In with the Government in Canada
The Taib family’s local acumen in channelling government expenditure into their business activities appears to have extended into Canada, according to the information gathered by Sarawak Report into their Canadian property empire.
Their company Sakto’s success in attracting tenancies from state organisations funded by the Canadian tax payer can only be described as enviably impressive. Their string of developments appear to be a magnet for government bodies in search of office space. Plaques outside Sakto’s key buildings testify to their trusted status as landlords to Provincial and Federal Government agencies.
Most noticeable is the mass occupancy by no less than eleven Ontario Government Ministries at the company’s Preston Square site. According to an official press release in 2007 by the Ontario Realty Corporation, the provincial government body responsible for locating offices, these are the:
- Ministry of the Attorney General
- Ministry of Children and Youth Services
- Ministry of Citizenship and Immigration
- Ministry of Community and Social Services
- Ministry of Culture
- Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care
- Ministry of Health Promotion
- Ministry of Labour
- Ministry of Tourism
- Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities
- Ministry of Transportation.
Indeed, the Ontario Realty Corporation itself is listed as an occupant on the plaque of the complex’s ‘Tower III’ building.
Another Sakto building which has attracted public offices is 2745 Iris Street, which the company describes as a 6 story Class A Office Block. When Sakto purchased in 2001 the building was leased to the company Nortel, however the building is now occupied by federal Government of Canada offices.
2625 Queensview Drive, also hosts Ontario’s main government enterprise arm the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE) program ‘to strengthen research linkages between academia and industry’.
Jamilah Taib, daughter of Taib Mahmud, who set up Sakto as a student in her tender early 20s is now a prominent Ottawa socialite and has been a regular supporter of the Canadian Liberal Party. She and her husband, Sakto Director Sean Murray and the company itself donated a total of $6 thousand dollars to the campaign costs of Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty’s 2003 campaign.
Also in 2003, the soon-to-be Canandian Prime Minister, Paul Martin, leased 6,000 square feet in Sakto’s Preston Street offices to accomodate the ”War Room’ for his leadership campaign. The Liberal Party soon lost power, however, in the face of the so-called Sponsorship Scandal. Following a major public enquiry the party was exposed for having abused public money and trust by funnelling inappropriate contracts and rewards to private companies that had supported its campaigns. However neither Paul Martin himself nor indeed Sakto was implicated in this scandal.
Back in 2004, meanwhile, the incoming Ottawa Provincial Government, led by the current Liberal Party Premier, Dalton McGuinty, launched a new Official Plan and ‘Co-location Project’, according to Ontario Realty Corporation briefings. The briefings explain that ”The co-location involved the consolidation of employees representing 11 ministries from seven previous locations in Ottawa” and that the ORC oversaw an open and competitive lease search that ended with Sakto Corporation as the successful proponent.
The ORC briefings continue that ” The state-of-the-art facility, owned by Sakto Corporation, was built to high energy and environmental specifications” and that the “building is green in a number of ways”. However Canadian environment campaigners are likely to question whether such environment specifications have included an examination of Sakto’s sources of shareholder income and the appalling destruction wreaked by the Taib family on Sarawak’s world class environmental heritage.
On April 4, 2008 the government held a “grand opening” for the new Ontario Government offices at Preston Square at which Sakto Director, Sean Murray, husband of Jamilah Taib, posed for cameras as he cut a celebratory cake.