Number of billionaires in Malaysia dips to 12 this year

Number of billionaires in Malaysia dips to 12 this year

KUALA LUMPUR - MALAYSIA'S rich list saw the number of billionaires shrink from 16 last year to 12 this year, according to Forbes Malaysia Rich List.

The slowdown in China and continuing political showdown in the capital also hurt business.

And the worldwide oil-and-gas depression took a toll too, it said yesterday.

The list was compiled using information obtained from the individuals, stock exchanges, analysts, private data bases, government agencies and other sources.

Robert Kuok occupies the top spot for the 11th straight year.

The 92-year old is the founder of the Kuok Group.

No. 2 Ananda Krishnan's wealth dropped US$2.3 billion (S$3.2 billion) to US$7.4 billion. Shares of Maxis, his flagship telecom outfit, fell on the government's proposal to redistribute and auction the telecom spectrum.

His pay-TV operator, Astro, saw its stock take a hit after Netflix entered the country in January.

Quek Leng Chan retains his No. 3 position. His privately held Hong Leong Co. (Malaysia) has interests in the finance, property and food sectors.

With the stock market falling 8.7 per cent and the ringgit losing 12.6 per cent of its value against the US dollar, it was a difficult year for Malaysian tycoons.

One of the hardest hit was tech tycoon Goh Peng Ooi. A year ago, his net worth was at US$1.55 billion but, in August, his stock fell after an anonymous short-seller said his financial software company, Silverlake Axis, inflated its results.

Although these allegations were refuted, the damage was done. This year, Mr Goh dropped out of the billionaire ranks.

Last year there were 16 billion-dollar fortunes; this year there are 12. Long-time billionaire Vincent Tan (No. 17, US$900 million) joined Mr Goh in losing his billionaire status.

No. 9 on the list, Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary's net worth is half of what it was a year ago, at US$1.45 billion.

At No. 33, with a net worth of US$340 million, is 93-year-old Chong Chook Yew of Selangor Properties. She is the only woman on this year's list.

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