|The Sultan of Johor , Sultan Ibrahim Sultan Iskandar has purchased a historic hospital building in Dalkeith, a suburb of Perth, for a whopping AUD$8.5 million, the West Australian reports.|
A Malaysian billionaire royal has bought a waterfront slice of Western Australia’s most famous poor house, the historic former Sunset Old Men’s Home remembered in Robert Drewe’s haunting memoir of a Perth childhood, The Shark Net.
Sultan Ibrahim Ismail of Johor paid the Barnett government $8.5 million for a 1993sq m block containing the former Sunset matron’s house, sparking speculation he plans a grand home overlooking the Swan River.
Sultan Ibrahim, 56, is married to Her Royal Highness Raja Zarith Sofiah and they have six children.
He has a reported net worth of between $1.4 billion and $1.6bn, and business interests including a power plant, property development and Malaysian telecommunications firm Redtone.
“I believe it is healthy for royalty to be involved in proper and legitimate businesses rather than to be in dubious businesses that harm the image of the institution,” he was reported by The Straits Times as saying soon after his coronation in March.
“Let’s be honest here, we are a constitutional monarch. I have to earn my living like everyone else. I cannot depend on my allowances … I must earn a living, like ordinary Malaysians.”
The sprawling Sunset site is the last swathe of undeveloped riverfront land in Perth’s exclusive western suburbs, but until now plans to sell off any portion of it have been thwarted by strong local opposition, including from Nedlands City Council.
A Gallop government plan to develop luxury apartments on a 7000sq m portion of the site was welcomed by real estate agents but blocked by residents who wanted it kept as parkland.
Premier Colin Barnett said the proceeds of the sale of the matron’s house — a 1950s brick home with no heritage listing — would fund repairs and upgrades to the historic buildings on the main site.