Lee Yan Lian（1906-1983）first worked as a clerk for Harper Gilfillan – a rubber company and was promoted to purchasing officer, before starting his own construction company which developed the Overseas Union Garden (OUG) at Old Klang Road, Southeast Asia (SEA) Park in Petaling Jaya, Bukit Indah, Kepong Garden and Taman Tan Sri Lee Yan Lian. Lee also moved into other industries including the import-export business, brick manufacturing, rubber trading, and tourism.
After he took over the chair of the Chamber, Lee actively reformed the association by employing more staff, published monthly newsletters and biannual members’ directory, purchased land for the new premise, expanded the resource centre, organised business administration courses and seminars on business and trade. Besides, he obtained authorisation to produce Certificate of Origin of products for members, translated selected government laws and regulations into Chinese, publicised business inquiries and trade opportunities, and offered scholarships for college students. Under his leadership, the membership of the Chamber increased from about 500 to nearly 1,800.
In response to the government’s new economic policy, Lee led the Chinese community to carry out self-help undertaking and unity movements by promoting the use of Mandarin as a tool to unite the different dialect groups. He then encouraged the Chinese in different states to set up Chinese assembly halls and proposed the establishment of a federation of all the Chinese assembly halls in Malaysia. During his tenure, the National Chinese Economic Conference, the first national conference in 1978 was held by the Chinese business community to discuss in depth the Chinese status and roles in the country’s economic development.
Wong Tok Chai（1918-2015）born in Xiamen. He graduated from Lingnan University in Guangzhou and was sent to Kuala Lumpur to set up a branch of factory, Amoy Food Limited, a pioneer in the food and beverage industry in Malaysia. Their product, the “Green Spot” soda, was a household name during that time. The Amoda Building, which was built by Wong, still stands in the centre of Kuala Lumpur today.
Since the 1960s, Wong had been actively involved in the Chamber’s activities. During his tenure as president, the Chamber gave priority to business and industry, followed by cultural, educational, and welfare activities. The Chamber coordinated the discussion between the Kuala Lumpur City Council and the Advertising Manufacturer Association to solve the language and licensing issues for sign boards, which was a problem disturbed Chinese businessmen for many years.
Under Wong’s leadership, besides presenting memoranda, the Chamber also met up with the Selangor Chief Minister from time to time to discuss issues relating to the Chinese community. The current building lot was purchased under his advocacy. In 1983, the “Selangor Chinese Chamber of Commerce” was renamed “The Kuala Lumpur & Selangor Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry” and the president’s term of office was also revised to be non-renewable after two terms.
Lim Geok Chan (1936-2006) was widely regarded as a legendary figure in the world of commerce after he bought over Singapore KFC shares in 1985 and subsequently purchased and gained control over Malaysia KFC the following year. That was the reason why he was given the title “Chicken King” in the 1980s. Lim was also involved in politics, being branch president of the Kampung Baru Pandamaran Malaysian Chinese Association (MCA), and a treasurer and youth president of the Klang division of MCA. He also served as president of the Klang Chamber of Commerce, Chairman of the Board of Governors of various primary and secondary schools. He successfully registered the Federation of the Malaysian Chinese Assembly Halls, which was proposed by the former president Lee Yan Lian, with the government and served as its first president.
During his term of office, the Chamber jointly worked with other cultural and educational groups to initiate the “Malaysia Chinese Literature Festival”, while the Chamber has organised Malaysia Chinese Literature Award biennially. He continued the effort of previous presidents by forming a preparatory group to get approval from the Kuala Lumpur City Council for the architectural design of the new building.
Born in Air Tawar, Perak, Ngan Ching Wen (1932-2011) graduated from the Faculty of Economics, Nanyang University of Singapore and the Law School of the National University of Singapore. After graduating, he first worked as a lawyer, and later involved himself in business and was a pioneer in the oil palm industry in Perak. He also engaged in property development in China. He contributed to promote education, especially to Nam Hwa High School in Manjung, Perak and was dubbed as “the father of Nam Hwa Independent School”. He also aided schools in poor rural areas in China and contributed to the building of 27 primary schools in Yunnan.
During his tenure, he actively started preparatory work for the construction of the Chamber’s building. It took two years and eight months to complete the RM20 million building. The “Wisma Chinese Chamber” was finally completed in 1995 and was officially open by the Prime Minister Tun Dr. Mahathir.
Lim Guan Teik was born in Kedah in 1935. After graduating from Nanyang University of Singapore in 1960 with a Bachelor of Commerce degree, he joined the Malayan Paper Products Ltd. Later Lim acquired it and renamed it as Muda Holdings Berhad, the pioneer paper manufacturing company in Malaysia listed in the Kuala Lumpur Stock Exchange.
During the 1997 Asian financial crisis, Lim was invited by the Prime Minister to become a member of the National Economic Advisory Council. As an effort of economic self-help, the Chamber sponsored the “Love Malaysia Trade Fair” and encouraged the purchase of made in Malaysia goods. From 1998 to 2009, a total of eight trade fairs were organized.
From 1998 to 1999, there was a Nipah virus epidemic in Malaysia with a fatality rate of 40 percent. The government culled almost 1 million pigs, nearly destroying the country’s pork industry. The Chamber and other Chinese organisations jointly formed a committee to raise funds for the victims.
He also served as the president of the Associated Chinese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Malaysia, and successfully hosted the 7th World Chinese Entrepreneurs Conference in Kuala Lumpur in 2003. A total of 3,200 Chinese businessmen, local and abroad attended the meeting
Born in Singapore in 1943, William Cheng entered his father’s company in Malaysia at the age of 19 and was engaged in steel furniture production, rubber products and food processing. After taking over the company, he merged it with his own steel plant to become the largest steel company in Malaysia and was known as the “steel king of Malaysia”. He was later involved in the retail industry, and made Parkson a multinational company.
His tenure as President coincided with the changing of prime ministership from Tun Dr Mahathir to Tun Abdullah Badawi, and power alternation in Selangor. The Chamber worked closely with the new government and continued to maintain the competitiveness of the business and industry of the country.
The Chamber also recruited experts from various fields to participate in planning and organising new activities. A task force was formed to present reform proposals, including the introduction of a small medium enterprise information counter. The Chamber continued to organize the “Love Malaysia Trade Fair”, business seminars, and overseas study mission.
Born in Klang in 1964, Ter graduated from the University of Malaya with honours in engineering. As the executive chairman of Sunsuria Bhd, involved in real estate and construction, Ter also actively participated in the Chamber’s activities.
In addition, he has actively expanded the trading networks and signed a number of cooperation agreements with the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT). He is also involved in large-scale development projects such as the “China-Malaysia Qinzhou Industrial Park” project to create business opportunities for Malaysian companies in China. Ter is instrumental in getting the Xiamen University of China to establish a campus in Malaysia in 2015.
In line with the development of modern technology, the Chamber also updated and upgraded its software and hardware equipment, including sharing information among departments of the Chamber. The renovation of the Chamber commenced in early 2018, and it incorporates a gallery of the Chamber’s history.