After rising 8.7% in 2022 on the back of a rebound in domestic consumer spending, Malaysia’s economy is expected to grow at a more moderate pace this year. Despite the country’s post-pandemic revival, the stock market fell 8% since we last measured fortunes and the ringgit was also down nearly 2%. This had no impact, however, on the collective wealth of Malaysia’s 50 richest, which edged up to $81.6 billion.
The pecking order at the top remained unchanged from 2022. Business titan Robert Kuok, who will be a centenarian in October, is Malaysia’s richest person, a position he’s held for more than a quarter of a century. Kuok, the biggest gainer in dollar terms this year, is one of only two persons on the list with a double-digit fortune ($11.8 billion). The other is Quek Leng Chan, executive chairman of the Malaysian arm of the privately held Hong Leong Group, who’s at No. 2 though his net worth rose only a tad to $10.2 billion.
Overall, 19 fortunes were up and nearly half were down. Despite being in the latter category, metals magnate Koon Poh Keong and his siblings held on to third position. Their $5.8 billion fortune was down nearly 7% from last year in line with the fall in shares of Press Metal Aluminium Holdings, Southeast Asia’s largest integrated aluminum producer, amid higher raw material and freight costs.
Among the big gainers are father-and-son duo Yaw Teck Seng and Chee Ming, who control timber giant Samling. They jumped to No. 16 from No. 32 last year as their wealth more than doubled to $1.25 billion on new information about their private assets. Former math teacher Chia Song Kun, executive chairman of his family’s seafood firm QL Resources, returns to the ranks after a seven-year gap on a nearly 20% rise in the company’s shares and the inclusion of his broader family’s stakes.
Two private equity-backed tycoons got a boost from landmark deals. Syed Azman Syed Ibrahim, whose Weststar Aviation operates the second-largest offshore services helicopter fleet in Asia-Pacific, bought back investment firm KKR’s 21% stake and is now worth $825 million, up 27% from last year. The wealth of funeral services provider Nirvana Asia’s founder, David Kong, rose on the proposed sale by PE firm CVC Capital Partners of its stake at an estimated valuation of $2 billion.
The five new faces this year include property magnates Chiau Beng Teik, founder of the Chin Hin Group and Yu Kuan Chon, a medical doctor, who runs his family’s YNH Property; Ong Soon Ho, founder of agrochemicals group Hextar; and Goh Nan Kioh, who owns investment firm Mega First and has a stake in D&O Green Techno-logies, which makes LEDs for the automotive sector. The fortune of veteran banker Teh Hong Piow, founder of Public Bank, who died in December at age 92, is now listed under his children.
Five from last year didn’t make the cut as the minimum net worth rose to $315 million from $255 million in 2022.
Source : Forbes