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