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 RM20bil 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, RM1.17bil), the founder of electronics maker ViTrox; and former Hewlett-Packard engineer Oh Kuang Eng (No 50, RM1.06bil), 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% decline in the country’s benchmark stock index also had an impact on Malaysia’s super rich, causing their collective net worth of RM329bil to drop 7% from a year ago.
Unsurprisingly, nonagenarian business legend Robert Kuok took the top spot once again with a net worth of RM48bil, a position he has held for over two decades.
Kuok is among four listees whose wealth shrank by more than US$1bil (RM4.16bil) 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 RM1.25bil to his fortune of RM40.4bil.
T Ananda Krishnan of Maxis took the No 3 spot with a net worth of RM24.6bil, down RM1.25bil from the year before.
The hardest hit was banking tycoon Tan Sri Teh Hong Piow at No 5, with RM18.7bil. 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 RM7.7bil 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%.
In addition to Kuok and Teh, Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay (No 7, RM13.3bil) and Hap Seng Consolidated Bhd’s Tan Sri Lau Cho Kun (No 10, RM9.6bil) also saw their wealth sliding by more than US$1bil as their fortunes fell by RM5bil and RM4.6bil, respectively.
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 RM1.4bil and RM1.31bil, 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% to RM22bil.
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 RM1.66bil to RM11.6bil from RM10bil a year ago.