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Retiree wills $20 million to charity, says his kids have enough money

Retiree wills $20 million to charity, says his kids have enough money
PHOTO: The Straits Times file

Money — you don't bring it with you when you're born and you can't take it with you when you die.

That's the philosophy of retired Singaporean businessman Loh Kiong Poot. And it's not just idle talk either.

According to 8world, the 79-year-old revealed that he has pledged some $20 million of his fortune to 10 charities upon his death.

Loh added that he had drawn up the will when he was in his 50s. The sum is currently invested in bonds, but has been pre-designated to 10 beneficiaries.

He explained that he'd done so as he believed his three children have sufficient assets and are all able to live independently.

However, he pointed out that they won't be left with nothing.

"Of course, I have the intention to leave them as well as my wife some property," said Loh candidly.

Retired at age 47

Local media had reported last year how Loh regularly donated to charities since the 90s. He donated $3 million to six charities in 2022, and added hat he hoped to make it a yearly affair.

He has also reportedly donated $500,000 yearly to The Straits Times School Pocket Money Fund (STSPMF) since 2018, contributing $2.5 million in total.

Loh said then: "If you have excess money, why would you keep holding on to it? If you can donate and help people, just donate. That's my principle."

According to The Straits Times, Loh was a self-made businessman who went into the trading industry in 1974 selling "a bit of everything" and retired in 1990 at the age of 47.

He had shared how he struggled to make ends meet after quitting school and running away from home at the age of 14, despite growing up in a fairly well-to-do family.

He worked odd jobs as a grocery shop assistant, living on around $20 a day before setting up his business.

Simple man who flies economy class

A Hakka, he shared that he hoped to inspire others to be charitable as well.

"As a Hakka, I hope the new generation of Hakkas will be generous in donating money," he had said after presenting a $500,000 cheque to the STSPMF in November 2022 at the SPH News Centre.

According to 8world, those who know Loh describe him as a simple and frugal man who still travels on economy class flights and maintains a low-profile lifestyle. He then uses his daily savings to help the disadvantaged.

The Straits Times had also reported that since last year, Loh decided to increase his annual donation to $3 million after selling his landed property in Telok Kurau in October and moving to a condominium in Bishan.

According to 8world, he had retired when he felt he'd earned "enough money".

Said Loh: "I had been travelling to and from Papua New Guinea for work all these years. When I decided to retire it was because I felt I had enough money. It's also because I don't have a successor. I worried that if I overworked my body, the losses would outweigh the gains."

Loh stated that he could no longer remember the total amount he has donated over the years. The donations are not just to charity organisations but also orphanages and temples around Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam.

Local beneficiaries include Kwong Wai Shiu Hospital, Singapore Chung Hwa Medical Institution, Tzu Chi Foundation, Ren Ci Hospital, SG Enable and Community Chest.

According to 8world, Loh has been invited as a guest of honour at the 71st anniversary dinner of the Singapore Chung Hwa Medical Institution this Sunday (Oct 15), where he will pledge a donation of $300,000 to the institution.

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