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Sarawak’s Chief Minister has issued not one word about our expose revealing him to be the majority owner of Sakti International, the Taib’s multi-million dollar property company in the US. Clearly he does not want to test our documented evidence in court. So let us reach some logical conclusions about the Taib family´s other sources of wealth.
In his joint capacities as Chief Minister and Finance Minister, Taib ’privatised’ most of the assets that now form CMS Sarawak from state-owned companies. CMS is supposed to be a public company with shares quoted on the open market, yet staggeringly more than 85% of these shares are owned by close members of Taib’s own family. The question therefore is how many of these are actually held in trust for the Chief Minister in the same way that he attempts to hide his true ownership of Sakti International?
The Chief Minister has made only the barest attempts to conceal his real control and ownership of Sarawak’s largest company, CMS. It is Sarawak’s biggest open secret. For years the largest single shareholder in the company was a woman of no independent means – his own wife Laila! After her death her shares finally passed to the Chief Minister’s sons, who already owned huge numbers of shares.
Thanks to our recent expose on Sakti International, we now know how the Chief Minister organises his business affairs. Our documentary evidence shows how he put up his children and brothers as the official shareholders of Sakti International, while privately getting them to sign a concealed agreement ensuring half the shares were held in trust for him.
Would the Chief Minister like, therefore, to deny that he owns at least 50% of the shares of CMS Sarawak, the backbone of the Taibs´vast family wealth? At the very least it is now incumbent on him to prove that he does not. It is time for an open and independent audit of Sarawak’s largest company, which for years has been the lucky recipient of all the state´s top contracts thanks to the decisions of the Chief Minister and his Finance and Planning Ministers (all three of them himself).
Sarawak Report would therefore like to point out to readers that every time the Chief Minister/Finance Minister/Planning Minister issues a ‘negotiated contract’ in favour of CMS Sarawak, he is in fact taking the opportunity to hire himself. Thus he hires himself annually to carry out most of the road-building and other projects granted by the Public Works Department (at a yearly budget of around half a billion ringgit). Likewise he hired himself to build the new Parliament Building (cost RM 300 million) and he also hired himself to work on the Borneo Convention Centre Borneo Convention Centre Kuching (contract awarded in 2006 worth RM 195 million) and Sarawak Energy Berhad headquarters (RM 232 million). Not to forget that he also of course hired himself to build the Bakun Dam (a project that was financed by MYR 5.75 billion raided from the state pension fund). As the new dam-building programme is laid out across Sarawak, flooding vast areas and displacing hundreds of thousands of people, we can be sure that the lion´s share of the construction contracts will be handed out to CMS Sarawak – because Abdul Taib Mahmud always hires himself!
Readers of Sarawak report are welcome to add to the list of government contracts that have been issued by the Chief Minister to himself as the chief shareholder of CMS Sarawak. We would not wish to over-burden the reader in the main body of the article! What is clear is that the Taib family shares in the company are worth over half a billion ringgit, based on its current share value. The steady flow of government contracts are designed to ensure the company retains that value.
What is plain is that each and every taxpayer in Sarawak and every public pensioner too is bearing a heavy, personal price for the fabulous wealth of the Taibs and their Godfather boss, the ‘Chief CEO’ of Sarawak. Their poverty has produced his wealth.