Home Civil Society Voices 2011 Civil Society Voices Probe Taib Mahmud’s disproportionate wealth

Probe Taib Mahmud’s disproportionate wealth

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Comango, a coalition of Malaysian NGOs has urged the government to set up a royal commission of inquiry to probe the Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s immense wealth.

Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud

From the widely publicized wealth and world-wide interests of Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s family on the internet, the Coalition of Malaysian NGOs calls on the Government to urgently set up a Royal Commission of Inquiry to investigate Taib’s disproportionate wealth that does not befit a civil servant’s while Sarawakians are among the poorest in the country.

Taib’s unseemly wealth while so many indigenous peoples are living in abject conditions or have been unceremoniously displaced from their ancestral homes warrants a thorough investigation into how Taib’s wealth has been accumulated during his 30-year as Chief Minister of Sarawak.

It is clear that even the Prime Minister knows that Taib is the liability to
the BN in this state election and that is why he is at pains to stress that Taib will go. Meanwhile, Taib is still standing in the elections and appears to want to be around for the next five years at least.

We call upon Taib Mahmud to resign as Chief Minister in the light of the
latest exposes of his family’s world-wide assets and the RCI should try to recoup all this ill-gotten wealth from Taib and his family.

Apart from Malaysian-based companies owned by Taib’s family, companies scattered through the world associated with Taib Mahmud’s family have been uncovered as follows:

Companies associated with Taib’s family

Malaysia: Achi Jaya Holdings Sdn Bhd; Borsarmulu Resort Sdn Bhd (213014-M); Cahya Mata Sarawak Sdn Bhd (21076-T); K&N Kenanga Holdings Bhd; Kumpulan Parabena Sdn Bhd; Mesti Bersatu Sdn Bhd (758849-V); Naim Holdings Berhad (585467-M); Sanyan Group; Sarawak Aluminium Company (783974-K); Sarawak Energy Bhd.; Ta Ann Group; Titanium Management Sdn Bhd; UBG Berhad (240931-X)

Canadian companies: Adelaide Ottawa Corporation (Business number 2028546); City Gate International Corporation (446027-8); Glowell Development Corporation (1545868); Preston Building Holding Corporation (2108122), Sakto Development Corporation Pte. Ltd. (155207-4), Sakto Corporation (340439-1), Sakto Management Services Corporation (655948-4), Tower One Holding
Corporation (2028542), Tower Two Holding Corporation (2018543).

British companies: Ridgeford Properties Ltd (3268801) and Ridgeford Consulting Ltd (5572163). Ridgeford Properties Ltd is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Canadian City Gate International Corporation.

Australia: Australian Universities International Alumni Convention Pty Ltd (ACN: 081942903); Donmastry Pty Ltd (ACN: 093 907 843); Geneid Holdings Pty Ltd (ACN: 087759751); Golborne Pty Ltd. (ACN: 061844148); Golden Sovereign Development Ltd (ACN 103 925 613); Kesuma Holdings Pty Ltd. (ACN 105540636); Newtop Holdings Pty Ltd (ACN: 066588225); Ostgro Australia Pty Ltd (ACN:
094721070); Sitehost Pty Ltd (ACN: 062312743); Valentine on George Pty Ltd (ACN: 105541562) British Virgin Islands: Astar Properties Ltd. (201522); CMS Global (BVI) Ltd.; Tess Investments Ltd (203511)

Hong Kong: Grand Shine Trading Ltd (0127665); Grand Will Ltd (0133932); Herolite Investment Ltd (129119); Natalite Investment Ltd (129502); Regent Star Company Ltd (0130318); Richfold Investment Ltd (0130308); Whittaker Company Ltd (0161304)
Jersey: Sogo Holdings Ltd (43148)

USA: Sakti International Corporation Inc.; Wallysons Inc (the owner of the FBI building in Seattle!); W.A. Boylston Inc; W.A.Everett Inc.

The RCI should be able to assess the value of all these assets owned by Taib and his family and they must account for all this wealth.

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Malaysian NGO activists banned from Sarawak

Taib Mahmud has been Chief Minister, Finance Minister and State Planning and Resources Minister of Sarawak since 1981. He has allowed logging of hundreds of thousands of hectares of tropical rainforest by logging companies and marginalised the state’s indigenous communities.

His main critics all these years have been concerned Malaysian NGOs which have worked tirelessly to protect Sarawak’s forests and her indigenous peoples from the timber tycoons and dam builders. Consequently, many Malaysian NGO activists have been banned from entering the state – “for anti-logging activities” – even though Sarawak is a part of their own country. This gross violation of the basic human right to freedom of movement and abuse of Sarawak’s immigration rules show that Taib and his state government are afraid of more exposes of their exploitation of the state’s resources and its peoples.

Sarawak’s rich resources stripped bare

From a state rich in oil and timber, Sarawak has been stripped bare. While we read about the fabulous wealth of Taib and his family spread all over the world, the poverty rate in Sarawak is one of the highest in the country.

This is unacceptable when the state is so rich in natural resources. Sarawak gets only 5 per cent of the oil royalties; the rest goes to the
federal government, while most of the profits from timber go to the state government. As a result, the Taib Mahmud state government has been flagrantly promoting logging all these years.

Logging companies work on thousands of acres of forest that traditionally belong to the indigenous peoples such as the Kayan, Kenyah, and Penan. It has been estimated that more than 80 per cent of the primary forest in Sarawak has been logged in the past 40 years alone. Sarawak’s 2010 production was 10 million cubic metres; the state exported nearly 4 million cubic metres of logs worth RM2 billion. (The Star, 16 February 2011) Measure that against the recent report in December last year when 1000 Penans at Lusong
Laku near Miri were totally cut off because the iron bridge that had been used by the logging company there had been replaced by a makeshift wooden one when they left before the impounding of the Bakun dam and this had collapsed.

Rape of Penan girls

The logging industry has destroyed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people in Sarawak, especially the indigenous peoples. To add insult to injury, the recent expose of the rape of Penan girls and women by personnel in the logging camps has created indignation among concerned peoples all over the world. The fact finding mission by Malaysian NGOs which went to investigate this scandal confirmed these reports of rape and harassment of Penan girls and women. They called for respect for the rights of the indigenous peoples and for the police to investigate all these cases, justice and adequate compensation for all the victims. One of the reasons given for the police apathy was the lack of resources to investigate these

Bakun Dam: Disruptive, dubious and disastrous

READ MORE:  Malaysian activists hold symbolic tribunal investigating deforestation

The displacement of more than 10,000 indigenous peoples comprising 15 different ethnic communities for the Bakun Dam in 1998 was traumatic in itself. Their resettlement to Sg Asap has meant continuing trauma and deterioration of once capable and spirited peoples. The whole Bakun area, the size of Singapore Island has also been thoroughly logged, transforming the once beautiful Rajang into the biggest muddiest river in this part of the world, destroying the hunting and fishing grounds of the indigenous peoples. The recent 240km logjam on the Rajang can be said to be one of the worst environmental disasters in Malaysia in recent years.

The decision to implement “Operation Exodus” by the Mahathir/Taib
Administration was unforgivable when the Bakun project had been suspended in 1998 because of the financial crisis. It did not stop Ekran Bhd subcontracting another Ting Pek Khing company, Pacific Chemicals to harvest 1000 hectares of forest and extracting 79,000 cubic metres of timber from the Bakun area. In 1998, nearly RM1 billion of Malaysian tax payers’ money was paid out to these companies which had been involved in the project.

Show us the Bakun Dam emergency response plan

That is why concerned Malaysian NGOs have all along maintained that this Bakun HEP project is socially disruptive, economically dubious and
environmentally disastrous. And now that we have learnt the lessons of the recent earthquake in Japan, can the Taib State Government show us a Bakun Dam emergency response plan in the event of a dam collapse?

The economic cost of the Bakun dam remains to be counted. We learned recently that Sime Darby has lost more than RM2 billion as a result of their involvement in the Bakun project. For a state where total demand for electricity is less than 1000MW, we have built a dam that produces 2400MW. And the state government plans to build more dams. Energy experts will tell you that having such enormous amount of excess energy is not a boon but is wasteful.

Clearly, the contractors and vested interests have profited from this
project, Malaysian tax payers have to pay, more forests will be raped and more indigenous people will be displaced from their ancestral homes. To take up the excess electricity, energy-intensive industries such as aluminium smelters will be built and the developed countries will be too glad to offload their toxic industries away from their countries to Sarawak.

Sarawak still colonised by the West

When Sarawak first joined the federation, under the First Malaysia Plan, she got 10.5 per cent of total development allocation. As one of the poorest territories in Malaysia, the development allocation for Sarawak instead of growing has fallen to 6.7 per cent of total allocation under the Ninth Malaysia Plan. Under the Fifth and Sixth Malaysia Plans, the allocation for Sarawak was only 5.2 per cent and
5.3 per cent respectively. Only recently, the Education Minister said that 600 schools were in a critical condition, most of these in Sarawak and Sabah and they are thinking of privatising these schools.

This is absolutely scandalous considering the government is about to buy six patrol boats for the navy for RM6 billion and guns worth RM700 million. When the government announced this recently they said we can afford these patrol vessels. Now, you don’t need RM1 million to build a new school, which means that with RM6 billion, we could build at least 6000 brand new schools in the whole country.

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A New Deal for Sarawakians

The peoples of Sarawak deserve a government that respects basic human rights and cares about the welfare and holistic development of the people and environment. The indigenous peoples want a just solution to the encroachment into Native Customary Land by developers, plantation and logging companies and titles to their land.

It is time for Sarawakians to take their destiny into their own hands and work toward their own self-determination and the progress of their resource-rich and beautiful land. It is time for Sarawakians to reclaim their rights and interests intended by the 18-point agreement when Sarawak joined the “Malaysian Federation of Malaya, Sarawak and Sabah”. This is what the federation should have been called – Sarawak and Sabah should not merely be two of the 13 states of Malaysia.

We call for the renegotiation of oil royalty rights (more than 30 per cent) and a higher proportion of development allocation (more than 10 per cent) for Sarawak. The lives of rural peoples should be improved by building proper tarred roads and better river transport to help the people market their produce; micro hydroelectric power facilities or solar powered facilities to supply electricity to each longhouse upstream; more and better schools and clinics to lift the living standards of the local people.

Today, as we celebrate the historic victories of the peoples over autocracy and plutocracy in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and more countries to come, we call on Sarawakians to seize the moment and do what has to be done at the next Sarawak State elections.

Self-determination for Sarawakians! Vote out the exploiters! Oust the

13 April 2011


  1. Aliran Kesedaran Negara (ALIRAN)
  2. All Women’s Action Society (AWAM)
  3. Amnesty International Malaysia (AI Malaysia)
  4. Bersih 2.0
  5. Bruno Manser Fonds
  6. Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ)
  7. Child Development Initiative
  8. Civil Rights Committee of The Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese
    Assembly Hall (CRC-KLSCAH)
  9. Centre for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC)
  10. Coalition of Good Governance Penang (CGGP)
  11. Community Action Network (CAN)
  12. Friends of Kota Damansara (FoKD)
  13. Group of Concerned Citizens
  14. Health Equity Initiatives (HEI)
  15. Ikatan Hak Rakyat
  16. Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas (JERIT)
  17. Johor Tamizhar Sangam
  18. Klang Consumer Association
  19. Lawyers for Liberty (LFL)
  20. The LLG Cultural Development Centre in KL
  21. Malaysia Youth and Students Democratic Movement (DEMA)
  22. Malaysian Dravidian Association
  23. Malaysian Indian Business Association
  24. Malaysian Indian Development & Unity Association
  25. Nationwide Human Development And Research Centre
  26. Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM)
  27. Penang Chinese Independent Schools Education Society
  28. Penang Chung Ling High School Alumni 1973
  29. People Service Organization
  30. Persahabatan Semparuthi
  31. Persatuan Kemajuan Pendidikan Malaysia
  32. Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor (EMPOWER)
  33. Persatuan Masyarakat Selangor & Wilayah Persekutuan (PERMAS)
  34. Persatuan Prihatin Belia Malaysia
  35. Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (KOMAS)
  36. Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia (SABM)
  37. Sembang-Sembang Forum
  38. Sem Kiong Angin
  39. Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)
  40. Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO)
  41. Women’s Centre for Change, Penang (WCC)
  42. Writers’ Alliance for Media Independence (WAMI)
The views expressed in Aliran's media statements and the NGO statements we have endorsed reflect Aliran's official stand. Views and opinions expressed in other pieces published here do not necessarily reflect Aliran's official position.

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Alan Newman. NZ
Alan Newman. NZ
25 Dec 2011 9.03am

Quotes from Free Malaysia Today: Mahathir has also been guilty on a national scale of hijacking the organs of state, doing away with the checks and balances inherent in the legislature, executive and judiciary, dipping his hands into the national cookie jar on behalf of his cronies and to fuel his politics of patronage and institutionalising racism in the country as a national ideology of the ruling elite.
The punishment must fit the crime. In Mahathir’s case, as with Taib, there is no punishment as yet devised for the enormity of their crimes against the state and people, even if they were to be re-born several times over to be punished all over again.

Alan Newman. NZ
Alan Newman. NZ
25 Dec 2011 9.00am

UMNO is rotten to the core. Najib:“I would like to stress here that I have never interfered in MACC’s operations. They are independent and free to carry out their investigations on anyone.” When I read this I fell off my chair and went rolling on the floor laughing.
Your MACC was grilling … Teoh Beng Hock till early morning hours, over some trivial things, when there were and still are crooked ministers whose atrocities are a million times bigger. The whole world is calling for Sarawak Taib’s arrest! Involving multi-billions. With letters addressed to Najib & MACC. Mr PM, you just couldn’t care less. Where is your integrity, morality and credibility now? ZERO. So is Mahathir’s. Alan Newman, NZ

Alan Newman. NZ
Alan Newman. NZ
25 Dec 2011 8.59am

With 31 yrs of abuse of power, … plunder of his people, over 10 years of the same by his Uncle before him, the Sarawak CM must be (hauled up) now. His morality, integrity; legitimacy & right to lead are ZERO.

… elections by dishonest means for decades, some of them:
b)Deception & stifling of Opposition through state-controlled media.
c) Using public/ resources for logistics, transportation, undue influence … vote-buying and vote- winning…
e)Gerrymandering, eg: Putrajaya, 98% Malay, needs only 5,000 votes while Chinese seats like Selayang need more than 120,000 votes!

His total wealth, including those of 400+ companies, is estimated to be (billions). Despite this monstrous crime & international clamour for Taib’s arrest, Najib, MACC, BN, all pretend…that (this plunder) didn’t occur, the reasons are obvious…

Nothing will be done, unless Arab Spring type pressures are mounted …

Alan Newman. NZ
Alan Newman. NZ
28 Oct 2011 8.32pm

… and you honour him with ‘Tan Sri, Datuk, Pehin, Patinggi, Abang….’ Laughing Stock! Outrageous, disgrace. He should have been in jail years ago, and you are tolerating him day after day!

Alan Newman. NZ
Alan Newman. NZ
12 Jul 2011 8.49pm

“Umno, we voted you into power, you enjoy plundering & prosperity then turn around & repress & torture us – your people” Now PM Najib, Home Minister Hishamuddin, Sarawak’s Taib Mahmud are all experts in deception & twisting of facts, just like those leaders & ex-leaders of Zimbabwe, Uganda, Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Syria, North Korea, Burma. … when we have peaceful rally they say we want to cause chaos, and tarnish Malaysia’s image. Image was tarnished long ago by those politicians walking in Putrajaya and Kuching…. They spend all their time politicking, back-stabbing fabricating crimes blamed on the Opposition….They are not leading, progressing (like Singapore) and not doing Malaysia any good at all. They excel in purchases & projects running in billions. … Corruption is Crime. The French military/submarine deal (which Malaysia needs the least) paid over RM300million in (“commission”) … the Mongolian Lady’s threat … her subsequent blasted death. Likewise Ross Boyert, Taib’s former Aide in USA & (missing) Swiss Activist Bruno Mansur The undisclosed outflow of funds from Malaysia in 8 years was RM880 billion (not million). Since the days of Taib’s Uncle Yakub,… Read more »

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