Malaysia’s top 40 richest are worth US$51 billion, up from US$36 billion a year ago, and higher than the previous record of US$46 billion registered in 2008. According to Forbes Asia in its Malaysia Rich List 2010 released today, their combined wealth has risen by 42 per cent, spurred by the country’s economic expansion.
The overall increase in wealth was also in line with the 32 per cent rise in the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index, and the Malaysian ringgit’s 11 per cent gain against the US dollar over the past 12 months, Forbes said. Topping the rich list again is Tan Sri Robert Kuok who has held the pole position since 2006 when Forbes Asia began ranking the 40 richest Malaysians.
Forbes said the biggest gainer in dollar terms this year, the 86-year-old tycoon’s net worth increased to US$12 billion, a gain of US$3 billion over last year. Top telecommunications tycoon Ananda Krishnan remains in second place with US$8.1 billion, an increase of US$1.1 billion from a year ago. His Maxis Communications, Malaysia’s largest mobile phone service provider, went public last year and raised US$3.4 billion in the country’s largest-ever IPO. Unchanged at third position is Tan Sri Lee Shin Cheng with US$4.6 billion, up from US$3.2 billion last year.
The 71-year-old heads IOI Group, one of the world’s leading operators of palm oil refineries. The company is reportedly investing US$300 million to expand. Forbes said the top three tycoons were not the only ones who saw gains in their wealth, 27 others on the list also registered growth in their net worths, particularly notable is technology tycoon Goh Peng Ooi, ranked No. 16, who enjoyed the biggest percentage jump. His fortune increased to US$425 million from US$112 million previously, a massive jump of 280 per cent.
Forbes said this year a minimum net worth of US$110 million was needed to qualify for the list, up from US$90 million last year. It said the number of billionaires had also increased, with now 10 tycoons with a ten-figure net worth, compared with nine a year ago. Newcomers making the rich list this year included brothers Datuk Shahril and Shahriman Shamsuddin who shared the No. 23rd spot with a net worth of US$270 million. They have equal stakes in Sapura Group, founded by their father. Shahril is chief executive of its affiliate SapuraCrest Petroleum, the listed oil and gas contractor that makes up the bulk of their fortune.
Another new face is self-made building contractor Datuk A. K. Nathan, 54, who is ranked No. 24 and worth US$250 million. His company, Eversendai, has been involved in some of the most high-profile buildings in the Middle East including Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.
Forbes said three people were back on the list after having fallen off previously, and the most notable is Datuk Seri Nazir Razak, Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak’s brother and head of financial services firm CIMB. He is ranked No. 32nd with a net worth of US$145 million.
The top 10 richest and billionaires in Malaysia are:
1) Tan Sri Robert Kuok; US$12 billion
2) Tan Sri T. Ananda Krishnan; US$$8.1 billion
3) Tan Sri Lee Shin Cheng; US$4.6 billion
4) Puan Sri Lee Kim Hua; US$3.9 billion
5) Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan; US$3.85 billion
6) Tan Sri Teh Hong Piow; US$3.8 billion
7) Tan Sri Yeoh Tiong Lay; US$2.5 billion
Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar AlBukhary; US$1.7 billion
9) Tan Sri Vincent Tan; US$1.6 billion
10) Tan Sri Tiong Hiew King; US$1.2 billion