Published: Sunday September 9, 2012 MYT 1:05:00 PM
Book on M’sian-born billionaire Maha offers 10 rules for success
MELBOURNE: "Visionary" is a word most commonly used to describe Malaysian-born businessman Maha Sinnathamby.
It is a good description for a man who 20 years ago turned 2,860 hectares of then worthless, inaccessible forest 23 km west of Brisbane in Queensland, Australia, into Australia's largest privately-owned, master-planned city boasting world class education and health facilities.
Two decades later and Greater Springfield, as the development is known, has six suburbs, which are home to 23,000 residents.
Some A$9.6bil (RM31bil) has been spent on the project - A$3.5bil (RM11.3bil) by Springfield Land Corporation and other parties, A$2.5bil (RM8.07bil) by the Queensland State Government and A$3.6bil (RM11.62bil) by the local government.
This investment has created eight schools, a university, a TAFE college, Mater Health Services, a state-of-the-art Tier 3+ Polaris Data Centre, a six-star green rating Orion Shopping Centre, a four-star green rated Springfield Tower and an award-winning Greg Norman designed golf course.
All of which were recognised when it won the prestigious FIABCI Prix d' Excellence Awards for World's Best Master Planned Community in 2010 ahead of 54 impressive entrants from around the globe.
In spite of his achievements, Maha remains humble and relatively unaffected by his success.
But how did a poor migrant from Malaysia become one of Australia's most successful migrants and one of that nation's richest men?
The answer is contained in a book by Scottish author Karen McCreadie, "Stop not till the Goal is Reached: The 10 Principles for Fearless Success that Inspired Maha to Build a City".
Written with the full cooperation of Maha and his family, friends and business colleagues, the book is surprisingly candid in parts where Maha discusses not his successes but his failures.
The book operates on a number of levels. It is part biography, part business case study and part self-help manual.
Key to understanding the secret of his success are his 10 principles, referred to in the book's title.
He says each principle has its origins in the ancient philosophy of Vedanta that has inspired and supported him throughout his life.
The 10 Principles of Fearless Success are: make one idea your life; arise, awake and stop not till the goal is reached; work relentlessly; be fearless - face the brutes; the darkest night brings the brightest dawn; pure in thought, word and deed; character is established through a thousand stumbles; everyone is great in their own place; create your own destiny; and all power is within you.
But these 10 principles are insufficient to understand the drive and determination behind one of Australia's most successful businessmen.
Another piece in the puzzle to understanding Maha is his humble origin. He was born in 1939 in Rantau, Negri Sembilan, to poor parents who inculcated in him the value of education from an early age.
In the book, Maha tells the story of how his father's first act after having just been released from a Japanese prisoner-of-war camp was to go and enrol Maha and his siblings in school. Maha went to St Paul's Institution in Seremban.
The importance of education is something which has stayed with Maha for his entire life and is something which he has put at the heart of his Springfield development.
Maha is very proud of the fact that 44.6 percent of the residents of Springfield are students.
"Stop Not till the Goal is Reached" is a fascinating examination one of Australia's most successful and dynamic entrepreneurs.
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