Thief Minister! Taib’s abuse of his position in Sarawak over more than three decades has led to him becoming Malaysia’s richest individual, says BMF.
He is the man who cashed-in an entire jungle of valuable hard timber. He is also the man who controls all the land titles for an area roughly the size of England, a position which he has systematically abused to enrich himself.
Sarawak Chief Minister, Taib Mahmud, is furthermore the gate-keeper for all the state and federal contracts handed out in Sarawak and he has privatised most of its key industries into his own family companies.
Taib family line up – once all poor now vastly rich, thanks to Taib’s illegal abuse of his position as Chief Minister
So it should come as little surprise that the latest audit on the Mahmud family, conducted by the Swiss NGO the Bruno Manser Fund (BMF), has estimated his wealth at a staggering USD15 billion.
It makes him Malaysia’s richest man, with his illegally gained assets topping those of the ‘sugar king’ Robert Kuok, who leads the Forbes Rich List for Malaysias with a mere USD12 billion.
BMF, which campaigns on environmental and indigenous issues in Sarawak, makes clear that this is a conservative estimate of the Chief Minister’s wealth, acquired through 30 years of systematic and documented plunder of Sarawak’s wealth and natural resources.
The audit, which forms part of a report entitled “The Taib Timber Mafia. Facts and Figures on Politically Exposed Persons from Sarawak, Malaysia” was released today in Brussels to mark the visit of the Malaysian Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Bernard Dompok, to the European Commission.
Environmental organisations have protested against any timber agreements with Malaysia until the corrupt and unrestrained logging practices are ended in Sarawak and in Sabah.
“More money than I could ever spend”
The report describes Taib as “The Godfather of a family business empire” with illicit assets in excess of USD20billion, of which his personal worth forms at least USD15 billion and:
“..describes in detail the business activities and personal wealth of twenty members of the Taib family, one of South East Asia’s most notorious kleptocratic clans with business interests in Malaysia, Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom, the United States and other countries”. [BMF release]
The charity declares its audit has been drawn up after a comprehensive analysis of the evidence now available relating to Taib and his family’s business assets, land grabs, concessions and contracts.
Altogether, the assets of 20 members of the Chief Minister’s family are analysed totalling a combined estimated wealth of USD21million. These members include Taib’s four children, his siblings, cousin Hamed Sepawi and also his two son-in-laws and brother-in-law, Robert Geneid, who have been absorbed into the family concerns.
The report lends substance to Taib’s own boasts on the campaign trail at last year’s state election that he has “more money than I could ever spend”!
Time Najib took action!
This latest revelation raises yet again the issue of Prime Minister Najib Razak’s failure to take action over this rogue Chief Minister, whose greed and corruption has now reached legendary status even in Malaysia, where political corruption is commonplace.
The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) has acknowledged it has opened an investigation into Taib, following numerous denunciations and also numerous reports containing solid information on this site.
However, until it gets the political green light, it is sadly well-known that the MACC lacks the independence to act.
The PM did try to encourage the failing 75 year old to step down before the recent state election. However, Taib refused to quit out of a justifiable fear that once removed from office he could be prosecuted.
A public promise was extracted that Taib would move soon after that state election, but with a Federal Election, G13, now on the horizon there is little sign he plans to make good the promise.