Tycoon Li Ka-shing yesterday urged Asian entrepreneurs and business leaders to treat charitable donations as a 'duty' as important as leaving an inheritance for their own children. Speaking to several hundred business leaders as he accepted the first Malcolm S. Forbes Lifetime Achievement Award in Singapore, the Hutchison Whampoa and Cheung Kong (Holdings) chairman called on them to invest in 'social capital' that would benefit society. 'Who can stay blind or be insensitive to the widening income gap and the despair brought about by conflict of values?' he said. 'In a divided and entrenched world, will collective individual effort, goodwill, capability and perseverance suffice to bring about a society that is just and equitable - a society that offers hope to all?' Traditional Asian values dictated that 'wealth and means pass through lineage as an imperative duty', he continued, but he urged those who were able to 'transcend this traditional belief'. 'Even if our government structure is as yet not geared towards supporting a culture of giving, we must in our hearts see building society as a duty in line with supporting our children,' Mr Li said. 'By choosing to apportion our wealth and means - by investing in social capital - as we give to our children, we will, indeed, make the world better for them.' Social capital had 'quantifiable value' and was an 'honest expression of the heart' with the ability to 'build, strengthen, enrich, heal, and even remove suffering', the 78-year-old said. 'Compassion is not reserved for the wealthy, nor is it the property of a single class, nation, or religion,' Mr Li said. 'Exercised freely, it can be both collective and contagious.' Named after the founder of Forbes magazine, the award was presented to Mr Li by Steve Forbes, CEO of the magazine. Mr Li has pledged at least a third of his personal wealth - estimated at US$18.8 billion - to charity.