KUALA LUMPUR, March 6 — “Sugar King” Robert Kuok is now the 104th richest man in the world according to Forbes, down from 96th place in last year’s edition.

His estimated net worth is also now US$12.8 billion, falling from the US$14.5 billion Forbes believed he was worth in 2018.

Kuok’s decline in wealth tracked a global trend that diminished the paper wealth of many billionaires.

“By our latest count there are 2,153 billionaires, 55 fewer than a year ago. Of those, a record 994, or 46 per cent, are poorer (relatively speaking) than they were last year. In total, the ultra-rich are worth US$8.7 trillion, down US$400 billion from 2018.

“Altogether 11 per cent of last year’s list members, or 247 people, dropped out of the ranks, the most since 2009 at the height of the global financial crisis,” Forbes said when announcing the list.

Closing in on Kuok is Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan of Hong Leong group fame, with his estimated net worth of US$9.4 billion.

The next richest Malaysians in descending order are Tan Sri Teh Hong Piow (Public Bank, US$6.7 billion), T. Ananda Krishnan (Astro, US$6.2 billion), Tan Sri Lee Shin Cheng (IOI, US$5.4 billion),  Tan Sri Chen Lip Keong (Nagaworld, US$5 billion), and Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay (Genting, US$4.4 billion).

Behind them are Tan Sri Lau Cho Koon (Hap Seng, US$3.4 billion), and Kuan Kam Hon (Hartalega, US$2.4 billion).

In joint tenth are Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary (MMC, US$1.7 billion) and Tan Sri Koon Poh Keong (Press Metal, US$1.7 billion).

The world’s richest man remains Amazon’s Jeff Bezos with US$131 billion, ahead of Microsoft’s Bill Gates (US$96.5 billion) and investor Warren Buffett (US$84.5 billion).