A reader of Sarawak Report has alerted us to the recent sale by the Governor’s ‘pet sister’ Raziah Mahmud of one of her million dollar properties in Sydney’s top billionaire enclave of Vaucluse.
The mansion at No 38 Coolong Road covers over 1,000 Square meters.
To boost the sale for this luxury mansion the Geneids have also acquired planning permission to demolish it and have thrown in approved architects plans for an even bigger block construction, boasting its design by one of Sydney’s smartest architects, one Ercole Palazzetti.
The plans include all the usual millionaire features: a “vast rooftop terrace which captures northerly harbour views”; “abundant open-plan casual living spaces”; “Sprawling gardens”; ” Superb alfresco entertaining areas”; a lift and double carport” and of course an enormous swimming pool, according to the estate agents.
The price tag for this property, which was snapped up within days last month, was “about AUS$6.5million”, according to the local press. That is double the price of most houses in this exclusive area of Sydney Bay.
“One of Malaysia’s ruling families”!
Meanwhile, the coverage in the local Australian press betrays some considerable airs and graces on the part of the Geneid couple, who have made billions out of some of the most outrageous land grabs and crony contract scandals in Sarawak over recent years and from exploiting Geneid’s nepotistic position at CMS housing.
Indeed The Canberra Times describes the mansion as “the Vaucluse residence of one of Malaysia’s ruling families”. It goes on to describe Raziah as a “construction industry head” and Robert as the “Managing Director of the Royal Mulu Resort”.
People in Sarawak would like to remind Australians that Raziah Mahmud is merely a sister of a local politician in Malaysia – and a very corrupted one at that. As Governor, Taib Mahmud no longer has any official executive role and he certainly is not a member of any of Malaysia’s ruling families.
As for Raziah’s construction business, it is well known that the woman doesn’t own a wheel barrow or a hard hat. She just skims off millions by sub-contracting government contracts handed to her by her brother.
The “Royal” Mulu Resort is a hotel built with public money on land stolen from the Berawan tribespeople, who are still to see nothing more than the $80 compensation, believed to have been handed out per family.
The Geneids have passed over the running of the loss-making venture to the Marriott Hotel Group, who are unwisely planning to market the corrupted project as an “eco-tourism” product.
The question is why are the Geneids cashing in on their property?
Australian articles refer to them as residing now in Sarawak. However, it is locally much discussed that in fact the Geneids have moved away from Kuching, having fallen substantially out of favour since Abdul Taib Mahmud’s marriage to Geneid’s niece back in 2011.
The liaison between the 76 year old and his 30 year old wife has been a notoriously rocky affair.
As one insider told Sarawak Report “the ATM machine is no longer open to Raziah and Robert” and contracts and land concessions are no longer being handed to the rapacious couple merely on request.
“The ATM machine is no longer open to Raziah and Robert”
Indeed, it is widely reckoned that Taib no longer trusts his younger sister, whose blatant greed has landed his regime in considerable scandal over recent years. In this she follows her brother Onn, another discarded former favourite sibling of the ex-Chief Minister, who also sports an enormous house in Vaucluse.
HSCB has shut its doors to the Taib family
Sarawak Report can also disclose that there has been another blow to the Taib ‘royal’ hangers-on, so far unreported. One of the world’s major banks has instructed the family that it will no longer do business with Taib’s relatives.
The move took place earlier this year when HSBC announced the astonishing news that it was pulling out of its commercial banking in Sarawak – a rare example of contraction by one of the world’s biggest banks.
Despite all the billions of investment being pumped into SCORE, thanks to Taib’s extravagant public borrowing, the bank unconvincingly explained that its reason for the shutdown was that there was not enough business to carry on in Sarawak!
Shocked employees have conducted a number of strikes to highlight the loss of jobs, but little has been said of the most likely reasons behind the pull out.
The truth is that HSBC has faced uncomfortable exposure recently over its associations with the dirty potentates of East Malaysia and needed to take action.
A major Global Witness report into the bank last year revealed how HSBC bankrolled numerous crony deals by Taib, which have destroyed the environment and violated native rights – in particular loans to the rampant loggers Shin Yang.
Sarawak Report also explosed HSBC’s connections to the money laundering of illegal millions by Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman.
The bank has clearly been seeking to limit the damage and clean up its business in the region.
Taib family banned by the bank!
In this context Sarawak Report has received inside information that HSBC has notified all Taib family members that they may no longer hold accounts with the bank.
Of course, the real duty of banks is to go further and to report suspicious accounts held by politically exposed persons like the Mahmud family, not just ask them to take their millions elsewhere.
Because, while this ban represents a minor inconvenience and some shame for the billionaire land grabbers of Sarawak, it is nothing compared to the devastating job losses of ordinary bank-workers, who are the real victims of HSBC’s window dressing exercise in Sarawak.
Sarawak Report (and its readers) will keep monitoring as Taib family members liquidate assets in the face of growing global attention to their wealth.