Forbes: Malaysia’s billionaires continue slide in wealth, as world grapples with Covid-19

Zurairi Ar
‘Sugar King’ Robert Kuok has seen his estimated net worth falling to US$9.6 billion (RM41.6 billion) this year. ― Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, April 7 — “Sugar King” Robert Kuok has seen his estimated net worth falling to US$9.6 billion (RM41.6 billion) this year from US$12.8 billion last year, according to Forbes’ annual world’s billionaires list that ranks the wealthiest individuals globally.

The 96-year-old is now the world’s 141st richest man, a further slide after he fell out of the top 100 list last year, amid the global Covid-19 pandemic that saw the number of billionaires across the world falling.

“The world’s richest are not immune to the devastating impact of the coronavirus,” Kerry A. Dolan, Forbes assistant managing editor of wealth said in a statement.

“The drop in the number of billionaires this year reflects the economic impact the pandemic is already having.”

There are 12 Malaysians billionaires this year, Forbes said.

Closing in on Kuok is Tan Sri Quek Leng Chan, 78, of Hong Leong group fame, with his estimated net worth now US$9.2 billion (RM39.9 billion), down from US$9.4 billion last year.

The next top five richest Malaysians in descending order are T. Ananda Krishnan, 82, at #361 (Astro, US$4.7 billion), and Tan Sri Chen Lip Keong, 72, at #437 (Nagaworld, US$4.1 billion).

Joining the top list are and Datuk Lee Yeow Chor and brother Lee Yeow Seng at #514 (IOI Group, US$3.6 billion).

Rounding up the list are Tan Sri Teh Hong Piow, 90, at #538 (Public Bank, US$3.5 billion), Kuan Kam Hom, 72, at #804 (Hartalega Holdings, US$2.6 billion), Tan Sri Lim Kok Thay, 68, at #1,063 (Genting, US$2 billion).

Next are Tan Sri Lau Cho Kun, 84, at #1,267 (Hap Seng Consolidated, US$1.7 billion), Tan Sri Koon Poh Keong, 58 (Press Metal, US$1.3 billion) and Tan Sri Lim Wee Chai (Top Glove US$1.3 billion) both at #1,613, and Tan Sri Jeffrey Cheah (Sunway, US$1.1 billion).

Most of them saw their net worth dropping this year.

Missing in the list this year is Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary.

This year, there are 2,095 billionaires in the global ranking, down from 2,153 in 2019. 

The total combined net worth of this year’s billionaires is US$8 trillion, down from US$8.7 trillion in 2020. 

This comes as 267 people dropped off the list and a record 1,062 individuals have seen a drop in their fortunes.

The Forbes Billionaires list is a snapshot in time of wealth using stock prices and exchange rates from March 18, 2020.

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