Children of the powerful are rich. So?


There seems nothing we can do about it; so perhaps it’s better to focus on doing something about the haze and the plummeting ringgit.

Scott Ng, Free Malaysia Today

Another week, another round of sniping between the forces of Mahathir Mohamad and Najib Razak to amuse the public amidst bad news of the haze and a plummeting currency. This week, it seems like their sons are the topic du jour, and much of the discussion is about how rich they have become.

Well, Mahathir is father to Mokhzani and Mirzan, both standing among the rich in Malaysia.

Mokhzani is in fact one of Malaysia’s few Malay billionaires. The Malay Mail has reported that he was worth RM4.42 billion last year, though he has lost approximately US$500 million of net worth in the oil price crash of this year. Nonetheless, he still ranks as one of Malaysia’s richest. His RM36 million super car collection became the topic of much debate early this year.

Mirzan hasn’t done too badly either, currently serving on the board of several big companies. He is also director of Hydrogen Malaysia, a global specialist recruitment business, and sits on the advisory board of Euromax Capital, an investment banking boutique.

Anyone would say that the two are very successful, so successful, in fact, that their success would invite scrutiny and cynicism, as these things do.

The same goes for Riza Aziz, stepson of Najib Razak and big time Hollywood financier-cum-producer, or so the credits to “The Wolf of Wall Street” proclaim.

Riza made news for his purchase of a RM183 million penthouse in New York City from none other than Jho Low, the man so many have fingered as the main culprit in the 1MDB scandal, much to the consternation of the sovereign wealth fund itself. The purchase was controversial enough to be covered in several international news outlets, including Bloomberg and The New York Times, with Riza’s links to Malaysia’s most powerful family mentioned more than once.

Come to think of it, Kamaluddin Abdullah Badawi, a son of Najib’s predecessor, serves on the boards and has ownership of some very successful companies.