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Malaysia’s 50 Richest 2024: Some Tycoons Hit The Jackpot In A Year Of Moderate Growth

Property gains propel the wealth of a select few amid rising demand.

This story appears in the Apr/May 2024 issue of Forbes Asia. Subscribe to Forbes Asia

This story is part of Forbes’ coverage of Malaysia’s Richest 2024. See the full list here.

A declining ringgit offset a 9% rise in the stock market since we last measured the fortunes of Malaysia’s tycoons around 11 months ago. Consequently, the combined wealth of the nation’s 50 richest is up by only a modest 2% to $83.4 billion this year.

Business mogul Robert Kuok, who turned 100 last October and is among the world’s oldest billionaires, remains Malaysia’s richest person with a net worth of $11.5 billion. The centenarian founded the Kuok Group 75 years ago in Johor Bahru as a modest business trading sugar, rice and wheat flour and built it into a thriving conglomerate. And despite a dip in his net worth to $8.8 billion, Quek Leng Chan, executive chairman of Hong Leong Co. (Malaysia) retained his ranking as the country’s second richest.

Other fortunes in the top five saw a reshuffle with the Teh siblings, who inherited a stake in Public Bank from their late father Teh Hong Piow, gaining slightly and moving up to third place with $5.4 billion. They displaced aluminum magnates Koon Poh Keong & siblings, who slid to No. 5 amid weaker prices and demand for the metal. Property gains propelled another set of inheritors, brothers Lee Yeow Chor and Yeow Seng of the IOI group, into the top five for the first time with $5.35 billion. Under younger sibling Yeow Seng, listed IOI Properties has quietly built up its Singapore portfolio, where it’s preparing to open a multibillion-dollar office complex in the city’s central business district.

The biggest gainers, in both dollar and percentage terms, among the 22 fortunes that were up this year are Francis Yeoh & siblings, who more than tripled their combined fortune to $4.7 billion and jumped seven spots to No. 7. Shares of their flagship YTL, which partnered with U.S. tech giant Nvidia to build AI infrastructure at its data center park in Johor, have been on a tear. Property magnate Jeffrey Cheah, whose Sunway is betting on healthcare for future growth, more than doubled his wealth to $2.4 billion to enter the top ten for the first time at No. 8.

Among the four newcomers are two sets of heirs: the Chen family inherited the wealth of casino mogul Chen Lip Keong, who passed away in December; the Gnanalingam family consists of heirs of late ports magnate G. Gnanalingam, who died last July. The other new faces are Lim Siow Jin, founder and executive chairman of DXN Holdings, a maker of health supplements that relisted on Bursa Malaysia last year; and Ooi Eng Leong, cofounder of NationGate Holdings, a provider of electronic manufacturing services that went public in 2023.

Three from last year did not meet the cutoff, which was up slightly to $320 million, including property developer Yu Kuan Chon as shares of his YNH Property plummeted amid financial concerns.

Full Coverage of Malaysia’s Richest 2024:

Reporting by Jonathan Burgos, Gloria Haraito, Anis Shakirah Mohd Muslimin, Phisanu Phromchanya, Anuradha Raghunathan and Jessica Tan.


Methodology:

This list was compiled using shareholding and financial information obtained from the families and individuals, stock exchanges, annual reports, analysts, government agencies and other sources. Net worths were based on stock prices and exchange rates as of the close of markets on April 2, 2024 and private companies were valued based on similar companies that are publicly traded. Real-time net worths on Forbes.com may reflect different valuations. The ranking lists both individual and family fortunes, including those shared among relatives and may differ from the World’s Billionaires List, which includes individual fortunes with net worths as of March 8. The list can also include foreign citizens with business, residential or other ties to the country, or citizens who don’t reside in the country but have significant business or other ties to the country. The editors reserve the right to amend any information or remove any listees in light of new information.

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