NagaCorp’s Chen politically savvy: chairman McNally

The chairman of Cambodian casino operator NagaCorp Ltd has described its late founder Chen Lip Keong as a “politically savvy” and “visionary” entrepreneur who took “bold risks when and where others might not go”.

Tim McNally (pictured) made the remarks in response to a GGRAsia request for comment.

Mr Chen’s Friday death was announced on Monday by his Hong Kong-listed company. It has a long-life casino monopoly in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, which it exercises via its NagaWorld complex.

Mr McNally said Mr Chen “brought Naga[Corp] to Cambodia 28 years ago and led the way for a revitalised private sector after years of civil strife and turmoil” in that Southeast Asia nation.

The chairman added, referring latterly to several of the phases of the casino complex: “The landscape of Phnom Penh has completely changed in 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 further noted the late founder had “paved the way for others to recognise the potential growth and future prosperity for the country of Cambodia.”

NagaCorp was listed on the Hong Kong bourse in 2006.

Mr McNally stated: “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.”

The chairman also added a personal touch, expressing his “deepest condolences to the Chen family”.

“I can unhesitatingly say that he had an enormous impact on the economic and social progress of the country,” added Mr McNally. “He leaves with his family and all of us at Naga[Corp] a great legacy and a firm resolve to do better because of his example.”

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