Kuok tops 'Malaysia's Richest 40' list

KUALA LUMPUR - Tan Sri Robert Kuok is still Malaysia's richest man, well ahead of his nearest "rival" in Malaysian Business magazine's annual "Malaysia's Richest 40" list.

In its Feb 16 issue, the magazine listed Kuok's fortune at RM54.48 billion (S$21 billion), up from last year's RM46.1 billion.

The Hong Kong-based tycoon's assets make up just over 25 per cent of the entire fortune of the 40 in the list which is RM217.82 billion, an increase of 11.73 per cent from last year's RM194.86 billion.

When the magazine first published the country's 40 richest individuals in 2002, their combined assets stood at RM41.7 billion and Kuok was on top of the list.

Tan Sri T. Ananda Krishnan remains in the second spot with RM33.19 billion, an increase of 0.88 per cent from last year's RM32.9 billion.

Public Bank founder and chairman Tan Sri Teh Hong Piow is third, a position he has held for the past four years, with assets worth RM18.07 billion.

Fourth on the list is Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan whose wealth, through his flagship Hong Leong Group and Guoco Group, is valued at RM14.11 billion.

In the fifth spot is Tan Sri Lee Shin Cheng of IOI Group, who switched places with Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Albukhary who fell to the sixth spot.

Lee's wealth is valued at RM13.12 billion, up from RM10.56 billion a year ago.

Syed Mokhtar's assets increased by 4.43 per cent to RM11.07 billion from RM10.6 billion last year.

Genting Group's Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay and his mother, Puan Sri Lee Kim Hua, maintained their seventh and eighth positions, respectively.

Lim's wealth rose 16.18 per cent to RM9.43 billion while Lee's increased by 3.2 per cent to RM7.47 billion.

Datuk Mokhzani Mahathir, who was in the 13th spot last year with RM2.63 billion, climbed to the ninth spot with assets worth RM4.22 billion.

Rounding up the top 10 list is prominent banker Tan Sri Azman Hashim, via Arab-Malaysian Corporation, with assets worth RM4.11 billion.

The magazine noted that since 2002, 81 tycoons had joined the "Malaysia's Richest 40" list and out of that, 15 had managed to remain on it.

It said the steady increase of their wealth was attributed to share market performance and price inflation.

It also said there were 33 billionaires this year, two more than last year and 29 of the 40 saw their assets increasing from last year. Of that, 20 registered growth of more than 10 per cent.

It said there were two returnees to the list.

Datuk Tony Tiah of TA Enterprise ranked 38th with assets worth RM589.14 million, while Tan Sri Rozali Ismail of Puncak Niaga Holdings rounded up the top 40 list with RM543.74 million.

Others in the list were Tan Sri Tiong Hiew King of Rimbunan Hijau (RM3.79 billion), Ong Beng Seng of Hotel Properties Ltd (RM3.53 billion), Tan Sri Yeoh Tiong Lay of YTL Group (RM3.22 billion), Tan Sri Lau Cho Kun of Hap Seng Consolidated (RM3.12 billion), Tan Sri Shahril Shamsuddin (RM2.506 billion) and Datuk Shahriman Shamsuddin (RM2.46 billion) of Sapura Group.

Also in the list are Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah Fook Ling of Sunway Group (RM2.15 billion), Datuk Lee Yeow Chor (RM2.03 billion) and Lee Yeow Seng (RM2 billion) of IOI Group, and Tan Sri Vincent Tan of Berjaya Group (RM1.9 billion).

Their wealth was assessed based on the value of their stakes in listed companies as of Jan 18.