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The profitability of the business of being a Bomoh has clearly been vastly under-estimated. Sarawak Report has now established that Taib’s spell-monger is in fact one of the wealthiest men in Sarawak! We can demonstrate that he personally owns hundreds of millions of ringgit of shares in one of the world’s biggest timber companies, Samling Global.
Samling, which claims to be the world’s largest supplier of tropical plywood, began as a family company belonging to Yaw Teck Seng and his sons in Sarawak. However, after decades of close relations with Taib Mahmud it has expanded across the world. The company’s latest Annual Report states that its consolidated global assets are worth $1.3 billion USD (around RM 3 billion) and this is at a period of very low market value.
The timber giant, which made its money cutting down the Sarawak rainforests thanks to the concessions granted by Taib, floated as a public company in 2007 on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange. However, just a few weeks ago the Norwegian Government banned any further investment in Samling, after investigations showed the company to be involved in illegal logging and environmentally destructive activities. There have been numerous complaints by native peoples across Sarawak over Samling’s greedy plunder of their lands.
Bomoh’s shares worth RM 300 million!
Our investigations show that most of the company is still owned by the Yaws with only just one other major shareholder registered as holding over 5% of the company’s shares in 2010. This major shareholder is none other than Taib’s own Bomoh!! Bomoh Ahmad bin Haji Su’ut is listed as the owner of 5.5% of shares in Samling Global with a total ownership of 225,592,070 shares, which he holds in the name of his company Tapah Plantations! Did he get these shares by magic?
Samling Global’s Annual Report 2010 confirms quite clearly the fact that Su’ut is the owner of 5.5% of the company. Furthermore, the documents produced at the time of the company’s stock market launch in 2007 make clear that the Bomoh held the same 225,592,070 shares at that time also. Shortly after the launch the value of these shares reached a high of around $100 million USD. In ringgit at today’s rate that is an amazing RM300 million!
What is the truth?
These are breath-taking facts, but many onlookers wonder if all maybe not quite as it seems? Such is of course the case with most magic tricks and spells, which are only an illusion! Could it be that the Bomoh is acting merely a distraction, a mirage, a case of smoke and mirrors to mask the genuine transaction that has taken place? In short could it be that the Bomoh is acting as a proxy to disguise another far more likely owner of these hundreds of millions of ringgit worth of shares?
For many years this Bomoh acted as the well-known spiritual advisor and close confidant of the Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud. He performed regular black magic on his behalf and his brother in law is a very close friend indeed of Taib’s sister Zaleha. In return the Chief Minister has rewarded him with lands and concessions, as we exposed in our previous article. So we think it is only fair to ask whether indeed the Chief Minister might also have entrusted this Bomoh with the role of ‘front man’ in the case of this share ownership?
Sarawak Report has already exposed the Chief Minister’s habit of concealing his real ownership of shares by forcing the public owners to sign secret documents confirming that they are holding them in trust for him. We have documentary, signed evidence of this practise as his way of hiding his true ownership of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of property which is registered in the name of family members in the US. Could not the Bomoh have signed a similar document for his boss?
Some answers please
Since the whole state must be wondering at how such a lowly fellow as a spell-mongering Bomoh could have found the money to purchase such a vast shareholding in Samling, we turn to the circumstantial evidence. The Chief Minister is the person who over the last 30 years has exercised total control over the logging and oil palm plantation concessions which have been given to Samling. Is it really beyond the realms of possibility that these shares were a little ‘thankyou’ gift to the Bomoh’s master at the time of the company’s launch as a global public venture?
Sarawak Report already has evidence that two mansions in the United States passed from Samling to the Taibs. One of these transferred for the nominal cost of just US$ 1 dollar! Samling’s vast property holdings in the United Sates are also intriguingly linked to those of the Taibs.
Certainly, if it is not the case we would like to see a public denial. We have for months now attempted to gain an explanation for the Chief Minister’s fabulous wealth, as displayed by his string of properties and possessions across the world and his extravagant lifestyle, but we have received no answer. Therefore we feel forced to turn to the circumstantial evidence and require that the obvious conclusions be either denied or considered as confirmed.
In fact the Bomoh is not the only major shareholder associated with the Chief Minister registered by Samling Global. As part of its legal obligations as a public company the Initial Public Offering procedures in 2007 forced the company to reveal two other names that will be familiar to the people of Sarawak. Hamad bin Sepawi, the Chief Minister’s cousin, who has been frequently favoured with land concessions at the expense of the natives as well as numerous top jobs and contracts in the state is one. Another is Wan Morshidi Bin Tuanku Abdul Rahman, whose family is closely linked to Abdul Rahman Ya’kub, the previous Chief Minister, who originally equally favoured Samling with preferential concessions. Both Sepawi and Morshide ‘owned’ 5 of the company at the time of the launch, whereas the Bomoh ‘owned’ 5.44%.
The Bomoh, as we have shown, is certainly is hugely well-off and enjoys a very comfortable life-style. But the level of wealth he displays does not match the vast ownership of Samling shares that are in his name. With Abdul Taib Mahmud however it is a different matter and his fabulous life-style was never achieved on the RM20,000 or so a month that he officially earns in his capacity as Chief Minister of Sarawak!