Hidden Opulence

Hidden Opulence

2 Aug 2010

Nice Office

Following recent exposes about the lavish international properties which the Taib family have for years kept hidden abroad, Sarawak Report feels it is appropriate to also draw attention to the equally staggering opulence of their lifestyle in Kuching.

Through the keyhole

Most Sarawakians only get a glimpse of the luxury enjoyed by their modestly-paid Cheif Minister, for example when his Rolls Royce flashes by or he takes off in the Hornbill jet put aside for his personal use.  Therefore Sarawak Report would like to offer an exclusive inside view of just one office suite prepared for the use of Sulaiman Abdul Rahman Taib, the Chief Minister’s second son, for those occasions when he might be visiting Kuching.

Spacious for several important meetings at once

Gold leaf decor

Of course this is just the office of the younger son of the Chief Minister and, since he spends most of his time outside Kuching fufilling his dual roles as Member of the Federal Parliament and international businessman, Sarawakians shouldn’t expect it to be nearly as grand as, for example, his father’s own office.  But still not bad!

Mr Taib clearly favours heavy gilt decor and 18th century-style European furniture.  Sarawak Report would be interested to know the cost of furnishing these offices, including what is reported to be a highly valuable Islamic painting visible on the wall.  Such costs ought to be properly audited and made available for public scrutiny, as would be the case for example in America, Europe and elsewhere.  A detailed inventory showing what proportion of these furnishings belong to the State and which are personal ought also to be available.

Homes destroyed and land grabbed to make way for Taib's Oil Palm

Compare and contrast

We invite you to view the further pictures in our slide show at the top and contrast them to the homes of these Iban villagers whose houses were recently razed to the ground at the behest of the Chief Minister, in order to make way for yet another palm oil plantation handed to one of his business cronies.

This disgraceful act was carried out in defiance of a Federal Court ruling in favour of the villagers.  That ruling had clearly stated that land rightfully belonged to the natives and could not be appropriated in this way. But, after 30 years in power Abdul Taib Mahmud thinks he is above the law (he ignores it often enough).

There is one piece of good news in this situation.  Sarawak’s PKR opposition leader, the top Human Rights Lawyer Baru Bian, has been supporting these villagers in their brave struggle to save their lands and and he has managed to get a new court order to halt the destruction for now.  Should Baru Bian become Chief Minister as a result of the next election, he has pledged to put a stop to the rapacious land-grabbing by the Taib family and their cronies and to give back the land already seized from the people.

Time to build a new Sarawak?

Time for change

Sarawak Report therefore suggests that all Ibans should make sure they are registered to vote and that they only support political groups which have pledged to join PKR’ s opposition coalition – or better still vote for PKR itself!

At the moment this does not include James Masing, who continues to support the Chief Minister and the BN coalition which has done so much damage to Sarawak.

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