Vijay Eswaran, the Malaysian and Hong Kong-based entrepreneur who introduced the controversial GoldQuest multi level marketing products to Sri Lanka, says he has no agenda in his investments here other than having strong family bonds with Sri Lanka.
“If you believe I have an agenda, I affirm the same to be because of my close affinity with Sri Lanka. The connection to a country which is, partly mine, is because my paternal grandfather was a Sri Lankan who migrated to Malaysia in the early 19th century. I had a lot of love and respect for him and I have heard firsthand, many a story about this beautiful island nation which he longed to return to. You may also not know that my wife was born in Sri Lanka; lived in Bambalapitiya and went to school at Holy Family Convent. But if you disregard sentiment, commercially, I have always known that Sri Lanka had strong fundamentals and my investments in the normal course of business were sound,” he said in a letter to the Business Times, and requested its publication.
He was responding to a series of reports in the business section of the Sunday Times in the past few years over GoldQuest products and other investments in Sri Lanka:
On the principle of fairplay and adhering to the Code of Professional Practice issued by the Editor’s Guild of Sri Lanka, we are publishing his letter in full without alterations:
Mr Vijay Eswaran from QI Ltd Hong Kong:
I write to you after much thought, since I seem to be facing certain challenges with the Sunday Times, more specifically, in the business section.
You have a reputation of being fair, and I trust you will view this matter objectively.
In the last few years, whenever your paper makes a reference to me personally, the term ‘pyramid’ or the phrase ‘controversial multilevel marketing scheme’ has been used to describe one of my businesses. This is, I feel unfair as no court of law in Sri Lanka, has made any adverse findings as against my business or me. I accept that there have been allegations cast, but allegations are not something that anyone, especially a fair and impartial paper of repute can judge upon.
Network marketing unfortunately has perceptional challenges due to a lack of awareness or clear understanding of the business model. As with any business there will be certain companies taking advantage of an unsuspecting public and propagating various schemes. These business eventually are found out or fail. The objective I hope to achieve with your good office is to clarify that I am not involved in operating a ‘pyramid scheme’. The real pyramid schemes have already been exposed as scams in Sri Lanka and the judicial system has dealt with it effectively and appropriately.
One part of the business has also had this focus, as opposed to consideration of the entirety of my business undertakings and enterprise. I head a global multinational corporation called the Q1 Group of Companies, an e-commerce based conglomerate with business diversified into retail and direct sales, telecommunications, lifestyle and leisure luxury and collectibles, training and conference management, and property development. We have numerous offices around the world through our subsidiary and associate companies.
QuestNet is our flagship business that is headquartered in Hong Kong and operates in accordance with the laws of countries such as Singapore, Taiwan and Malaysia. This depicts that some of the most advanced economies with stringent regulations accept and recognize our business. We are certainly not in the shadows as your paper seems to denote.
About 5 years ago, I came under a lot of media attention in Sri Lanka especially in your paper, and this I believe was due to various whisper campaigns, unfounded accusations and even rumours started by those who disliked what I did in the larger arena. You may well know that at that time I was an active participant in the Colombo Stock Exchange. There were also other accusations but the reality is that I have been investing steadily in Sri Lanka for the last few years. Even today, I remain a large investor in the Colombo Stock Market. My belief and regard for the country and its economy stood firm even before the war ended, showing the faith I have in the Sri Lankan economy.
Additionally, little regard has been placed on the charity and other work we do for the needy. My company through its CSR foundation has been involved in several significant philanthropic projects in Sri Lanka, including being active in the ground support during the Tsunami rehabilitation process. Our most recent partnership has been with the Foundation of Goodness to rehabilitate the Seenigama village, In addition, my wife and I have personally donated the first and only pediatric laparoscopy machine in the country which is now at the Lady Ridgeway Children’s Hospital that has to date conducted over 400 successful operations on children.
If you believe I have an agenda, I affirm the same to be because of my close affinity with Sri Lanka. The connection to a country which is, partly mine, because my paternal grandfather was a Sri Lankan who migrated to Malaysia in the early 19th century. I had a lot of love and respect for him and I have heard firsthand, many a story about this beautiful island nation which he longed to return to. You may also not know that my wife was born in Sri Lanka; lived in Bambalapitiya and went to school at Holy Family Convent. But if you disregard sentiment, commercially, I have always known that Sri Lanka had strong fundamentals and my investments in the normal course of business were sound.
I mention this to establish I am no alien to Sri Lanka. This letter to you is in request that your business section does not seek to label or tag me with innuendo or other epithets. As a media personality, the ability to print is one thing, but to print in fairness and truth, must be the more critical aim.
It ought to apply to all endeavours. Business is not only about investing and buying shares, it is also about long term sustainability ad growing business, which is important to me. I am confident that given the volatile world we exist in, readily influenced by a misplaced word or comment, no campaign exists against me, which would go against the high standards of journalism practiced by you.