Malaysian PM's brother defends tycoon Robert Kuok

Banker Nazir Razak, the younger brother of Prime Minister Najib Razak, with tycoon Robert Kuok in an Instagram post last year. He says Mr Kuok "is a patriot, the icon of Malaysian business and a first-class gentleman".
Banker Nazir Razak, the younger brother of Prime Minister Najib Razak, with tycoon Robert Kuok in an Instagram post last year. He says Mr Kuok "is a patriot, the icon of Malaysian business and a first-class gentleman".PHOTO: NAZIR RAZAK/ INSTAGRAM

PETALING JAYA • Malaysian banker Nazir Razak has posted a tribute to business tycoon Robert Kuok on Instagram, calling him a patriot and an icon of Malaysian business.

The post by Datuk Seri Nazir - the younger brother of Prime Minister Najib Razak - comes in the wake of a blogger's claims that Tan Sri Kuok is funding opposition parties and a news site in order to overthrow the government. Mr Kuok has refuted those allegations.

Reposting a picture that was taken last year, Mr Nazir, who is chairman of CIMB Group Holdings, said yesterday that he has been lucky enough to spend time with Mr Kuok over the course of many years and had also read his book.

"I may not agree with all his views but he is a patriot, the icon of Malaysian business and a first-class gentleman," said Mr Nazir.

On Monday, Mr Kuok said he would take action against news portal Malaysia Today after it published three articles by blogger Raja Petra Kamarudin containing "false assertions".

"The false assertions made in these articles include... he was funding The Malaysian Insight and various political parties with the aim of overthrowing the present government of Malaysia; embarking on a campaign to manipulate the Malaysian political process and democratic system; being anti-government vis-a-vis the ruling Barisan Nasional in Malaysia; and being a racist and a 'Chinese chauvinist'," Mr Kuok's statement said.

The articles had sparked harsh criticism of the 94-year-old billionaire by senior members of Umno, the Malay dominant party leading the Barisan Nasional (BN) coalition.

Umno leader Tajuddin Abdul Rahman warned Mr Kuok not to forget his roots and how he emerged as Malaysia's richest man.

On Monday, Tourism and Culture Minister Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz called Mr Kuok a "pondan" (effeminate man) and a coward, and said he should surrender his Malaysian citizenship.

Meanwhile PM Najib reiterated in a statement on Tuesday that despite their hard work, discipline and focus, some of Malaysia's richest people owed their success to opportunities created by government policies. He however acknowledged that Mr Kuok's success as an entrepreneur was a Malaysian success story.

The Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), a BN component party, also defended Mr Kuok and demanded that Datuk Seri Nazri apologise to him.

"You know you made a mistake. An apology is a very simple thing to do. That only shows you are a real man, a man who can take it," MCA Youth chief Chong Sin Woo said yesterday.

Datuk Chong said although he had read Mr Nazri's explanation that his remarks were focused solely on Mr Kuok, the comments about Asia's richest man were humiliating to the Malaysian Chinese community.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 01, 2018, with the headline 'Malaysian PM's brother defends tycoon Robert Kuok'. Print Edition | Subscribe