Kuching is once again awash with rumours about the health of the ‘heir apparent’, the Chief Minister’s son Sulaiman Abdul Rahman Taib. Because government controlled newspapers dare not allude to what has clearly become a serious problem, Sarawak Report regards it as its duty to demand that the Taib family explain to the constituents of Kota Samarahan what has happened to their elected representative to the Federal Parliament?
Sulaiman, who was elected to his father’s old seat in 2008, resigned from his post as Deputy Tourism Minister back in December last year for what were described as ‘personal reasons’. The speculation at the time was that he wished to return to Sarawak to begin taking over as Chief Minister, which is clearly his father’s keen desire, if only to protect the family fortunes.
However, the truth is that young Sulaiman had spectacularly under-performed in his role as Deputy Tourism Minister, as with nearly every other role that has been conferred upon his youthful shoulders. Sarawak Report detailed in previous posts how he failed to manage the property companies which his father bestowed upon him in the United States and it is common knowledge that he was later removed from the Board of RHB Bank owing to his non-performance as well.
Indeed, far from coming back to Sarawak to take over, Sulaiman has now disappeared entirely from public view. Opposition MPs point out that he is in fact the only MP who has not put one foot inside the Federal Parliament building for the entire past parliamentary session and they are criticising him, quite rightly, for failing to perform the job he is paid by the public purse to do, which is to represent his constituents.
The DAP member Charles Santiago has told Sarawak Report that he will be raising a question in Parliament shortly if an announcement explaining Taib’s absence is not made.
Is Sulaiman suffering from a life-style related disease?
This brings Sarawak Report back to the rumours. Why not announce it if he is ill, when people would surely sympathise? The failure to explain the situation is giving unfortunate credence to the widespread and powerful rumours that the MP may be suffering from a self-inflicted, lifestyle disease.
This would indeed be tragic for the Taib family, but in their public position they cannot conceal it if he is no longer able to carry out his duties. Neither should a party like BN, which whips women who have a drink and bans homosexual activity on the pain of decades of imprisonment, seek to hypocritically conceal matters when one of its favoured sons falls foul of its own prohibitions.
So, if Sulaiman is not ill could the family please retrieve this previously high-profile dilettante back out of the closet? Conversely, if he is ill and being treated in Canada (as insiders suggest) it is their duty to tell us that he is and what for.
History of debauchery has fuelled rumours
Meanwhile, the weighty silence is causing onlookers to start to reach their own conclusions about Sulaiman’s condition and to reflect on the lifestyle of the youthful multi-millionaire. It has led many people to remind themselves and each other that money, by which the Taibs set so much store, is not always an unmitigated blessing or the solution to all evils.
In fact, thrown at a young person in unlimited quantities money is a very dangerous commodity and Taib’s largesse towards his own family may very well have sown the seeds of their destruction.
The Chinese wisdom that it is the first generation that makes the money; the second generation that enjoys it and the third that destroys it (along with themselves), appears to have skipped a generation in this extreme case, straight to the final scenario.
For it is not just Rahman Taib who has been raising eyebrows. Other younger family members have also clearly been failing to provide the example of ‘good muslim behaviour’ so strictly demanded of others by their parents, as photographs on this page bear out.
‘Rahman’, as he was known in the United States, seems to have picked up his ’brat pack’ lifestyle during his college years when he lived unsupervised in San Francisco (North America’s liberal, ‘gay capital’). The recently deceased Ross Boyert, who was brought in to manage the family’s US properties, which the young Taib had proved spectacularly unable to do, testified to Sarawak Report that the boy was an unconstrained consumer with hedonistic tastes.
Fast cars, fancy clothes and night-clubs were his focus, according to Boyert, along with all the dangers that went with it. Boyert testified in his letter to his father Abdul Taib Mahumd (see previous story) that the concerns among American business associates were that Rahman was siphoning the money his father had given him to manage various properties into fuelling this lifestyle.
He informed Taib how Sean Murray’s brother-in-law, a contractor, had looked in Rahman’s bank book and spotted a balance of US $4 million, even though the boy had said that his father had provided nothing to pay for much needed renovations to a key office block. Managers were forced to find loans instead.
“Previously, Nicholas, in an attempt to allay my fears about our dire financial condition, had offered that while staying at the Presidio residence he peeked in Rahman’s check book noting a balance somewhat over $4,000,000. I relayed this breach of confidence to Rahman.” (excerpt from Boyert letter to Chief Minister Nov. 2006)
Leaving under a cloud
Boyert also told Sarawak Report that the young Taib had left San Francisco under a cloud. Unseemly photographs and an ‘extortion attempt’ had been involved, he alleged. The incident had provoked such a furious row with his wife Anisa, the daughter of Deputy Chief Minister George Chan, that Rahman had picked up a fire extinguisher and smashed it into his hundred thousand dollar Bugatti. Ross had to take the car to have it fixed and after this episode he rarely communicated with Rahman who left the United States.
However, rumours of continuing bad behaviour and serious ill-treatment of his wife have followed Rahman back to Malaysia. Famously, in 2003, Rahman entered a popular K L bistro with one mistress only to be confronted by another, a jealous Pop TV presenter, Avaa Vanja Ramli. He allegedly responded by viciously attacking the girl, a tendency for which he has a bad reputation.
The incident faced a news black-out in Sarawak, but KL Police confirmed that a report had been lodged for assault, which detailed that the woman had been kicked in the abdomen, punched and strangled. One Senior Assistant Police Commissioner told the press that, following a ‘thorough investigation’ the police were recommending that the perpetrator be ‘charged with assault’. However, in true Malaysia style, the DPP’s office failed to prosecute the open and shut case, backed by the evidence of numerous witnesses. Many might say that such special treatment does not encourage future good behaviour by spoilt youths.
Is even the Chief Minister now ignoring the existence of Sulaiman?
So is the Member for Kota Samarahan now reaping the bitter fruit of his own excesses? There is evidence that the once favoured successor has even been written out of his father’s financial affairs – the very heart of what matters for the Taibs.
In August, when the DAP’s Chong Chieng Jen exposed the scandal of Taib’s offer of cut-price development land near Kuching Airport to a company owned by his own children, he revealed the purchase had been conducted by the company Monarda SDN BHD.
Monada, had come under the control of the Taibs in March and the licence was granted in May. However, shares are only actually directly held by 3 of his 4 children, Jamilah, Mahmud and Hanifah. The forth family shareholder is his daughter-in-law Anisa and not Sulaiman her husband.
This leaves us to wonder whether even the Chief Minister has finally also come to the conclusion that his son is no longer able to run his own family’s corrupt affairs, let alone those of the State of Sarawak?