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Malaysia's 50 Richest on Forbes List See Slight Fall in Collective Wealth
Robert Kuok Retains Top Spot
Robert Kuok
The combined wealth of tycoons on the 2022 Forbes list of alaysia’s 50 richest fell 10% from a year ago to US$80.5 billion. Overall, 30 on the list saw their wealth decline. Buoyed partly by a recovery in domestic demand, Malaysia’s economy grew 5% in the first quarter of 2022, overcoming pandemic pains as well as the impact of flash floods in December. While the stock market dipped slightly in the past 12 months, currency fluctuations saw the ringgit drop 6%.

Kuok group’s legendary founder Robert Kuok, held on to his long-standing No.1 spot though his fortune dropped to $11 billion from $12.2 billion last year. Quek Leng Chan, chairman of Hong Leong Company (Malaysia), was the biggest gainer in dollar terms and
consolidated his position as Malaysia’s second richest person with $10.1 billion. He added $500 million to his net worth of $9.6 billion last year.

Koon Poh Keong and his siblings, who control aluminum giant Press Metal, remained in third position with $6.2 billion, nearly flat from a year ago. Rounding out the top 5 are Public Bank founder and chairman Teh Hong Piow (No. 4, $5.7 billion) and Ananda Krishnan (No. 5, $5 billion), whose holdings include stakes in telecom outfit Maxis and oilfield services provider Bumi Armada.

Malaysia’s rubber glove makers, who were among last year’s biggest winners, faced a stark reality check. Demand for personal protective gear deflated as the pandemic abated, knocking down shares of their companies. The wealth of Kuan Kam Hon of Hartalega Holdings (No. 11, $1.9 billion) and Top Glove’s Lim Wee Chai (No. 14, $1.4 billion) fell the most in dollar terms. Husband and wife duo Stanley Thai and Cheryl Tan of Supermax (No. 45) saw the biggest percentage drop in their wealth, which shrank by more than two-thirds to $340 million. The collective wealth of this group of five, which includes Kossan Rubber Industries’ Lim Kuang Sia (No. 24, $740 million) and Wong Teek Son of Riverstone Holdings (No. 30, $565 million), was down more than $5.7 billion.

Indonesia’s temporary ban on edible oil exports amid a drop in Malaysia’s palm oil production resulted in windfall gains for tycoons in that sector. The fortune shared by U.S.-educated brothers Lee Oi Hian and Hau Hian (No. 12, $1.6 billion) got a boost of more than a third as shares of their company Batu Kawan and its plantation subsidiary soared on rising profits. Ling Chiong Ho (No. 36, $425 million), one of two returnees this year, makes his comeback after a four-year gap as shares of Sarawak Oil Palm, the flagship of his Shin Yang group, rallied.

The March listing of dairy producer Farm Fresh propelled Loi Tuan Ee (No. 43), who shares a $380 million fortune with two siblings, onto the list for the first time. The company, which Loi and his brother Tuan Kin started in 2007 and which went on to get the backing of Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional, has five dairy farms in Malaysia and one in Australia.

The minimum net worth to make the list was $255 million, down from $315 million in 2021.

The top 10 richest in Malaysia are:

1) Robert Kuok; US$11 billion

2) Quek Leng Chan; $10.1 billion

3) Koon Poh Keong & siblings; $6.2 billion

4) Teh Hong Piow; $5.7 billion

5) Ananda Krishnan; $5 billion

6) Lee Yeow Chor & Yeow Seng; $4.8 billion

7) Chen Lip Keong; $2.7 billion

8) Tan Yu Yeh & Yu Wei; $2.4 billion

9) Lim Kok Thay; $2.35 billion

10) Lau Cho Kun; $2 billion

This list was compiled using shareholding and financial information obtained from the families and individuals, stock exchanges, annual reports and analysts. The ranking lists both individual and family fortunes, including those shared among relatives. Private companies were valued based on similar companies that are publicly traded. Net worths were based on stock prices and exchange rates as of the close of markets on May 20, 2022. The list can also include foreign citizens with business, residential or other ties to the country, or citizens who don’t reside in the country but have significant business or other ties to the country.

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