The countryâ€™s top four tycoons in the latest Forbes Malaysia Rich List are â€œpoorerâ€ by a total of US$3.6bil (RM12.9bil) with last yearâ€™s challenging economic outÂÂlook shrinking their wealth, Âalbeit slightly.
Robert Kuok, 91, who controls a business empire which includes palm oil, shipping, media, hotels and real estate, topped the list for the 10th year in a row with an estimated net worth of US$11.3bil (RM40.5bil) as of February, down US$200mil (RM720mil) from 2013.
In second place was telecommunications tycoon T. Ananda Krishnan whose wealth is valued at US$9.7bil (RM35bil), a drop of US$1.6bil (RM5.7bil) from the previous year, with third spot taken by property mogul and Hong Leong Group chairman Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan with a net worth of US$5.6bil (RM20bil), down US$800mil (RM2.8bil).
Genting Malaysia Bhd chairman and chief executive Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, who runs casinos in the Bahamas, London, Singapore, Manila and New York besides the home-grown casino in Genting Highlands, claimed fourth place with a net worth of US$5.5bil (RM19.8bil), down US$1bil (RM3.6bil).
â€œThe wealth of some on the list was affected as the local stock market lost steam and the oil price collapse sent the Malaysian ringgit down 10% against the dollar,â€ according to a statement issued by the business magazine after the release of its latest rankings.
The statement said Anandaâ€™s net worth decreased partly due to a slump in the shares of Bumi Armada Bhd, his offshore oilfield services provider, while Limâ€™s wealth was affected as Chinaâ€™s economic moderation affected the regionâ€™s casino gaming and entertainment sector.
The statement said tycoons with significant investments and ties to the oil sector also suffered a decline in their net worth.
SapuraKencana Petroleum Bhd vice-chairman Tan Sri Mokhzani MaÂÂÂÂhaÂÂthir was knocked out of the billionaireâ€™s list this year as his estimated net worth fell by US$500mil (RM1.8bil) to US$700mil (RM2.5bil).
The main investors in SapuraÂKenÂcana â€“ brothers Tan Sri Shahril Shamsuddin and Datuk Shahriman â€“ also saw their fortunes drop to US$860mil (RM3.1bil) from a reported US$1.4bil (RM5bil) the year before.
It was not all bad news for some Malaysian tycoons as a weaker ringgit boosted exports.
Tan Sri Lau Cho Kun, who heads Hap Seng Consolidated Bhd, made it to the billionaire ranks with a net worth of US$1.08bil (RM3.8bil) on the back of robust plantation and trading revenues.
Software tycoon Goh Peng Ooi, the founder and executive chairman of Silverlake Group, saw his net worth rise by US$450mil (RM1.6bil) to US$1.55bil (RM5.5bil).-The Star