5 added to Malaysia rich list

Forbes said nonagenarian business legend Robert Kuok, with a net worth of US$11.5 billion (S$16 billion), remains at No. 1, a position he has held for over two decades.
PHOTO: The Star/Asia News Network

PETALING JAYA - This year's Forbes Malaysia Rich List saw five newcomers entering the line-up, the richest of whom are a pair of inheritors.

Debuting at No 6 are brothers Datuk Lee Yeow Chor and Lee Yeow Seng, who share a combined RM20 billion (S$7 billion) legacy left by their father Tan Sri Lee Shin Cheng, the architect of the IOI palm oil and property empire who passed away last June.

"Other new listees include two tech entrepreneurs: Chu Jenn Weng (No 47, RM1.17 billion), the founder of electronics maker ViTrox; and former Hewlett-Packard engineer Oh Kuang Eng (No 50, RM1.06 billion), whose Mi Technovation makes semiconductor equipment, said Forbes Asia in the 2020 Forbes Malaysia Rich List.

Forbes Asia said Malaysia's slowing economy, now getting hit by the Covid-19 outbreak, has taken a toll on its tycoons, with the country's 50 richest falling for a second straight year.

It said the weaker ringgit and near 10 per cent decline in the country's benchmark stock index also had an impact on Malaysia's super rich, causing their collective net worth of RM329 billion to drop 7 per cent from a year ago.

Unsurprisingly, nonagenarian business legend Robert Kuok took the top spot once again with a net worth of RM48 billion, a position he has held for over two decades.

Kuok is among four listees whose wealth shrank by more than US$1 billion (RM4.16 billion) in the past year.

Retaining his No 2 spot on the list was Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan of the Hong Leong group, who added RM1.25 billion to his fortune of RM40.4 billion.

T Ananda Krishnan of Maxis took the No 3 spot with a net worth of RM24.6 billion, down RM1.25 billion from the year before.

The hardest hit was banking tycoon Tan Sri Teh Hong Piow at No 5, with RM18.7 billion. The Public Bank founder saw his fortune buffeted by headwinds in Malaysia's banking industry, slipping two spots from number three last year.

Teh saw RM7.7 billion being shaved off his wealth since the last list, as shares in Public Bank, the country's second-largest bank by market value, declined roughly 30 per cent.

In addition to Kuok and Teh, Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay (No 7, RM13.3 billion) and Hap Seng Consolidated Bhd's Tan Sri Lau Cho Kun (No 10, RM9.6 billion) also saw their wealth sliding by more than US$1 billion as their fortunes fell by RM5 billion and RM4.6 billion, respectively.

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Kuok still Malaysia's richest despite $2.7 billion fall in wealth: Forbes
Kuok still Malaysia's richest despite $2.7 billion fall in wealth: Forbes

AIRASIA group's Tan Sri Tony Fernandes (No 41) and Datuk Kamarudin Meranun (No 43) saw more than a third of their fortunes dropping to RM1.4 billion and RM1.31 billion, respectively.

In all, 22 listees suffered a slide in their net worth from a year ago, but an equal number were modestly better off.

Among the latter group was casino mogul Tan Sri Chen Lip Keong, who moved into the top-five for the first time at No 4.

Booming growth at Chen's NagaWorld casino complex in Cambodia, prior to the Covid-19 outbreak, helped push his net worth up 6 per cent to RM22 billion.

Another notable gainer was Kuan Kam Hon (No 9), who controls Hartalega Holdings Bhd, the world's largest maker of nitrile gloves.

His net worth grew RM1.66 billion to RM11.6 billion from RM10 billion a year ago.