The son of Ibrahim Mahmud, Ahmad Ibrahim, now a local branch chairman* of PBB, is one of many in Governor Taib Mahmud’s extended family made super-wealthy thanks to disgracefully corrupt hand-outs from his uncle Taib and associated sweetheart deals (as earlier exposed by Sarawak Report – see excerpt below).
Without betraying the least shame for that enrichment (a trait still championed by his ‘Bossku’ kleptocrat cheerleader from the dock in Kuala Lumpur) Ahmad Ibrahim has emerged as a champion of his family dominated state government, attacking Malaysia’s Finance Minister and others who have dared point out Sarawak’s growing financial difficulties caused by such greed and plunder.
This week he jumped defensively onto the bandwaggon once more to attack this blog for pointing out that Taib’s former political secretary, Karim Hamzah, has at last publicly admitted (by mistake) that the state’s destructive hydro-electricity programme has yet to find a buyer for its “excess energy”.
Karim Hamzah had courted headlines in joyfully welcoming an Indonesian proposal to move that country’s capital from Jakarta to Kalimantan …. on the basis the Bakun Dam, completed a decade ago, might finally find a buyer for its unused hydropower.
Sarawak Report in turn called him out for admitting at last to Sarawak’s “excess electricity” problem, so long denied by his political colleagues.
Lambasting Sarawak Report for its pains, Ahmad Ibrahim again leapt to the defence of the PBB dominated state government by supporting the grand and optomistic claims that the state can rescue its financial fortunes by selling electricity to dream cities, as yet undrafted and unbuilt, over the border in Kalimantan.
In the process however, Ahmad Ibrahim further admitted to the wider financial crisis angrily denied by his PBB party managers till now, which is that the dire mismanagement by this political party of all Sarawak’s rich resouces over 50 years has left the state high and dry with respect to its traditional revenues.
Just take a look at what well-off Ahmad Ibrahim acknowledged to the KTS controlled Borneo Post:
“While rubbishing news portal Sarawak Report’s allegation that Sarawak has wasted public funds on existing hydroelectric power dams, Ahmad pointed out that Sarawak can no longer rely on its traditional exports of timber as well as oil and gas.
“When the time comes, where we can only export less of our sawn timber due to pressure from Green Peace environmentalists and the Western World, when oil and gas resources are replaced or used less due to the rise in substituted fuel availability, or not the main source of preferred fuel for the future, which is likely within 10 to 20 years’ time, and/or when coal is no longer an acceptable commodity for our export, what is left for Sarawak? Affordable power or electricity supply,” [Borneo Post]
Blaming environmentalists for Sarawak’s timber exhaustion is a bit like blaming your priest after being arrested for commiting sins, but there you go. This spokesman of the Taib family’s political party PPB is now on the record admitting that in less than a decade timber exports will have dried up.
In fact, Sarawak Report has seen evidence that the situation is far worse because timber will dry up quicker. According to experts who wish not to be quoted, timber supplies are already 70% less than what was available in 2000 and will be 90% less within two years.
This is owing to the sad fact that instead of sustainably logging Sarawak’s forests for the benefit of the wider population over past decades, greedy state politicians and their timber cronies conducted a firesale of everything their bulldozers could mow down. Environmentalists pleaded for them to stop, but could not prevent the foolish greed.
These money grabbers then rolled out badly managed plantations over millions of hectares which, according to the experts who have spoken to Sarawak Report, are no longer competitive or profitable, quite apart from the mass erosion, river pollution and species extinction along with human misery they have created.
Sarawak’s state politicians are responsible for all this mess and also for the shocking state of Sarawak’s present finances, where a huge segment of the public budget is now annually diverted to pay the interest on billions of dollars worth of mysterious unaccounted loans, much like the situation that developed over 1MDB.
Their answer is to lecture the public to pin hopes and dreams on unbuilt Indonesian cities, which they now promise will buy the electricity from mega-dams they used at least some of those dodgy off-shore loans to build years ago.
The stolen timber made these Taib family politicians rich. Selling off plantation licences made them richer. Constructing dams using borrowed public money made them richer still. Yet all of these activities left the native owners of the land they plundered far poorer than before.
Sarawak Report points out, fantasies aside, there is one definite source of future income left for Sarawak to reclaim. That is to be found in the illegal assets and bank accounts of these greedy political families, particularly the clan of Mahmuds to which Ahmad Ibrahim belongs, and their business cronies who stole all that resource wealth from Sarawak in the first place and then cashed in on further borrowing on top.
Ahmad Ibrahim could make a handsome start by handing back the illegitimate profits his Dad (an ex-police officer) made from selling on corrupt concessions like Masretus, handed by his chief minister brother (cum land and resources minister) back in the day, making him by far the richest retired cop in Sarawak. Ahmad should not forget to add on the interest for all that cash as well.
Maybe then he can lecture others about the state economy, if they are prepared to listen. Meanwhile:
“What has Sarawak Report done so far? They only criticise and attack the state government and its leadership constantly with no end; instead of producing feasible or real solutions to create ample jobs for the locals and building our nation’s economy,” Ahmad said.
He challenged Sarawak Report to provide a conducive economic solution for Sarawak’s development.
Sarawak Report is happy to take up this thief family member’s challenge to come up with an alternative model for Sarawak’s development and will do so. It will be based on that first move against stolen wealth. Our other proposals will be presented over the coming period.
*Update – SR originally titled Ahmad as Chairman of PBB, in fact he holds a branch role.
We can expose yet another scandal where this greedy Chief Minister has taken the land belonging to the people of Sarawak and then sneaked it into the possession of one of his brothers, so that he can then make millions selling it on at the market price. Once again the people who traditionally owned that valuable area have been deprived of the chance to both live a comfortable life and to keep their rich and beautiful environment.
In this case the Iban community of Pasai Siong, Sungai Retus went to court after their traditional Native Customary Rights Lands were discovered to have been ‘alienated’ by the State and passed to a palm plantation company called Masretus Sdn Bhd. As usual the community had not been informed of the decision regarding their traditional lands, so by the time the case was came to trial the judge dismissed it because it had been brought too late after the event! This is how justice works in Sarawak.
But of course the identity of the real profiteers from this land theft has never come out. It was concealed by a quick sale and with just a brief announcement before ownership passed on. Sarawak Report can now reveal that these original profiteers were Ibrahim Mahmud, brother of the Chief Minister and his sons. They grabbed the huge plantation area by a familiar method which has often been used by the family of the Chief Minister.
Masretus Sdn Bhd
By this method the company which was originally awarded the Land Titles to the Sungai Retus area near Sibu by Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud (also the Minister of Resources & Planning and Chairman of Pelita, the Land Grab Agency) was Masretus Sdn Bhd.
On 17th February 2009 Masretus quietly received the titles to four large plots of land in Sungai Retus amounting to 768 hectares for the nominal payment of just over RM500,000.
But within just 6 weeks on 3 April 2009 there was a quick sale. The major palm plantation company, Tradewinds (M) Berhad, made the following announcement to the Malaysian Stock Exchange:
“The Board of Directors of Tradewinds (M) Berhad wishes to announce that TWS through its wholly-owned subsidiary namely Retus Plantation Sdn Bhd has on 3 April 2009 acquired the entire issued and paid-up share capital of Masretus at a total cash consideration of RM7,208,600.00 (“Acquisition”)”
This represents a turnaround profit of nearly RM 7 million for doing nothing at all. The same announcement confirms that Masretus was a private company formed in January 2007 and that
“Masretus is currently the registered holder of a provisional lease over all those parcel of land with an aggregate of 768 hectares (1867 acres), situated at Pasai Siong Land District, in Sibu, Sarawak. The principal activity of Masretus is cultivation of oil palm”.
The lucky benefactors of this more than tenfold leap in the value of the company in just six weeks were of course the shareholders, whose identities are also publicised by the official announcement as being Ibrahim Mahmud, Taib’s own brother and his two sons Yayha and Mahmud and two others. Ibrahim, an ex-policeman with no identifiable palm plantation experience, had thus walked off with a profit of just under RM 7 at the expense of Sarawak’s taxpayers who received a premium on only a fraction of the land’s worth.
The Tradewinds announcement listed the original shareholders of Masretus. Ibrahim Mahmud, Taib’s brother, and his family made millions in one quick turnaround deal that stripped the people of Sungai Retus of all their lands