Lim Goh Tong Autobiography
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Early Childhood and Education
Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong, a name that is well known in Malaysia and also recognized globally. He is a simple person but live with high level of discipline and focus. This legend was born in 1918 at Anxi district, a province in China. He is the son of Lim Shi Quan and Goh Ban. In Chinese language, “Goh Tong” means parasol tree (Wutong Tree) which myth said phoenix bird will only roost on “Wutong Tree”. Lim Goh Tong came from a very poor family but it give him motivation to be a successful person and change his fate. During his early childhood, his parents teach him traditional Chinese virtues, which focus on the importance of diligence and perseverance, the need to be humble person and all the good values.
The 1911 Revolution that occurred in China affect his family lifestyle. Lim Goh Tong was studying classic Chinese at age 6 and was forced to leave school at age 16 due to the revolution. His father, Lim Shi Quan passed away at the same year and Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong pick up the responsibilities of as the head of his family. He continued his father’s businesses which is petty trading and learned from regular and loyal customers. His main business is selling vegetables weeds. Later Civil War in China forced him to stop his businesses and involved with new job as a carpenter.
In 1937, he made the decision that completely changed his life. In that year, he went to Tanah Melayu following his uncle with only 175 dollars in his hand. Initially he didn’t know what will he do, but later on he decided to work as a carpenter with his uncle. During his tenure, he try to learn about businesses and Malay language. He is determine to have a better life in future.
After two years, he finally ready for the next step. He decided to part away for his uncle and set up his own company which focus on construction. He did not look back since that.
In early February 1937, Lim Goh Tong left China to Malaya followed by his
younger brother, Jing Kun and his cousin, Pak Tau with only 175 dollars in his pocket. After sailing for eight days, he landed in Singapore and spent two days with his eldest sister before leaving to Kuala Lumpur by train. In order for him to continue his journaey to Kuala Lumpur, Kuah Shai Hai his brother in law helped him in which he help paying for the train ticket and gave Lim Goh Tong two dollars for pocket money. Once in Kuala Lumpur, he stayed with his fourth uncle, Lim Mo Jin and his family and worked for his uncle as a carpenter. Apart from that, he also started to learn the ropes of the building trade by doing heavy work. As a newcomer, he had learnt Malay language quickly so that he will succeed in Malaya. After two years he strike out on his own as a building sub-contractor and his first job was to build a two-storey school at Cheras Road, Kuala Lumpur. His fourth uncle got a tender to build an observation tower on a beach in Penang and entrusted him to overseeing the project. But because of the Pacific World War the project was abandoned. During the earlier part of the Japanese Occupational, he being a vegetable farmer and after eight month he decided switch to petty trading such as tea leaves, Tiger Balm, and other goods around Kuala Lumpur.
Then, after saving some money, he came into contact with some friends from Anxi who were doing in second hand scrap metal and hardware trading and joined them. With proper management, his business picked up quickly and got lots of profits for savings. He’s good at seize the golden opportunity and to make a lucrative business by buying many of the second hand machine from British then he reconditioning it and sold them at triple times the prices. His hardware trading business gets bigger from time to time. In 1943, the Selangor Hardware Dealers’ Association was established and he had the honour to be the chairman. Around 1951, he set up his own family construction company and adopted name Kien Huat Private Limited to spearhead his new business ventures. Then, he expands his business by investing into iron mining and tin mining business as a partner. Once he had enough capital, cash and machines, he then realizing his dream in the construction sector. He began by taking on several contracting jobs with help and guidance from his uncles and successful completed several government projects. Later, Tan Sri Loh Boon Siew invited him to join in establishing Southern Bank, Penang’s first local bank in which each partners held 20 per cent stake.
There a lots of business that he had managed for instance in 1950 he bought 2000 acres of land in Segamat and turned it into rubber had oil palm estates but later In order to raise capital for the development of Gnting Highlands he had to sell them off. Then in September 1977, he established Asiatic Development Berhad as make an investment in the plantation sector. After that, at the end of 1993, Asiatic established Asiatic Land Sdn Bhd as its property development arm and its first project was to develop the 135 acre Cheng Perdanaa housing scheme in Malacca. Later, The Genting Sanyen Group was incorporated in 1988 to lead Genting Group into the paper manufacturing, power generation and oils and gas operations. Moreover, in 1993, he invested in cruise industrys with Star Cruise Limited and his first cruise is Star Aquarius.
3) Turning Point in His Life/Career
Lim Goh Tong as one who is quite capable of doing things and making decisions that seems to fly in the face of good sense. Some of the projects that people think as a joke are first, he undertook to build a four-mile sewer in Kuala Lumpur that nobody wanted and predicted certain failure to him. Moreover in 1967, he won a contract to build the Kemubu Irrigation Scheme with a winning bid that was RM10million lower and the biggest joke is that he decided to develop Genting Highlands He believes that if we are confident of our decisions, we should not be bothered by ridicule or criticism. In order to build Genting Highlands, he took risked and invested everything that he had including hardware trading, mining, and contracting.
The Genting project basically his idea and no one was interested in it and his said, “laugh at me as you please, but nothing will deter me from going up that mountain”. In his life and career there’s no turning point even the project seems ridiculous, he confidence and believes that nothing is impossible. On 27 April 165, he and Tan Sri Haji Mohd Noah incorporate a private company called Genting Highlands Sdn. Bhd. With Tunku Abdul Rahman’s recommendation, they applied to the Pahang and Selangor State Governments for 4,940 hectares and 1,110 hectares of freehold land respectively. At first, only Pahang State Government approved his application and Selangor Menteri Besar, Datuk Harun Idris would only give the land on a 99 year lease. Then, he personally went to see Datuk Harun Idris and explained in detailed why he needed freehold land. His presentation successfully convinced Datuk Harun to give a freehold land.
On 8 August 1965, the development of Genting Highlands had begun according to the blueprint including the roads, hotels, entertainment centres, and a golf course. Actually his original plan was to start with only a modest 38-room hotel but with some words from Tunku Abdul Rahman, he upgraded to a 200-room hotel and got approval to operate a casino. After he got the license to operate casino, he then went to Seoul and reaching a three year agreement with Chun Rak Wan, the operator from Seoul, Korea after he did not succeed in reaching an agreement with Mr. Stanley Ho from Hong Kong. However, an agreement with Chun Rak Wan only last for nine months for some reasons and Genting had to take over the whole management of the casino.
As the busness grew, he had to restructure the operations. In 1989, Resort World Berhad was set up to manage all tourism activities of Genting Group. 4) List of Investment
Genting Plantations Berhad (“Genting Plantations”), formerly known as Asiatic Development Berhad, is one of the fastest growing plantation companies listed on the Main Board of Bursa Malaysia. Ranks amongst the top 10 listed companies in terms of market capitalization in the plantation sector. Focus on rubber and oil palm plantation in Semenanjung, Sabah and Sarawak.
Indahpura project covering 8000 acres, located in Kulai, Johor is one of the real estate development projects. Among the projects implemented is Ayer Itam Dam, located in Penang and Irrigation Project Kemubu. First World Hotel and casino are some example of Lim Goh Tong’s property.
3. Cruise boat industries.
A member of Genting Hong Kong is the sixth largest cruise line in the world behind companies such as Carnival Corporation and Royal Caribbean Cruises. Dominates the Asia-Pacific market and is owned by Genting Hong Kong who also owns 50 % of the Norwegian Cruise Line, NCL America, and 100 % of Cruise Ferries brands with a total combined fleet of 22 ships and over 35,000 berths. Its services cater to Asian passengers as well as to North
Americans, Europeans and Australians interested in Asian destinations. The chairman of Star Cruises is Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, the son of the late Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong.
Oil and gas exploration.
5) Life and Business Philosophy
1. Never make language a barrier to success. Lim Goh Tong cannot speak or write in English. He only spoke Hokkien but start to learn Cantonese, mandarin and bahasa Melayu during live in Malaysia. To deal with foreigner, he will use translator.
2. Be polite, humble, and respectful to others. Lim Goh Tong always is humble with tycoons, politician, and higher officials and even with the worker.
3. Be punctual. Much better if you can come 5 to 10 minutes early. Most of Malaysian does not concern on punctuality. So, don’t be one of them even though you are Malaysian. Make it as your personal and business principle.
4. Discipline and live a simple life. Wake up early and you will see prosperity coming your way.
5. Always create to do list. Jot down whatever idea comes from mind. Lim Goh Tong used small notebook and he also organize the day by writing in diary.
6. Be willing to take a risk. Try things that have never been done before. A reward is waiting at the end of it.
7. Believe the power of conviction. If you make a decision and you believe that is a strong one, go ahead with it, no matter what you are up against. Believe in yourself.
8. Don’t make enemies. Avoid stepping on another people’s toes which is quite
norm in business and corporate world. People who did this will not last long. People who take short cut will have their success short lived.
9. Always believe that people is the most valuable asset in the organization. It is the people who make up the organization. It is the people who run the organization. It is the person who makes things happens.
10. Good education is essential, but lack of education and training is never a barrier to become a boss to the smartest people on the planet.
11. Employ a person or make business with a person when you trust him or her. If you don’t trust him or her, never employ or make business with them.
12. Do good to others. You will be rewarded somehow. Learn to give first, and receive later.
13. Prepare for personality makeover. If you are shy and quiet (like Lim Goh Tong when he was 20’s), learn to be articulate and more extrovert. If you are rude, learn to be polite.
14. Be grateful. Life has been kind to us. Drive yourself harder and become more committed to work.
6) List of Achievements
Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong is a very impressive person who have great achievements and awards during his life. Besides that, he also used as role model and inspiration to other entrepreneur in business world especially to youth and local businessmen who want to starting their business. It’s not impossible to him to have a lot achievements and awards because of his great leadership qualities and caliber in the business world. He had won many awards together with his company Genting Group for his entrepreneurship and his contribution, among them were: Malaysian Entrepreneurs Award 1985
Manager of the Year Award 1986
Business Achiever of the Year Award 1994
Number 1 ranking of 10 Malaysian Leading Companies 1996
The Best Employer Award 1996
He was conferred the title “Tan Sri” by the government of Malaysia on 6 June 1979 in recognition to the contribution he has made to the country. In 1978 Lim set up Yayasan Lim, a family foundation that donates regularly to educational and medical institutions, old folk’s homes, various organizations for the physically handicapped and other charitable causes. Other than that, for his contribution to the Malaysian Red Crescent Society, Lim was presented the MCRS 50th Anniversary Commemorative Gold Medal by the then MRCS chief Tun Abdul Hamid Omar.
Besides that, Genting Group that led by Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong was awarded Far Eastern Economic Review that recognized as top among Malaysian companies in the magazines that survey of 200 Asia’s leading companies from 1995 to 1999.
Genting Higland Theme Park was the biggest success of his life and until this time, people still come to the theme park and given a thousand of happiest moment and memories to people that come to the theme park.
7) Future Planning
In May 2011, Genting Malaysia purchased 14 acres (5.7 hac) of Biscayne Bay front land surrounding the headquarters of The Miami Herald for US$236 million; The McClatchy Company announced that the Herald and El Nuevo Herald would be moving to another location by 2013. The land is to be used for a mixed use development, Resorts World Miami, which would include hotels, restaurants, residences, retail shops and a convention centre. Genting Group sees the Miami land acquisition as an integral step in its pursuit of expanding internationally in the leisure, hospitality and entertainment industry.
Genting Group is also planning a $3 billion casino and resort in Miami, Florida. The Sands is now looking to take Genting’s place in developing a multibillion-dollar complex there. The Sands is in discussions to work with World Center Group, which owns eight blocks of prime real estate, but says it will only go through with the deal if the Sands gets an exclusive gaming license for Miami-Dade.
Genting Group, which bought the former Miami Herald building and parking lots several blocks north of the World Center Group’s lot, announced to plans for a Miami gaming complex in the middle of September. It didn’t take long for the Sands to spring into action to destroy Genting’s plan. If the Florida State Legislature grants the Sands an exclusive gaming license, Genting will own some nice land in Biscayne Bay, and that’s about it. The company has said it will proceed with the hotel and residential high-rise parts of the project even without a gaming license but will develop them on a much slower timetable.