Posted: 25 Jan 2014 07:38 PM PST
A GLOBALLY successful Malay businessman chided me and told me to tell other writers and bloggera to stop running down the Malay Hollywood film producer, Riza Shahriz Abdul Aziz.
He said when Malaysia Chinese and Indians made it big in the world, nobody complained, including the Malays. Instead they were praised as being capable.
He then reminded me of some of the Chinese and Indian businessmen (and women) that we both know from the early days of their business involvement.
He said all of them benefited from government's assistance in one way or another.
As an example, when Ananda Krishnan made a name for himself (and Malaysia) by organising Sir Bob Geldof's Live Aid in 1985, he was treated like a hero.
"Nobody complained that he was once a Bank Negara and Petronas director, and traded Petronas crude oil, that his mutual fund, Minsec, went bust, received massive government franchises and was a good friend of Tengku Razakeigh Hamzah and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad.
"Nobody complained that K S Liew (Tan Sri Liew Kee Sin, President & CEO of SP Setia Berhad) become a global property developer by riding on PNB's investment and influence."
Some Chinese companies and investors were even rescued from bankruptcy by the government via cash injections and awards of contracts. Back in the late 1980's, depositors of the Chinese-owned deposits taking companies (DTCs), almost all of whom were Chinese, were rescued by the government when these companies became insolvent due to fraud.
So, said the Malay tauke, lay off Riza Shahriz and let him be.I asked him if he knows Riza Shahriz personally. He said, no. But he said he is impressed with his success in Hollywood and told me that the former banker would be funding another mega biopic, most likely on George Washington, the first US President.
"If he is successful because he is good, hardworking and the money is his, let him be. We want more successful Malays like him," said the businessman.
So, out of respect for him, I shall not say more about Riza Shahriz except to restate that he co-produced the Oscar-nominated film, "The Wolf of Wall Street", reputed to own opulent homes in the US and is the son of the Prime Minister's wife Rosmah Mansor (read here).
Another businessman friend – this time a Chinese – told me recently that many Chinese business empires around the world would not survive beyond the third generation.
He said some had in fact disintegrated due to internal squabbles and bad management while others are facing "revolt" from third- and fourth-generation shareholders who want to cash out and strike on their own.
"These are young ambitious western-educated MBA's. They own two or three per cent of the shares in conglomerates founded by their grandfathers.
"They have little voting power and no say in the management. But their small share could be worth millions. They want to sell and start their own businesses," he said.
So maybe investment funds like the EPF, PNB, Amanah Hartanah Bumiputera, the LTAT, Tabung Haji and the private sector mutual funds may want to look into this up for sale shares and assets.
It has happened in the developed economies, where old iconic family businesses had either died or became publicly-owned companies with founders' descendants holding minority shares and board appointments.
As for my latest book, "Mohd Najib Selepas Tsunami Cina", which is bi-lingual, I apologise to readers for the difficulty in buying it. No large, chain bookstores, except the MPH, are willing to sell it. So I have to sell them through small, independent bookshops If you buy direct, you get a 20-per cent discount. Thank you. .
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