The Brisbane Courier Mail report on Saturday under the heading "Politicianís property empire still growing", by-lined Sean Parnell, states:
"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-Mailís 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 Brisbaneís Federal Court on August 19 on charges of failing to declare cash above A$5000 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 4500ha 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 AsnanÖ
"Land title searches have revealed six properties on New Zealandís 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 B.M.Taib of Singapore, who is Mr. Muhammadís younger brother. Hasan purchased the property in 1990 for $520,000."
It is most ironical that when Tan Sri Muhammad Muhammad Taib resigned as Selangor Mentri Besar in April, he said he wanted to set an example of the "new culture of accountability" as in Japan and South Korea where government and political leaders resign their various posts if involved in scandals of corruption, gross negligence or incompetence.
With these new revelations in the Brisbane Courier-Mail, Muhammad Taib, who had failed to sue the newspaper despite his public threat on April 14, has no choice but to resign as UMNO Vice President as well as Assemblyman for Batang Kali.
The Anti-Corruption Agency sent a high-powered team to Brisbane to investigate into the reports about the various properties of Muhammad Taib in Australia. Nobody knows what is the outcome of such investigations. Is the ACA also going to send a team to New Zealand to check on the new revelations?
What is of greater concern to Malaysians is Muhammad Taibís failure in the past six months to give a satisfactory explanation for the the RM25.4 million worth of various expenditures and properties which had been reported by the foreign press and linked to him, namely:
1. that the RM2.4 million cash for which he was arrested in Brisbane was intended to purchase furniture and fittings for his new Gold Coast home;
2. that he is building a RM2 million Gold Coast home at Sovereign Islands in the name of his wife, Asbi Rohani Binti Asnan;
3. a RM5 million ranch in Queensland in the name of his wife, Asbi Rohani Binti Asnan; and
4. that he had paid RM16 million as a divorce settlement with Tengku Puteri Zahariah Bte Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah (Ku Yah).
With the latest Brisbane Courier Mail revelations, Muhammad Taib would have to account for RM31.1 million worth of various expenditures and properties, raising the question as to what is Muhammad Taibís total assets and worth.
In the circumstances surrounding Muhammad Taibís case, the ACA should state whether it had asked the former Selangor Mentri Besar to declare his assets and those of his wife and next-of-kin, and the total assets declared by Muhammad Taib.