The combined wealth of Malaysia’s 40 richest individuals has risen by 42%, spurred by the country’s economic expansion.
According to the Malaysia Rich List 2010 published by Forbes Asia, the 40 richest individuals are now worth US$51bil, up from US$36bil a year ago.
Topping the list again is Tan Sri Robert Kuok, who has held the pole position since 2006 when Forbes Asia started ranking the 40 richest Malaysians. The biggest gainer in dollar terms this year, the 86-year old tycoon’s net worth increases to US$12bil, a gain of US$3bil over last year.
T. Ananda Krishnan remains in second place with US$8.1bil, an increase of US$1.1bil from a year ago.
His Maxis Bhd, Malaysia’s largest cellphone service provider, went public last year and raised US$3.4bil in the country’s largest-ever initial public offering.
Unchanged at third position is Tan Sri Lee Shin Cheng with US$4.6bil, up from US$3.2bil last year.
The 71-year old heads the IOI group, one of world’s leading operators of palm oil refineries. The company is reportedly investing US$300mil in expansion.
The top three tycoons are not the only ones who saw gains in their wealth as 27 others on the list also registered growth in their net worth.
Particularly notable is technology tycoon Goh Peng Ooi, the executive chairman of Silverlake Group ranked number 16, who enjoyed the biggest percentage jump. His fortune increased to US$425mil from US$112mil previously, a massive jump of 280%.
Bucking the trend, two tycoons saw reduced net worth. Ranked 29, Tan Sri Chen Lip Keong is worth US$180mil, down from US$195mil last year. The 62-year old, ranked number 21 last year, runs gaming company NagaCorp Ltd.
KNM Group Bhd’s major shareholder and managing director Lee Swee Eng also saw a smaller fortune this year. Ranked 30th, he is worth US$155mil, less than last year’s US$190mil.
This year, a minimum net worth of US$110mil was needed to qualify for the list, up from US$90mil last year.
The number of billionaires has also increased. There are now 10 tycoons with a 10-figure net worth, compared with nine a year ago.
Newcomers making the list this year include brothers Datuk Shahril Shamsuddin and Shahriman Shamsuddin of Sapura Group who are both ranked 23rd with a net worth of US$270mil.
They have equal stakes in Sapura Group, founded by their father. Shahril is chief executive of its affiliate SapuraCrest Petroleum, the listed oil and gas contractor that makes up the bulk of their fortune.
Another new face is self-made building contractor Datuk A.K. Nathan who is ranked 24th and worth US$250mil.
His company, Eversendai Corp, has been involved in some of the most high-profile buildings in the Middle East including Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building.
Three people are back on the list after having fallen off previously. The most notable is CIMB Group chief executive Datuk Seri Nazir Razak. He is ranked 32nd with a net worth of US$145mil.
Other returnees include OSK Group’s Ong Leong Huat (ranked 34th, US$140mil) and Ta Ann’s Datuk Abdul Hamed Sepawi (ranked 39th, US$120mil).
Forbes Asia said the list was compiled from information obtained from individuals, stock exchanges, public documents and analysts while privately held wealth was estimated using financial statements available through the Companies Commission of Malaysia.
The full list of Malaysia’s richest can be found in the June issue ofForbes Asia.