Teh siblings surpass aluminium tycoon, claiming 3rd spot in Forbes Malaysia’s 50 richest list

This year’s list also welcomes 4 fresh faces from the Chen’s and the Gnanalingam’s family

by AKMAR ANNUAR / pic TMR FILE

FORBES Malaysia released its annual list of the country’s 50 richest individuals, revealing a modest 2% increase in combined wealth to US$83.4 billion (RM399.49 billion).

The rise was hampered by a weakening ringgit despite a 9% surge in the stock market since the last assessment about 11 months ago.

Business magnate Tan Sri Robert Kuok (picture) maintained his position as Malaysia’s wealthiest person with a net worth of US$11.5 billion.

Kuok, who founded the Kuok Group 75 years ago in Johor Baru, began with a modest trading business and transformed it into a thriving conglomerate.

Despite a slight dip in his wealth, Hong Leong Bank Bhd group executive chairman Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan retains his ranking as the second richest in the nation with a net worth of US$8.8 billion.

Meanwhile, the Teh siblings, who inherited a stake in Public Bank Bhd from their late father Tan Sri Teh Hong Piow, moved up to third place with a combined net worth of US$5.4 billion.

It’s worth noting that their ascent pushed aside aluminium tycoon and Press Metal Aluminium Holdings Bhd group CEO Tan Sri Koon Poh Keong, who fell to fifth position owing to reduced metal prices and demand.

Equally significant is the inclusion of siblings Lee Yeow Chor and Lee Yeow Seng from the IOI conglomerate in the top five, boasting a combined wealth of US$5.35 billion.

For the record, Yeow Chor directs the family’s palm oil enterprise, IOI Corp Bhd, while Yeow Seng oversees IOI Properties Group Bhd.

The biggest gainers on the list this year are Tan Sri Francis Yeoh and his siblings, whose combined fortune more than tripled to US$4.7 billion, propelling them to seventh place.

This surge in wealth is attributed to the success of their flagship company, YTL Corp Bhd, particularly in its partnership with US tech giant Nvidia Corp to develop artificial intelligence infrastructure in Johor.

Real estate mogul Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah, the founder of Sunway Group, saw a substantial boost in wealth, doubling it to US$2.4 billion en route to securing a debut in the top 10 at the eighth position.

Sunway’s strategic emphasis on healthcare for future expansion played a pivotal role in Cheah’s financial ascent.

This year’s list welcomed four fresh faces, including the Chen family, heirs to the fortune of casino tycoon Chen Lip Keong, and the Gnanalingam family, successors of the late ports magnate G Gnanalingam.

The minimum net worth required to make it onto the Forbes 50 richest list stood at US$320 million.

Forbes compiled the list using a variety of sources, including data from shareholding and financial records provided by families and individuals, insights from stock exchanges, annual reports, analyses by experts and information from government agencies.

Net worths were calculated based on stock prices and exchange rates as of April 2 of this year.

In the past year, Malaysia observed a significant rise in the number of ultra-wealthy individuals, characterised as those possessing a minimum net wealth of US$30 million.

According to a report by property consultancy Knight Frank, the nation’s count of ultra-high-net-worth individuals surged from 491 in 2017 to 721 in 2022.