DOCTOR Robin Loh (pictured), the visionary behind the suburb of Robina died on Saturday following breathing complications on a flight from Singapore to Hong Kong.
The Singaporean industrialist battled Parkinson’s disease and related conditions for the last few years.
At the peak of his career Dr Loh was listed as the wealthiest overseas Chinese businessman in the world, with interests in shipping, ship building, oilrig construction, banking, insurance, hotels, large scale property development, manufacturing, research and development, and primary industries.
Dr Loh’s daughter Louise Loh, says her father had remained involved in his business interests right up until the end.
“Over the last few years my father has done everything necessary to ensure a smooth handover of management of the various businesses around the world, but business was a passion for him and he never let up,” she said in a statement.
“He was a visionary with an exceptional work ethic and he will be sadly missed by all those close to him. My father was a pioneer and a primary industries man. He never had much interest in well-established markets or glitzy businesses. He basically liked to do nuts and bolts projects but on a very large scale.”
Dr Loh came from humble origins on the Indonesian island of Sumatra and left formal schooling at the age of 11. He worked as a ship’s quartermaster out of Indonesia and later as a taxi driver in Singapore.
His first break came in his early 20s in the scrap metal business in South East Asia and he used the proceeds from that enterprise to move into other industries. He became known throughout the South East Asian region as someone who could add value to large scale primary industry projects.
Dr Loh acquired the landholdings that became Robina in 1980. To satisfy foreign investment regulations at that time he entered into partnership with Gold Coast property development icon Arthur Earle, but bought Earle out after three years.
His death coincides with the 30th anniversary of the beginning of the Robina project.
“My father was very proud of what has been achieved at Robina. We were hoping that he could make it to Robina to mark the 30th anniversary, but that wasn’t to be,” she says.
The Robina landholdings themselves are no longer part of Dr Loh’s empire, having been progressively acquired over the last few years by entities associated with Louise Loh and her husband, RLC chief executive officer Richard Wyatt.
Dr Loh was 81.
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