Have you ever wondered what were the billionaires doing when they were younger? Or what they used to work as? Well here’s a list of billionaires in Malaysia and what they used to work as when they were younger.

1. Tan Sri AK Nathan – Used to sell newspapers and he was also an insurance agent in his early 20s (Net Worth: RM1.16 billion)

He currently owns and runs Eversendai,  leading global organisation in undertaking turnkey contracts; delivering projects for high rise buildings, power plants, Oil & Gas upstream and downstream including process and industrial plants as well as infrastructure and composite structures in the Asian and Middle Eastern regions.

2. Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr. Jeffrey Cheah – Used to work as an accountant in a motor assembly plant (Net Worth: RM3.77 Billion)

You will know him as the guy who developed Sunway. Sunway used to be a mining estate until Jeffrey Cheah ‘resurrected’ a new township from the mining estate to what is it today.

3. Tan Sri Anthony Francis “Tony” Fernandes – Used to work as an auditor for Virgin Atlantic (Net Worth: RM1.34 Billion)

Tan Sri Anthony Francis “Tony” Fernandes, is a Malaysian entrepreneur who is known for AirAsia. He introduced the first budget airline in Malaysia to Malaysians with the tagline ”Now Everyone Can Fly”.

In 2001, Tony Fernandes bought AirAsia for RM1 but has debts worth RM40 Million. One year after his takeover, AirAsia had broken even and cleared all its debts.

4. Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary  – Used to sell vegetables in the market, selling roti canai, breeding cow and selling meat in the market (Net Worth: RM8.16 Billion)

Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Shah bin Syed Nor Al-Bukhary is the richest Bumiputra corporate figure in Malaysia. Unlike the other billionaires in Malaysia, Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary is involved in a very diversified business field which includes transportation and logistics, plantations, property development, defense and armory as well as engineering and power generation.

5. Tan Sri Dato’ Lee Shin Cheng – Used to sell ice-cream on a bicycle, supervisor at a palm oil company (Net Worth: RM21.44 Billion)

Tan Sri Dato’ Lee Shin Cheng is a Malaysian Chinese business tycoon who is heavily involved in the plantation industry. He is the founder of IOI Corporation Berhad and is the executive chairmain for the group.

6. Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Vincent Tan – Used to work as a bank clerk (Net Worth: RM3.2 Billion)

Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Vincent Tan Chee Yioun  known simply as Vincent Tan, is a Malaysian businessman and investor. He is the chairman and chief executive of Berjaya Corporation Berhad, which is involved multiples of businesses which includes golfing, property, resorts, and gambling. He is the founder of Berjaya Group.

Vincent Tan also owns a football club in England called Cardiff City F.C.

7. Robert Kuok – Used to work as a office boy after which he became the clerk of a rice trading department in Singapore. (Net Worth: RM58.1 Billion)

Apart from a multitude of businesses in Malaysia, his companies have investments in many countries throughout Asia. He is involved in various business from sugarcane plantations (Perlis Plantations Bhd), sugar refineries, flour milling, animal feed, oil, mining, finance, hotels, properties, trading, freight and publishing. He is the richest man in Malaysia for sometime now.

8. Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr. Teh Hong Piow  – Used to work as a bank clerk and bank manager (Net Worth: RM23.38 Billion)

Tan Sri Dato’ Seri Dr. Teh Hong Piow is the Chairman of Public Bank Berhad in Malaysia, was born in Singapore on 14 March 1930. He attended his formal primary and secondary education at the Anglo-Chinese School in Singapore. He is also the founder of Public Ban Berhad.

9. Dato’ Sri Haji Mohammad Najib bin Tun Haji Abdul Razak – Used to work in Bank Negara briefly, then later with Petronas as a public affairs manager. (Net Worth: 2.7 Billion.. allegedly)

Najib razak is the sixth and current Prime Minister of Malaysia. Najib is the eldest son of Abdul Razak Hussein who is Malaysia’s second Prime Minister, and the nephew of Hussein Onn. On 2 July 2015, The Wall Street Journal ran an exposé alleging that MYR 2.672 billion (USD 700 million) had been channelled from 1MDB into Najib’s personal bank accounts, triggering widespread calls for his resignation.


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