Syed Mokhtar Al Bukhary
He was born at Kampung Hutan Keriang in Alor Setar, Kedah in 1951. It was nine years later that his mother, Sharifah Rokiah, packed him off to stay with his British soldier uncle in Johor Bahru. He returned to Alor Setar in 1966, continued his Form Three studies at St Michael’s Secondary School, and helping out with his father’s cattle trading business.
He dropped out of school before completing Form Five, ventured into meat trading after his father called it a day when the cattle business was badly affected by the foot and mouth disease.
From there, he went into rice trading, the transportation business, garment contract manufacturing (for JCPenny and Kmart), property development and a host of other businesses. And he did not wait to become a rich man to share his wealth with the unfortunate. He started giving when he was still struggling as a rice trader. His mother had urged him to contribute to the poor, regardless of race or religion. So he made arrangements for half of his income of RM1,500 then to be donated to 15 needed families in his village.
It is a practice that continues till this day, with poor families receiving RM50 each every month. He has also been sponsoring some 50 pilgrims to perform their Haj every year since 1990s. Charity is his all-consuming passion. It has been the cornerstone of his business world from the start. “Wealth has to circulate. When you make money, you have to give it away. “My mother taught us nothing is yours until you have given it away with all your heart in the hope it will make someone’s life easier.”
As far as Syed Mokhtar is concerned, he is merely the steward of wealth that is meant to be spent in the service of mankind. In 2007, the May 20 edition of the World Business nominated Syed Mokhtar as one of the Top 20 “Progressive Asians”, citing him as one “who has no interest in personal aggrandisement. ” In 2008, Malaysia honoured him as Tokoh Ma’al Hijrah 1429H or Man of the year 2008 in recognition of his contributions to the country. The same year, he was recognised as one of the leading philanthropists in Asia by Forbes.
The Most Fearful 70 minutes in Syed Mokhtar’s life Assalamualaikum and hi! Today I would like to tell you an episode of Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al Bukhary’s life. Hope you will enjoy it! It was the most frightening 70 minutes for Syed Mokhtar when he met Dr Mahathir, who was a Malaysian Prime Minister at that time. The meeting held on January 16, 1997 which has lasted for 70 minutes has become a very unforgettable memory in his life. When he meet Dr Mahathir , Syed Mokhtar has been treated unfriendly.
Dr Mahathir did not smile when he greeted him. Syed Mokhtar felt very nervous when he sees the serious face of Dr Mahathir. Dr Mahathir did not even ask him to seat. So he decided to sit and present all the documents he had prepared on its business at Kedah even without being asked. After 70 minutes passed Dr Mahathir still did not speak even a word. Syed Mokhtar decided to leave all of his documents and walk out of Dr. Mahathir’s room. This incidence has become the most terrifying 70 minutes for Syed Mokhtar and will be remembered forever.
However, the fear was eventually paid off because he has successfully implemented projects that he presented to Dr Mahathir. I think maybe Dr Mahathir has his own reason for treating Syed Mokhtar like that. Still, if I was him I might have fainted in front of Dr Mahathir. That was so nerve-recking, I can tell you. 8 interesting facts about Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary 1) He still driving an old models of Proton Perdana that he purchased before he became the owner of Proton Company itself (page viii) 2) He is a very sentimental person.
His first office at Teluk Wanjah, Alor Setar is still preserved in its original condition, including the original furniture that has been used since 1975, as well as the earliest rice trucks, cars and scales owned rice company. Everything is still kept up until today. 3) Syed Mokhtar Albukhary will drive back to Alor Setar each month to visit his mother, Sharifah Rokiah, although he is more than capable of using private plane , or at least use a personal driver (page viii) 4) He also has never been a member of any exclusive club as the prevalence of any successful corporate figure.(page 3) 5)
Do not like to sleep in air-conditioned room, but after getting married, he compromised on this. (page187) 6) Every single year he will go to Mecca to perform the Umrah. (page 171) 7) He also sponsored 50 paupers for pilgrimage every single year. (page 72) 8) He is also not a racist person. He is practicing of donating part of his income to poor families, regardless of their race. (page 119) Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary, is well known as as a “Philanthropist Millionaire”. Born in 1951 in Alor Setar, Kedah, from a family of
Hadhramawt, Yemen origin, Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar and his seven siblings had a very simple life when they were young. Due to hardship in life, he only managed attend school until Form Five in order to give way to his other siblings to further their studies. His success story in business began by helping his parents in cattle business around 1960-an. However, this did not last long due to the outbreak of disease which hit their livestock. Hence, Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar took other initiative by applying for MARA’s assistance to start a lorry business in the 1970s.
The lorry company which is known as Syarikat Kenderaan Sentosa (Sentosa Vehicle Company) now owns more than 40 lorries. Know as a man with a vision, his efforts did not stop at that point. In 1974, Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar bought his first shop house under the hire-purchase agreement with Urban Development Authority of Malaysia (UDA). The next year, he expanded his business empire by establishing Shah Company, known as a rice supplier to FELDA, MARA Senama, Pernas Edar and Sergam Sdn Bhd after having succeeded in obtaining the rice trading license from Lembaga Padi Negara or BERNAS.
Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar described his achievement in business was the outcome of government’s initiative in implementing the New Economy Policy (NEP). Since then, Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar’s business continued to expand rapidly until he was awarded as one of the richest Bumiputera corporate figure in Malaysia, received recognition from Malaysian Business as the seventh richest man in Malaysia in 2005 and recently named as the fiftieth richest man by Forbes in 2013.
This Malaysian tycoon has expanded his business empire at a bigger scale by owning a controlling interest in giant companies in Malaysia such as MMC Corporation Berhad, Tanjung Pelepas Port, BERNAS, Malakoff Berhad, Johor Port Berhad, to name a few. Known as a generous figure with a remarkable humanity, he set up the Islamic Art Museum, Al-Bukhary Foundation, Al-Bukhary International University as well as Al-Bukhary Complex.
Besides that, he was also responsible in the renovations of the National Mosque and sponsors the less fortunate Malaysians to perform their Hajj. More recent, this millionaire with a big heart has built several mosques in some districts in Negeri Sembilan, apart from Alor Setar, Senai Airport, Johor and also at Jalan Pudu. As a “Philanthropist Millionaire”, an honorable value which has been instilled by his parents when he was young, Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar is a humble man and never acts parsimonious with the knowledge he possesses as well as his recipe of success in business.
Taken from Syed Mokhtar Albukhary: A Biography by Premilla Mohanlall, he once said, “My mother taught us that we have nothing until we give what we have sincerely, with the hope that it will make other people’s lives better. ” It is clear that humility is his top priority when he said, “A lesson to me is that we must always remember our origin, where we come from and remain humble when we are blessed with good fortune. Otherwise, we might fall. ”