Eulogy for Tan Sri Yeoh Tiong Lay

Two days ago, thousands of people attended the funeral of my old friend Tan Sri Yeoh Tiong Lay. The funeral procession passed along all the YTL hotels and properties along Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur.

YTL began as an humble construction contractor. He became the President of the Master Builders Association Malaysia in the early 1970s while I was the Secretary General. Our greatest achievement was to convince the Government to include the material price fluctuation clause in the conditions of contract so that contractors could get reimbursement when the price of steel or cement went up. If without this clause, many contractors would have gone bankrupt. As a result, all our members managed to improve their skill to construct all the buildings, roads, bridges and other infrastructures in the country.

A mysterious blackout

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On Sept 29, 1992, a total power blackout engulfed the nation for several days. This landmark incident sparked a privatisation of the power generation sector that broke the dawn for IPPs in Malaysia.

In the process, however, TNBs monopoly of the power generation sector was dismantled by then-prime minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad as YTL Power was awarded the nation’s first IPP licence in 1993. YTL has 2 power plants, one located in Paka, Terengganu and the other located in Pasir Gudang, Johor.

With the huge profit generated from the IPP, he expanded his businesses rapidly.

YTL founded 4 listed companies, namely YTL Corporation Bhd, YTL Hospitality Bhd, YTL Land and Development Bhd.

As a result, he became one of the most successful and richest men in Malaysia.

All his works will be a living monument for all Malaysians to see.

Malaysia has lost a really good man and I will miss him forever.

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