SINGAPORE’S 40 richest are now collectively worth US$54.4 billion (S$65.5 billion), up by 19 per cent from last year’s US$45.7 billion, the latest rich list published by Forbes Asia has shown.

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Singapore’s 40 richest 2011
Legend: : up        : down       : new        : returnee       : unchanged

The billionaires chalked up the increase despite a slowdown in the economy and a weak stock market, said the business magazine.

The family of the late Ng Teng Fong remains at the top with a combined net worth of US$8.9 billion, up by US$1.1 billion from last year.

Their fortune is tied to their two property holdings – privately held Far East Organization and Hong Kong-listed Tsim Sha Tsui Properties, said Forbes Asia.

Taking the second spot is the family of the late Khoo Teck Puat, with US$6.7 billion, up by US$800 million from last year. They retain a stake in the Goodwood Group of hotels.

In 2006, they sold their stake in Standard Chartered Bank for an estimated US$4 billion to Temasek, Singapore’s state investment company, said Forbes Asia.

At No. 3 is veteran banker Wee Cho Yaw with US$4.2 billion, an increase of US$600 million over last year. He chairs United Overseas Bank which was founded by his late father.

New Zealander Richard Chandler, a Singapore resident since 2008, moved up one rank to No. 4, with US$4 billion.

This year, there are 13 billionaires on the Singapore’s 40 Wealthiest list, compared with 11 last year, said Forbes Asia.

The two newcomers are the Lien family and Mr Sam Goi. Mr Goi debuts at No. 12 with a net worth of US$1.2 billion. The 62-year-old food tycoon is popularly known as Singapore’s "Popiah King".

Another newcomer is oil trader Lim Oon Kuin, who founded Hin Leong at age 20 and developed it into one of Singapore’s largest independent oil traders. The 67-year-old is ranked No. 16 with a net worth of US$840 million.

Returning after a two-year absence is Mr Mustaq Ahmad, owner of the 24-hour retailer Mustafa Centre. Taking the No. 37 spot, the 60-year-old is worth US$240 million. The store is a big draw for bargain-hunting tourists from his native India, said Forbes Asia.

Overall, 31 on the list are richer compared with last year, including hotelier Koh Wee Meng of Fragrance Group, who moved up 10 spots to No. 14.

Mr Koh’s net worth rose by more than 2.5 times on the back of a buoyant property market and tourist influx. He is now worth US$920 million, compared with US$335 million previously.

Also enjoying a big jump are Mr Ong Beng Seng and his wife, Christina. Their wealth almost doubled to US$1.9 billion as shares of their British fashion house, Mulberry, soared. They are jointly ranked at No. 7, compared with No. 11 previously, according to Forbes Asia.

Only five on the list are less well-off than they were last year, said Forbes Asia. They include real-estate tycoon Zhong Sheng Jian, whose Yanlord Land has property interests in China. He took the 11th spot with US$1.3 billion.

A minimum net worth of US$210 million was required to make the rich list, up from US$190 million last year.

Three Singaporeans from last year’s top 40 dropped off the list: Mr Chew Hua Seng, founder of Raffles Education; cranes unit Tat Hong’s Ng Chwee Cheng; and Falcon Energy’s Tan Pong Tyea.

Complete List Here (PDF)



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