Ex-HK chief exec has fond mem­o­ries of M’sian va­ca­tion

The Star Malaysia - - Nation -

HONG KONG: For­mer Hong Kong chief ex­ec­u­tive C.Y. Le­ung rem­i­nisced about his va­ca­tion to Malaysia in the 1970s, re­call­ing the sea breeze and the idyl­lic drive along the old trunk roads.

Dur­ing his life­time achieve­ment award ac­cep­tance speech, he re­galed the World Chi­nese Eco­nomic Fo­rum (WCES) guests here about his drive from Kuala Lumpur to Sin­ga­pore on nar­row coun­try roads, fol­low­ing pa­tiently be­hind slow-mov­ing tim­ber lor­ries.

“It was a four-hour drive to Me­laka – in time to see the sun set­ting on the Straits of Malacca.

“There were chil­dren kick­ing plas­tic balls around by the sea­side and the warm breeze brought in the fa­mil­iar scents of satay and peanut sauce,” he said.

Le­ung, 63, was among the 20 re­cip­i­ents of the World Chi­nese Life­time Achieve­ment Awards at the WCES for his lead­er­ship in gov­ern­ment and pub­lic ser­vice.

He said he was “hon­oured and hum­bled” by the award.

“In this neigh­bour­hood, I have the priv­i­lege of trav­el­ling ex­ten­sively, en­joy­ing the rich di­ver­sity of cul­tures and mak­ing nu­mer­ous life­long and life-chang­ing friend­ships.

“I be­lieve the new gen­er­a­tion in our neigh­bour­hood will be much bet­ter,” he said.

Hav­ing stepped down as Hong Kong leader on June 30 af­ter a five-year term, Le­ung is now the vice-chair­man of the Chi­nese Peo­ple’s Po­lit­i­cal Con­sul­ta­tive Con­fer­ence, which is China’s top ad­vi­sory body.

A char­tered sur­veyor by trade, Le­ung said he helped the Shang­hai mu­nic­i­pal gov­ern­ment draft the ten­der sale doc­u­ment for the first land sale in China in 1988.

This paved the way for Chi­nese na­tion­als to own homes for the first time af­ter the coun­try’s 1949 rev­o­lu­tion.

Le­ung said although real es­tate in China is only 30 years old, it is one of the largest mar­kets in the world.

“I say this to show what the right re­forms can ac­com­plish in a mat­ter of decades.

“We need to open up our minds be­fore we can open up our bor­ders for free flow of peo­ple and in­for­ma­tion,” he said.

Le­ung also said he was pleased to see the free trade agree­ment be­tween Hong Kong and Asean signed on Sun­day af­ter start­ing the ne­go­ti­a­tions three years ago.

High hon­our: Le­ung (cen­tre) re­ceiv­ing his award from Deputy Prime Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Dr Ah­mad Zahid Hamidi. Look­ing on are (from left) Asli CEO and WCES chair­man Tan Sri Michael Yeoh, Trans­port Min­is­ter Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and WCES pa­tron Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew.

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