Robert Kuok is 99 today! Happy Birthday!

October 06, 2022


ROBERT KUOK is 99 today! He was born on 6 October 1923 in Johor Bahru. We wish him a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

The man has a special place in the hearts of the Malaysian Chinese. The memory of Robert Kuok coming home to help sort out the financially distressed MPHB Group in the mid1980s endeared many Chinese to him. The older ones especially have not forgotten. The majority of investors in MPHB were hawkers, taxi-drivers, teachers and middle to low income earners. Robert Kuok was based in Hong Kong when he returned to organise a restructuring plan to salvage MPHB. An SOS call was made to him by Chinese leaders. The late Tan Sri Lee Loy Seng of the KLK Group was also a key member of the rescue Board. 

But MPHB is not the only reason why Robert Kuok is much loved and respected here. He was the filial every mother's son. All who knew him respected the way he loved and obeyed his mother, Madam Tang Kak Ji,  all the days of her life. "Mother always kept the peace and unity in the family. She kept us focused on the big picture." 

In business Robert Kuok was second to none among the Malaysian Chinese business community. 

Why focus on sugar, oils and flour? "You should focus on products for which there are large, established markets, and for which demand is uniform and sustainable," he said.

"The 1960s were the busiest years of my life. I seized opportunities as they came along, many of them thrown up by the dismantling of the British Empire. Timing is everything." 

"Competition will come at you from all angles. You must develop resilience and be able to bounce back after the inevitable reverses."

"No business stays still. Embarking on a business career is like paddling upstream. If you rest your oars for one or two seconds you will be pushed 10 to 20 metres down. So you have to keep on paddling.." 

"In our company, honesty is a zero virtue. You don't get points for it. Everybody is expected to be honest." 

Robert Kuok has retired from business. He is spending time with his family and grandchildren. His youngest son, Kuok Khoon Hua was recently elevated to Chairman of listed Kerry Properties Limited. His daughter, Kuok Hui Kwong, is Chairman of Shangri-La Asia Limited. will be releasing its ePublication on Robert Kuok soon


  1. Family Controlled Companies in Bursa Malaysia. Tan Li Shan. Published by Sparrow Publishing House. November 2016.
  2. Robert Kuok - A Memoir with Andrew Tanzer. Published by Landmark Books Pte Limited. Singapore. November 2017. 
  3. The Edge. 9 June 1995. Excerpts from Profiles in Excellence by ASLI. 
  4. Mingtiandi. 20 March 2022. Beatrice Laforga.