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Friday, May 25, 2007

Malaysia's Wealthiest

Malaysia's 40 richest business people are now worth a collective US$43 billion (US$1=RM3.38), up 65 per cent from US$26 billion last year, according to Forbes Asia's 2007 listing of the country's wealthiest.

Sugar King Tan Sri Robert Kuok Hock Nien, 84, remains Malaysia's richest, worth US$7.6 billion, up from US$5.6 billion last year, Forbes said.

His Kuok Group has interests spanning shipping, real estate and the media. It is merging its extensive Malaysian and Indonesian palm oil interests with Singapore's Wilmar International which is run by his nephew, said the magazine.

The Malaysia Rich List appears in the June 4 issue of Forbes Asia which is available on newsstands this week.

Second richest with net worth of US$7.4 billion, or 61 per cent higher than his net worth of US$4.6 billion last year, is Ananda Krishnan, who recently announced plans to take his telecommunications company, Maxis Communications Bhd, private in a US$5 billion deal.

He is followed by Genting casino doyen, Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong, at US$4.3 billion, up from US$1.5 billion last year.

Forbes said Malaysia's top 10 richest account for 80 per cent of the wealth represented on the list with collective net worth of US$35 billion, up 63 per cent than the year before.

"There are eight newcomers, most due to recent offerings or dramatic gains in public holdings. Mokhzani joins the ranks (28th) after taking his energy company Kencana public in December," it said.

Forbes said the wealth creation was boosted by a thriving economy, which benefited from recent government moves to reduce taxes, and a buoyant stock market, up more than 20 per cent to-date and the third best-performing market in Asia this year behind China and Vietnam.

The June 4 issue of the magazine also contains a feature on AirAsia Bhd chief executive officer Datuk Tony Fernandes whose US$230 million wealth put him 24th in the list.

The top ten wealthiest Malaysians are:

1) Tan Sri Robert Kuok Hock Nien: US$7.6 billion;
2) Ananda Krishnan: US$7.4 billion;
3) Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong: US$4.3 billion;
4) Tan Sri Lee Shin Cheng: US$3.9 billion;
5) Tan Sri Teh Hong Piow: US$3.5 billion;
6) Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan: US$3 billion;
7) Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary: US$2 billion;
8) Tan Sri Yeoh Tiong Lay: US$1.8 billion;
9) Tan Sri Tiong Hiew King: US$1.2 billion; and,
10) Tan Sri William Cheng Heng Jem: US$650 million.