FOLLOW THE MONEY:
Mega-projects in Sarawak are always about enriching the Chief Minister and his BN cronies
The New Parliament Building in Kuching:
There was no need for a new Parliament Building. This contentious building cost the Sarawak taxpayer MR300 million. It was money that could have been spent on what ordinary people need, like roads, clean water, electricity, clinics, schools and rural development, but then Taib Mahmud’s companies would have found it difficult to profit out of it.
In his dual role in the two top jobs of Finance Minister and Chief Minister Taib Mahmud simply handed the job to his own company CMS. In most countries all such contracts must be tendered openly and politicians are banned from awarding contracts to businesses they have links with. In most countries Taib would be rightly prosecuted and jailed for such corruption.
The Bengoh Dam Project
Just consider the story of the Bengoh Dam. It is a clear example of how Taib uses these construction projects to steal huge amounts of public money. First, in 2008 the State Government seized Native Customary Rights land from numerous villages in order to flood the area. The villagers were given almost no compensation for their ancient lands.
Then Taib gave MR310 million of state money to Naim Cendera, a company managed and mostly owned by his own cousin, Abdul Hamed Sepawi to build the dam. He favoured his cousin without even checking if other companies could do a better job more cheaply. But Sepawi did not build the dam. Far from bothering to do the work, he simply passed on the project weeks later to a Chinese company which offered to do it for just MR145 million. This left a profit of MR165 million of taxpayers’ money, which stayed in the pockets of Taib Mahmud’s own family – just for handing on the job!
No wonder that Forbes Asia has numbered Hamed Sepawi No 30 on Malaysia’s Rich List – his personal wealth is been estimated at hundreds of millions of US dollars (but that is nothing of course compared to the sums controlled by his boss Abdul Taib Mahmud).
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