by Lim Kit Siang - Parliamentary Opposition Leader, DAP Secretary-General and MP for Tanjong
in Petaling Jaya
on Thursday, 2nd January 1997

What type of property is Muhammad Taib buying in Gold Coast, Brisbane so that his brothers’ children have a place to stay for their further studies?

Yesterday, I asked the Selangor Mentri Besar, Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib to explain why his brothers are buying property at Gold Coast, Brisbane for their children to pursue their further education in Australia when the better colleges and universities are in Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide or Perth while Gold Coast is basically a tourist and investment centre.

The second question Muhammad should answer is what type of property is he buying for his brothers in Gold Coast, Brisbane meant as a place for his brothers’ children to stay when they go to Australia to further their studies?

It is very easy to get information about Gold Coast, Brisbane on the Internet. The search engine, Altavista for instance, produces 50,000 sites matching the words “Gold Coast Brisbane”. Although not all these sites refer to Gold Coast Brisbane, it gives an indication of the extensive use of the Internet by promoters of Gold Coast Brisbane, whether for their real estate, tourist attractions like 24-hour casinos, or the Surfers’ Paradise.

An official website by the City of the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia described itself as “Australia’s newest city and best loved tourist destination!”, with the following details:

“The Gold Coast is a sub-tropical coastal city within one hour’s drive of the state capital, Brisbane and its international airport.

“New cities with a population of 350,000-plus don’t pop up out of nowhere!

“The City of Gold Coast was formed on 21 March 1995 with the merger of two local Councils - the Gold Coast and the neighouring Albert Shire, forming the new Council of the City of Gold Coast. The instant result was the creation of the country’s seventh largest city.

“It is an idyllic city which stretches from the golden beaches on the south-eastern coast of Queensland with its high rise hotels and holiday apartments, through luxurious canal estates, new suburban areas, a rustic coastal hinterland in the foothills of the McPherson Ranges and up the highway corridor to an emerging commercial and industrial centre nestled among growing rural townships.

“The Gold Coast is experiencing the world-wide phenomenon of the drift to ‘sunbelt’ areas, and it has had a high growth rate over the past 30 years which, together with tourism, has supported the regional economy.”

This is another advertisement blurb about Gold Coast, Brisbane:

“The region has a full range of supporting activities, and is a mecca for lawnbowlers and golfers.

“There are 21 magnificent surfing beaches, a beautiful and spectacular hinterland where rainforests and waterfalls provide a stunning contrast to the beaches and urban development.

“There are unsurpassed boating and fishing facilities on the rivers, the Broadwater and Moreton Bay. The region has 33 per cent of registered boats and small craft in south-east Queensland.

“There are literally hundreds of restaurants and nightspots, major shopping facilities to satisfy the most discerning buyers, world-class tourist and entertainment attractions.

“The area provides for all types of accommodation from five star international hotels and million dollar waterfront mansions to the budget priced motels, backpacker accommodation and modest seaside bungalows.”

According to a Gold Coast real estate website, houses on the Gold Coast range from the older style basic cottages priced from around A$100,000, through the typical waterfront houses and rural acreages from around A$200,000, up to magnificent main river and beach front mansions in the million dollar region.

This website also advertised with photographs “a truly magnificent main river dream home in Surfers Paradise”, which had been reduced from A$1.4 million to A$1.1 million, which is a two-storey residence of 530 sq. metres of “sheer luxury” with “five bedrooms, five bathrooms (all fully tiled and several with spa baths), sunken lounge with wet bar, formal dining area, fully tiled family room, upstairs lounge/retreat, Vogue Kitchen with granite workbenches and top of the range appliances, reverse-cycle air conditioning, fully automated security system”.

Is the the property Muhammad Taib is buying for his brothers one of these “truly magnificent main river dream homes” so that his brothers’ children have a place to stay when they go to Australia for higher studies?

Muhammad owes the people of Selangor and Malaysia a proper explanation.