Khoo Teck Puat

Tan Sri Khoo Teck Puat (Chinese: 邱德拔; pinyin: Qiū Dé Bá; Pe̍h-ōe-jī: Khu Tik-pua̍t; 13 January 1917 – 21 February 2004) was a banker and hotel owner, who, with an estimated fortune of S$4.3 billion, was the wealthiest man in Singapore at one point. He owned the Goodwood Group of boutique hotels in London and Singapore and was the largest single shareholder of the British bank Standard Chartered. The bulk of his fortune came from shares in Standard Chartered, which he bought up in the 1980s to help thwart Lloyds Bank's proposed acquisition which many financiers deemed hostile. The Goodwood Park Hotel in Singapore, built in 1900, is a restored historic landmark.

Khoo Teck Puat
A bust of Khoo in the lobby of Goodwood Park Hotel, Singapore
Born(1917-01-13)13 January 1917
Died21 February 2004(2004-02-21) (aged 87)
CitizenshipMalaysian (1957–1981)
Australian (1981–1994)[1]
Singaporean (1994–2004)[2]
Alma materSt Joseph's Institution
Known forSingapore's richest man
Philanthropist; fugitive in the banking scandal of the National Bank of Brunei. Son Eric Khoo is a filmmaker and Cultural Medallion recipient.
Net worthS$2.6 billion (2004)[3]
  • Tan Geok Yin (deceased 1972)
  • Rose Marie Wee
  • Renee Chew

Around the period of his death in 2004, Khoo was ranked as the 108th richest person in the world by the business magazine Forbes .[4] Khoo's estate has donated S$80 million to Duke-NUS Medical School.[5]


Khoo received his early education in St Joseph's Institution in Singapore in 1930. He was educated up to standard eight prior to his marriage at the age of 17, and started working in the bank Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation (OCBC) as an apprentice bank clerk by 1933. While attached with OCBC, Khoo served as the Chairman of Central Provident Fund (CPF) Board for a year in 1958. His rise in OCBC was rapid and he developed strong ties with Tan Chin Tuan until they had a difference of opinion which resulted him leaving OCBC in 1959 as the general manager. He argued that OCBC was growing far too slowly and not opening enough branches in the smaller towns in Peninsular Malaya.


In 1960, Khoo restarted his career in banking by founding Malayan Banking[6] (now commonly known as Maybank) with a few partners in Kuala Lumpur. The bank grew rapidly to more than 150 branches within three years.

In 1963, the bank purchased Goodwood Park Hotel in Singapore for S$4.8 million.

From 1964 to 1965, Khoo was a senator in the Malaysian parliament.[7]

In 1965, Khoo was ousted from Maybank by the Malaysian government under Deputy Prime Minister Tun Abdul Razak on the pretext of pumping the bank's money into his own private firm in Singapore.[8]

In 1968, Khoo bought over Maybank's Singapore properties, including Goodwood Park Hotel and Central Properties, for S$50 million. While bitter with what the Malaysian government did, Khoo retained his Malaysian citizenship.

In 1976, he ceased to be a director of Maybank. Though he had opened the national bank of Brunei in the 1960s, his search for a legitimate banking vehicle continued.

In 1981, Khoo bought Australia's Southern Pacific Hotel Corporation – parent of the Travelodge chain – using funds from the National Bank of Brunei. He sold it in 1988 as part of his asset liquidation process to make restitution to the Bruneian government.[8]

After the death of the former Sultan Omar in 1986, Sultan Hassanal arranged for an investigation into the finances of the National Bank, leading to its closure.[9] Khoo had allegedly taken unsecured and undocumented loans of more than £300 million from the bank. He was never charged,[7] but his son Khoo Ban Hock served two years in prison for his role in the affair.[9]

In 1986, an opportunity arose when as a white knight, Khoo made a dramatic acquisition of a 5% stake in the British bank Standard Chartered, being one of three financiers who came to the rescue of Standard Chartered to stave off a hostile takeover by Lloyds Bank. He subsequently grew his stake to almost 15% to become the single largest shareholder.

In 1990, Khoo made a contribution of S$10 million to the Singapore government's 25th anniversary charity fund – to help children, the elderly and the disabled. He was listed as Singapore's richest businessman by the business magazine Forbes in 2003.

In 2004, when Khoo died at Mount Elizabeth Hospital from a heart attack, it emerged that Khoo had owned a larger stake in his listed companies Goodwood Park, Hotel Malaysia and Central Properties than was disclosed to the Singapore Exchange. After an investigation, his daughters Jacqueline and Elizabeth, who were in management positions at the companies, were fined a total of S$500,000.[8] Khoo left his Standard Chartered stake, then approximately 11.5%, to his children.

In March 2006, they sold[10] it to Singapore's Temasek Holdings.


The present-day Khoo Teck Puat Hospital was named after him.[11]


Honour of Malaysia


  1. Archibald, Haynes (1988), p. 124
  2. Forbes (1994), p. 164
  3. Tan Sri Khoo Teck Puat, The Telegraph (UK), 1 March 2004
  4. World's Richest Person 2004
  5. DukeMedNews Announces S$80 Million Gift to Duke-National University of Singapore Graduate Medical School Archived 7 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  6. "Maybank". Maybank. October 2009. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  7. "Tan Sri Khoo Teck Puat". 2 March 2004. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  8. "Khoo Teck Puat". National Library Board. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
  9. "Tycoon's death signals end of an empire". The Age. 12 March 2004. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  10. "Stanchart to Temasek". PR Newswire. March 2006. Retrieved 19 March 2012.
  11. "Khoo Teck Puat Hospital".
  12. "Semakan Penerima Darjah Kebesaran, Bintang dan Pingat".


  • Archibald, J. F.; Haynes, J., The bulletin, Issues 5642–5649, 1988
  • Forbes, Bertie Charles, Forbes, Volume 154, Issues 1–5, Forbes Inc., 1994
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