Malaysia's 40 Richest Malaysia's 40 Richest Justin Doebele 06.04.


Shiok, the Malay word for fantastic, is an apt word to describe the past 12 months for Malaysia's 40 Richest. It has been a remarkably good year for nearly everyone on our second annual list, thanks to the nation's thriving economy, which has been helped by recent government moves to reduce taxes. The stock market is up more than 20% to date, making it the third-best-performing market in Asia behind China and Vietnam. At least 75% of the public companies held by these tycoons are worth more than last year. (See table for ten big jumps.) The nation's 40 richest businesspeople are worth a collective $43 billion, up from $26 billion last year. Robert Kuok remains Malaysia's richest, worth $7.6 billion. Just $200 million behind him is No. 2 Ananda Krishnan, who made headlines in May when he announced plans to take his telecom company, Maxis, private in a $5 billion deal. Malaysia's ten richest still control the bulk of the list's wealth, worth $35 billion, up 63% from the previous year. But the individuals lower in the ranks are doing well, too. Last year a dozen people were worth less than $100 million; the minimum net worth was $65 million. This year no one is worth less than $127 million. Eight of the rich listers are newcomers, most put there by recent offerings or dramatic gains in public holdings. Mokhzani Mahathir, son of the former prime minister, joins the ranks after taking his energy company Kencana public in December. Seri Eleena Raja Azlan Shah becomes the list's second woman, thanks to her shareholding in thriving construction firm Gamuda, up 90% in the past year. The richest newcomer is Singapore resident Ong Beng Seng, the tireless dealmaker who just recently persuaded Formula One's Bernie Ecclestone to hold a Grand Prix-style race on the streets of Singapore, most probably at night, a world's first. Even most dropoffs from last year's rankings have little reason to pout. Former head of Multi-Purpose Holdings, Lim Thian Kiat, saw his net worth rise $31 million to $126 million. Not bad, but not enough to make the cut. For people with publicly traded fortunes, net worths were calculated using share prices and exchange rates from May 11. For privately held fortunes we estimated what companies and assets were worth if public. A special thanks to database company BRIS, which provided private company data. 1. Robert Kuok $7.6 billion 84. Married, 8 children Onetime rice and sugar trader heads multinational Kuok Group with interests ranging from shipping to real estate to media. Merging extensive Malaysian, Indonesian palm oil interests with Singapore's Wilmar International, already run by his nephew. Also has stake in Transmile Group, air cargo outfit that recently delayed filing its financial statements and announced special audit.

2. Ananda Krishnan $7.4 billion 69. Divorced, 3 children In May announced plans to pay $5 billion to take his telecom company, Maxis, private. Capped off already busy year: After delays his Measat launched its third satellite in December. His satellite TV provider Astro launched a joint venture with India's Sun TV Group in April. Also signed joint venture with A&E Television Network. 3. Lim Goh Tong $4.3 billion 90. Married, 6 children Former public works contractor built enormous gaming and resort empire. His First World Hotel has 6,200 rooms, earning it the Guinness World Record for world's largest hotel. Retired as chairman in 2003. Marked his 90th birthday this year with a 9-foot-tall granite statue at his Genting casino resort. 4. Lee Shin Cheng $3.9 billion 68. Married, 6 children Former plantation field supervisor now heads IOI Group, one of world's leading operators of palm oil plantations, refineries. His plants produce specialty oils, metallic stearates, fats used in soaps, detergents, cosmetics, food additives. Leading real estate developer also building townships, shopping malls, resorts in Malaysia. 5. Teh Hong Piow $3.5 billion 77. Married, 4 children Former bank clerk used profits from real estate deal to open bank in 1966. Today Public Bank has 13,400 employees, 240 branches, including 56 in Hong Kong, 1 in Shenzhen. 6. Quek Leng Chan $3 billion 66. Married, 3 children Heads Hong Leong Group Malaysia, conglomerate involved in banking, semiconductor manufacturing, ceramic tile manufacturing, motorcycle distribution. Expected to start introducing casinos in selected Thistle Hotels, the U.K. luxury chain it owns. 7. Syed Mokhtar AlBukhary $2 billion 55. Married, 5 children Former rice trader now controls Malaysia Mining Corporation (MMC); has stakes in Malaysia's Johor Port; country's largest independent power producer Malakoff; natural gas distributor Gas Malaysia. Donates to Islamic schools, mosques, arts.

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