KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s richest tycoons defied pandemic headwinds to record an increase in their collective wealth in 2021, contributed in part by the financial windfall experienced by Malaysian rubber glove manufacturers.
According to the latest edition of the Forbes Malaysia Rich List, the country’s wealthiest individuals experienced a 14% growth in their total net worth to nearly US$90bil (RM371bil) this year following two years of decline.
“This reversal of fortune can partly be attributed to the country’s dominant position as the medical glove maker to the world.
“In a pandemic year, as global demand for such protective gear increased significantly,
"Malaysian exports of rubber gloves doubled, boosting the wealth of the nation’s largest producers, ” said Forbes in a statement.
Other rubber glove tycoons, Kossan Rubber Industries Bhd’s Tan Sri Lim Kuang Sia and siblings, Supermax Corp Bhd’s Datuk Seri Stanley Thai and Cheryl Tan, and Riverstone Holdings Ltd’s Wong Teek Son feature among the Top 50 wealthiest Malaysians.
The pandemic has reshaped the Forbes list in other ways, notably pushing lower the fortunes of 19 of its listees, among of whom were casino moguls Tan Sri Chen Lip Keong and Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay.
AirAsia Group’s Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and Datuk Kamarudin Meranun dropped out of the list entirely as the pandemic took its toll on the travel sector.
The minimum net worth to make the list this year was US$315mil (RM1.3bil), up from US$255mil (RM1.05bil) last year.
New to the list this year were MR DIY Group (M) Bhd’s Tan Yu Yeh and Tan Yu Wei, Greatech Technology Bhd’s Tan Eng Kee, UWC Bhd’s Datuk Ng Chai Eng and Lau Chee Kheong and ViTrox Bhd’s Steven Siaw Kok Teng.
Meanwhile, Robert Kuok (pic) remains at the top of list with a fortune of US$12.2bil (RM50.3bil), followed by Quek Leng Chan with US$9.6bil (RM39.6bil).
Press Metal Aluminium Holdings Bhd’s Koon Poh Keong and his four siblings were the biggest dollar gainer as the increase in aluminium prices more than doubled their net worth to US$6.4bil (RM26.4bil).