Is the NEAC setting up a special bureau with the specific task of persuading the 450 billionaires in the world to invest in Malaysia?


Media Statement
by Lim Kit Siang

(Petaling Jaya, Monday): On Saturday, the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr. Mahathir Mohamad announced after a luncheon with the Sultan of Brunei that Brunei will explore the prospects of investing in business ventures in Malaysia to help the country weather the current economic downturn.

Speaking to newsmen after a bilateral meeting with Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah, the Prime Minister said the Brunei Investment Agency would look into potential sectors, which could include purchase of shares in Malaysian companies listed on the stock market.

"Nothing (specific) has been mentioned but the Brunei Investment Agency will discuss the potential and will do the due diligence (reports) on possible business investments here," he added.

Dr Mahathir said Brunei would study the possibility of investing in "whatever it is that is worthwhile."

Early last month, Egyptian-born tycoon Mohamad Al-Fayed and the owner of the luxury London departmental store Harrods was virtually given the royal treatment when he visited Malaysia and announced at the end of his three-day trip that he did not rule out the possibility of acquiring shares in Malaysian companies if there was a seller who ''needs help and money''.

He said: ''I am not a speculator, but if someone wants to sell and needs help and money there can be (such acquisition),'' he said at a joint press conference here with the Prime Minister.

Al Fayed, who had given the joint press conference before meeting officials from Petronas and the Securities Commission had told the press he had oil business and he wanted to see if he could extend help to Petronas.

On his scheduled meeting with the Securities Comission, Al-Fayed said he wanted to ''get the feel of the place and have no concrete proposal of any kind''. He said: ''Only if someone has shares and wants to sell them, I'm ready to buy.''

It might be significant that the Government Economic Adviser and Executive Director of the National Economic Action Council (NEAC), Tun Daim Zainuddin, played a significant role in the visit of both the Sultan of Brunei and Al Fayed.

This makes Malaysians wonder whether one important strategy of the NEAC in the national economic recovery plan is to interest the billionaires in the world to invest in Malaysia to help in Malaysia’s economic recovery.

Is the NEAC setting up a special bureau with the specific task of persuading the 450 billionaires in the world to invest in Malaysia?

If there is such a NEAC "Billionaires Bureau", then its bible would the Forbes magazine, which had made its business to count, identify and describe billionaires.

The July 1997 issue of Forbes said that when it started counting billionaires outside the US ten years ago, it found 96. In 1996, there were 298 - plus 149 American billionaires (bearing in mind that these are all billionaires in American dollars!).

Will there be a NEAC "billionaires Bureau" to tract and establish contact with these 450 billionaires to interest them to invest in Malaysia? As far as I know, Al Fayed is not in the Forbes Billionaire List. The first 40 richest billionaires listed by Forbes last July were:

NAME

COUNTRY

NET WORTH
($ million)

SOURCE

Bolkiah, Sultan Hassanal Brunei 38,000 oil,gas
Gates, William H. III United States 36,400 Microsoft Corp.
Walton Family United States 27,600 Inheritance (Wal-Mart Stores)
Buffett, Warren E. United States 23,200 Stock market
Alsaud, King Faud Bin Abdul Aziz Saudi Arabia 20,000 Oil, investments, real estate
Suharto Indonesia 16,000 investments.
Allen, Paul Gardner United States 15,314 Microsoft Corp
Al-Sabah, Sheikh Jaber Al-ahmed Al-jaber Kuwait 15,000 oil, investments, real estate
Lee Shau Kee Hong Kong 14,700 real estate
Oeri, Hoffman and Sacher families Switzerland 14,300 pharmaceuticals:Roche
Kwok Brothers, Walter, Thomas, Raymond Hong Kong 12,300 real estate
Haas Family United States 12,300 Inheritance (Levi Strauss)
Mars, Forrest Edward Sr. and family United States 12,000 Inheritance (candy)
Quandt family Germany 11,700W BM
Albrecht, Theo and Karl and family Germany 11,500 retailing
Li Ka-shing Hong Kong 11,000 diversified
Engelhorn, Curt and family Germany 11,000 pharmaceuticals
Al Nahyan, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan United Arab Emi 10,000 oil, investments, property
Haniel family Germany 9,300 pharmaceuticals, diversified
Newhouse, Samuel I. Jr. and Donald E. United States 9,000 Media
Rausing, Hans and Gad Sweden 9,000 packaging
Cargill family United States 8,800 Cargill, Inc.
Bettencourt, Lilianne France 8,400 cosmetics
Tsutsumi, Yoshiaki Japan 8,000 real estate
Ballmer, Steven A United States 7,500 Microsoft Corp.
Wonowidjojo family Indonesia 7,300 tobacco
Kluge, John W. United States 7,200 Metromedia Co.
Tan Yu Philippines 7,200 real estate
Ellison, Lawrence J United States 7,100 Oracle Corp.
Mulliez, Gerard and family France 7,000 retail
Wang, Nina Hong Kong 7,000
Kuok, Robert Malaysia 7,000 diversified
Ng, Robert and Teng Fong Singapore 7,000 real estate
Moore, Gordon E United States 6,70 0 Intel Corp.
Slim Helu, Carlos Mexico 6,600 diversified
Cheng Yu-tung Hong Kong 6,500 real estate

Other Asian billionaires listed by Forbes as worth over US$2 billion were:

Kwek Leng Beng Singapore 5,800 diversified
Mori, Minoru and Akira Japan 5,700 real estate
Wang, Yue-che Taiwan 5,500
Widjaja, Eka Tjipta Indonesia 5,400
Takei, Yasuo Japan 5,200 consumer finance
Woeste, Albrecht and Lee Kun-hee and family Korea 5,200d diversifie
Chung Ju-yung and family Korea 5,200 diversified
Ito, Masatoshi Japan 4,300 retail
Krishnan, T. Ananda Malaysia 4,100
Liem Sioe Liong Indonesia 4,000 diversified
Khoo Teck Puat Singapore 3,900 investments
Son, Masayoshi Japan 3,500 software
Hasan, Mohamed (Bob) Indonesia 3,00 0 lumber, diversified0
Sy, Henr Philippines 2,900
Quek Leng Chan Malaysia 2,900 financial services, real estate
Ho, Stanley Hong Kong 2,800
Matsuda, Kazuo Japan 2,700 consumer finance
Ty, George Philippines 2,700
Tiong Hiew King Malaysia 2,700 lumber
Ayala, Jaime Zobel de and family Philippines 2,600 real estate, diversified
Fok, Henry Hong Kong 2,600 casinos, real estate
Koo, Jeffrey And Family Taiwan 2,500
Otsuka, Masahito Japan 2,500 pharmaceuticals
Sampoerna, Putera Indonesia 2,300
Koo Bon-moo and family Korea 2,200 diversified
Lim Goh Tong Malaysia 2,100 diversified
Sophonpanich, Chatri Thailand 2,000
Kim, Woo-choong And Family Korea 2,000 diversified

Two other Malaysians appear on the Forbes’ List of Billionaires, namely:

Yeoh, Francis And Family Malaysia 1,600 construction
Hussain, Rashid Malaysia 650 financial services

(2/3/98)


*Lim Kit Siang - Malaysian Parliamentary Opposition Leader, Democratic Action Party Secretary-General & Member of Parliament for Tanjong