Southeast Asian conglomerates are tapping Hong Kong’s role as a connector for Belt and Road-related projects.
The main catalyst for unlocking investments in infrastructure and other major projects will be a “transparent, coherent regulatory framework” (TCRF), says Dr Francis Yeoh, Managing Director of YTL, one of Malaysia’s largest conglomerates.
That’s where Hong Kong comes in, according to Dr Yeoh. “Hong Kong will undoubtedly be a key part of the Belt and Road Initiative not just because it is an international finance centre for the region, but because it is a shining example of how world-class infrastructure can be built if it is backed and funded by TCRF.”
“We are exploring opportunities in cement in new frontier countries like Myanmar and Vietnam, which will have massive potential under the Belt and Road Initiative,” says Dr Yeoh. Cement is among the first to reap the benefits of any infrastructure boom.
Another sector YTL sees potential in is transport, after a memorandum of understanding to build a high-speed rail link between Malaysia and Singapore was signed last July. Having first mooted the idea in 2002, YTL now is closely following the upcoming tender process for the new rail project. Targeted to open in 2036, the rail link is expected to cut travel time between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore to 90 minutes.
“Not surprisingly, companies from China are interested and if they regard this project as part of the Belt and Road Initiative, then it would be very exciting to see this as the platform into a wider, high-speed rail network linking ASEAN to China,” says Dr Yeoh, who expects Hong Kong to play a financing role....
"At a very young age we were told that you are all just family stewards of the YTL brand and the YTL name, but your ultimate role is to pass it on to the next generation," Jacob says. "It's never really for yourselves, so we never really had an ego trip to be amazing or be more amazing than the generation before us."
"This generation, we borrow it from the next generation," Ruth told CNBC's Pauline Chiou in a joint interview with Francis in Singapore recently.
"Being a parent myself, I've got to think of the fifth generation, and I'd love them to know the species that I know in this lifetime. Nature, wildlife as I know it now, I wouldn't want it to disappear within the next few years....
Tan Sri Francis Yeoh was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for Leadership in Regulated Industries at the 7th World Chinese Economic Summit (WCES), held in London recently. The prestigious annual event brought together over 200 policy-makers, entrepreneurs, researchers and thought-leaders from around the world to discuss topics around the key theme, ‘China and the World: Forging Euro-Asian Partnerships towards Shared Prosperity’.
Honoured to be recognised with such a prestigious award, Tan Sri (Dr) Francis Yeoh said, "I thank my Lord Jesus Christ for this award and recognition and I continue to strive to be a good steward of all that He has blessed me with."...
"It was a very difficult project to turn around. When we first saw the place, there were many abandoned apartments that were built halfway. It looked like a bomb site," he says. "But after studying the area intimately, I found a lot in Sentul to celebrate — its colourful past, the Indian culture there; its spice of life."
Many had advised him not to use the Sentul name for the redeveloped site due to the negative connotations of its shady past. He had other ideas. "I did some research on Sentul. Sentul is a name of a tree (sandori-cum koet jape)! Voila, I discovered that most Malaysian towns are named after trees. Ipoh is named after a tree, and so are Penang and Melaka. How on earth were our predecessors so clever to name our towns after trees? And how does the mind associate a place [like Sentul] with the worse of human flaws and crime?"
He decided to rehabilitate the area's good name. Yeoh divided the land into Sentul East, where the condominiums are named after spices like Tamarind, Capers, Fennel and Saffron; and Sentul West, where projects are named after trees, like The Maple....
Tan Sri (Dr) Francis Yeoh was bestowed the Lifetime Achievement Award at The Peak’s 25th Anniversary held at the Mandarin Oriental, Kuala Lumpur.
Honoured to be recognised with such a prestigious award, Tan Sri (Dr) Francis Yeoh said: "First and foremost I must congratulate The Peak Magazine for having survived 25 years, despite a digital revolution in the media world. The digital revolution has beaten to pulp many old print businesses but they (The Peak) seemed to have survived these past 25 years.
"I must congratulate Dato' Ibrahim, Datin Azliza and Diana Khoo for their perseverance and the consistent quality they have kept in this magazine to continue to attract advertisers in a very tough time in the media space where digital media seems to rule supreme.
"I'd like to consecrate this award recognising my achievements to our Lord Jesus Christ who deserves all the glory and honour – not me. He is the author of the script and I am just a willing pencil."
Life Inspired talks to a Christian business leader on how his Christmas journey is a lifelong quest. Tan Sri (Dr) Francis Yeoh is well known not only as head of one of Malaysia’s most successful family businesses, but also for his uncompromising stand on his Christian values in every aspect. Yeoh had decided to become a Christian when he was 16. He was the first in his family to do so, eventually leading the rest of the family too.
“The Christian markers along our journeys are important but to summarize them takes away the countless little things from the whole tapestry,” he says.
“When we walk with Christ, it’s a long journey. There are a trillion miracles in our lives. It’s difficult to place one marker over the other, as each has led me nearer to God. And that doesn’t mean I am more holy, but being more aware of my sins and being humble and less judgmental of others. God is so glorious I am more conscious of my own inadequacies.
In that way, I am able to bear the nine fruits of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. When I love God with all my heart and soul the only is it possible for me to love my neighbours.
“Yes, I do have more of such fruits than I did at 16 but I am not perfect and I never stop repenting. My journey is a combination of countless tests and failures and getting up again. I am but a pencil that God uses.”...
Francis Yeoh, managing director of YTL Corp, said: "The regulatory framework is not there to welcome investors into the infrastructure sector. The infrastructure, today in ASEAN, and Asia, substantially, is subsidised. They are lulled like a boiled frog into thinking they don't have to pay for water and electricity at competitive prices. As a result, they get very bad services. They get water (that is) turning brown, the leakage of water is 50 per cent, and they don't know how to solve that."...
As the head of YTL Corporation and the driving force behind one of Asia’s most successful businesses, Tan Sri Francis Yeoh has become an icon on the Malaysian economic front. From changing Kuala Lumpur’s retail landscape, particularly the famed Bukit Bintang area, building significant landmarks, notching several firsts in various sectors to bringing Malaysia to the world through YTL’s major investments abroad, he is acknowledged as one of Malaysia’s most influential corporate figures.
Guided by Faith It is a known fact that Yeoh holds true to his faith and it is probably the reason that YTL has grown a reputation as being a corporation with integrity and which sticks to its principles. “To make anything work in this life, for so-called success, it takes a trillion probabilities. It is impossible to put it together and claim that you did it or that you planned it. Everything is called God’s tapestry and he embroiders people, time and probabilities together. People always ask me what my secret of success is and I give back the truth humbly and truthfully; my secret is the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Yeoh sums up his thoughts on happiness, “What do we know about beauty in our lives? Those who chase the wrong end of the stick, who chase after material things will end up being disappointed. Humans like to chase after happiness, not God, but if you chase after happiness you end up being very sad Happiness is a by-product of chasing God.“...
Francis Yeoh's broad perspectives are the takeaways from his insatiable intellectual appetite.With such a weighty portfolio on his back, those who aren't well-acquainted with Yeoh might not have guessed the aggressive reader that he is, nor how he makes time for the hobby.
His penchant for reading is telling of his wiring and ideologies. The man is an intellectual, with the uncanny ability to make random scientific points appealing.
"Did you know that people used plants to tell time' before it was invented the way we know it?"
"Have you ever wondered why waves are humbled on the beach?"
He actually knows the answers.
Yeoh's study at home, where this conversation takes place, is lined with tall wooden shelves that house his precious books. Neat stacks of books sit on his desk and the coffee table, the majority of them not contemporary. Most are great literary works of the 1700s to 1900s; Charles Spurgeon, CS Lewis, Charles Wesley, John Stott, you name it, Yeoh is well acquainted with their work. "These are great minds who have spent their lives talking to scientists, trying to find answers to the great mysteries of science, and finding God in the answers," he says.
Some of these books were bid at auctions, and from the look of some of them very, very archaic Yeoh has spent a fortune on the collection. They have been a worthwhile purchase for him, food for his voracious appetite for knowledge and a deeper understanding of his spiritual journey. "Which book can you read a thousand times over and still find fascinating?" he says in reference to the Christian Bible.
And he is highly selective, only reading books of authors whose lives he deems worthy of his attention. The discerning reader enjoys the work of Chicago award-winning Lee Strobel, a cynical attorney-turned-journalist who wrote two powerful books debunking the concept of evolution and explaining the Big Bang Theory after interviewing Christian scientists around the world. Yeoh read fiction in his youth but finds that those authors are unable to sustain his intellectual curiosity. "It can't complete me," he says. "When there is so much wonder in this world, so much to take in, I'm sorry, I don't have the time for anything less."...
Yeoh reveals that the UK, Singapore and Australia are still the YTL group's favourite markets to do business, given their transparent and investor-friendly regulatory frameworks. "We want transparent regulatory comfort. I think the rule of law is a premium that people tend to underestimate," Yeoh argues, emphasising that transparency and openness are keys to driving private sector growth....