Below is the ranking of the richest men in Malaysia for year 2008, produced by Forbes Asia.
The country’s sugar king, Robert Kuok is again named as the richest man, topping the chart with a net worth of over RM30 billion (US$10 billion). Puan Sri Lee Kim Hua, the widow of Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong, is the only woman in the top 20.
Some of the honorable mentions which are not in the top 10 list are Azman Hashim (11th), Lim Kok Thay (15th), Tony Fernandes (19th), Mokhzani Mahathir (20th), Eleena Azlan Shah (35th) and Nazir Razak (40th).
1. Robert Kuok
One can doubt how many types of sugars Robert Kuok can list down, but when it comes to cash, don’t argue. From a moderate size sugar business, today, Kuok has his hands full with a wide range of industries and specializations. Some of them include property, energy, shipping, logistic, manufacturing and so on. He is now residing in Hong Kong, probably avoiding too much publicity here.
2. Ananda Krishnan
Born in Kuala Lumpur, Ananda Krishnan, who is a Tamil origin, studied in Victoria Institutions (VI) and obtained his Degree in Politics from University of Melbourne, Australia. He went to pursue his MBA in the prestigious Harvard University and upon graduation, he ventured into a series of businesses, one after another, under Usaha Tegas entity. Astro, Measat and Maxis are among of his prominent ventures.
3. Lee Shin Cheng
Tan Sri Dato’ Lee Shin Cheng is the Chairman and CEO of IOI Group, which has core businesses in plantation, property development, refinery and manufacturing. Lee comes from a poor family and was forced to abandon school at the age of 11, and worked his way to become where he is standing today. He is also the pioneer of Yayasan Lee Shin Cheng Scholarship, which provides scholarship opportunity for unfortunate students.
4. Teh Hong Piow
The Singapore-born Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Dr. Teh Hong Piow is the founder and Chairman of Public Bank Berhad, one of the most profitable local banks in Malaysia. Teh did not have much formal education but he took his banking career seriously even though starting only as a clerk. He rose to become a bank officer in 5 years time, and joined Malayan Banking before leaving the bank to establish Public Bank.
5. Lee Kim Hua
Puan Sri Lee Kim Hua is the widow of the late Tan Sri Lim Goh Tong, who passed away in 2007, and left Genting Group as the legacy. Her wealth is rather by inheritance than by business involvement or investment. She is credited as the person who has always been behind Lim Goh Tong’s hardship, struggle and success. The Group is now headed by her second son, Lim Kok Thay.
6. Quek Leng Chan
Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan is the co-founder of Hong Leong Group Malaysia. Most Malaysians will associate the group with its flagship bank, Hong Leong Bank, but that is not the only major business the group is involved. Rather, the company has interest in a string of other ventures including semiconductor, automotive assembly, materials, newsprint as well as furniture.
7. Yeoh Tiong Lay
Remember Tan Sri Yeoh Tiong Lay, remember YTL Corporation that carries his initials. YTL is one of the country’s biggest corporations with diverse business interests such as energy & distribution, utilities, construction & property, hospitality and technology. Technically retired, much of the YTL running today is left to his son, Francis Yeoh.
8. Syed Mokhtar Al Bukhary
Syed Mokhtar Al Bukhary, the richest Malay in the country, is a very much respected businessman and philanthropy. Coming from Arab descendent, Syed Mokhtar grew up north in Peninsular Malaysia, and had his first taste of business while still in secondary school. Failures threatened his way into success but he persevered all along to achieve the current status.
9. Vincent Tan
Whether you like or dislike him, Tan Sri Vincent Tan is still one of the richest men in the country nonetheless. He was ranked 14th last year but good business in Berjaya pushed him to break the top 10 rank this year. The company he founded has interests in property development, resorts, hospitality, media and sports. This year he became a little bit more famous after embroiled in the Lingam tape controversy.
10. Tiong Hiew King
Sibu-based Tiong Hiew King is the founder and chairman of Rimbunan Hijau group, which has local and international presence in the timber industry. Apart from its native country Malaysia, the group also has large presence in Papua New Guinea and Russia. Additionally, the company controls 3 major Chinese newspapers – Sin Chew Jit Poh, Guang Ming and Ming Pao.