PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysian banker Nazir Razak has posted a tribute to business tycoon Robert Kuok on Instagram, saying that he is a patriot and an icon of Malaysian business.
The post by Datuk Seri Nazir, who is the younger brother of Prime Minister Najib Razak, comes in the wake of a blogger's claims that Tan Sri Robert is funding opposition parties and a news site in order to overthrow the ruling government. Mr Kuok has refuted those allegations.
Reposting a picture that was taken last year, Mr Nazir, who is chairman of CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, said on Wednesday (Feb 28) 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 that 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 politicians of Umno, the Malay dominant party leading the Barisan Nasional (BN) government.
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 what he had said last Saturday, 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 on Tuesday that Mr Kuok's success as an entrepreneur was a Malaysian success story.
MCA, the Chinese component party of the BN coalition, has also defended Mr Kuok and demanded Datuk Seri Nazri apologise to Mr Kuok.
"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 on Wednesday.
Datuk Chong said although he had read Mr Nazri's explanation that his remarks were focused solely on Mr Kuok, his comments about Asia's richest man were humiliating to the Malaysian Chinese community.
"You have chosen the wrong person to attack, based on a blogger's write-up. As a minister, why don't you find out the right facts and figures?" he said.