Malaysiakini Letter

Will Muhd Muhd Taib declare Aussie properties?

Chu  |  Published:  |  Modified:

I refer to the Malaysiakini report PM: Assets declaration will be made public .

Newly-appointed Rural and Regional Development Minister Senator Muhammad Muhd Taib will now have to explain how he could afford to buy six properties in New Zealand under his wife's name.

Allow me to quote a report dated June 28, 1997 which appeared in the Brisbane Courier Mail under the heading ‘Politician's property empire still growing’:

The international property empire of an embattled Malaysian politician continues to grow despite concerns over how he funds the massive land purchases. Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib, a vice president of the ruling United Malays National Organisation, resigned as chief minister of Selangor in April citing The Courier-Mail’s reporting of his activities as a reason for his decision."

On December 22 last year, Mr Muhammad was detained at Brisbane International Airport as he was about to board a plane to New Zealand with the equivalent of A$1.26 million in Singapore, Malaysian and New Zealand currency in his luggage."

Customs officials have alleged that they were not told about the cash, and Mr Muhammad will appear in committal proceedings in Brisbane’s Federal Court on August 19 on charges of failing to declare cash above A$5,000 and making a false declaration."

The Courier-Mail has revealed Mr Muhammad and his wife spent a week in Australia - checking on a luxury house being built on the Gold Coast and a 4,500ha property in western Queensland - then flew to New Zealand for two weeks after Mr Muhammad had appeared in court."

The properties - registered to his wife in her maiden name of Asnan - were purchased last year for more than $3 million."

It has been discovered more than $3 million of property has been purchased in New Zealand over the past year and registered to Ms Asnan…"

Land title searches have revealed six properties on New Zealand’s north island - in total more than 140 ha - registered to Ms Asnan."

Documents show a 4573 sq m property in Pakurunga was purchased on June 18 last year; a 1713 sq m property in Otahuhu was bought on November 27 last year for $550,000; and four properties in Mataitai, totalling 144ha, were bought between November 29 last year and March 11 this year."

Purchase price for the Pakurunga and Mataitai properties were not disclosed on transfer documents, although stamp duty payments indicate a total transaction for the Mataitai properties of about $2.1 million."

The Pakurunga property was purchased from Hasan BM Taib of Singapore, who is Mr. Muhammad’s younger brother. Hasan purchased the property in 1990 for $520,000.’

Please note that the figures quoted in the report are in Australian dollars. Most likely Muhammad paid for the properties in cash as he is a foreigner and unlikely to have been be able to take a loan.

Where did he get the money from? Is he going to declare these properties if he still has them? Most likely not if they are still under his wife's name.

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