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Special Report
The 40 Richest Malaysians
Suzanne Nam 05.21.08, 11:00 PM ET

The bar has been lowered. Malaysia's 40 Richest needed a net worth of only $100 million to make the list this year, down from $127 million in 2007, despite the fact that the Malaysian ringgit gained 6% against the U.S. dollar, the currency in which their fortunes are measured.

Caught up in the global equities slide, the Kuala Lumpur Composite Index was off 8% in the past year but has fallen 15% since mid-January. While 16 people still managed to add to their fortunes, another 18 saw their net worth slip.

Some tumbled considerably, with seven losing one-fourth or more of their fortune. That includes Lim Wee Chai, head of rubber glove manufacturer Top Glove, and Yaw Teck Seng, founder of forest group Samling, both worth one-third less than a year ago.

In Pictures: The Richest Malaysians

The total net worth of the top 40 is $46 billion, up $3 billion from last year. But that figure is skewed by strong gains by three tycoons who are up a combined $4.9 billion.

The year's biggest gainer was Robert Kuok, again the country's richest person; his fortune jumped $2.4 billion to $10 billion. That was on top of a $2 billion gain the previous year. Lee Shin Cheng, ranked third, adding $1.9 billion. Both businessmen got boosts from their valuable holdings in palm oil producers Wilmar International and IOI, respectively.

Vincent Tan's fortune has more than tripled in just a year, thanks mostly to gains in the share price of his Berjaya Land and flagship Berjaya Corp., pushing him into the billionaire ranks and bringing the country's total number of billionaires up to 10.

Lee Swee Eng is up in part because we added in the value of the shares held by his wife, Gan Siew Liat, who works with him at oil services company KNM. But even without her, his fortune would have increased, as KNM's stock price almost doubled in the past year.

Three newcomers made the cut. The richest is Lee Kim Hua, widow of renowned gaming tycoon Lim Goh Tong, who died in 2007. David Law Tien Seng makes his debut thanks to his stake in Australian iron ore company Midwest.

Grabbing the No. 40 spot is Nazir Razak, son of the nation's second prime minister, who heads financial services firm CIMB. Kasi K.L. Palaniappan and Mustapha Kamal Abu Bakar lost their spots on the list, as shares in real estate developer MK Land Holdings, which makes up most of their wealth, are trading at just a third of their price, compared with last year.

Although we don't usually put royalty on the list, U.K.-trained lawyer Seri Eleena Raja Azlan Shah, whose father is a sultan, returns, thanks to her chunk of infrastructure company Gamuda, on whose board she sits.

For people with publicly traded fortunes, net worths were calculated using share prices and exchange rates from May 9. For privately held fortunes, we used database company BRIS and other sources to estimate what companies and assets were worth if public.

In Pictures: The Richest Malaysians

Big Winners
Not every big investor in Malaysia has been dragged underwater by the 5% overall drop in the KLCI share index. Indeed, these stocks, owned by seven rich list members, have bucked the trend and posted impressive gains. All but one of these companies, Wilmar, trade in Malaysia.

Stock Tycoon Industry Gain
Berjaya Corp. Vincent Tan real estate 163%
KNM Group Lee Swee Eng oil services 93%
Wilmar International Robert Kuok palm oil 61%
IOI Lee Shin Cheng palm oil 35%
Kuala Lumpur Kepong Lee Oi Hian, Lee Hua Hian diversified 26%
Kencana Mokhzani Mahathir petroleum 22%
Parkson Holdings William Cheng China retail 21%
Twelve-month gain is from May 11, 2007 to May 9 of this year.


Rank Name Net Worth ($BIL) Age
1 Robert Kuok 10.00 84
2 Ananda Krishnan 7.20 70
3 Lee Shin Cheng 5.50 69
4 Teh Hong Piow 3.50 78
5 Lee Kim Hua & family 3.40 79
6 Quek Leng Chan 2.40 67
7 Yeoh Tiong Lay & family 2.10 78
8 Syed Mokhtar AlBukhary 1.80 56
9 Vincent Tan 1.30 56
10 Tiong Hiew King 1.10 78
11 Azman Hashim 0.70 68
12 William H. J. Cheng 0.66 65
13 Lee Swee Eng 0.50 52
14 Ong Beng Seng 0.47 63
15 Lim Kok Thay 0.35 56
16 Vinod Sekhar 0.32 40
17 Lee Oi Hian 0.30 57
18 Yaw Teck Seng 0.30 70
19 Anthony Fernandes 0.29 44
20 Mokhzani Mahathir 0.29 47
21 Kamarudin Meranun 0.28 47
22 Jeffrey Cheah 0.28 63
23 Lee Hau Hian 0.25 55
24 Chong Chook Yew 0.25 86
25 Yaw Chee Ming 0.24 49
26 G. Gnanalingam 0.23 63
27 Lim Wee Chai 0.20 50
28 Kua Sian Kooi 0.20 55
29 Lau Cho Kun 0.19 72
30 Abdul Hamed Sepawi 0.18 58
31 David Law Tien Seng 0.17 NA
32 Tiah Thee Kian 0.16 61
33 Liew Kee Sin 0.16 50
34 Ahmayuddin bin Ahmad 0.16 51
35 Eleena Azlan Shah 0.15 48
36 Lin Yun Ling 0.15 53
37 Ong Leong Huat 0.13 64
38 Lim Thian Kiat 0.12 50
39 Khoo Kay Peng 0.11 69
40 Nazir Razak 0.10 41

Reference:
1. The 40 Richest Malaysians - Forbes.com, Suzanne Nam, 2008 - Click here to the source

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