MALAYSIA Tanah Tumpah Darahku


Friday, June 2, 2023

Wealth of Malaysia's 50 richest on Forbes list rises to RM376.2b


The collective wealth of tycoons on the 2023 Forbes list of Malaysia’s 50 Richest edged up to US$81.6 billion (RM376.2 billion) from US$80.5 billion (RM371.1 billion) last year despite a dip in the stock market, according to Forbes Asia.

“After rising 8.7 percent in 2022 on the back of a rebound in domestic consumer spending, Malaysia’s economy is expected to grow at a more moderate pace this year.

“Despite the country’s post-pandemic revival, the stock market fell 8.0 percent since fortunes were last measured and the ringgit was also down nearly 2.0 percent,” it said in a statement issued in Singapore today.

In the latest list, business titan Robert Kuok (above), who will be a centenarian in October, remains Malaysia’s richest person, a position he has held for more than a quarter of a century.

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).

The other is Quek Leng Chan, executive chairperson of the Malaysian arm of the privately held Hong Leong Group, who is at No. 2 with US$10.2 billion.

“Overall, 19 fortunes were up and nearly half were down,” said Forbes Asia.

Despite being in the latter category, metals magnate Koon Poh Keong and his siblings remain in third place.

Their combined wealth of US$5.8 billion is down nearly 7.0 percent from US$6.2 billion last year, in line with the fall in shares of their company Press Metal Aluminium Holdings, Southeast Asia’s largest integrated aluminium producer, amid higher raw material and freight costs.

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.

They surged to No 16 from No 32 last year as their wealth more than doubled to US$1.25 billion, on new information about their private assets.

Five new faces

Former math teacher Chia Song Kun (No 10, US$1.8 billion), the executive chairperson of his family’s seafood firm QL Resources, returns to the ranks after a seven-year gap on a nearly 20 percent rise in the company’s shares and the inclusion of his broader family’s stakes.

“Two private equity-backed tycoons got a boost from landmark deals,” said Forbes Asia.

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 percent stake and is now worth US$825 million, up 27 percent from last year.

The wealth of funeral services provider Nirvana Asia’s founder, David Kong (No 23, US$860 million), rose on the proposed sale by private equity firm CVC Capital Partners of its stake at an estimated valuation of US$2 billion.

The five new faces this year include property magnates Chiau Beng Teik (No 29, US$665 million), founder of the Chin Hin Group, and Yu Kuan Chon (No 39, US$430 million), a medical doctor, who runs his family’s YNH Property.

The other newcomers are Ong Soon Ho (No 32, US$630 million), founder of agrochemicals group Hextar, and Goh Nan Kioh (No 40, US$425 million), who owns investment firm Mega First and has a stake in D&O Green Technologies, which makes light-emitting diodes for the automotive sector.

Forbes Asia noted that the minimum net worth to make the list was US$315 million, up from US$255 million in 2022.

Meanwhile, the list saw Ananda Krishnan of Maxis, whose net worth rose US$400 million to US$5.4 billion, taking the fourth spot.

The fortune of Public Bank founder Teh Hong Piow, who died in December, is now listed under his children, the Teh siblings (No 5, US$5.2 billion).

The complete list can be found at here, as well as in the June issue of Forbes Asia.


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