Infected with Covid-19, FIABCI East Asia president dies after a week in Penang ICU

Michael Geh was the immediate past president of FIABCI Malaysia and current President of FIABCI East Asia Multi National Chapter. — Picture by Steven Ooi KE
Michael Geh was the immediate past president of FIABCI Malaysia and current President of FIABCI East Asia Multi National Chapter. — Picture by Steven Ooi KE

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GEORGE TOWN, May 15 — FIABCI East Asia Multi National Chapter president Michael Geh Thuan Peng died of complications stemming from his Covid-19 infection at 1.45pm today.

The chartered surveyor, the immediate past president of FIABCI Malaysia, was admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) at Penang Hospital about a week ago.

Geh, who was known for his jovial personality, left behind his wife Celia Fung, daughter Nicole Geh, sisters Linda Geh, Amy Geh, Vivienne Geh, Guat Saik and brother Thuan Hsien. 

The 57-year-old was known for his vocal stance on issues related to the property sector and staunch belief that the industry would remain resilient despite the pandemic. 

Geh was a Penang native who studied in St Xavier’s Institution before going on to pursue valuation and land economics in Western Australian Institute of Technology (WAIT) in Perth.

He had been actively involved in property consulting in Malaysia and the region for the past 25 years and he often spoke at regional events organised by FIABCI Malaysia and FIABCI International on topics related to the regional and Malaysian property sector. FIABCI is an international real estate federation. 

He was also the senior partner of Raine & Horne International Zaki & Partners Sdn Bhd.

He was recently awarded the National Outstanding Entrepreneurs Lifetime Achievement Award last month for his contributions in the property consultancy sector. 

The National Outstanding Entrepreneurs Lifetime Achievement Award was held in conjunction with the Top 50 Impact Lifetime Achievement Awards at the Entrepreneurship Summit by KSI Strategic Institute For Asia Pacific. 

Geh’s brother, Thuan Hsien, said he always remembered Michael for his “determination to succeed by practice, practice and practice.”

Thuan Hsien, who lives in Australia, said his younger brother was a hardworking man and will be greatly missed by everyone in the family.

Geh’s daughter, Nicole, posted on his Facebook that he was the “coolest and most awesome” father she could have asked for.

“I miss the crazy moments that we spent together. I love you forever, daddy.” she posted.

FIABCI Malaysia vice president Teh Teik Bin said Geh was the most joyful person he had known.

“When he was the FIABCI Malaysia president, he was very helpful and hardworking, he always took the time to listen to us,” he said.

He added that Geh was a good man and a great person and that his death proved to be too sudden and shocking. 

FIABCI Asia Pacific vice president Rusmin Lawin said Geh was a man of integrity and strong loyalty to the world’s real estate sector. 

“This is too sudden, he was a great man, this is a great loss to us all,” he said.

He said he last spoke to Geh last month about the latter taking up the president’s position for the FIABCI East Asia chapter. 

“I was giving him my full support and telling him that he could do great things as the president,” he said.

Rusmin, who is from Indonesia, said each time he visited Penang, Geh would accompany him to the karaoke so that they could sing together as a way to release stress.

“Mike was one of my close friends who knew I love to sing and when we are at the karaoke, he will always ask me to sing his favourite songs for him,” he said.

Indonesia’s National Development and Planning Minister Suharso Monoarfa said he was still the republic’s public housing minister when he met Geh in 2009 when the latter was with Fiabci Malaysia.

“He is a great leader to the real estate industry and hopefully his contribution will encourage the spirit of the real estate community in future,” Suharso said.

Penang state exco Jagdeep Singh Deo expressed his shock over Geh’s passing and said he had known Geh from when he became the state housing development committee chairman.

“I knew him professionally and we were always available to talk, always with a smile and he was very frank about the property sector,” he said.

Jagdeep said Geh was his first personal friend to succumb to Covid-19 and he was very saddened that such a good man was taken by the virus. 

IJM Land senior manager northern region Datuk Toh Chin Leong said Geh was always a fun guy to be around.

“I have been friends with his sister for many years and I got to know him better when I was Rehda Penang branch chairman,” he said.

He said Geh was always a supportive and positive man.

“He was a great man who was gone too soon and too sudden,” he said.

Geh’s funeral will be held only for his family members at the Batu Gantung Crematorium tomorrow afternoon.

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