Following the passing of NagaCorp founder Tan Sri Dr Chen Lip Keong on Friday 8 December, announced by NagaCorp this morning, company Chairman Tim McNally has provided the following statement to Inside Asian Gaming, which he referred to as a “reflection of my colleague and friend Dr Chen”.
Out of respect for Dr Chen, IAG reproduces the statement in full below:
I offer my deepest condolences to the Chen family who have lost the beloved patriarch of the family. I also share a great sense of loss with other members of the Naga family with the passing of Tan Sri Dr Chen Lip Keong. He was far more than the CEO and controlling shareholder of the company, he was the genius, architect, inspiration and driving force to bring ideas to life and make NagaCorp and Nagaworld a great success in the marketplace. Dr Chen was not an ordinary executive merely focusing on a good product and bottom line financial performance. He was a visionary, economist, possessed politically savvy and was willing to take bold risks when and where others might not go. He spent the last few decades, since 1995, investing, shaping and contributing to the economic growth of the developing country of Cambodia.
He came to Cambodia in uncertain times with questions lingering regarding political stability and the potential for economic growth. Dr Chen brought Naga to Cambodia 28 years ago and led the way for a revitalized private sector after years of civil strife and turmoil. The landscape of Phnom Penh has completely changed the past 15 to 20 years, largely due to the investment and nation building that he promoted through development of Nagaworld 1 and 2. He paved the way for others to recognize the potential growth and future prosperity for the country of Cambodia.
Dr Chen listed NagaCorp on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2006 and it was the first gaming company listed on the Exchange. He did so to elevate the profile of Cambodia and to demonstrate to others that the private business sector could succeed in a poor and developing economy. Although Naga Corp enjoyed a monopoly license within a large area of Cambodia, he chose to build just one gaming facility initially so as not to create social harm as the country remained fragile. He held a firm belief that long term the company would prosper as the nation became politically stable and Naga could serve as a catalyst for investment and an example of good governance and social responsibility.
Tan Sri Dr Chen was a pioneer in Cambodia’s business world; he loved the country and people of Cambodia and was firmly dedicated to making a better life for the people of Cambodia. I can unhesitatingly say that he had an enormous impact on the economic and social progress of the country. He will be remembered one day as an historical figure who paved the way for others to join and build a better Cambodia.
He will be greatly missed by all whose lives he touched. He leaves with his family and all of us at Naga a great legacy and a firm resolve to do better because of his example. It was my honor to know him and observe his greatness. His generosity and contributions to the country during COVID were remarkable and should inspire all of us to help each other in time need. Dr Chen believed the pursuit of excellence was achievable if you worked at it every day.
– Tim McNally, Chairman, NagaCorp