KUALA LUMPUR, June 1 — Nearly half of Malaysia’s 50 richest people had decreased even though collectively, the country’s wealthiest increased from US$80.5 billion (RM371.4 billion) last year to US$81.6 billion (RM381 billion) this year, according to the latest list from Forbes Asia released today.
The Asian edition of international business magazine Forbes said in a statement that “Overall, 19 fortunes were up and nearly half were down”.
It added that the Malaysian economy is expected to grow at a more moderate pace following a rise of 8.7 per cent due to a rebound in domestic consumer spending.
“Despite the country’s post-pandemic revival, the stock market fell 8 per cent since fortunes were last measured and the ringgit was also down nearly 2 per cent,” Forbes Asia said.
The magazine noted that Malaysia’s richest man remains Tan Sri Robert Kuok, the founder-owner of the Kuok Group.
The 99-year-old is the world’s 155th richest person, according to his profile on the Forbes website.
“Kuok, the biggest gainer in dollar terms this year, is one of only two persons on the list with a double-digit fortune of US$11.8 billion (RM54.4 billion),” it said.
Second richest Malaysian on the list this year goes to the executive chairman of the Malaysian arm of Hong Leong Group Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan with US$10.2 billion (RM47 billion).
In third place is Tan Sri Koon Poh Keong, who shares a metals fortune with four siblings, despite the decrease of 7 per cent from last year’s US$6.2 billion (RM28.6 billion) in their combined fortune due to the fall in shares of their company Press Metal Aluminium Holdings.
Fourth place goes to Tan Sri T. Ananda Krishnan of Maxis, whose fortune saw an increase of US$400 million (RM1.8 billion) to US$5.4 billion (RM24.9 billion).
The four Teh siblings (Diana Teh Li Shing, William Teh Lee Pang, Lillian Teh Li Ming and Lillyn Teh Li Hua) made their maiden appearance in the Forbes Asia list at fifth place after inheriting their banking fortune from their father Tan Sri Teh Hong Piow, the Public Bank founder who died last December.
The next five in the top 10 in descending order are: Datuk Lee Yeow Chor and brother Lee Yeow Seng (IOI Group, RM21.2 billion), Tan Sri Dr Chen Lip Keong (NagaCorp, RM12.9 billion), Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay (Genting Hong Kong, RM10.6 billion), brothers Tan Yu Yeh and Tan Yu Wei (Mr DIY, RM8.7 billion), and Dr Chia Song Kun (QL Resources, RM8.3 billion).
Dr Chia had returned to the list after a seven-year gap with a nearly 20 per cent rise in the shares of his family’s integrated agro-based business group and the inclusion of his family’s broader stakes, Forbes Asia added.
“Among the big gainers on this year’s list are father-and-son duo Yaw Teck Seng and Chee Ming, who control timber giant Samling,” it said, adding that the pair jumped from 32nd spot last year to 16th place this year with their wealth more than doubling to RM5.77 billion.
Besides that, it said that two tycoons backed by private equity received boosts from landmark deals.
“Tan Sri Syed Azman Syed Ibrahim (No. 24), whose Weststar Aviation Services operates the second-largest offshore services helicopter fleet in Asia-Pacific, bought back investment firm KKR’s 21 per cent stake and is now worth RM3.8 billion, up 27 per cent from last year.
“The wealth of funeral services provider Nirvana Asia’s founder, Tan Sri David Kong (No. 23, RM3.96 billion), rose on the proposed sale by PE firm CVC Capital Partners of its stake at an estimated valuation of RM9.2 billion,” it said.