Weak ring­git or not, our bil­lion­aires in Forbes’ list con­tinue to pros­per

New Straits Times - - Opinion -

DE­SPITE the weak­en­ing of the ring­git, 93-yearold sugar king Tan Sri Robert Kuok is again Malaysia’s rich­est man, whose net as­sets are worth US$11.4 bil­lion (RM50.5 bil­lion).

He leads 11 other Malaysians into lat­est an­nual rank­ing of the world’s bil­lion­aires, where he is cur­rently placed 115th.

He has been on top of the heap for many years now and I just can’t imag­ine how wealthy that is. Of course, some peo­ple will say that many other Malaysians are much richer, just that they are not eval­u­ated.

But let’s keep our fo­cus on

which ap­plies a sim­ple but ac­cu­rate method­ol­ogy.

Among other things, ac­cord­ing to it sends out its reporters through­out the year to meet with a list of can­di­dates and their as­sis­tants, and in­ter­view em­ploy­ees, ri­vals, lawyers, exspouses and se­cu­ri­ties an­a­lysts.

They keep track of their moves: the deals they ne­go­ti­ate, the land they are sell­ing or the paint­ings they are buy­ing.

They also dig through share doc­u­ments, court records, pro­bate records, tax records, fed­eral fi­nan­cial dis­clo­sures and news sto­ries. In cal­cu­lat­ing wealth, they put a price on all as­sets, in­clud­ing stakes in pub­lic and pri­vately-held com­pa­nies, real es­tate, art, yachts and planes.

Malaysia’s rich­est saw their for­tunes slump by half last year, ac­cord­ing to as the coun­try grap­pled with weak oil prices.

So, the num­ber of bil­lion­aires shrunk by a quar­ter last year, to 12 from 16. cal­cu­lates the rank­ings in United States dol­lars, which means for­tunes held in ring­git are worth less when the Malaysian cur­rency falls. But still, they are the su­per-duper rich as far as Malaysians are con­cerned.

Kuok spends most of his time in Hong Kong, but be­ing Malaysian (he was born in Jo­hor Baru), he must have yearned some­times for things Malaysian.

Does he ever stop and or­der pasem­bor or cen­dol when­ever he passes by Subang Jaya, I won­der. Or does he en­ter a fash­ion shop and ask “how much?” for a de­signer la­bel.

12 Malaysians made it to ‘Forbes’ lat­est an­nual rank­ing.

Tan Sri Dr Chen

Lip Keong

Kuan Kam Hon

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