We’re often fascinated by those who attain mastery in their respective fields or by those who are able to reach a certain level of success in a certain industry.
Our fascination also greatly doubles, if the said person had to overcome extreme conditions to get to where they currently are. People who attain success despite of their extreme conditions tend to strike a chord of hope deep within us, and they secretly assure us of the successes that might one day befall us if we only hold on. This might explain why we’re obsessed with dropouts who eventually become billionaires, successful artists that were once struggling, celebrities who have worked as a janitor in the past, so on and so forth.
However, that often keeps us away from looking at the bigger picture objectively and it fosters a general disdain towards the arduous process of learning and obtaining an education. The fact of the matter is that everyone will have different paths to success.
As such, here are the 10 wealthiest people in Malaysia (according to this recent list by Forbes), and what we know about the history of their education.
1. Robert Kuok
Robert Kuok is currently the wealthiest person in Malaysia and his wealth is estimated to be around $11B. He got his start trading rice, sugar and wheat floud in Malaysia in 1949 and in Singapore in 1953. However, a big source of his wealth is a stake in palm-oil giant Wilmar Internatioal.
Bloomberg Business reported that he progressed from a local English school to Raffles College in Singapore, where he received his Bachelor of Arts. Other students from Raffles College include Lee Kuan Yew, who was later credited as the founder of modern Singapore.
However based on the same article, he never finished his studies and he took up a job at Mitsubishi Corp while the Japanese troops captured Singapore.
2. Ananda Krishnan
He’s a 77-year-old self-made billionaire, who owns stakes in Maxis, Astro Malaysia and a telecommunications company called Aircel in India. He completed his schooling at Vivekananda Tamil School in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur and he furthered his studies at Victoria Institution in the same city.
He later attended the University of Melbourne and majored in political science as a Colombo Plan scholar. He later went onto obtain a Masters in Business Administration from the renowned Harvard Business school, and he graduated in 1964.
3. Quek Leng Chan
Ranked as the 3rd richest man in Malaysia, Quek Lenk Chan is the chair of the privately held conglomerate Hong Leong Co. that has interests in finance, property and the F&B industry.
He has served in various executive and non-executive positions in different companies over the years, as such he extensive business experience in various business sectors including financial services, manufacturing and real estate.
He studied at the Victoria School in Singapore and is also a qualified Barrister-at-Law from Middle Temple, United Kingdom, according to his profile on Bloomberg Business.
4. Teh Hong Piow
Teh Hong Piow gets most of his wealth from his 24% stake in Public Bank, of which he built from scratch and is now Malaysia’s third largest banking group based on assets. He attended his formal primary and secondary education at the Anglo-Chinese School in Singapore and then began his career as a clerk with Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. He currently owns a stake of insurance business LPI Capital.
He has over 50 years of experience in the banking industry, and in recognition of his contribution to society and the economy, he was conferred the Doctor of Laws (Honorary) from University of Malaya in 1989.
5. Lee Shin Cheng
Making most of his money from palm oil and real estate, Lee Shin Cheng’s wealth is valued at $5B by Forbes. He grew up on a rubber plantation where his father ran a Chinese food shop. And at age 11 he left school in order to support his family and sold ice cream on a bicycle for 4 years before returning to complete his high school.
He later went conferred with a Honorary Doctorate Degree in Agriculture from Universiti Putra Malaysia, as a way of recognizing his contribution towards the palm oil industry.
His IOI Corporation is currently the world leader in oleo chemicals and it’s one of the largest palm oil plantation companies in Malaysia.
6. Lim Kok Thay
Lim Kok Thay is the chairman of The Genting Group, and he led the conglomerate’s global expansion in the gambling sector, cruise business and also the ultra luxury travel industry.
He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Civil Engineering from the University of London, United Kingdom. He later attended the advanced management program of Harvard Business School.
7. Yeoh Tiong Lay
Forbes estimates that his wealth is valued at US$2.4B. He founded the YTL Corp. that has various interests in construction, utilities, hotels, property development and technology.
He completed his secondary school at Hin Hua High School in Klang, Malaysia, and he’s currently one of the Pro-Chancellors of Universiti Malaysia Sabah in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
8. Lau Cho Kun
Coming in No. 8, he’s the Managing Director of Hap Seng Consolidated. The company is mainly involved in the area of plantations, but it also varied interests in other sectors like the automotive industry.
While his notorious for his business acumen, MalaysianBiz’s directory mentioned that there’s no information currently available on his educational background.
9. Syed Mokhtar AlBukhary
He has diversified set of interests in areas of business like transportation and logistics, plantations, property development, defense and armory as well as engineering and power generation. Forbes estimates his value at $1.57B and he’s currently ranked as the 9th wealthiest person in Malaysia.
He only finished his education until form five at Saint Michael’s School and he never went to university. A whole lot of his knowledge and experience was gained through practical entrepreneurial endeavors.
10. Surin Upatkoon
Although he’s a citizen of Thailand, he’s been a longtime resident in Kuala Lumpur, and Forbes ranks him as the 10th richest person in Malaysia, and his wealth is valued at $1.1B. He’s lived in Malaysia since 1965, when he arrived in Penang for school and stayed to work. He only completed high school.
Most of his wealth is earned from telecoms, lotteries, and insurance. However, he started his career as a manager at his father’s textile company, MWE Weaving Mills in 1971. He got his biggest break by acquiring a major stake in Multi Purpose Holdings Bhd. that he later split into MPHB Capital, an insurance and real estate company.