Robert Kuok Maintains Top Spot Among Malaysia’s 50 Wealthiest

A falling ringgit has overshadowed a 9.0 percent increase in Malaysia’s stock market since the country’s wealthiest tycoons were last surveyed.

As a result, their combined fortune on the 2024 Forbes list of Malaysia’s 50 Richest increased by a mere 2% to US$83.4 billion this year.

Robert Kuok, a business magnate who turned 100 last October, is at the top of the list, with a net worth of $11.5 billion.

Kuok, one of the world’s oldest billionaires, began the Kuok Group 75 years ago in Johor Bahru as a small business trading sugar, rice, and wheat flour, and has grown it into a successful conglomerate.

Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan, executive chairman of Hong Leong Group, is ranked second with $8.8 billion, having held his position despite a drop in net worth from $10 billion the previous year.

The Teh siblings, who inherited a stake in Public Bank from their late father Tan Sri Teh Hong Piow, have moved up to third position with a net worth of US$5.4 billion.

They ousted aluminum magnates Tan Sri Koon Poh Keong and his siblings, who plummeted to fifth position due to lower metal prices and demand, and whose net worth fell to US$5.3 billion from US$5.8 billion the previous year.

Another set of inheritors, brothers Datuk Lee Yeow Chor and Yeow Seng (No. 4), entered the top five for the first time, with US$5.35 billion, up from US$4.6 billion the previous year.

Yeow Chor, the family’s older brother, leads the palm oil giant IOI Corp Bhd, while Yeow Seng, the younger sibling, oversees IOI Properties Bhd, which is set to develop a multibillion-dollar office complex in Singapore’s central business area.

Tan Sri Francis Yeoh and his siblings are the greatest gainers on this year’s list, both in terms of dollars and percentages, out of the 22 fortunes that increased.

Their combined fortune tripled to US$4.7 billion, propelling them to the seventh position on the list.

Shares of YTL Corp Bhd, which teamed with US tech giant Nvidia to construct AI infrastructure at its data center park in Johor, have skyrocketed.

Another noteworthy gainer is property billionaire Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah, whose Sunway Group is counting on healthcare to drive future growth.

Cheah’s wealth more than doubled to US$2.4 billion, propelling him into the top ten for the first time at No. 8.

There are four newbies on this year’s list.

Among them are two sets of heirs: the Chen family (No. 18, US$1.1 billion), which inherited the wealth of casino mogul Tan Sri Chen Lip Keong, who died in December; and the Gnanalingam family (No. 12, US$1.6 billion), which consists of heirs of late ports magnate Tan Sri G. Gnanalingam, who died in July.

The minimum net worth to be eligible for the list was US$320 million, up from $315 million in 2023.

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