16 Feb 2010

How Taib Has Robbed Sarawak,

How Taib Has Robbed Sarawak,

This post is also available in: Iban

How many billion dollars is that Taib?

No secret about Taib’s thieving ways

Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud’s methods for milking Sarawak’s wealth at the expense of its people has been documented by numerous respected international news organisations, including Bloomberg, The London Times and Al Jazeerah TV.  The real scandal is that Malaysia’s forces of law and order have not long since arrested him and brought him to trial.

Taib abuses his positions as Finance Minister and Chief Minister to make sure that nearly all state contracts go to companies that he and his family own.  He runs Sarawak like his own private enterprise. This is the essence of corruption. Under proper governance all state contracts should be independently awarded to companies that gives the taxpayer best value for money by the job.  This should be an open process that everyone can check.  But in Sarawak Taib hands out contracts behind closed doors – and he gives them to himself!

Dishonest Contracts

A brand new building that no one needs to feather Taib’s nest

Abdul Taib Mahmud governs Sarawak purely in order to make a profit for himself.  The biggest company in Sarawak is Cahya Mata Sarawak, the huge construction conglomerate, which is owned mostly by himself and members of his family.  Before Taib took power CMS was a profitable public company owned by the State, but he used his influence to privatise it and then take it over himself.  Nowadays Taib makes sure numerous government projects, involving huge payments from the taxpayer, are given to CMS.

An estimated MR 500 million are handed out each year to CMS by the department of Public Works alone.  On top of that there are numerous one-off projects, for example the construction of the multi-million US dollar Aluminium Smelter project linked to the controversial Bakun Dam and of the new MR300 million Parliament Building in Kuching  - guess which company the Sarawak State ‘negotiated’ to give these contracts to?

Straight Scams

Another frequent scam is when money ‘disappears’ through sub-contracting.   What happens here is Taib hands out a huge government contact to CMS or another family company, which is then allowed to sub-contract the whole job to another company for far less money.  In this way the Taib family can make millions of ringits of profit for doing nothing at all.  The Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission announced in November that a staggering 60% of the money laid out every year by Taib’s government on state projects ‘disappears’.  It is easy to see how.

Kickbacks worth billions of Ringits

Taib also makes sure his companies and family members control all the key positions where is it possible to accept big bribes from businesses.  Take the scandal exposed when the Japanese tax authorities revealed some months back that tens of millions of US dollars have been paid in secret, illegal kickbacks by Japanese shipping companies exporting timber from Sarawak.  The money, which adds up to hundreds of millions of ringits over the last 20 years, was paid directly to companies owned by Onn Mahmud, the brother of  Chief Minister Taib Mahmud.

Your wealth, but Taib's profit

Faced with prosecution for not declaring these bribes, the Japanese timber companies explained that the Sarawak government does not allow export permits unless they ‘negotiate’ with a companycalled  Achi Jaya Shipping.   Achi Jaya Shipping is owned by Onn Mahmud, the brother of Tab Mahmud.

Taib has taken millions of hectares of native customary rights lands from their rightful owners, the indigenous peoples of Sarawak.  The estimated value of timber exported from Sarawak is US$ 25 billion.  He has taken billions of that profit for himself.  How much went to the rightful owners?  In the process, his careless, unsustainable logging has destroyed one of the world’s most precious natural jungles.

Jobs and concessions for the family

Taib Mahmud has handed out over 1 million hectares of logging concessions to his own family.  He has also made sure that all the most influential jobs in the Government and state companies go to his own family.  Particularly favoured is his cousin, Abdul Hamed Sepawi, Chairman and major shareholder in the developer Naim Holdings Bhd., which has received numerous government contracts.

All but gone

The Managing Director of Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB), which is handing out the contracts for the dam-building,  is Taib’s brother-in-law, Aziz Husain.  Taib’s brother Onn Mahmud controls shipping permits.

Taib’s sister Roziah Mahmud controls a huge business empire in Sarawak and was handed control of the Royal Mulu Hotel in Mulu National Park. Now Taib’s son Suleman has been given a parliamentary seat and as Taib grows visibly weaker every day the talk is all about making him the new Chief Minister!

Why vote back a weak and corrupt old man, who is dashing early into the elections just so that he can use his last fading influence to hand over to his inexperienced son?  PKR have pledged to chase the Taib family for their money and return it to invest in Sarawak.  Suleiman Taib will seek to continue his father’s rape of this country.  Click here if you would like to share more examples of the Taib family’s spectacular corruption.