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Malaysia born Billionaire in Australia – Sam Chong

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MELBOURNE, May 27, 2102. –  Mining magnate Sam Chong has become Australia’s first Malaysian-born billionaire as revealed by the latest Business Review Weekly (BRW) Richest 200 list.

A self-made man, Chong, 69, who was born in Tanah Rata, Cameron Highlands, increased his wealth by A$50mil (RM153.623mil) from last year’s A$950mil (RM2.918bil).

Another Malaysian is close to joining the Billionaires’ Club. He is award-winning Queensland property developer Maha Sinnathamby, 72, who is listed as having A$820mil (RM2.519bil) and his kitty is increasing rapidly by the month.

Chong, who is married with one child, came to Australia in 1973 to study mining engineering at the University of New South Wales, Sydney in 1973.

BRW, Australia’s leading business magazine, said Chong held a range of mining roles after graduating before taking a position with Queensland Coal Mine Management, now known as Jellinbah Group, in the 1980s.

There he worked with millionaires Jim Gorman and the late Ken Talbot before they left to pursue other ventures.

Chong maintains a 23 percent stake in the company, which has 70 per cent interests in two small-sized coal mines in the Bowen Basin in central Queensland and is in the process of developing another one.

Chong, who lives in Brisbane, also has an extensive property portfolio in and around Brisbane with his A$70mil (RM215mil) apartment and hotel development in Brisbane’s Central Business District (CBD)due for completion late next year.

Sinnathamby’s is a classic story of hard and dedicated work paying off.

From a humble home during the Japanese Occupation, he moved to Sydney after leaving St Paul’s Institution, Seremban, to complete an engineering degree.

Sinnathmby’s Greater Springfield is the largest privately owned master-planned city in Australia.

A man of vision, Sinnathamby is the master developer of the entire 2,860 hectare Greater Springfield land parcel which has become home to more than 23,000 residents and 9,000 students since it was established in 1991.

Only 13 percent of the acreage, which he and a friend Bob Sharpless bought for just A$7.2mil (RM 22.12mil) in the early 1990s, has been developed.

When completed, the investment in Greater Springfield, which is about 45km from Brisbane, is calculated to be worth more than A$23bil (RM70.66bil). More than A$3.2bil (RM9.83bil) has been invested to date.

Greater Springfield has its own CBD, central parkland and lakes as well as education, hospital, well-being and information technology precincts.

Sinnathamby’s four adult children are all involved in his property development and are a close-knit family.

Two other Malaysians have again made the BRW Rich list this year.

David Teoh and his wife Vicky, both 56, have increased their wealth from A$484mil (RM1.487bil) last year to A$525mil (RM1.613bil), money made from technology ventures. – Bernama