Letter: My friendship with Tan Sri Ahmad Azizuddin

By Koon Yew Yin 

If you Google “Tan Sri Ahmad Azizuddin”, you can read so many articles written about Ahmad’s achievement during his long lifetime. My purpose of writing this piece is to record my memory of my long and happy friendship with him. Ahmad passed away on December 15.

My old college mate and business partner, Dato Yap Lim Sen, and I rushed down as soon as we heard that Ahmad’s body was lying in Kelana Jaya Mosque. Luckily, we managed to reach in time to see him just before he was covered up for the burial ceremony.  

This photo below was taken about 5 years ago just before he had a stroke and went into a coma. He was in a coma for about 5 years before he passed away.


Ahmad was my regular golf kaki

For many decades Ahmad and I used to play golf in Royal Perak Golf Club every morning. After golf, we used to play Gin Rummy. At that time, I had a 2-storey house in London and I took Ahmad to play golf in all the famous golf courses in the UK, including St. Andrews, Scotland where golf originated. It is every golfer’s dream to play golf in St. Andrews.  

Ahmad was my business partner  

In the early 1960s, Dato Yap and I started doing business when Ahmad was the Senior Inspector of Mines for north Malaya. He was stationed in Ipoh. We invited him to join us in doing business. We registered three companies, namely Malayan Building Development Sdn Bhd (MBD), Malayan Engineering Development Sdn Bhd. (MED) and Mudajaya Construction Sdn Bhd.

IJM Corporation Bhd

To cut the story short, MBD expanded and eventually became IGB which bought up Mudajaya and another company called Jurutama and listed IJM Corporation Bhd. You can see the photos of the founders of IJM namely Yap Lim Sen, Koh Boon Chor, Ahmad, Goh Chye Keat and myself in the photo below.

History of IJM Planation

I was one of the co-founders of IJM Planation. The history of the Group dates back to its humble beginnings in 1985 when it first ventured into a land-bank of 4,000 hectares in Desa Talisai estates in Sabah, Malaysia. The Group’s oil palm plantations spanning a total land area of approximately 60,981 hectares were located in Sabah, East Kalimantan and Sumatra.  

On June 11, KLK acquired the 56.2% stake at RM3.10 per share from IJM Corp for a total of RM1.53 billion.  

Currently Tan Sri Krishnan Tan who was our accountant before, is now the Chairman of IJM Corp.

MBM Resources

 As I said earlier, we originally founded Malayan Engineering Sdn Bhd (MED) to sell motor spare parts. At that time, MARA had buses running in most towns and villages, and they were our biggest customer. When Dr Mahathir heard that MARA wanted to joint venture with MED, he complained that MARA should not JV with the Chinese but instead should JV with Malays. Dr Mahathir formed a company called Bumicar. As a result, the 3 companies joined together and founded MED Bumicar MARA (MBM).

As soon as he became Prime Minister, he sold all his share in MBM to Ahmad.   

While MBM was selling motor spare parts, it also imported small cars from Mitsubishi for sale. We explained to Dr Mahathir the advantages of the assembly of the cars locally instead of importing them from Japan. He agreed and gave MBM the assembly licence. That was how Perodua originated.

We listed MBM and named it MBM Resources and MBM is holding 49.5% of the listed company. 



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One Comment

  1. Thank you Yew Yin for the nice letter which shed light on the history of several large corporations in Malaysia. Such real history would have been lost in time but for your letter which showed the contributions of the parties, partly, towards the successful entrepreneurship. Hope to read more of such, including a collected & collated series in an auto biography of sort, in time to come. It would also be good to read about less happy situations that resulted in ventures that went no where, to remind us that a successful person is multifaceted, including not letting fear, obstacles, setbacks, regrets & failures hold him/her from remediating the situations. Would buy such publication. Meantime, please continue.

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