Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong (February 28, 1918 – October 23, 2007) was well-known for wealth as Malaysian Chinese businessman. He was recognized for his vision and courage in converting Genting Highlands from an unfamiliar hilltop to one of the world's most successful casino resorts.
He was once the 3rd richest man in Malaysia with a net worth estimated to be 4.2 billion USD, making him the 204th richest person in the billionaire list compiled by Forbes.
And to his admirers, he was more than just a developer, personifying the clutch of overseas Chinese business entrepreneurs who fled hardship in their homeland to build the corporate empires that played a major role in South-east Asia's economic boom.
He is a model of success, starting from scratch, and his achievements came through hard work. Tan Sri Lim, who hailed from China's Fujian province, was forced to leave school at the age of 16, after his father died, and began selling vegetable seeds to support his family. In 1937, he left Fujian to Malaya whereby it was controlled by British then.
The Japanese occupied Malaya in 1942 and caused Tan Sri Lim to have a few near-death occasions. During the early Japanese Occupation, he earned a living as a vegetable farmer, but decided to switch to trading for a better living. Later, Tan Sri Lim ventured into scrap-metal and hardware trading. When the Japanese Occupation left, there was a crucial demand for heavy machinery for continued operations in mines and rubber plantations, Tan Sri Lim grabbed the opportunity and engaged in second-hand machinery trading, making his first fortune.
From used machinery trading, Tan Sri Lim drifts into iron mining accidentally. Tan Sri Lim joined as a partner in an iron mining company which couldn't settle the outstanding payment of two bulldozers with him, and this proved to be a successful venture as he earned an extensive amount of profit from the mining industry. This includes forming a joint-venture tin mining company which was one of the first Chinese tin companies to operate dredges in mining tin.
While dealing in heavy machinery, Tan Sri Lim accumulated a wide range of overhauled machines as well as a substantial amount of cash to move into the construction and related industries. With the form of family construction company named Kien Huat Private Limited, Tan Sri Lim began taking on several contracting jobs with help and guidance from his uncles. Kien Huat won awards and became recognized as one of the leading construction companies after successfully completing many major projects. Among the biggest projects completed was the Ayer Itam Dam, the first time a local contractor had been given the construction job of such scale.
Once, Tan Sri Lim went on the border of bankruptcy when construction work was facing problems in the Kemubu Irrigation Scheme, but he managed to overcome the difficulties and completed the project.
The idea of building a hilltop resort was first considered when Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong was having a dinner in Cameron Highlands. As he was enjoying the soothing cool breeze of Cameron Highlands, an idea hit him that as the standard of living increased in Malaysia, more and more people would visit mountain resorts for relaxation and recreation, but Cameron Highlands was too far away from the capital city of Kuala Lumpur. Therefore by building a mountain resort nearer to Kuala Lumpur would have great business potential and opportunities.
After conducting some research, Tan Sri Lim found Gunung (mountain in Malay) Ulu Kali at a place called Genting Sempah to be an ideal location for his plan. He formed an expedition and explored the place, collecting data and information on the geographical structure, drainage, soil conditions and other relevant aspects of the region and the information to be very useful in drawing up the plan for developing the resort.
Upon considering this idea, many naysayers were...