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Sarawak constitution prohibits Taib Mahmud from becoming Governor over illegal business activities

Sarawak constitution prohibits Taib Mahmud from becoming Governor over illegal business activities

(KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA) Last weekend, long-term Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud announced that he intended to resign by the end of this month in order to become governor of Sarawak, Malaysia's largest state. However, the Malaysian despot's succession plans are likely to be marred by the constitution of Sarawak.

Research by the Democratic Action Party of Sarawak has shown that, according to Article 2 (2) of the Sarawak constitution, the state governor "shall not hold any office of profit and shall not actively engage in any commercial enterprise." According to Article 6 (5) of the Sarawak constitution, the same applies to the office of Chief Minister: "The Chief Minister shall not hold any office of profit and shall not actively engage in any commercial enterprise."

"There is ample evidence that Taib Mahmud is engaged in illegal business activities both in Malaysia and overseas", the Swiss NGO, the Bruno Manser Fund, stated on Monday. "All these commercial activities by a head of government are criminal in nature and will not allow the Malaysian King (Agong) to appoint him as Governor. As party to the UN Convention against Corruption, Malaysia has a strong international obligation to fight corruption by public officials."

As of today, Taib Mahmud is listed as a director and major shareholder of Mesti Bersatu Sdn Bhd, a Malaysian investment holding with interests in 18 Malaysian companies. Mesti Bersatu has a significant stake in Bakraz Development Sdn Bhd, Bakraz Holdings Sdn Bhd, Bakraz Properties Sdn Bhd, Borsarmulu Park Enterprise Sdn Bhd, Borsarmulu Park Management Sdn Bhd, Borsarmulu Resort Sdn Bhd, CMS Premix (Miri) Sdn Bhd, Delta Padi Sdn Bhd, Kenyalang Cergas Sdn Bhd, Kumpulan Parabena Sdn Bhd, Lanco Corporation Sdn Bhd, Lanco Plantation Sdn Bhd., Majupun Sdn Bhd, Miri Property Holding Sdn Bhd, Noble Strike Sdn Bhd, Pelita Towerview Sdn Bhd, Sanyan Development Sdn Bhd and Sg. Dalam Development Sdn Bhd. Last week, indigenous rights spokesman Nicholas Mujah revealed that Taib-linked company Delta Padi Snd Bhd, had grabbed 28,000 hectares of indigenous land for oil palm plantations.

Via shares held in the name of his deceased wife, Lejla Taib, the Chief Minister is also one of the main shareholders of construction conglomerate Cahya Mata Sarawak, a major player at the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange. The Taib family, whose assets are estimated at $US 20 billion, also holds properties in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The Bruno Manser Fund calls on the Malaysian King to respect the constitution and refrain from appointing Taib Mahmud as Governor due to Taib's numerous criminal offences. Prior to any decision being taken by the King, the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission should also disclose the status of its ongoing investigation against the Sarawak Chief Minister.

Sources used for this release:

- Companies Commission of Malaysia
- Malaysiakini, 8 February 2014, www.malaysiakini.com/news/253817
- The Constitution of the State of Sarawak:
de.scribd.com/doc/53795407/The-Constitution-of-the-State-of-Sarawak-Part-II-Legislature

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