Saturday, August 7, 2010

The Giving Pledge

In a show of an alliance of purpose, 2 of the world’s richest came together and showed the world theirs are not just on profit motive mode this time around. There is the compassion of wanting to give back to society what they had been privileged with.

A news report today Aug 06,2010 carried the commitment of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet to donate part of their riches, as much as 50% ( did I hear right?) yes, half of their fortune to charity.

The Giving Pledge was apparently announced 6 weeks ago by both billionaires - that they should think other American billionaires should also emulate them in a similar way.

Within that short space of 6 weeks, both managed to call 70 to 80 of Fortune magazine’s list of over 400 billionaires. It was such an encouraging move. Half of those contacted, ie 40 of them agreed to the worthy cause. It would be a loose arrangement on how the funds are to be channelled with the emphasis for projects on health, education, and the arts.

Almost all of those who agreed were self-made billionaires worth US$1bil or more each (though there are notable ones who had the good fortune of inheriting their riches from their wealthy families)

They comprised among others, Ted Turner ( CNN founder) Michael Bloomberg ( N York Mayor) Larry Ellison ( Oracle founder) George Lucas ( Film Director) and David Rockefeller who inherited the Rockefeller fortune.

The 40 may have on their own been philanthropists all along previous to this. However this time it is going to be a concerted effort where the aggregate will be on a larger scale and enormous.

There was no indication of the amount envisaged nor the distribution ( domestically or to the world at large) But it is not important. What we know is that for the next foreseable future, donations for charity would be enhanced.

Let's take our sights back home. We also have our own 40 Richest Malaysians ( also based on Forbe’s 2010 list) I just wonder if there’s any move towards a similar direction.

According to news reports released by Forbes on May 27, 2010 , they as a group are worth US$51 bil (RM168bil) , up from US$36bil a year ago. They made an additional 42% increase of combined wealth from the previous year spurred by Malaysia's economic expansion. This is matched by the 32% rise in the KLCI and the Ringgit’s 11% gain against the USD over the past 12 months.

A pledge to donate would not therefore cause a dent to their vast fortune. We certainly do not expect them to match the Americans' 50% pledge but just a pledge, maybe.

40 Richest in Malaysia ( as of Feb 17, 2010)

This is the list as published by a local business magazine. The numbers are based on public assets only and are valued in US dollars.

1. Robert Kuok – $10 billion
2. Ananda Krishnan – $7.2 billion
3. Lee Shin Cheng – $5.5 billion
4. Teh Hong Piow – $3.5 billion
5. Lee Kim Hua & family – $3.4 billion
6. Quek Leng Chan – $2.4 billion
7. Yeoh Tiong Lay & family – $2.1 billion
8. Syed Mokhtar AlBukhary – $1.8 billion
9. Vincent Tan – $1.3 billion
10. Tiong Hiew King – $1.1 billion
11. Azman Hashim – $700 million
12. William H. J. Cheng – $660 million
13. Lee Swee Eng – $495 million
14. Ong Beng Seng – $470 million
15. Lim Kok Thay – $345 million
16. Vinod Sekhar – $320 million
17. Lee Oi Hian – $300 million
18. Yaw Teck Seng – $295 million
19. Anthony Fernandes – $290 million
20. Mokhzani Mahathir – $285 million
21. Kamarudin Meranun – $280 million
22. Jeffrey Cheah – $275 million
23. Lee Hau Hian – $250 million
24. Chong Chook Yew – $245 million
25. Yaw Chee Ming – $240 million
26. G. Gnanalingam – $230 million
27. Lim Wee Chai – $200 million
28. Kua Sian Kooi – $195 million
29. Lau Cho Kun – $185 million
30. Abdul Hamed Sepawi – $180 million
31. David Law Tien Seng – $165 million
32. Tiah Thee Kian – $163 million
33. Liew Kee Sin – $160 million
34. Ahmayuddin bin Ahmad – $155 million
35. Eleena Azlan Shah – $150 million
36. Lin Yun Ling – $145 million
37. Ong Leong Huat – $130 million
38. Lim Thian Kiat – $115 million
39. Khoo Kay Peng – $110 million
40. Nazir Razak – $100 million

Forbes' 40 Richest in Malaysia ( as of May 27, 2010)

This is a more recent list published by Forbes. There are some differences between the two presumably owing to changes in the market and of shareholdings.

1. Robert Kuok
2. Ananda Krishnan
3. Lee Shin Cheng
4. Lee Kim Hua
5. Quek Leng Chan
6. Teh Hong Piow
7. Yeoh Tiong Lay
8. Syed Mokhtar AlBukhary
9. Vincent Tan
10. Tiong Hiew King
11. Azman Hashim
12. Lee Oi Hian & Lee Hau Hian
13. Yaw Teck Seng & Yaw Chee Ming
14. Lim Wee Chai
15. William H. J. Cheng
16. Goh Peng Ooi
17. Lim Kok Thay
18. Jeffrey Cheah
19. Anthony Fernandes
20. G. Gnanalingam
21. Kamarudin Meranun
22. Chan Fong Ann
23. Shahril & Shahriman Shamsuddin
24. A.K. Nathan
25. Chong Chook Yew
26. Mokhzani Mahathir
27. Ahmayuddin bin Ahmad
28. Lau Cho Kun
29. Chen Lip Keong
30. Lee Swee Eng
31. Liew Kee Sin
32. Nazir Razak
33. Eleena Azlan Shah
34. Ong Leong Huat
35. Rozali Ismail
36. Kua Sian Kooi
37. Lin Yun Ling
38. David Law Tien Seng
39. Abdul Hamed Sepawi
40. Syed Mohd Yusof Tun Syed Nasir


Al-Manar said...

Dear Hank
I read the reports and the same thought came to mind. What do the rich Malaysian do wth their money? Let us believe that they do it discretely, the honourable way!

kaykuala said...

Dear Pak Cik
I’m sure they do, discretely, not all of them may be but most of them do. They may do it through outright donations or through their various foundations. We hear of sponsorships for students, or for the Haj and especially so following calamities and disasters.

A concerted effort modeled on ‘The Giving Pledge’ not just yet. I have not heard of a Malaysian billionaire who says, ‘ here take 50% of my wealth’ No, not just yet. Hopefully someday, may be.

Interestingly enough, if they had done it in the dishonourable way, ie by giving a little hoping for a lot ( eg getting in return big contracts) then we will hear of them later. This will come through news of their downfall or business failures.It may not happen during their lifetime but may affect their later generations. This we have been told can happen.

abdulhalimshah said...

The former PM said that ours is still a third world mentality. So it could take another century for such things to happen here.