Malaysia’s Forbes 50 richest see slight fall in collective wealth

PETALING JAYA: The combined wealth of tycoons on the 2022 Forbes list of Malaysia’s 50 richest fell 10% from a year ago to US$80.5 billion (RM353 billion) and overall, 30 on the list saw their wealth decline.

Kuok group’s founder Robert Kuok held on to his long-standing No.1 spot although his fortune dropped to US$11 billion from US$12.2 billion last year.

Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan, chairman of Hong Leong Company (Malaysia), was the biggest gainer in dollar terms and consolidated his position as Malaysia’s second-richest person with US$10.1 billion. He added US$500 million to his net worth of US$9.6 billion last year.

Tan Sri Koon Poh Keong and his siblings, who control the aluminium giant Press Metal, remained in the third position with US$6.2 billion, nearly flat from a year ago.

Rounding out the top five are Public Bank founder and chairman Tan Sri Teh Hong Piow (No. 4, US$5.7 billion) and Tan Sri Ananda Krishnan (No. 5, US$5 billion), whose holdings include stakes in telecom outfit Maxis and oilfield services provider Bumi Armada.

Malaysia’s rubber glove makers, who were among last year’s biggest winners, faced a stark reality check as demand for personal protective gear deflated since the pandemic has abated, knocking down shares of these companies. The wealth of Kuan Kam Hon of Hartalega Holdings (No. 11, US$1.9 billion) and Top Glove’s Tan Sri Lim Wee Chai (No. 14, US$1.4 billion) fell the most in dollar terms.

Husband and wife duo Datuk Seri Stanley Thai and Datin Seri Cheryl Tan of Supermax (No. 45) saw the biggest percentage drop in their wealth, which shrank by more than two-thirds to US$340 million. The collective wealth of this group of five, which includes Kossan Rubber Industries’ Tan Sri Lim Kuang Sia (No. 24, US$740 million) and Wong Teek Son of Riverstone Holdings (No. 30, US$565 million), was down more than US$5.7 billion.

Meanwhile, Indonesia’s temporary ban on edible oil exports amid a drop in Malaysia’s palm oil production resulted in windfall gains for tycoons in that sector. The fortune shared by brothers Tan Sri Lee Oi Hian and Datuk Hau Hian (No. 12, US$1.6 billion) got a boost of more than a third as shares of their company Batu Kawan and its plantation subsidiary soared on rising profits. Tan Sri Ling Chiong Ho (No. 36, US$425 million), one of two returnees this year, makes his comeback after a four-year gap as shares of Sarawak Oil Palm, the flagship of his Shin Yang group, rallied.

The March listing of dairy producer Farm Fresh propelled Loi Tuan Ee (No. 43), who shares a US$380 million fortune with two siblings, onto the list for the first time. The company, which Loi and his brother Tuan Kin started in 2007 and which went on to get the backing of the Malaysian sovereign wealth fund Khazanah Nasional, has five dairy farms in Malaysia and one in Australia.

The minimum net worth to make the list was US$255 million, down from US$315 million in 2021.

This list was compiled using shareholding and financial information obtained from the families and individuals, stock exchanges, annual reports and analysts. The ranking lists both individual and family fortunes, including those shared among relatives. Private companies were valued based on similar companies that are publicly traded. Net worths were based on stock prices and exchange rates as of the close of markets on May 20, 2022. The list can also include foreign citizens with business, residential or other ties to the country, or citizens who don’t reside in the country but have significant business or other ties to the country.