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Monday, March 12, 2007

FORBES’ WORLD BILLIONAIRES 2007 - 9 Malaysians among world’s richest

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Monday, March 12, 2007-- NINE Malaysians are certainly the envy of many as they are among the richest in the world. They are among 946 billionaires in the world who made it to the Forbes’ List of World Billionaires for 2007.

The magazine, according to a Bernama report, had reported that Asia’s share of billionaires on the widely-followed ranking of the mega-rich had gone up from 14.5 per cent last year to 17 per cent this year. Up by 153 from last year, the 2007 Forbes’ Billionaires List are worth a total of RM12.3 trillion (US$3.5 trillion), 35 per cent higher than 2006, following a year of strong equity and real estate markets and rising commodity prices which boosted wealth worldwide.

Bill Gates III, founder of Microsoft, remains the world’s richest man for the 13th year in a row with a net worth of RM196.2 billion (US$56 billion), followed closely by his pal and investment guru, Warren Buffett, with a net worth of RM182.2 billion (US$52 billion).

The richest man in Asia is again, Lakshmi Mittal, from India, at number five on the list. Here are the nine billionaires from Malaysia:

1. TAN Sri Robert Kuok, 83
, leads the Malaysian list with a net worth of RM24.52 billion (US$7 billion). He is ranked 104 out of Forbes’ 946 billionaires around the world. Kuok, who lives in Hong Kong, is not new to Forbes’ list of billionaires. He started with trading rice, sugar and wheat flour in Malaysia in 1949 and in Singapore in 1953. Today, Kuok heads the multinational Kuok Group with interests ranging from shipping to real estate to media. His Transmile Group, which transports freight by air, has landing rights in China and India. He owns and manages extensive sugar and oil palm plantations, mills and refineries in Malaysia and Indonesia. In 2007, Kuok will merge these interests with the Wilmar Group, creating a formidable regional palm oil player. He also controls a hotel empire that spans the Asia Pacific and includes the luxurious Shangri-La chain.

2. ANANDA Krishnan, 68, is next at 119 with a net worth of RM21.02 billion (US$6 billion). A Harvard Business School graduate and former oil trader, Ananda Krishnan is a household name in Malaysia with his telco Maxis, satellite arm Measat and satellite TV provider Astro, which serves 36 per cent of Malaysia’s TV households. This self-made billionaire was also on previous Forbes’s lists. Forbes says his companies have been in expansion mode in the past year. Maxis continued to roll out its Indonesian network and gained a foothold in the Indian market by buying into Chennai operator Aircel. After delays, his satellite arm Measat, which helps telecommunications firms and broadcasters reach customers and audiences across South- East Asia, China, South Asia and Australia, launched the country’s third satellite. Ananda Krishnan also controls racetrack betting and lottery systems in Malaysia via Tanjong.

3. TAN Sri Lim Goh Tong, 89, at no. 204, is worth RM14.72 billion (US$4.2 billion). The former public works contractor turned Genting Highlands into one of the world’s most successful casino resorts.

4. TAN Sri Dr Teh Hong Piow, 77, is at no. 287 with a net worth of RM10.51 billion (US$3 billion). The former bank clerk used profits from real estate deals to open a bank in 1966. Today, Public Bank is the second-largest lender in Malaysia

5. TAN Sri Quek Leng Chan, 66, is at no. 314 with RM10.16 billion (US$2.9 billion). He heads Hong Leong Group Malaysia and Asian financial services giant Guoco Group.

6. TAN Sri Lee Shin Cheng, 67, at no. 349, is worth RM9.11 billion (US$2.6 billion). He started out as a field supervisor in the plantation industry and now heads IOI,with interests in palm oil, property development and hotels.

7. TAN Sri Yeoh Tiong Lay, 77, at no. 583, is worth RM5.96 billion (US$1.7 billion). The patriarch of the Yeoh family heads YTL Corp, with interests in construction, utilities, hotels, property development and technology.

8. TAN Sri Syed Mokhtar AlBukhary, 55, is the youngest Malaysian billionaire and the only Malay on the list at no. 754, with a net worth of RM4.56 billion (US$1.3 billion). He is described as a selfmade billionaire who started out as a rice trader. Today, he controls Malaysia Mining Corporation (MMC) and has stakes in Johor Port, the country’s largest independent power producer Malakoff, and natural gas distribution company Gas Malaysia. He has also contributed to a number of Islamic schools, mosques and Islamic arts.

9. TAN Sri Tiong Hiew King, 71, is at no. 840, with a net worth of RM3.85 billion (US$1.1 billion). His Rimbunan Hijau Group has operations in Malaysia, New Zealand and Africa. His publishing house, Ming Pao Enterprises, has introduced local editions of Chineselanguage daily Ming Pao in cities like San Francisco, New York, Vancouver and Toronto.
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