KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 20 — Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the founder of the YTL Group of Companies, Tan Sri Dr Yeoh Tiong Lay, had made a huge contribution to Malaysia’s Chinese community, including the education sector.
Najib said Yeoh, who passed away on Wednesday aged 88, had also built a successful business empire.
“Tan Sri Yeoh Tiong Lay built a successful business empire and made a huge contribution to Malaysia’s Chinese community, including education. Rest in peace,” Najib said in his Twitter account yesterday.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi paid his last respects to Yeoh at the latter’s residence at 2, Lorong Buloh Perindu 1, Damansara Heights.
Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home minister, arrived at noon and spent about 10 minutes at the residence.
Yesterday evening, several thousand people of all walks of life attended Yeoh’s wake service at the residence.
Lines began to form as early as 6pm outside the residence as traffic built up leading to the house.
Among the VIPs who paid their respects were former prime minister Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Youth and Sports Minister Khairy Jamaluddin and his wife Nori Abdullah, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and his wife Datin Seri Lee Sun Loo, former works minister Tun Samy Vellu, and Defense Minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein and his wife Datin Seri Tengku Marsilla Tengku Abdullah.
Among the many well-wishers who also attended the wake was human resources manager Leong Bee Hin, 32, a former YTL Cement Berhad employee from 2012 to 2014.
“Many of us were a bit afraid of Tan Sri whenever he stopped by. Even though he was already in his mid-80s he was still very active,
“Although he was the group executive chairman he was very humble. I remember he once asked an intern whether he had eaten lunch, much to the intern’s shock,” she said.
Marketing manager Ishak Halim Fadhil, 40, who worked for YTL Hotels and Properties Sdn Bhd from 2010 to 2013, recalled having a conversation with Yeoh outside YTL Hotel’s office in Bukit Bintang.
“Tan Sri saw my office tag and asked how long I had been with the company. I was actually too frightened to say much but he just patted me on the shoulder and encouraged me to work hard. His humility is unforgettable,” he said.
Housewife V. Thanaletchumy, 74, came all the way from Klang with her second T. Balamurugan, 37, to pay their last respects.
Thanaletchumy’s late husband, C. Thangarajh was one of YTL’s pioneer employees as a security guard in the late 1960s.
“My husband worked in Kuala Selangor in those days, coming back to Klang every fortnight and so.
“Once, when he couldn’t make it home for the weekend as he had missed the last bus, Tan Sri gave him RM20 and told him to take a cab home.
“Tan Sri’s unexpected help allowed my husband to be home with us that weekend. I came here in memory of his kindness to my husband,” she said.
The wake service commenced at 8.40pm with a short prayer followed by the singing of Christian hymns including Amazing Grace, Oh My Soul and How Great Is Our God.