Based on the latest statistics, Malaysia top 40 richest increased from RM96.3 billion to RM156.7 billion in their fortunes, up 63 percent from last year. However, the numbers were still less than the recorded RM171.9 billion in 2008. Malaysian business survey revealed top 40 richest in Malaysia.
Of course, the country’s two richest billionaires are none other than Robert Kuok and Ananda Krishnan. Both are not only the richest in Malaysia but also in Southeast Asia with fortunes totaling US$16 billion.
Robert Kuok and Ananda Krishnan
Tan Sri Robert Kuok, or also commonly known as ‘Sugar King’, runs and heads Kuok Group. Eighty-six-year-old Kuok with 8 children has shares in Wilmar International, a palm oil organization led by his nephew. Besides heading Kuok Group, Kuok also owns several other large conglomerates such as Shangri-La Asia and Kerry Properties (Real Estate Company based in Hong Kong). Kuok is also listed as the world’s 33rd richest man with an estimated fortune of US$14.5 billion.
The second richest in Malaysia is none other than the media-shy telecommunication tycoon, Ananda Krishnan. The second richest man in Southeast Asia after Kuok, Ananda has an estimated fortune of US$7.6 billion. Ananda runs Malaysia’s largest mobile phone service provider, Maxis Communications. With over 10 million subscribers, no wonder Ananda made it into the top 10 richest in Malaysia. Ananda earned a lot from selling 25 percent of US$12 billion public-to-private buyout deal to Saudi Telecom. He also profited from selling an exhibition venue located in London Docklands for US$230 million.
Coming up third in the top 10 list, Lee Shin Cheng with an estimated fortune of US$3.2 billion is a well-known businessman involved in palm oil industry. He is the executive chairman for IOI Group (listed as one of the world’s leading operators in plantation industry). When he was a kid, Lee was forced to drop out of school at the age of 11 to help support the family. Nevertheless, he continued to pursue education several years later. Lee bought over Dunlop Estate in 2008.
Most are familiar with the late Lim Goh Tong. But today, his widow, Madam Lee Kim Hua is listed as the country’s top 4 richest. Malaysia’s most successful casino resorts and attraction, Genting Group is currently under her son, Lim Kok Thay’s management. Lee has an estimated net worth of US$2.5 billion.
Other billionaires in the richest list
Teh Hong Piow, head of Public Bank has an estimated fortune of US$2.4 billion. Formerly a bank clerk, he decided to open a bank in 1965. Fortunately, the bank expanded and today, it has over 14,000 employees with branches all over Malaysia, and several other branches in Laos, Cambodia, Hong Kong, China and Sri Lanka. In November 2008, Teh established Public Islamic Bank under as one of the subsidiaries under Public Bank. He is also active in Malaysian Nature Society for contributing funds for project to plant trees.
Quek Leng Chan, Malaysia’s top six richest man heads Hong Leong Group Malaysia. He inherited fortune from his father and started up a small banking group back in 1920s. Besides Hong Leong, Quek also owns shares in Mokhzani Mahathir’s Kencana Petroleum and Intercontinental Hotels Group. One of his many businesses, GuocoLand has plans to venture into China’s market for retail, residential and office projects.
Coming up after Quek is Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Yeoh Tiong Lay with an estimated fortune of US$1.8 billion. He founded YTL Corporation that has ventured into various projects including construction, property development, hotels and technology. Currently, his son Francis Yeoh is running YTL Corporation replacing him. YTL has signed joint venture partnership with New York investment bank, Lehman Brothers for a project developing Thai luxury resort.
Syed Mokhtar Al Bukhary with an estimated net worth of US$1.1 billion is the richest Bumiputra tycoon in Malaysia. He began his career in trading rice before venturing in other projects. Syed Mokhtar currently has over 50 percent stakes in Malaysia Mining Corporation (MMC) through his conglomerate, Syarikat Impian Teladan Sdn Bhd. He has been financing bright students by offering scholarships through Albukhary Foundation.
Tan Sri Datuk Tiong Hiew King is the chairman and founder of Rimbunan Hijau Group that owns 5 newspapers and 30 magazines. Besides having control over media, Tiong is also a player in several other industries such as palm oil and timber. He runs the largest timber operations in Papua New Guinea.
Vincent Tan is a self-made entrepreneur and runs one of the most successful groups in Malaysia – Berjaya. He also owns shares in other industries such as chain hotels and real estate properties. He is listed as one of the richest tycoons in Malaysia following the success for investing in Vietnam real estate. Tan has an estimated fortune of US$750 million.