia Series programme at Bukit Kiara, Kuala Lumpur, June 3, 2014. — Picture by Yusof Mat IsaMELISSA CHI

Malaysia has to free itself from the constraints of “crony capitalism” and stop racial and religious rhetoric in order to compete on the global stage, business tycoon Tan Sri Francis Yeoh said today.

The group managing director at YTL Corporation and eldest son of founder, billionaire Tan Sri Yeoh Tiong Lay said 85 per cent of YTL’s business are in Britain, Singapore and Australia because these countries do not tolerate corruption, practice meritocracy and stand for the rule of law.

“For example in Singapore, we own a third of Singapore’s electricity, there is no subsidy of any kind, there is no cronyism of any type.

“The good thing about these three territories, I don’t have to kowtow to the prime minister before I do deal(s), I don’t have to see them even, even after I’ve won the deal.

“I turn west because of this transparent, coherent regulatory framework,” he said during Pemandu’s Global Malaysia Series at the Securities Commission.

Yeoh said the country’s leaders have to get rid of all racial and religious rhetoric, and focus instead on the economy to improve the lives of Malaysians.

As far as non-Bumiputera small and medium enterprises (SME) go, he said they “absolutely have no chance” to even fight “for the crumbs” as they are already at the low end of the food chain.

“I don’t think you’ll have a chance. Even in Petronas contracts, if (you are) a non-bumi you won’t get to do anything, for example,” he said in response to a question from the audience.

Yeoh said the SMEs would have to rethink their business strategies, be innovative, and use more technology and try to get global exposure.

“Like me, I had to survive so 85 per cent of my business (is) outside, I had to invent a lot of the stuff, for my own self-interest, to make sure I survive.

“I don’t depend on the largesse of the government. I can’t, SMEs more so,” he said.

Despite that, Yeoh said it is up to the prime minister to do away with “crony capitalism” for the future of the country.

“I think this crony capitalism stuff has to go. It’s 20 years old this idea, I think we should replace it with new, fresh, truthful idea.

“Now Malaysia demands a leader in Najib… to really be a Churchill, or be a Tun Razak like his father,” he said.

When asked about how his “close links” with former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had contributed to YTL’s successes, Yeoh denied being the latter’s “crony” and credited the company’s achievements to “innovation”.

“At that time… I think up till today, almost 21 years later, people still think I’m a crony of Mahathir’s.

“People think I’ve got a very fat, lucrative contract from Tenaga, [but] I think it’s about time the truth comes out that we actually were very innovative,” he said.

The 59-year-old said when Dr Mahathir introduced YTL as the first independent power producer (IPP), the then prime minister had already been pushing for privatisation.

Yeoh claimed to have given the idea to Dr Mahathir after the major national blackout in 1992.

“We made profit from day one by this incredible innovation of inventing the bond market, inventing IPC (infrastructure project company) listing, financing it in ringgit that indirectly made Malaysia able to withstand financial crisis,” he said.



  1. He talked c…!!!!. Like all cronies businessmen after sucking all the billions from this nation they diverted all their billions to overseas leaving crumbs and bones to the rakyats. Their capitals are all profits legal and illegally obtained from this nation. To them this nation is a milking cow especially Sarawak. Australia,Canada and England all profited from money siphoned out by these hypocrites and scum. Now this TANSEE is talking c…..

    Comment by otak bodoh — June 6, 2014 @ 3:17 PM | Reply

    • Leader lead by examples, there was a report that Bodohland/ Bomohland retired politician is having US$44Billions in overseas, so cronies must follow the mmentor, to make him Happy lah…lol

      Comment by tiuniamah — June 6, 2014 @ 4:23 PM | Reply

  2. HA HA HA….. wink, wink …what a load of craps ! Old cronies are OK, new crony is bad…what a joke.

    Comment by New Crony — June 6, 2014 @ 12:29 AM | Reply

  3. What FY mentioned is not 100 % accurate. Non Bumis in Dialogً, Dayang, Wa Siong who are prominent and the driving force in their respectives companies are getting big contract from Petronas. Even at mid level still alot of Non Bumis secured contracts from Petronas. Some of those playing a prominent role in Petronas subsidiary are non Bumis. Two senior EVPs from Petronas are non Bumi. How many prominent Bumis in Singapore make it at the top or secure big contract from their mega corporation ? Negligble.

    Comment by Ali bin Abu — June 5, 2014 @ 7:42 PM | Reply

  4. Francis Yeoh sounds so good and noble!

    But folks have been discussing elsewhere about his claims, and amongst others, have questioned his words about the IPP issue, and pointed to a certain interview with Bloomberg in which Yeoh proudly detailed his cosy arrangement with Mahathir. One wonders too about the IPP contract which favoured Yeoh tremendously including the very sweet deal for gas to be supplied to it at a preferential rate. And Ani Arope’s expose on the IPP fiasco is eye-opening…

    Fransi Yeoh would do well to answer those issues before hurling stones at cronies.

    Comment by ktwong87 — June 4, 2014 @ 7:28 PM | Reply

    • I fully agree with you. How good a person is, there is skeleton in the closet. Those personalities who have gained from the IPPs under Mahathir’s era should spend their huge profit and benefit to help our nation. Without the government help where will YTL be now. His founder was struggling to bring up the construction company way back in the 60s. Only light came at end of tunnel for them under Mahathir’s era. We dont blame the former PM. He was sincere – by giving these personalities th benefit he hope that this personalities will repay back in the form of development to Malaysia. Our country has sacrifice alot by granting high subsidies to the Power Sector especially to the IPPs operator. What has this personalities give in return. It hight time under the PM’s ETP for Mypower to renegotiate to lower this IPP’s profit and give the benefit to the people. Look at out first RGT at Sungai Udang. This project is not feasible at all as Petronas has to subsidise the imported gas to flow into the PGU 3 times its value due to high discrepancy between the imported price and PGU’s price. At the end this project become a white elephant and few hundred millions of taxpayer money goes to the drain. Lucky Petronas has billion to spare. But economicslly it is still unwise. What happen to Ani Arope the former CEO of TNB who expressed his disatisfaction over this arrangement with the IPP. I feel high time for the Government through through strong and firmed personality in Pemandu to really take the lead to chart our Energy Master Plan and implement it deligently to ensure that the energy mixed to generate power is properly implemented. We need a very strong Energy Commission to undertake this so that Petronas and TNB can see eye to eye on this matter. I overhead previously Petronas has planned to built another RGT at Pengerang by 2015 and another in nothern state near Perak and in Lahad Datu. But the Lahad Datu was scrapped by Petronas recently. This is a set back for Sabah’s east coast. Infact it is better to have in Sabah first rather than at Sungai Udang as LNG can easily be supplied from MLNG Bintulu. Any shortage of gas in Semenanjung can still be tapped from Singapore as they have already operated a RGT there. If we can supply water to Singapore how come we cannot get gas from them.
      PEMANDU needs alot of thinking to do together with our National oil company and our National power company.

      Comment by Ali bin Abu — June 4, 2014 @ 8:56 PM | Reply

  5. Ibrahim Ali, why are you not asking Francis to balik Cina???

    Comment by Hahaha — June 4, 2014 @ 4:35 PM | Reply

  6. Yes , there must be some one to tell the Government and the overall UMNO grass roots , its time to change.
    But I suggest Rich people must do more charity to help the poor and the below average people.

    Comment by Dato' David Cheang — June 4, 2014 @ 1:36 PM | Reply

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