Hornbill Unleashed

November 6, 2010

Hard Evidence – Sanyan Scandal Exposes Taib!

By Sarawak report

Evidence in a bitter court battle, currently being played out in Sibu, has laid out in devastating detail a mass of shocking information about the corruption at the heart of Sarawak’s State Government.

There has been little reporting of the case so far, because the Taib family have been doing their best to suppress it, however Sarawak Report has now obtained extensive documents relating to the hearing, all of which have been laid before the open court.

The case, which has been brought by the respected local businessman Dato’ Ting Check Sii against his former partner, Tufail Mahmud, brother of the Chief Minister, provides one of the closest insights so far into the illegal methods which the Taibs have used to extend their grasp over Sarawak’s wealth.  It shows clearly the direct role the Chief Minister plays in orchestrating his family’s raid on businesses and state concessions and how they employ  a network of tame businessmen and ‘nominees’ to manage and disguise their plunder of the State.

Concessions for sale and ‘nominees’ to disguise family interests

One of the most disturbing aspects of the case is Ting’s description of  how Taib family members employ nominees to disguise favouritism by the Chief Minister in the granting of state licences and concessions.  For example, in his written evidence Ting states:

“In 1987, I set up Sanyan Lumber Sdn Bhd which was given a timber concession.  The shares of this company are held by me (50%) and Draman @ Morshidi bin Omar (50%) (as nominee of Datuk Tufail).  Datuk Tufail told me that he needed to use a nominee  because his brother was then and still is the Minister for Resource Planning.  Datuk Tufail now denies Draman is his nominee, even though Datuk Tufail and I are the only joint bank signatories for this Company”.

Such admissions from Dato’ Ting about the way his business was operated are deeply damaging, because until recently he was one of the Taib family’s closest business confidants and one of Sarawak’s top Timber Towkays.  For 25 years he partnered Taib’s younger brother Tufail Mahmud as the co-owner of the Sanyan Group, which controlled 25 separate companies. The group’s enterprises also benefited a number of the Chief Minister’s other brothers, including Arip Mahmud, Onn Mahmud and Ibrahmin Mahmud.  Shares have also been handed to Taib’s own

daughter Hanifah Taib, including one million shares in Sanyan Wood Industries. Indeed Ting has even confided to third parties that the Chief Minister had personally said to him:

“If you offer my brother more than 50% of the shares, then there will be more concessions for you!” [Abdul Taib Mahmud, Chief Minister]

That statement lays bare the Chief Minister’s corrupt management of his responsibilities with the sole purpose of self-enrichment.  Ting has made clear that there was never any contribution from any of the Taib brothers towards the costs of the Sanyan Group and that they did not purchase their shares.  Paying off Taib by favouring his brothers in this way was how Ting’s business was allowed to prosper.

However, it is clear that by putting his trust in such a bargain Ting enabled his own eventual downfall.  The majority shareholding gave Tufail the opportunity to wrest control over the US$ 400 million conglomerate, even though he had not contributed a single ringgit towards it.

Going public

It is for this reason that Ting is one of a growing number of businessmen who have made the brave decision to place his grievances against Sarawak’s ruling family before a public court.  His evidence, whatever the outcome of the case, is compelling and based on inside knowledge.

Furthermore, his identification of Mr Moshidi bin Omar as a nominee of Tufail Mahmud and other allegations are substantiated by documented information available from the Registrar of Companies.  Moshidi bin Omar has been listed as the shareholder of several concerns that are controlled by Tufail, yet he has no separate status as a businessman and he has regularly ‘sold’ his shares on to Tufail Mahmud when convenient to do so.

Goodmatch Sdn Bhd, another Sanyan Company

According to the court documents, the Sanyan subsidiary Goodmatch provides another key example of the abuse of  nominees to disguise a conflict of interest on the part of the Chief Minister and his family. Goodmatch Sdn Bhd was used by Ting and Tufail in 1993 to enter a joint venture with the Japanese Noda Corporation in the construction of a plywood factory.

Goodmatch was not only granted a timber concession by the State Planning and Resources Minister (ie the Chief Minister, Abdul Taib Mahmud), but was also accorded 5 years ’Pioneer Status’ for the joint venture project, later extended for a further 5 years, by the State Finance Minister (ie the Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud), thereby allowing it a 100% tax exemption!

According  the Sarawak Government’s official portal, Pioneer Status is meant to apply to ”strategic projects in hi-tech industries with heavy capital investment, high R&D content or intensive linkages”, so how a plywood factory might qualify is an interesting matter.  Meanwhile, Tufail Mahmud clearly considered it prudent to disguise his shareholding in this favoured company by again using Mr Morshidi Omar as his nominee Director and Shareholder for the first five years, holding 55% of the shares to Ting’s 45%.

Indeed, the registered company documents show that Tufail did not publicly become a Director of Goodmatch until 2002, when the pioneer status period and timber licence had expired.  Likewise, he had not publicly become a shareholder until 1998 when Goodmatch ‘sold’ 54.997% of its shares to him, leaving Ting with his 45% and Mr Morshidi Omar continuing as a Director, but with a mere RM1.00 stake in the company!   Given that Goodmatch is a subsidiary of the Sanyan Group which was co-owned and controlled by Ting and Tufail, the conclusion that Morshidi Omar is indeed merely a nominee (as stated by by Ting) is therefore inevitable.

But, should there be any remaining doubt, Tufail’s own evidence to the court proves Morshidi Omar’s status as a nominee.  Even though Moshidi Omar had originally been registered as the public owner, Tufail now acknowledges simply:

“Goodmatch was incorporated with myself and the Petitioner [Ting] as shareholders and directors”

By 1999, Goodmatch was receiving over RM10 million in profit from its joint venture activities alone, 55% of which was going to the Chief Minister’s brother.

Chief Minister is complicit

Dato’ Ting’s evidence makes abundantly clear that the Chief Minister himself is totally complicit in these arrangements and abuses his political power to control them.  In the case of Sanyan Lumber for example, after 16 years of annually renewing its timber concession Taib cancelled it, immediately after Ting and Tufail fell out as business partners.  In his testimony Ting explains:

“The timber concession Licence was not renewed in July 2003 and was instead given to Misi Gagah Sdn Bhd, a company controlled by Datuk Tufail through other nominees of his…. Misi Gagah now occupies the former office of Sanyan Lumber and utilises its former staff whose salaries continue to be paid by Sanyan Lumber until Labour Department put a stop to it in the middle of 2006″.

Sarawak Report therefore challenges Datuk Tufail and the Chief Minister to explain why the same office and staff should continue to be maintained by Sanyan Lumbar, unless at least some of the shareholders of the new company to be awarded the licence were not the same as the old one?   This incident clearly demonstrates the ruthless action that the Chief Minister is prepared to take to keep his family’s control of key timber licences and to extract maximum profit from bleeding businesses in Sarawak.

Taib’s tentacles reach into every business

Ting’s evidence to the court about the development of the Sanyan Group provides a clear exposition as to how Taib imposes his family interests on all the business in the State of Sarawak, profiting from every enterprise.  The Towkay points out that he provided all the money and management that went into building the conglomerate and then constructing its famous headquarters, the Sanyan Tower in Sibu. The only contribution brought by the Mahmud brothers was their crucial relationship with the Chief Minister.

Despite this, says Ting, Tufail Mahmud always insisted on the lion share of the profit and a controlling majority of company shares, a demand that was impossible to resist given the power of his brother to grant and remove key licences.  Records show that Ting’s salary was also half that of Tufail’s.  Sources say it was frequently joked at the Sanyan Group that while Ting was the Day Manager at Sanyan, Tufail looked after the Night-shift.  This was a reference to Tufail’s lengthy absences during office hours and to the bedroom furniture that he had imported into his office in the Sanyan Tower.

On the other hand it is plain that businessmen like Ting benefit from tempting rewards, courtesy of the Chief Minister, for as long as they cooperate with the Taibs’ greedy demands.  Indeed it was famously noted that on the completion of the Sanyan Tower the State Government decided to move its offices into eleven stories of the building, thus ensuring that Sanyan managed to go straight into profit at a time when there was a reported glut in office space.  Pelita Towerview Sdn Bhd is the subsidiary of Sanyan Holdings which owns the Sanyan Tower, of which Tufail has a 56% shareholding and Ting a 44% shareholding, meaning there was a clear conflict of interest in Taib’s decision to spend taxpayers’ money on renting the offices.

Likewise, from the moment that Ting went into business with Tufail and also his brother Arip in the early 80s, his evidence makes clear that a string of valuable contracts came the way of their various enterprises.  Such rewards would have been unlikely for a less well-connected company, which is why the Taib family members are to be found enjoying such a mass of Directorships across the State, sitting on Boards for which they have no qualification and to which they have contributed nothing.

Sanyan and Archipeligo Shipping

In this manner the Sanyan Group’s first venture in 1983 was Binta Corporation Sdn Bhd.  The court depositions explain that this was one of a series of shipping companies, which benefited from contracts with Archipeligo Shipping to provide transportation services from Tanjong Manis Port.   Archipeligo Shipping had in turn been handed a monopoly over handling all shipping in Sarawak by the Chief Minister and was it was entirely owned by another brother, Onn Mahmud.

The clear purpose of  Archipeligo, has been to act as a classic Taib ‘gate-keeper’ company, with no infrastructure and few staff, purely to enable Onn to privately ‘tax’ and control the shipping of all the logs leaving Sarawak.  Several insiders have confirmed to Sarawak Report that all foreign exporters were required to pay backhanders in US dollars into a series of  Taib-owned companies set up in Hong Kong in order to be allowed to conduct their business of shipping logs from Sarawak.

Under the system the weight of the logs exported was totalled each month and Kin Kwok Shea, Onn’s office manager in Hong Kong, would then inform the shipping companies of the cut they had to pay and into which of the various Taib-owned companies in Hong Kong.  This practice was publicly exposed by the Japanese Tax Authorities in 2007 , when they demanded tax be paid on these undeclared business kickback expenses by Japanese shipping companies.  The tax authorities revealed that at least US$10 million had to their knowledge been paid into Regent Star Company in Hong Kong, of which Kin Kwok Shea is the registered shareholder.  Key inside sources have confirmed to Sarawak Report that in fact Shea, like bin Omar is a nominee, this time for Onn Mahmud, who in turn represents his brother the Chief Minister of Sarawak as the true beneficiary of the shipping kickbacks.

The money raised by Archipeligo for the Chief Minister amounted to billions of ringgit annually, according to the insiders, who describe it as the Taib family ‘cash cow’ or ‘gold mine’.  It is this operation that provided the foundation of the family’s wealth until Sarawak’s world class rainforest heritage was finally stripped bare earlier this decade.

Sources say that another advantage of the Archipeligo monopoly during this period was that the company had sole control over the gathering of logging statistics, enabling it to provide false information to the government (run by the M.D’s own brother), which was then passed on to international bodies such as the International Tropical Timber Organisation.  In this way Sarawak was able to give an impression of sustainable logging and to disguise the level of greedy plunder that was actually taking place!

In this context Ting’s Sanyan Group managed to get a wealthy living performing contracts for Archipeligo to supply services to the shipping companies.  They received these contracts , thanks to the preferential treatmetn allowed by Onn towards his brothers Arip and Tufail (who were Ting’s partners).  Sanyan then subsequently took advantage of lucrative logging concessions and developed saw mills thanks again to the active support of the Chief Minster.

Dancing with the devil?

Insiders have confirmed to Sarawak Report that in the same way that the other Mahmud brothers used nominees to disguise their shares and directorships, they themselves perform the role of nominee for the Chief Minister.  The bulk of the profits of the Taib business empire in Sarawak goes straight to Abdul Taib Mahmud himself.  This pattern matches the documentary evidence uncovered by Sarawak Report in the United States, showing that Taib secretly requires his family members to hold their shares in trust for him and it explains his vast wealth and string of properties in Malaysia and abroad.

Our sources have disclosed the astonishing information that Taib controls his nominees, most of them family members, by forcing them to sign undated resignation letters and share transfer forms, which the Chief Minister keeps!  If any of these family nominess fall out of favour the Chief Minister is then able to deploy their own signatures to have them removed!  Onn Mahmud himself is believed to have fallen out of favour in this fashion prior to the kickback scandal and he has been sidelined from most of the Taib family businesses in recent years.

The experience of Dato’ Ting shows that, likewise, businessmen who profit by ‘playing the system’  are in equal danger of the same ruthless treatment from the Taibs.  In his evidence he reveals that by first allowing Tufail to take the controlling majority of shares and then permitting him to bring in more family members as Directors onto the Board, he ultimately gave his partner the means to wrest control of the company that he had done so little to create.  Ting writes:

“In 1998 [Tufail] requested that his brother Dato Haji Ibrahim bin Mahmud be appointed a director of Sanyan Holdings and [I] acceded to his request.  In early 2003, he again requested that his daughter Anita Hamidah Tufail be appointed a director and I also acceded to his request.  With the addition of his family members to the Board of Directors he was able to sieze control of the company and disregard [my] interests”.

Falling out

Ting blames the breakdown in relations between the former partners on this decision to allow college graduate Anita, a girl in her 20s with no business experience, to join the Board.  He says Anita immediately set about criticising the way Sanyan Holdings was run and relations rapidly soured.  By using the votes of his brother Ibrahim and his daughter, Tufail was able to enact a Boardroom coup and remove Ting from his position as Managing Director of the entire company and all its subsidiaries.

Having now taken control of the multi-million dollar company for which they had paid and done nothing, the Tufail family then stopped the payment of all salary and dividends due to Ting and went to extreme lengths to have him removed from his office in the Sanyan building and to sack all the long-term staff who were considered faithful to Ting.  Ting relates that this vindictive treatment was even extended to one of his nephews, a qualified engineer and an employee, who was demoted to the role of toilet attendant!

Sarawak Report believes there can be no clearer proof of the level of corruption that the Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud has inflicted on his country over the past 30 years than the scandalous evidence brought forward in the Sanyan case.  The Taibs will be doing their utmost to make sure that the judiciary find against Ting’s suit for compensation and the rightful return of his company, but they cannot hide the facts that have been brought before the courts. – Sarawak Report

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19 Comments »

  1. More need to be done. But well done, you did a good job to fight against corruption.We need expose it internatuonally throught NGO organisation.

    Comment by Joseph Wong — March 27, 2011 @ 6:30 PM | Reply

  2. DON’T SHAKE HANDS WITH THE DEVIL

    After reading Sarawak Report very balanaced report on the Sanyan Scandal we can now understand why Taib admitted by a slip of his tongue recently “I’ve got more money than I can ever spend, so I don’t worry about money. All my children now look after [my money], so I am giving you something very nice” (whatever that means- another nasty landgrab?)

    Yes, never shake hands with the Devil on any deals. The Devil always claim your soul as the price. All the fables say you end up with being cheated horribly by the Devil as happened to Dato Ting – who no doubt has done very well (thank you) from stripping our timberlands. No need to feel sorry for him. He helped Taib to commit the crimes against our people and the environment.

    Dato had to bribed the Devil by giving his brother Tufail 551% majority share (big mistake)(“Tufei” means bandit in Chineses according to Wiki dictionary) to get his timber licences as the evidence revealed.

    Taib waited till millions worth of cash and solid real estate had been accumulated by the Sanyan company and then turfed Dato out. This is how cunning he is. So it was double dealing grand robbery. First he robbed the Dayaks of their land and then robbed Dato. Then he probably sold the land plus a getting another big kickback to set up an oil palm plantation after he stripped the land bare (just conjecture- don’t know if he did) . SO may be he got 3 or more big bites out of the deals.

    The trouble probably began in China centuries ago. There they were used to bribing officials to get things approved and done etc. So when the Chinese business men came to S.E. Asia including Sarawak they continued the practice. But then often the locals also expected to be paid. It was like fair trade.

    This wicked system got entrenched and now everyone who does business has to bribe the officials.

    So now the only way to stop all this is for businessmen of all races and creeds to stop this practice. In the PKR run Malayan States they are trying to overcome this with TRANSPARENCY in public dealings.

    In the United Kingdom, the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 legally protects whistleblowers from victimisation and dismissal.

    Dato is the not so honourable whistleblower. He gave the majority of Chinese a bad name because other people simply start blaming “the Chinese” for everything that has happened to the land and people.

    How far his case will go remains to be seen as Taib will try to drag out the court drama unless he manoeuvres for a quick and quiet solution….

    Does he care? May be. In the USA ex-employee Ross Boyert who blew the whistle on him met an unpleasant death by plastic bag asphyxiation. We read about the mysterious deaths and disappearances of anti-logging activities. Even Bruno Manser was shot at and to this day he has not be seen or heard from…

    So watch out

    Comment by Abang — November 9, 2010 @ 2:24 PM | Reply

  3. ChangeMalaysia — November 8, 2010 @ 8:46 AM,

    Let me get this out of the way: I agree with you on meritocracy. Thats what any rational Malaysian wants.

    The difference in our view is that, I’m not fixated on the Bumiputera and non-Bumiputera as being the root cause, although I grant that is one of the key contributer to crony capitalism.

    I see this from an objective, non-racial, non-religion – but strictly humanistic lens. The root cause is the archaic value system.

    If you take of the Bumi/non-bumi racial lense, you will realise that the sort of crony capitalism, abuse of power, and corruption that came to light in Dato Ting case, could have happened between Bumiputera:Bumiputera, Bumiputer:non-Bumiputera, and non-Bumiputera:non-Bumiputera.

    There is no statistic to back up any notion that it is more rampant (in $size and frequency) between Bumiputera:non-Bumiputra even when our gut feeling may suggest otherwise; and as your views seem to suggest. Think of PKFZ, and think about the froggy politician in Perak.

    What if Najib’s NEM is removed of any preferential treatment for Bumiputera, is crony capitalism, abuse of power, corruption – going to disappear overnight ? I don’t think so, not unless as Malaysian, we manage to change our value system.

    What value system is that ?

    Precisely the type that justify it OK to partner the like of Tufail, give him 50% of the share – in return for logging concession; as long as you don’t get caught, or your partner doesn’t get greedy. Ahhh, part of the cost of doing business with powerful Bumiputera politician, right ?

    If George Chan is the Chief Minister, and Anisa Chan were to partner Dato Ting, does it make it right – because the crony transaction would be non-Bumiputra:non-Bumiputra ? Or is not plausibe, that anyone (not only Bumiputera) – regardless of race and religion, with the power to grant timber logging license to anyone he damn well please, like Taib, will not become just like him ? Unless their value system consider it a moral imperative to see no evil, hear no evil, smell no evil …. commit no abuse of power, no corruption.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not heartless. I sympathize with Dato Ting, and knowing he must have families, relatives and friends who would depend on his business for a living, I wish him success to reclaim his business in the industrial court.

    But sympathy does not equate to agreeing with what he had done, or to place honor and respect for the path he had chosen. I can be quite sure, not every timber companies would made a pact with the Taib family, and yet they manage to succeed. He made a choice to do so, perhaps for business expediency or whatever – but you would be sending the wrong message if you suggest he be admired: Dato Ting and those like him, will never learn the error in their ways. People like him will bribe the devil himself, if that would bring an extra buck. Period.

    And thats not the value system will want to perpetuate – in any Malaysian community.

    Comment by MERAMAT TAJAK — November 8, 2010 @ 8:58 PM | Reply

  4. [...] [See previous article] [...]

    Pingback by Taib’s family ‘cheated’ Japanese shareholders! | — November 8, 2010 @ 8:43 PM | Reply

  5. Reading article like this makes me very sad..I’m sad that we Sarawakian continue living in denial of the rape of our motherland by our own people..

    Comment by awg1031 — November 8, 2010 @ 10:49 AM | Reply

  6. I don’t sympathise with Ting! He made numerous deals with the devil and helped raped Sarawak.

    Like the Chinese say: “Heaven has eyes!” He reaps what he sows. The devil has turned on him. Fortunately, it happened otherwise we will all still be in the dark!

    There are still so many Sarawak companies out there that have yet to be swallowed up by the devil i.e Hock Seng Lee, Sam Ling and the SUPP allied companies in Sibu. Remember, “HEAVEN HAS EYES!” or in hockkien: TEE OO BAK!

    GOD BLESS SARAWAK! We are grateful to Sarawak Report for your excellent coverage! Please expose corruption, scandals and be brave crusader for love of country and the rakyat.

    Comment by ak Sarawak — November 7, 2010 @ 8:37 PM | Reply

    • BO YING

      I think Buddhists call it something like “bo ying” or Hindu “Karma…”

      Roughly translated: “If you do bad things you will get back the same”.

      “Those who produce a good action will receive ten like it. But those who produce a bad action will only be repaid with its equivalent and they will not be wronged.” (Surat al-An’am: 160)

      The Bible says “whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” St Paul, Galatians 6-7

      Or another similar warning is that if you do bad things you will be reincarnated as a pig or some animal…

      Taib probably come back as the slimy snake he is since he does wriggles around rather well don’t you think?

      Some how I don’t think this will worry any of our dear corrupt politicians or their business cronies..they just hacing a grand life now as they know “you just can’t take the loot with you”. Maybe burn paper money, paper Rolls Royce limousines,

      The other lesson is of course never shake hands with the Devil…

      Nevertheless we should be grateful for the dirty linen being washed up in court so we know more about their dirty deals. It is also our day in court as it were..what a spectacle!

      The truth will always come out Taib, no matter where you hide the loot or your dark deeds. Ross Boyert’s ghost already haunts you night and day….don’t what other skeletons there may be…..

      Comment by Abang — November 8, 2010 @ 2:07 PM | Reply

  7. The reason why this happens is the inherent system placed in Malaysia where Bumiputeras are given special treatment compared to Chinese. You can’t blame the Chinese for thinking money money money because if we don’t have money who is going to take care of us? The government? Dream on. It is not like we can easily get proper education and government assistance. If the Bumiputeras prefer a laid back lifestyle its perfectly fine, just don’t complain when some other people get richer than you when it is so easy for you to prosper. Most companies have to register their businesses under a Bumiputera and they get a lot of money for doing nothing. It is common practice in any business to have to somehow bribe a high-ranking bumiputera official to get things done. What do you do when your own bumiputera creates the problem that non-bumiputeras have no choice but to play along to. At least Dato Ting worked hard and prospered in a system where it is inevitable to collaborate with a corrupt Bumiputera.

    Comment by ChangeMalaysia — November 7, 2010 @ 4:04 PM | Reply

  8. Sarawak Report should compile all these scandals and corrupt deals in a Black Book and or CD with an appropriate title, to be printed/produced in all major languages of Sarawak and distributed throughout Sarawak. I am sure SADIA and MoCS will be more than happy to assist in the distributions.

    Sarawakians are never anti-rich. WE are anti-cronyism, anti-nepotism and strongly against elected politicians, ministers, and cronies enriching themselves at the expense of the rakyat.

    Comment by Mata Kuching — November 7, 2010 @ 1:16 PM | Reply

  9. “would modern day young Chinese follow in the foot steps of these Sarawak timber tycoons and “collaborate” with the Taib family, in the quest for wealth – and every now and then would often screw the NCR land of the poor Dayak”

    Where you think the timbers towkay gets their income…young or old? somewhere somehow they are collaborating if not with Taib family….with Taib cronies and the end the end result is the same…filty rich!

    I bet on my last dime…they will as long make profits! Its the nature of the chinese…money money money….more money….

    Comment by Anak Sarawak 444 — November 7, 2010 @ 2:07 AM | Reply

    • Anak Sarawak 444,

      Of course its perfectly OK to be filthy rich, as Mata Kuching said. The corporate tax pays for many of the public expenditures.

      The rhetorical question is, “how Sarawak Chinese see the relationship of many of the captains of the timber industry (many are of Chinese origin), with Taib and his cronies ?

      Are they heroes for managing to prosper in “adversed” business environment, or are they party to the corruption and the abuse of power – and be rightly condemned as parasites in the symbiosis ? Are they not equally accountable for feeding the monstrosity ?

      I think these are important points to ponder. For, if people like Dato Ting, are still seen as heroes by the Sarawak Chinese folks and the rest of Sarawakian in general, then there will be no change even if Taib and his entire cronies are removed from the state.

      The unpleasant truth for all Sarawak Chinese intellectuals (and for all of us) is that a character like Taib is created by the excessive greed of the timber industry itself. So, until there is a change in the value system, the industry will create a few 100 more men like Taib, in a blink of an eye – and render all that promise of political and socio reforms as nothing more than empty promises.

      I like to think that many progressive Sarawak Chinese have begun to ditch the “Chinaman” business ethics – and dismantle parts of the archaic value system, for everyone’s good. But I supposed, these things will take time – as it would be with any other community.

      Comment by Meramat Tajak — November 7, 2010 @ 4:10 PM | Reply

      • Are you even aware that the Chinese can not get any of these contracts without going through a high profile bumiputera like Taib? Don’t blame greed as a motivating factor. Blame the fact that in Malaysia big contracts are first given to Bumiputera and the Chinese who wish to have to a slice of these contracts need to bribe or lobby for it. Do you think this would have happen if contracts are given to the best bidder? Why would there be a need to collaborate with government officials if the company with the highest bid wins it? Why would Dato Ting want to work with Taib if they could lobby for it on fair terms.The root of the problem is not the greed of the timber industry nor the Chinese. It is the fact that there is no equality when doing business.

        Comment by ChangeMalaysia — November 7, 2010 @ 4:28 PM | Reply

      • ChangeMalaysia:

        I take your point – but this is not a Bumiputera/non-Bumiputera rent-seeking scenario.

        This is a case where the Chief Minister abuse his power, by exacting a price before issuing/renewing timber license, and Dato Ting, by his own admission – was a willing accomplice.

        Further, in this case, the Chief Minister is a person with enormous authority – who can be a Chinese,Iban or Indian, for argument sake.

        And, for crying out loud – you may also be aware that the captains of the timber industry are the Chief Minister biggest supporters -e.g Samling donated a pretty nice mansion in California to Taib Mahmud. They could very well be bank rolling BN election machinery in the next SE.

        So my probing question of the Sarawak Chinese value system, in regard to the symbiosis between Taib and the timber industry, is not one that can be casted in Bumiputra and non-Bumiputera rent-seeking polemics.

        Lets also not forget that: in Malaysia, even a Bumiputera does not automatically get preferential business treatment from another Bumiputera in authority ! You have to be in the inner circle of cronies.

        Malaysian business and competitiveness are victims of crony capitalism. And since, in Sarawak Timber industry, most of the successful players are Chinese, we look to them to change their value system. When the giving stop, as the saying goes – cronyism would suffocate a natural death.

        But if you allow, just for an iota – that Dato Ting was doing the right thing,because he had to – by giving free share to Tufail nominee – knowingly, then I’m afraid, we will never end cronyism – just that the crony players would change, depending on who hold the mantle of political power.

        Dato Ting would just be a glad to share his company with George Chan – if George is the Chief Minsiter, vested with the power to renew logging license, won’t he ? Is he a hero, or a villain ?

        Comment by Meramat Tajak — November 7, 2010 @ 7:49 PM | Reply

      • That is why i brought up the rent-seeking issue. It is because inequality between bumi and non-bumi creates a mentality that is what we see today.

        For the ones who receive benefits, a mentality that we don’t need to work as hard and we can rely on handout occurs and those who are lucky enough to have authority will often abuse it because they are not willing to work as hard but still want to make money.

        For those have-nots, a mentality that if i work hard i may not get what i want is created. Therefore, i have to play a different game and grab anything i can when the opportunity arises. It is certainly heartbrokeaking to see a business that you put so much effort in be crushed by an opponent that is willing to play by the rules. This is why despite Dato Ting collaborating with Taib, he is still respected amongst the Chinese. The main factor being hardworking and succeeding in an evironment where it is against him.

        If a society is built on your abilities and achievements and not what is bestowed upon you as your given right then rampant abuse will decrease. I am not saying that corruption will be completely eliminated as there will always be greedy individuals but the very basics of a society must be so that all of us are equal if you expect everyone to play on equal terms.

        Comment by ChangeMalaysia — November 8, 2010 @ 8:46 AM | Reply

  10. Not that angry because rural voters do not and I repeat do not have access to internet. So Taib will continue to plunder for another 10 years unless the good Lord decides his time is up.

    Comment by Sarawak Son — November 6, 2010 @ 11:04 PM | Reply

  11. Agree with Apaijabu, another coup by Sarawak Report … but what’s the deal with the phrase …”respected local businessman Dato’ Ting Check Sii” ?

    The chap knowingly made a pact with the devil, and would have continued his business relationship with Tufail, and the Taib family, for as long as the family wants him.

    He has no qualms about giving away his share, and effectively taking part in corrupt business practice – in the name of profit.

    Somehow, a generalization this: in the world of timber towkays, profit trump ethics and morals – and their complicit with Taib abuse of power, makes them no better than the Thief Minister himself.

    “Respected local businessmen ?” I would have more respect if he had refused to reward the Taib family in return for the timber concession. Now, the court dispute it just a case of alpha thief stealing from another weaker thief.

    Now from a social angle, an interesting thought to ponder: would modern day young Chinese follow in the foot steps of these Sarawak timber tycoons and “collaborate” with the Taib family, in the quest for wealth – and every now and then would often screw the NCR land of the poor Dayak ? Hold these people in high regard for being able to navigate the corridors of power, to get to the timber in Penan sanctuary ?

    SarawakReport – excellent job, but please don’t slip up and heap praise on rascals Dato’ Ting. The young might confused corruption and abuse of power, with ethical business practice.

    Comment by Meramat Tajak — November 6, 2010 @ 10:14 PM | Reply

  12. Pakatan should have its own white paper on the thief minister of Sarawak, being the most corrupted CM in the world.

    Comment by Asri Rahman — November 6, 2010 @ 6:16 PM | Reply

  13. Pakatan should compile all the investigative reports by Sarawak Report on Taib Mahmud, family and cronies and demand for answers and explanation in their manifestos. Sarawakians especially the marginalised, oppressed and colonised rural poor want Taib Mahmud to be accountable for all his ill gotten wealth at the expense of past, present and future Malaysians who are entitled to the assets and wealth of Sarawak.

    Comment by Lee Hui — November 6, 2010 @ 9:46 AM | Reply

  14. Well done Sarawak Report. Another coup that is going to eat up Taib’s inside. The old fart must be seething and forming at the mouth. Slowly but surely the shits on Taib is going to float up piece by piece until he’s buried deep in it. His greed is now his greatest curse that has fallen on himself and his family and cronies. Can’t wait for your next article, SR.

    Comment by Apaijabu — November 6, 2010 @ 8:50 AM | Reply


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