Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Uncle Lim of Genting Highlands

I was in Genting Highlands today and came upon this new statue of Tan Sri (Dr) Lim Goh Tong, the founder of this highland resort, at the Chin Swee Caves Temple. Most of us in Malaysia refer to him as Uncle Lim. Many of us do not know the background history of this successful well-known Malaysian enterpreneur. I found the information below at the site of the statue.

The success story of Uncle Lim is a unique one in the corporate history of Malaysia. From a humble vegetable seed seller, he went on to build Malaysia's premier Genting Highlands Resort, a part of a sprawling conglomerate that is one of the most successful companies in Malaysia, placing him among the country’s top entrepreneurs.

His story is an inspiring one: beginning with nothing to his name, turning difficulties into opportunities, acting on brainwaves, taking calculated risks and confounding skeptics through sheer foresights and perseverance. His achievements earned him many awards, including Manager of the Year Award 1986, the Special Tourism Award 1997 and an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Entrepreneurship from the University of Tunku Abdul Rahman in 2005. In recognition of his contribution to the national economy, the title of “Tan Sri” was bestowed on him by His Majesty, the Yang DiPertuan Agong on 6 June 1979.

Uncle Lim was born in 1918 in Anxi, Fujian Province in China. He had an excruciatingly tough childhood. After losing his father, he became the family breadwinner at the age of 16.

In 1937 he came to Malaya (the former name of Malaysia before Independance) to join the building trade and later became a subcontractor. During the Japanese Occupation, he became a trader dealing in scrap metal and second-hand machinery. He also ventured into the mining industry. Having accumulated enough wealth, he took another shot at realizing his dream of becoming a big-time contractor. As a Class A contractor, he proved his mettle by successfully undertaking many major Public Works Department projects.

It was during the construction of the Hydroelectric Project in the Cameron Highlands that he got the inspiration to build a highland resort. He reckoned that in tropical Malaysia, everyone would love a holiday up in the cool mountains. He identified Gunung Ulu Kali, a 1800-metre mountain, just 58-km from Kuala Lumpur and straddling the border between the states of Selangor and Pahang. His proposition was regarded by many as crazy idea. But his conviction was strong enough to make him take a gamble at a time when he could afford to retire comfortably.

His humility, his ability to get on well with the country's top leaders and his proven capability as a Class A contractor, won the confidence of the authorities in giving him the land for the project, measuring slightly over 6,000 hectares.

On 31 March 1969, during a visit to Genting Highlands to lay the foundation stone for its first hotel, Malaysia's 1st Prime Minister, Tunku Abdul Rahman, said to expedite the development of tourism in this remote area, the Government would favourably consider an application from Genting to operate a casino. A casino licence was granted to Genting on 28 April 1969.

Since it opened for business on 8 May 1971, Genting Highlands Resort under Uncle Lim’s stewardship has become Malaysia’s premier tourist attraction which play host to millions annually. On 31 Dec 2003, he retired and handed over the Chairmanship of the Genting Group of Companies to his second son.

Uncle Lim is well-known for its philanthropic deeds. In 1978, he established Lim Foundation, dedicated to charitable causes.

Uncle Lim passed away on 23 October 2007, leaving behind his wife and their six children (3 sons & 3 daughters).

To read more about Uncle Lim, please visit Wikipedia.


Pat said...

Nice to see. It's a lovely photo and it was interesting to read your text too.


Guelph Daily Photo, Pat's Photo-a-Day

Fénix (Bostonscapes DP) said...

Hi J.C.! You've been posting some wonderful photos and very interesting subjects. Lovely food shots, too.

Yes, postcard contests are fun, you should try one :).


Thiên said...

I like this shot very much J.C. It's an imposing figure and the writings on both sides of him are beautiful.

"Use your first smile, your first form of generosity, of love, of kindness—use it at home; start at home. And if there is something left over—if … your plate is just full of abundance of patience and goodness and smiles and joy, then by all means, you should go … and offer that to others. But we must begin at home." by Dr Robin Smith