The late Liem Sioe Liong, one of Southeast Asia's richest men, left a sizeable corporate footprint in Singapore – and held two grand celebrations here too.
The Indonesian tycoon, also known as Soedono Salim, died on Sunday afternoon here, aged 95.
Liem had retired to Singapore around the time of the Asian financial crisis in 1997 to 1998, and was said to have resided in the Mountbatten area.
The Salim Group is headed by Liem's youngest son Anthony Salim.
His second son Andree Halim is the main shareholder of Singapore-listed bread maker QAF, which has a market value of more than S$350 million (US$272) and makes and distributes Gardenia and Bonjour bread.
According to a recent CIMB report, Andree Halim has been slowly increasing his stake in QAF from 55 percent in 2003, and holds about 62 percent as of March this year.
Liem was previously appointed the director and deputy chairman of United Industrial Corporation here in 1993.
Marleen Dieleman, associate director at the Centre for Governance, Institutions and Organizations of the National University of Singapore Business School, said: “The family increasingly uses Singapore as a platform for its international businesses, which are quite substantial.”
In 1994, Asiaweek magazine named Liem as the richest ethnic Chinese in Southeast Asia, with a net worth of US$3 billion.
His son Anthony was listed as the third-richest Indonesian by Globe Asia magazine this month, with a wealth of US$8.5 billion.
The bulk of Liem's business empire was consolidated under the Salim Group during the Soeharto era from 1966 to 1998, covering cement, food, flour, cars, property and a bank.
The Salim assets included giant cement maker Indocement, flour mill Bogasari, Bank Central Asia and the world's largest producer of instant noodles Indofood Sukses Makmur.
Indofood Sukses Makmur director Werianty Setiawan described Liem as “a visionary who was also humble, hardworking, disciplined as well as loyal”.
She told The Straits Times on Monday: “Many people are mourning the loss of a role model whom they admire. Mr. Liem was a very positive leader who always strived to do his best for Indofood.”
Liem will also be remembered for holding two elaborate celebrations here.
He threw a 90th birthday bash at the Shangri-La Hotel. It was attended by more than 2,000 guests and reportedly cost over S$2 million. This included banquet dinners for two nights, airfares for overseas guests and rooms in the hotel.
A year earlier, he had a lavish 60th wedding anniversary celebration at the same hotel.
On Monday, at his wake at Mount Vernon, wreaths lined the driveway leading to the funeral parlor as family, friends and employees trickled in to pay their respects.
His son-in-law Franciscus Welirang said: “Everyone is feeling quite sad about losing Mr. Liem. They loved him very much, and his children were close to him. So far, they are holding up well.”
Prominent visitors included former Indonesian president Megawati Sukarnoputri, whose grandfather had been a business partner of Liem.
She said: “We used to meet at my mum's house when I was a child. He was quiet, lived in the business world, and business was his life.”
Also present was Spring Singapore chairman Philip Yeo, who worked with Liem's son Anthony on the Batam Industrial Park in 1990, when Yeo was with the Economic Development Board.
Yeo said: “He was lucky that his father lived a long life. Mr. Liem was a very nice man.
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