Dato’ Paul Leong has an interesting and diverse career spanning across engineering, tin mining, plantation, public service, aviation, media, and banking.
After having studied in the Chinese school for nine years, he pursued his education in the English medium. He graduated with a Bachelor of Chemical Engineering from the University of New South Wales, Australia in 1963.read more
Hailing from a distinguished family in Ipoh, Dato’ Paul Leong’s grandfather and father had significant tin mining and plantation interests in the Kinta Valley. It is no surprise that after having worked for only one year in the chemical engineering field, he joined his father’s company and gained extensive experience in these two sectors.
Dato’ Paul Leong became engaged in active politics after the turbulent May riots in 1969. Over the two decades ranging from 1971 to 1990, he chartered an illustrious career in party politics and in the Government. He rose swiftly from party rank to Divisional Chairman, Acting Perak State Liaison Committee Chairman, Treasurer General, Secretary General and Deputy National Chairman of Party Gerakan Rakyat Malaysia.
Dato’ Paul Leong was a Member of Parliament for four terms, ranging from 1974 to 1990. He was the Deputy Minister for Primary Industries from 1974 to 1978. He was promoted to the Minister of Primary Industries from 1978 to 1986, overseeing tin, natural rubber, tropical timber, palm oil, canned pineapple, pepper, cocoa and tobacco industries. Those were years when Malaysia emerged strongly in the global scene with its increased strength, dominance and influence in the commodities, especially tin, natural rubber and tropical timber, with the Primary Industries Ministry providing the crucial leadership and guidance.
Indeed it is added testimony to Dato’ Paul Leong’s standing in the primary commodities sector that he was appointed as Chairman of the GATT (General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, a United Nations organisation in Geneva, now known as World Trade Agreement) Negotiating Committee in Tropical Products from 1986 to 1987.
Since 2004, Dato’ Paul Leong has emerged in the corporate sector. He has been holding the Independent Non-Executive Director post in Air Asia since 2004, in TSH Resources Berhad since 2005 and in the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Malaysia) since 2010.
Dato’ Paul Leong was Executive Chairman for Nanyang Press Holdings Berhad from 2007 to 2009 and Executive Director for Media Chinese International Limited from 2008 to 2009. He was Independent Executive Director of Sin Chew Media Corporation Berhad from 2004 to 2007.