Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Shah bin Syed Nor Al-Bukhary is the richest Bumiputra corporate figure in Malaysia. With involvement in diversified business areas which include transportation and logistics, plantations, property development, defense and armory as well as engineering and power generation, he has a net worth estimated to be US$2.00 billion according to Forbes, making him the 7th richest Malaysian.
Syed Mokhtar al-Bukhary was born into a mid-low class family of Hadhrami Arab descent in north of Peninsular Malaysia; whose house was without necessities and luxuries. His highest education was only until form five, and he never went to university. A whole lot of his knowledge and experience was gained through his own entrepreneurship experience during his youth time.
Due in part his family's mediocre-to-poor background, Syed Mokhtar al Bukhary had to step into the working world in his early life, while pursuing his primary and secondary studies. Syed Mokhtar helped his mother planting and selling vegetables in the market and also selling roti canai. His numeric knowledge was used to help his father in doing daily book keeping.
After finishing school, Syed Mokhtar helped his father in breeding cow business but only to see the business washed away by foot and mouth disease. Nevertheless, he took over the business and start over by selling meats. He then move on to packaging the meats and start selling them wholesale. His determination paid off and the business started to take off.
Syed Mokhtar and Zainal started his business in Johor in the 1990s dealing in rice. More success followed and he moved to rice trading business. He worked even harder after awarded the rice trading license from Lembaga Padi Negara, and was later awarded successions of supplier contract government-linked corporations as partner with Zainal Hatim Hj Ambia Bukhary.
As his determination starting to skyrocket, he quickly moved to expand into diversifnication of other businesses. His next big move was in the logistics business, with initial goal to transport their trading materials. As the saying goes, 'the harder you work, the luckier you get'. Today, his business empire has grown into areas such as plantation, property development, construction, engineering, power generation, infrastructure and ports.
He owns 51.8% share in Malaysian Mining Corporation via his wholly-owned company, Syarikat Impian Teladan Sdn. Bhd. Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar and Zainal Hatim personally owns SKS Ventures, which was awarded the task of building the site for 2100MW gas-fired power station at Tanjung Bin, Johor. Tan Sri Syed Mohktar has a 32% share in PERNAS through his own company, Syarikat Ratu Jernih. Syarikat Perdana Padu Sdn. Bhd. and Corak Kukuh Sdn. Bhd. Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar and Zainal are Board Members of Syarikat Bina Puri Holdings Berhad, whereby, on his own, he has 7.34% share. Apart from these, Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar and Zainal has varied interest in a number of companies, both in Malaysia as well as abroad.
His philanthropic values were nurtured from the age of 23 when he started a small business dealing in rice. When he received his first monthly income of RM1,500, his mother had told him to donate half of it to the poor.
From 1996 to 2006, his foundation has contributed almost RM1bil to charity.
He has humanitarian projects in Asia and Africa, including rebuilding the lives of Afghan refugees, Pakistan's earthquake survivors and Indonesia's tsunami victims and is now working to establish an AIDS hospital in Uganda.
Among the foundation's initiatives are the Albukhary Tuition Programme for poor underachievers and the Albukhary Scholarship Programme for poor high achievers.
In appreciation of his enormous services and contributions, he was bestowed with several awards, which among others, include the Panglima Setia Mahkota (P.S.M.) by His Majesty Seri Paduka Baginda Yang di-Pertuan Agong, which carries the title Tan Sri and the Dato' Setia Mahkota Kedah (D.S.D.K.) by HRH The Sultan Kedah, which carries the title Dato'.
On the 10th of January 2008 or 1st Muharram 1429 Hijra he was announced and awarded as "Tokoh Ma'al Hijrah" by The Yang Di Pertuan Agong of Malaysia in recognition of his contribution to nation building.
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