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Forbes Asia: Robert Kuok remains richest in Malaysia

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KUALA LUMPUR (March 14): Tycoon Robert Kuok remains the richest person in Malaysia with a net worth of US$12.8 billion, according to Forbes Asia. 

In a statement today, Forbes said Kuok managed to retain his top spot, despite a US$2 billion fall in his wealth. 

Forbes said 30 tycoons on its 2019 Forbes Malaysia Rich List saw their wealth shrink, while only 11 enjoyed gains.

Consequently, the country’s stocks were down as its benchmark KLSE index lost 8% in the past 12 months and the ringgit slipped 3% against the US dollar. A tumultuous year in politics added to the headwinds.

Meanwhile, Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan of Hong Leong (Malaysia) added US$2.2 billion to his wealth and remains at No. 2 with a net worth of US$9.4 billion. Public Bank founder Tan Sri Teh Hong Piow gained US$700 million, rising one spot to No. 3 this year with a net worth of US$6.7 billion.

Following out the top five on the list are Ananda Krishnan at No. 4 with US$6.2 billion, whose net worth was down by US$900 million as shares in his energy service provider Bumi Armada Bhd fell by 78% in the year to March 1. Tan Sri Lee Shin Cheng of IOI Corporation and IOI Properties took the fifth spot on the list, as his wealth fell by US$200 million to US$5.4 billion.

Wong Thean Soon (No. 48) suffered the biggest loss on the list in percentage terms, as his net worth plunged 63% to US$280 million. Shares of his company My E.G. Services Bhd, which provides online access to government services, were hit after last year’s election on the perception it was linked too closely to the outgoing government. A big investor in the company, Norraesah Mohamad, the only woman on the list last year, fell off the rankings.

Other tycoons who saw their wealth fall, include Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar AlBukhary who maintained his ranking at No. 12, despite a US$200 million decline in wealth to US$1.7 billion. Shares of his infrastructure-linked firms fell amidst an ongoing review of Malaysia’s mega-infrastructure projects. Another tycoon who suffered a setback was Genting Chairman Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay (No. 7, US$4.4 billion). He slipped one spot down from No. 6 last year, as his fortune fell by US$300 million.

Newcomer Abdul Kadier Sahib enters the list for the first time at No. 49, with a net worth of US$275 million. He is a director at Serba Dinamik Holdings Bhd, an oil-and-gas-services supplier that went public in 2017 and has seen its stock soar. The company’s founder, Datuk Dr Ir Mohd Abdul Karim Bin Abdullah (No. 40, US$345 million), debuted a year ago and saw his net worth rise by 11% this year.

There are two returnees on this year’s list. Tan Sri Kua Sian Kooi of KSK Group rejoins the list at No. 35 with a net worth of US$420 million, while Datuk Loh Kian Chong of Oriental Holdings returns to the list at No. 45 with a net worth of US$320 million.

The top 10 richest in Malaysia are:

1) Robert Kuok; US$12.8 billion

2) Quek Leng Chan; US$9.4 billion

3) Teh Hong Piow; US$6.7 billion

4) Ananda Krishnan; US$6.2 billion

5) Lee Shin Cheng; US$5.4 billion

6) Chen Lip Keong; US$5 billion

7) Lim Kok Thay; US$4.4 billion

8) Lau Cho Kun; US$3.4 billion

9) Koon Poh Keong, Poh Ming & Poh Weng; US$2.6 billion

10) Kuan Kam Hon; US$2.4 billion

The minimum net worth to make the list this year was US$250 million, down from US$300 million last year.



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