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 the continuing political showdown in the capital also hurt business. And the worldwide oil-and-gas depression took a toll on the eight fortunes on the list tied to that industry, it said on Thursday.
The result is that the cutoff for making the top 50 this year–$195 million–is the lowest since 2013. Last year it was $240 million.
The top 10 richest in Malaysia are:
1) Robert Kuok; US$10 billion;
2) Ananda Krishnan; $7.4 billion;
3) Quek Leng Chan; $5.3 billion;
4) Teh Hong Piow; $4.65 billion;
5) Lee Shin Cheng; $4.6 billion;
6) Lim Kok Thay; $4.55 billion;
7) Yeoh Tiong Lay; $2.25 billion;
8) Lau Cho Kun; $1.55 billion;
9) Syed Mokhtar AlBukhary; $1.45 billion;
10) Surin Upatkoon; $1.15 billion
The list was compiled using information obtained from the individuals, stock exchanges, analysts, private data bases, government agencies and other sources.
Net worths were based on stock prices and exchange rates as of the close of markets on Feb. 12. Private companies were valued by using financial ratios and other comparisons with similar publicly traded companies
Robert Kuok occupies the top spot on the Forbes Malaysia Rich List for the 11th straight year with a net worth of US$10 billion. The 92-year old founder of the Kuok Group is still Malaysia’s richest man despite the pummeling of many Malaysian fortunes over the past year. The complete list can be found at www.forbes.com/malaysia as well as the latest issue of Forbes Asia, available on newsstands now.
No. 2 on the list is Telecoms mogul Ananda Krishnan, whose wealth dropped $2.3 billion to $7.4 billion. Shares of Maxis, his flagship telecom outfit, fell on the government’s proposal to redistribute and auction telecom spectrum, sparking concerns of an expensive bidding war. His pay TV operator, Astro Malaysia, saw its stock take a hit after Netflix entered the country in January.
Quek Leng Chan retains his No. 3 position despite his net worth declining $300 million from a year ago to $5.3 billion. His privately held Hong Leong Co. (Malaysia) has interests in the finance, property and food sectors.
With the stock market falling 8.7% and the ringgit losing 12.6% of its value against the dollar, it was a difficult year for Malaysian tycoons. The slowdown in China and the continuing political showdown in the capital also hurt business. The worldwide oil and gas depression also took a toll on fortunes related to that industry.
One of the hardest hit on this year’s list was tech tycoon Goh Peng Ooi. A year ago his net worth was at $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, Goh dropped out of the billionaire ranks and his wealth fell by 53% to $725 million.
Only six of last year’s 50 fortunes rose this year. The carnage can be seen among the billionaires. Last year there were 16 billion-dollar fortunes; this year there were only 12. Long-time billionaire Vincent Tan (No. 17, $900 million) joined Goh in losing his billionaire status, as did Tan’s brother, Danny Tan Chee Sing (No. 13, $975 million).
No. 9 on the list, Syed Mokhtar AlBukhary’s net worth is half of what it was a year ago at $1.45 billion, down from $2.9 billion. Six people fell off this year’s list, most notably Khoo Kay Peng, who had made the cut year after year thanks to his large stake in Laura Ashley Holdings.
The news was not all bad. Glovemakers did well: Kuan Kam Hon (No. 11, $1.1 billion) became a new billionaire, up $120 million from last year. There are five new names on this year’s list and they include Wong Teek Son, another glovemaker who joins the list at No. 40 with $255 million. Another first-timer, No. 48 Goh Siang ($205 million), is in a related field of condom manufacturing. Smart online startups and investments put Patrick Grove on the roster at No. 39 with a net worth of $260 million. Palm oil magnate Freddy Lim Nyuk Sang (No. 50, $195 million) returns after missing one year, though he’s worth $35 million less than in 2014.
At No. 33 with a net worth of $340 million is 93-year old Chong Chook Yew of Selangor Properties. She is also the only woman on this year’s list.
The minimum net worth to make the list this year is $195 million, down from $240 million.