Boy Racer for Chief Minister?
7 Jul 2010
Bugatti buy-out plan
Sulaiman Abdul Rahman Taib wanted to buy out Bugatti, manufacturers of the world’s most expensive cars, to add to the family’s ‘hundred businesses’, according to one of his close college friends. However, his Dad, Abdul Taib Mahmud, described as ‘Malaysian Monarchy’ by Rahman’s pal, was less enthusiastic. The Chief Minister, who clearly controls the family purse strings, vetoed the plan. It had taken Rahman a week to get an audience with his Dad in order to discuss the idea.
The disclosures about Rahman Taib (as he was known in the US) come in an on-line article for the Bugatti Review by Kevin C Limjoco, who was a college friend of Rahman’s in San Francisco and a member of his fast set in the States. Taib’s younger son clearly acted the part of a multi-millionaire playboy during his period in San Francisco, according to this and other reports, and was a notorious fast car fanatic. Conversely, business associates say he failed to show any business acumen when put in charge of the secretive Taib property company in the US, Sakti International.
A playboy with violent passions
The article in the on-line ‘Bugatti Review’ gives a telling insight into how the Taib family are regarded by onlookers abroad, namely as jett-setting multi-millionaires akin to Arab Princes or Sultans of Brunei. On one occasion, it is known that in a fit of passion young Rahman even smashed up one of his classic cars, a million dollar Bugatti, with a fire extinguisher. However, his father clearly forgave the incident as he subsequently recalled his son to Sarawak, where he inherited his father’s seat in the Federal Parliament and was recently appointed Deputy Tourism Minister, a job he has now mysteriously abandoned.
Worryingly, there seems no recognition in Taib circles abroad that in fact the Chief Minister of Sarawak is merely a salaried employee of the State, on a modest income and subject to regular elections to office. The concept of the Chief Minister as a ‘Godfather’ figure behind a hundred businesses is even more disturbing, not least because it is undoubtedly true.
As the political figure in charge of governing Sarawak, Abdul Taib Mahmud has no right to be involved in business ventures, primarily because this would clash with his official duties and create conflicts of interest. It is for this reason that Taib has always maintained the facade of a family active in business. Now that we know that he is indeed in control of the money and keeps his family at his beck and call, he should openly declare his activities and publicise all his interests immediately.
A suitable successor?
Despite his playboy record, youthful Sulaiman Abdul Rahman Taib has often been touted as a likely successor to his ailing and aged father. Thus, while Taib Mahmud has started to visibly crumble in the face of recent political failures and exposure for political corruption, the Taib political circles are clearly looking at immediate family to succeed, as if Sarawak were indeed a Monarchy to be passed from father to son, rather than a democratic state of Malaysia, which is its official status. It is this attitude that is likely to turn a normal political handover into a succession crisis for Sarawak.
Read the full article by Kevin C Limjoco (a truly compelling read for Bugatti-lovers and residents of Sarawak) below:
Kevin C. Limjoco
IT ALL BEGAN AT A POSH ITALIAN CLOTHING boutique in Tiburon, Marin County, California. I was not shopping, but my friend was. He leaned over to me as we were browsing and asked: “have you ever heard of a Bugatti EB110, lah?” my eyes lit up and immediately said, “yes, of course, the car is awesome but aren’t they nearly impossible to find?” He simply smiled. It was the summer of 1994; my friend and I were juniors majoring in business at the University of San Francisco. His name is Datuk Sulaiman Rahman Taib.
He is part of the Malaysian Monarchy, his father was and still is the Chief Minister of Sarawak, and his family owns over 100 companies, ranging from Sarawak Securities to logging, hence, the reason he refers to me as “lah” or buddy.
He was the first person I knew that had personally owned a vast number of ultra exotic automobiles. People who did not know Rahman were perplexed and ultimately intimidated by him. He seemingly had a new car every couple of weeks, and had a dedicated car shop and storage facility, (Conversion Techniques owned by John Siao,) that catered to his every whim. He had everything from an old K-type Mercedes Benz worth over a million dollars, an SL Gullwing, Ferrari 355 spider, Rolls Royce Corniche, Maserati Kamsin, to a “regular” S500 Mercedes. He had so many cars that he would routinely send them off to his home in Sarawak to clear his garage of the clutter. Therefore, when he asked me whether I knew what a Bugatti EB 110 was, my palms started to moisten because I knew that Rahman takes his “hobby” very seriously. He has “agents” scour the globe looking for cars that he desires [MORE] ………