Every year, Forbes releases its famous world’s billionaire list and this year, according to Forbes, the number of billionaires worldwide has declined by 28 persons from 2,668 in 2022 to 2,640.
18 Malaysians were among the billionaires listed by Forbes this year with Robert Kuok, whose business interests vary from properties and logistics to hospitality, being the richest.
We explore who made the top 10 list in Malaysia.
Robert Kuok has once again defended his title of being the richest billionaire in Malaysia. He has held the title for 25 years consecutively.
Born and bred in Johor, Kuok has a Bachelor in Arts/Science from Raffles College. Having just turned 100 this year, Robert Kuok is a much-respected businessman in Malaysia and is also known by the moniker, ‘Sugar King’. This is probably because he had his start trading rice, wheat flour and sugar in Johor Bahru. As the founder, Kuok has led the Kuok Group to be a multinational conglomerate with an expansive presence in six continents.
The Kuok Group portfolio of businesses includes property development, logistics, food, digital infrastructure, hospitality and maritime.
#2 Quek Leng Chan – US$10.2 Billion, Banking Industry
Quek Leng Chan
Quek Leng Chan is the only other person on the list that has a double-digit wealth totalling US$10.2billion in Malaysia.
Quek is the Chairman of Hong Leong Bank Berhad, one of the top banks in Malaysia and has been chairing the board for 29 years. His uncle is Kwek Hong Png who founded the Hong Leong Group in Singapore, a multi-conglomerate, managed by son Kwek Leng Beng.
At the age of 81 years old, Quek is chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Hong Leong Company (Malaysia) Berhad. Quek has a background in law and earned his qualification as a barrister in the United Kingdom.
He is also the top person in various companies under the Hong Leong name including Hong Leong Financial Group Berhad and Hong Leong Assurance Berhad.
#3 Koon Poh Keong And Siblings – US$5.8 Billion, Heavy Industry
Koon Poh Keong
Koon Poh Keong is the Chairman of the Press Metal Group, a company that specialises in aluminium smelting. Perhaps the nature of the business is less front-end and more behind-the-scenes, some might not be familiar with Koon.
Koon, who is 62 years old, is the youngest in his family out of seven brothers. About 35 years ago, he and his siblings set up Press Metal and had to learn everything about the business from scratch.
Now, the company is worldly recognised for producing aluminium that is used in everything from food and beverages to technology and high-speed train companies.
#4 Ananda Krishnan – US$5.4 Billion, Telco And Media Industry
Ananda Krishnan is the person that brought television subscription service provider Astro to Malaysian households.
The 82-year-old businessman dabbles in many businesses including one of the biggest telco companies Maxis as well as oilfield services provider Bumi Armada.
In 2006, Ananda bought over Aircel, a mobile carrier company that is based in Mumbai, India for a whopping US$800million.
#5 Teh Siblings – US$5.2 Billion, Banking Industry
The late Teh Hong Piow
Following closely behind on the list is the Teh siblings who are the heirs to Teh Hong Piow.
Teh Hong Piow was the person who set up Public Bank Berhad, another giant in the Malaysian banking industry. He passed away at the age of 92 last year in 2022.
Aside from the holding a stake in Public Bank, the family owns part of the LPI Capital Berhad that offers insurance products including medical, motor and travel.
#6 Lee Yeow Chor And Lee Yeow Seng – US$4.6 Billion, Palm Oil Industry
Lee Yeow Chor
Lee Yeow Chor is the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the IOI Group that is known for its palm plantations business. Lee Shin Cheng, his father, a highly respected figure known for his charity works, founded IOI Group and had passed at 79 years old in 2019.
Lee is one of the younger billionaires on the list at 56-year-old and has a law qualification from well-known King’s College in London. Together with his sibling Lee Yeow Seng, they manage their father’s businesses.
The IOI Group has stakes in many businesses including property development in overseas. Its core businesses are in palm oil plantation and resource-based manufacturing such as producing oleochemicals, chemicals that come from natural oils and fats.
#7 Chen Lip Keong – US$2.8 Billion, Gaming And Hospitality Industry
Chen Lip Keong
Chen Lip Keong, 75 is the founder of NagaCorp, a gaming and entertainment conglomerate that is behind the stunning five-star resort NagaWorld in the Mekong region.
In 1995, the businessman established NagaCorp which subsequently got listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, being the first gaming company to accomplish so.
Some of its notable establishments include the NagaWorld resort that boasts an extraordinary 1,658 rooms and gaming facilities including 500 gaming tables and 2,000 machines, as well as the shopping haven NagaCityWalk.
#8 Lim Kok Thay – US$2.3 Billion, Gaming And Hospitality Industry
Lim Kok Thay
Lim Kok Thay, 71 is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Genting Berhad, the company behind popular tourist destination Resorts World Genting.
Lim is educated in the sciences specifically civil engineering in the University of London. He is the son of the late Lim Goh Tong who in 1965, was a visionary who dared to build a resort on the mountains known today as Resorts World Genting.
The list of businesses under the Genting corporate umbrella include tourism and hospitality, property, power generation, oil palm plantations and biotechnology.
#9 Tan Yu Yeh And Tan Yu Wei – US$1.9 Billion, Retail Industry
Tan Yu Yeh
Clinching the number nine spot on the list is none other than Mr. DIY himself, Tan Yu Yeh. With one of the newer companies that made the list, Yu Yeh set up the first Mr DIY shop selling hardware, household knicks knacks, electrical appliances, car accessories and toys in 2005 at Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman.
Today, there are more than 1,000 Mr. DIY stores throughout the country claiming an average space of 10,000 square feet selling 20,000 products to Malaysian families.
Yu Yeh, at 52-year-old, is the main driver of the company alongside his brother Tan Yu Wei. Yu Yeh has a background in science with a degree in physics from University of Malaya.
#10 Chia Song Kun – US$1.8 Billion, Agro-Food Industry
Chia Song Kun
Rounding the top 10 list of richest billionaires in Malaysia is 73-year-old Chia Song Kun who founded and is currently serving as the Executive Chairman of seafood trading company QL Resources Berhad.
Having grown up in the backdrop of a fishing village in Selangor, Chia graduated with a degree in Mathematics from University of Malaya and went on to have a 11-year stint as a lecturer in a local university.
Following years of lecturing, he ventured on a fish and feed meal business with his family which grew to QL Resources today. Now, the company is a multi-national agro-food company that is involved in marine products, livestock farming and oil palm.
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