Malaysian billionaires have reportedly lost billions in net worth amidst a slowing economy, which is now also facing the brunt of the coronavirus outbreak
In a series of reports released by Forbes yesterday, 5 March, the New Jersey-based financial magazine said the total wealth of 50 richest Malaysians fell for the second year in a row.
Their collective USD79 billion (RM330.7 billion) wealth went down by 7% from a year ago.
Forbes contributed the decline to the US-China trade war hurting the global economy in recent months, a weaker ringgit, and a nearly 10% decline in the country's benchmark stock index.
It also noted the sudden resignation of former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on 24 February has pulled their fortune further down after the magazine locked in their net worths.
Of the top 10 on the Forbes Malaysia Rich List this year, six billionaires suffered billions of losses in net worth. Below is the breakdown:
1. Robert Kuok - down by USD1.3 billion (RM5.4 billion)
Net worth: USD11.5 billion (RM48.8 billion)
Origin of wealth: Palm oil, shipping, and property
Notable companies: PPB Group and Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts
Despite losing over RM5.4 billion in net worth over a year, Forbes reported Kuok continues to take the number one richest Malaysian spot, a position he has held for over two decades.
2. Quek Leng Chan - up by USD300 million (RM1.2 billion)
Net worth: USD9.7 billion (RM40.6 billion)
Origin of wealth: Banking, property
Notable company: Hong Leong Group
The executive chairman of Hong Leong Group continued to grasp onto his second richest man spot in Malaysia.
Over a full calendar year, Quek has accumulated an extra RM1.2 billion in wealth, marking his net worth some RM8 billion behind sugar tycoon Robert Kuok.
3. Ananda Krishnan - down by USD300 million (RM1.2 billion)
Net worth: USD5.9 billion (RM24.7 billion)
Origin of wealth: Telecommunication, media, oil-services
Notable company: Maxis Communications
Although the founder of Maxis Communications suffered a loss of RM1.2 billion in net worth, Ananda climbed a spot up to the third richest man in Malaysia. Last year, he was the fourth.
4. Chen Lip Keong - up by USD300 million (RM1.2 billion)
Net worth: USD5.3 billion (RM22.2 billion)
Origin of wealth: Casinos, property, energy
Notable company: NagaCorp
Chen moved into the top five for the first time. According to Forbes, Chen's NagaWorld casino complex in Cambodia has helped to push his net worth up by 6% to RM22.2 billion.
The company's share price has nearly doubled since November 2017 following the company's casino debut in Phnom Penh.
5. Teh Hong Piow - down by USD1.85 billion (RM7.7 billion)
Net worth: USD4.85 billion (RM20.3 billion)
Origin of wealth: Banking
Notable company: Public Bank
Teh suffered the most severe drop in net worth. The Public Bank founder fell two spots from number three last year.
The second largest bank in loan payouts suffered roughly a 30% drop in its market value last year.
According to The Star, Public Bank's 2019 fourth quarter report cited higher operating expenses as the offset of the bank's earnings.
The company was experiencing increased business activities, increased allowance for impairment on loans, advances and financing, as well as higher tax expense and zakat.
6. Lee Yeow Chor & Lee Yeow Seng - down by USD600 million (RM2.5 billion)
Net worth: USD4.8 billion (RM20.1 billion), inherited from their late father Lee Shin Cheng
Origin of wealth: Palm oil, property
Notable company: IOI Group
Lee Yeow Chor and Lee Yeow Seng debuted on the Forbes list this year following their father's passing. The siblings inherited their father's wealth in June last year.
When compared to their father's net worth last year, their combined wealth had taken a dip of RM2.5 billion. That made them fall by a spot from their father's former place at number five spot.
7. Lim Kok Thay - down by USD1.2 billion (RM5 billion)
Net worth: USD3.2 billion (RM13.4 billion)
Origin of wealth: Casinos
Notable company: Genting Group
Lim is among the four on the list who have lost over USD1 billion net worth. The coronavirus outbreak has proven to have taken a toll on Lim's hotel and gaming businesses around the world.
During the beginning of the outbreak, it was reported that Genting Malaysia Berhad's share price tumbled 12.5% over the course of three weeks since late January.
In terms of market value, Genting and its other companies lost about RM3.39 billion in the same period as well.
Additionally in June last year, Business Insider reported Lim as saying that he would be taking a 20% pay cut to appease shareholders.
8. Koon Poh Keong, Koon Poh Ming, & Koon Poh Weng - up by USD400 million (RM1.7 billion)
Net worth: USD3 billion (RM12.6 billion)
Origin of wealth: Aluminium
Notable company: Press Metal Aluminium Holdings
The Koon siblings' collective wealth went up by RM1.7 billion and moved themselves up by a spot this year.
However, Press Metal Aluminium Holdings' 2019 fourth quarter recorded a net profit dropped 23.9% to RM471.03 million in comparison to RM618.93 million recorded previously, reported New Straits Times.
The company said the coronavirus outbreak had caused a temporary disruption to global economic activities and dampened aluminium prices.
9. Kuan Kam Hon - up by USD400 million (RM1.7 billion)
Net worth: USD2.8 billion (RM11.7 billion)
Origin of wealth: Synthetic gloves
Notable company: Hartalega Holdings
Kuan Kam Hon, the chairman of the world's largest maker of nitrile gloves, saw his wealth increase by RM1.7 billion and move himself up by a spot in comparison to last year.
According to a The Edge Markets article published on 11 February, the increase of Hartalega Holdings' market price was due to the surge of global demand in rubber gloves amidst the COVID-19 outbreak.
10. Lau Cho Kun - down by USD1.1 billion (RM4.6 billion)
Net worth: USD2.3 billion (RM9.6 billion)
Origin of wealth: Palm oil, property
Notable company: Hap Seng Consolidated
Lastly, Lau is also among the four richest Malaysians to have suffered a drop of USD1 billion in net worth. He was previously ranked the eighth richest man in Malaysia.