Hornbill Unleashed

February 27, 2014

No dominant policies during Taib’s 33 years as Sarawak CM?

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
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Hazlan Zakaria

And now, the end is near, and Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud faces the final curtain. The outgoing Sarawak chief minister claimed that while in power, he did it his way, in sync with the famous line of Ol’ Blue Eyes’ most memorable hit, with no race dominant policies in his state.

But how true is his claim and how non-dominant his policies were, are open to question.

In what was touted to be his last speech, Taib shot a barrage at Umno’s Malay supremacy policy, boasting that there is no place for dominant race policies in the multiracial state.

“I think we have learned to be more open and to cooperate because nobody desires to be dominant or to dominate other people in whatever we plan for the future,” Taib reportedly told the media.

This was his second snipe at Umno, the first being his stark refusal to adhere to a ban on the word Allah from being used by East Malaysian Christians who rely mainly on translated bibles from Indonesia using the word to mean god.

He also reportedly told the state BN leadership that Umno has no place in Sarawak, insiders explaining that this is because his party PBB is already doing what Umno is carrying out in the peninsula and the Malay party is not welcome to avoid duplication.

Umno is the dominant party in BN and straddles the peninsula like a colossus as it won the most parliamentary seats with other peninsula-based allies nearly wiped out in GE13.

The Malay party also has a dominating presence in Sabah, purportedly with Malays and Muslim migrants transplanted as citizens to swell its ranks.

But in Sarawak, Taib’s PBB is the dominant party, acting as patron to the many smaller parties in the state BN.

Political observers have speculated that he sponsors new splinters from the mainly race-based parties and play the smaller parties against each other to maintain PBB’s grip on the state, like what supposedly happened to the Dayak parties.

But in his speech, Taib argued a different and rosier picture.

“Our policy is such that we can develop the state properly without the feeling of insecurity arising between other groups. You can expect the next chief minister and his cabinet to treasure any opportunity to create close interaction between all the races.”

Reports also questioned his seemingly rapid naming of a successor sans consultation with Putrajaya as a means of cementing himself as kingmaker and preventing the peninsula-based BN leadership from being creative with the naming of his successor.

Indeed it has been a Melanau domination of the CM’s post for almost half a decade beginning in 1970 when Taib’s uncle, Tun Abdul Rahman Yakub, became Sarawak’s third chief executive.

Rahman stepped down in 1981 to pave the way for Taib and he ruled for 33 years. In a few days, Taib, a Melanau, will be succeeded in his post by Special Functions Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem, seen largely as an interim first-time Malay CM.

This after Taib’s more than three decades dominion over the CM’s seat, something that would hint of domination by a person if not race.

Indeed, the ascension of his family members into wealth along his long tenure in power was dismissed as not being the product of clan or family dominance.

Numerous reports have accused the Taib family of dominating state-owned GLCs and other companies that purportedly reaped lucrative government contracts with his inner circle to have billions salted overseas.

Source-based reports claimed that Taib’s family members were granted much of their land-based wealth by ministers in his cabinet, not Taib who heads it, thus he cannot be hauled up by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC).

Freed of such graft baggage, Taib will sail into the Sarawak Governor’s post, where he said he will cease to be the power on the throne but just the voice that advises the new CM like the Queen of England advises her prime minister.

Somehow, some would perhaps see more Senior Minister Lee Kuan Yew in him than Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Taib also insists that his relationship as governor with the new state government need not be formal, where views can be exchanged in conversations.

One piece of “advice” he has already given is that he “hopes” to see the continued construction of the 12 dams which are supposed to power high-energy industries in the state.

The controversial plan to dam of major river valleys in the state has been damned by local communities who claim that they have not been consulted and their land taken without proper compensation.

Taib also saw it fit to dispense some advice to the Chinese-based SUPP which he believed has felt the brunt of anti-BN sentiment by the community.

He said that Chinese voters told him that the Chinese party was stagnant and failed to give bigger roles to younger people, something he had advised SUPP about for nearly a decade to no avail and the party is paying the price.

“It is easy for me to give advice but not easy for people leading SUPP to follow that advice. Politics being politics, some people find it difficult to relinquish their entrenched position,” he said.

Taib himself only relinquished his post after years of promise to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak that he would leave, following local and international outcry for his removal following multiple allegations of complicity in abuse of power and graft.

The CM has denied all the allegations, going as far as calling the MACC “naughty” for its investigation of him and his inner circle, dismissing the allegations as being based on the ill intent of foreigners and their agents.

Various opposition politicians and native rights activists have also been barred from travelling to Sarawak on orders of the CM, purportedly because of their strong criticism of Taib.


  1. There were no dominant policies except for:

    1. Monopoly of supply of Cement
    2. Timber licence and concession given to a selected few Chinese cronies
    3. Damming rivers without prior and proper consultation with natives
    4. Chopping and cutting down of Long houses on native lands given to cronies
    5. Amendment to NCR land code to rob natives of their lands
    6. Monopoly of CM and Head of State by one race and religion only

    and there are more!

    Comment by brian — February 27, 2014 @ 2:39 PM | Reply

  2. Who said so about no dominance policy ? What about land grabs,timbers licences mostly given to a certain Chinese clan from Sibu, State land alienated to cronies and family members and lucrative contracts given to cronies companies? Are these not dominant policies?

    Comment by loyarburok — February 27, 2014 @ 10:23 AM | Reply

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