Taib finally waded into the ‘cyber-war’ this week – and ended up branding his son-in-law a liar!
The septuagenarian is notoriously shy of interviews and has avoided TV appearances for years, but he has been under pressure to answer our findings on Sarawak Report and recently the PM Najib Razak publicly warned that if BN wanted to win the election they must first win the cyber-war!
The PM, who is a full generation younger than Taib, further upped the pressure during his visit to Sarawak at the weekend by meeting his ‘young facebook friends’ from Kuching. So, yesterday Taib ventured forth – with a series of staged ‘on-line interviews’, which were then launched across numerous BN-controlled websites.
The interview, conducted with the Chief Minister across a large plate of exotic fruits from which he appeared to have been eating, was divided up into sections and broadcast across the internet sites under separate titles such as “I do not know the Browns” and “Sarawak looks after its Forests”.
But it is the one that is entitled “Jamilah’s Business in Canada is Successful, Because She is Good” that has caused the most immediate embarrassment. This is because his remarks flatly contradict the claims that are being made in London by his son-in-law, Hisham (Sean) Murray, and have effectively shown his daughter’s husband up as a liar!
They should have coordinated their stories!
Sean Murray, who joined the Taib family businesses after he married Taib’s daughter Jamilah, is now involved in numerous Taib property ventures across the world.
Several members of Sean’s family have also found gainful employment in Sakto, Sakti and Ridgeford, which are the companies started by Taib in the UK and North America. However, Murray has sought to publicly deny any business connection with Taib.
His cousin, Christopher Murray, who manages Ridgeford Properties in London, told a journalist last year that Sakto (the first company in the group, set up by the Taibs in Canada) was in fact begun by his father and Sean’s father, who were twin brothers.
Subsequently, the Murrays have hired one of the UK’s top lawyers to make a statement to newspapers in which they declared:
“Sakto, Sakti and Ridgeford are not and have never been funded by Mr Taib Mahmud….Should this allegation be made, our clients will sue you without further notice”. [Statement via Mishcon de Reya]
Too bad then that Taib admitted he HAD started up Sakto by giving his own money to Jamilah in the online video! This is what he said:
“It started 20 to 30 years ago. I gave money to my daughter because I was resigning from Federal Government. I got a gratuity and gave some money to her to start a new business, it thrived… It is a property development company… It got successful and from successful they go to do business in London”. [Taib 22/03/2011 http://realsarawak.blogspot.com]
Maybe Sean should sue Taib?
So who is telling the Truth?
Taib Mahmud’s story is far from convincing, in terms of where he got the cash to invest in Jamilah’s enterprise. He claims that a gratuity from resigning from his Federal job was what helped him set up Jamilah in busines in 1983. Our researches have shown that Sakto was proclaiming in its early website promotions that in that first year alone the company invested in 700 property units. Meanwhile, the firm’s Financial Report for 1983 shows that Sakto already had over CAN$7 million (RM22 million) in assets, $4.5 million (RM14 million) of which was raised from its shareholders ie Taib Mahmud. What kind of ‘gratuity’ is that for a retiring Federal Minister?!
On the other hand, while Taib was a young Federal Minister he was already known to be one of Malaysia’s richest politicians. This was not from any gratuities, it was because his uncle Tun Rahman Yakub, had already passed him his first lucrative timber concessions, chopping down the forests of Sarawak!
However, Sarawak Report agrees that all the available evidence in Canada’s public records back up Taib’s admission that he was the person who funded the launching of Sakto and that it started as a Taib family business with nothing to do with the Murrays or their Dads!
The Murray claims just simply are not true
The Murrays have elaborated on their claims that Taib has nothing to do with any of the companies they work in with further statements in their legal document:
“No. Mr Taib Mahmud has no business interest in Sakto, Sakti and Ridgeford. Mr Taib Mahmud is not, and has never been, a director of any of our corporate clients. He is not a shareholder of any of our corporate clients. Nor does he exercise any control over the companies, either directly or indirectly”.
Not only are all these statements contradicted by Taib himself, we have (thanks to the late Ross Boyert) seen and taken copies of all the documents relating to the setting up of Sakti International in California – and these definitively prove that Abdul Taib Mahmud was an original Director of the Company and that he was the 50% shareholder too! (see below)
Taib applies Quantity not Quality principle to the ‘Cyber-war’ !
Sarawak Report have it on good authority that the chap behind Taib’s unfortunate blunder is the hyper-active master-mind of his cyber-war campaign, PBB’s Information Youth Chief, Abdul Aziz bin Tan Sri Adenan Satem. Abdul Aziz is the son of Adenan Satem, Taib’s PBB Information Chief – once married to his sister Zainab, as ever keeping matters firmly in the family!
As fellow bloggers we would like to congratulate young Satem on working extremely hard on the virtually impossible job of promoting the aging ‘White Hair’ as an on-line attraction. But he probably should not have tried. Taib’s reluctance to expose himself was probably the wiser instinct as this immediate boob has born out.
However, Abdul Aziz’s campaign has been relentless, and of course extremely well-funded. Over the past months onlookers have watched with amusement at an explosion of virtually identical sites about Sarawak, all of them promoting Taib and BN.
Web experts have detected tell-tale finger-prints, which clearly link the sites, such as using the same route each time to disguise their provenance – they are all registered through the US. Some of the sites have been recently set up in the past few days, like SarawakReport(s).org, while others are more established, but have been clearly bought over to the BN format. Abdul Aziz watchers have now detected at least 30 of such sites and the numbers are growing by the day !
All Satem’s sites have two basic forms of content. One is to present soviet-style propaganda items about Taib promoting more ‘development’ in Sarawak, the other is to attack the authors of Sarawak Report (while flattering them at the same time through their desperate attempts at immitation). Needless to say, these sites are extremely boring and do not attract visitors. If you google search Sarawakreports.org, it is the far more popular www.sarawakreport.org that comes up!
However, there is clearly a determined strategy at work behind the warehouse approach to the BN cyber-war, which is now beginning to unfold. Today one of the Abdul Aziz sites (Sarawak Bersatu) opened its comments with this innocent-sounding observation:
“When this website first began questioning the actions of Clare Rewcastle Brown and her Sarawak Report, it felt like we were a voice in the wilderness. Now, wherever you turn on the internet there appears to be more and more people questioning her opinions and motivations”!
Indeed! And the author, Abdul Aziz knows exactly why there are so many such sites!
However, if he went to journalism school he would be taught that producing mere comment is the lazy alternative to properly researched original stories and the genuine production of information. Readers have clearly been left wondering why they should waste their time on what is merely biased opinion, because while the one and only Sarawak Report is currently scoring 50 thousand daily hits and rising, we note that one of Abdul Aziz’s mass produced efforts has so far achieved just 8 hits (ever).