Taib’s Ten Income Streams

How did he get the money?

Recently we spoke to one of Taib’s key business partners in strict confidence. He explained to us what he described as the 10 main income streams that have turned the Chief Minister into a multi-billionaire over the past 30 years. In the process he gave us a fascinating insight into the business practices of Abdul Taib Mahmud.

They all involve the abuse of power, corruption and the exploitation of the people and environment of Sarawak. Our interviewee, who has done years of business with the Mahmud family, told us he believes that Taib is probably the richest man in South East Asia, having cashed in the Sarawak Rainforest.

Income Stream 1

He got nothing of course!

Timber Licences– The Ministry of Forests issues timber licences for 5, 10, 15 years. It is the Chief Minister who decides the price and he demands money to issue them.

Cronies who deal with the Chief Minister are instructed to pay their bribes and kickbacks into foreign bank accounts outside of Sarawak, often in Hong Kong or Singapore in the early days.

The informant told us that, because the timber companies declare so little profit, very little tax is paid and hardly any of the money made from felling the trees came back into Sarawak.

Income Stream 2

Taib has admitted he started daughter Jamilah up in business. CAN$4.5 million was invested in the first year into Sakto alone.

Tonnage- On top of this, our informant told us, he charges the timber company a kickback of RM100 per ton of wood they log. This alone is worth RM2 billion a year, since for the last 30 years around 20 million tons have been felled each year.

Income Stream 3

Extending Timber Licences – Companies wanting to be listed on the Stock Exchange have a requirement that the expiry date for their assigned areas has to be at least 15 years, meaning they have to extend their licences.

They go to the CM who says “Ok can you see my brother Onn” [in the earlier period Onn managed Taib’s businesses in Sarawak and abroad].

Sakto in Canada is worth hundreds of millions of dollars

Because the requirement by the KL Stock Exchange was 30% Bumi Shareholders the timber tycoon would invite a Taib family member of Taib’s choice to take these 30% of the shares for free!

But these family members are usually nominees – they sign a blank share transfer form and a blank director resignation form, which Taib takes and keeps in his safe or in the foreign bank’s safe deposit box. In this way Taib can make them resign whenever he likes and keeps ultimate ownership of the shares!

Income Stream 4

Lucrative monopoly over shipping licences meant Taibs could squeeze the Japanese shipping firms.

Achipelago Shipping- Using their control over the monopoly over timber export licences, handled by Onn Mahmud’s company Achipeligo, the Mahmuds charged US$ 4.00 per cubic metre in kickbacks from the Japanese shipping companies.

Since 16 million cubic meters were exported most years, this was worth US$64 million a year (RM200,000,000).

Another insider has explained to us the system. The logs would be weighed going onto the ships and every ship’s tally would be recorded and sent to Onn Mahmud’s office manager in Hong Kong, who was Mr Shea Kin Kwok.

The Japanese shipping companies would pay the money into one of around six companies in Hong Kong. In 2007 the Japanese tax authorities fined a number of companies for undeclared tax on some of these payments to the Taibs.

Income Stream 5

Grandiose - one of Saktos sister companies, Ridgeford, has a string of properties in London

Achipelago Shipping (2)- Agency fees from the shipping company. Achipelago had the monopoly of all documentation for shipping. One shipment would have to pay US$2,000 in agency fees plus other charges.

It would amount to US$10,000 (RM30,000) per ship per visit. All this of course just added to the cost to the buyers in Japan.

Onn Mahmud was only a nominee in this enterprise, we are told. Taib would give him 10%. The insiders say that Achipeligo Shipping was the major ‘cash-cow’ for the Taibs. Onn had not wanted to take on the job of managing it at first, as he did not understand the potential, but in the end and it made the family billions in black money.

Income Stream 6

Development? What development?

Privatisation of Government Companies- Taib corporatizes and then privatises state assets, selling them off to public listed companies, which are in fact majority-owned by the Taib family and nominees. Sarawak’s largest company CMS was formed in this way, it is mainly owned by Taib’s family and the Chief Managers are his son Abu Bekir and son-in-law Alwee Alsree.

According to our insider, the method is to pretend the state asset is losing money and decide to sell it. Before privatisation money is poured into up-grading the facilities and then it is corporatized. Then finally, it is ‘privatised’. He will make an offer from eg CMS to buy it and the negotiations all go on behind closed doors, where he represents the State of Sarawak as Finance Minister.

Taib makes a big play at the closing stages of the negotiations, when there is a meeting to make the final decision. He excuses himself on the grounds that he has an interest and leaves the meeting to be chaired by Jabu or George Chan, who waves it through.

Income Stream 7

logging or plain theft?

Illegal Logging in Indonesia- Hardwood Timber Sdn Bhd licences wood which has been illegally logged and brought over the border, according to the business associate.

“They levy handling fees in the border area. They charge RM17 per ton. There are many, many little companies doing this. A lot of jobless gangsters”.

It legitimises the theft from the Indonesians. Indonesia has complained in the past, but it is still going on.

Income Stream 8

Federal payments for infrastructure or just graft?

Federal Government Contracts- Nearly all the Federal Government projects in Sarawak are done by the Taib family companies. Roads, schools, hospitals – nearly all the projects that the Prime Minister is going around promising now as he tries to buy the election, will end up profiting the Taib family more than anyone else!

This is because the CM has the sole authority to endorse an application to pre-qualify to tender. In order to get a permit to tender for a project you need a supporting letter from the CM and generally only his family companies get them!

Adelaide Hilton is another Taib foreign property

Hardly anyone else gets a chance, says our business insider. Some Iban companies do get projects, because the Federal Government does not want to be seen to be giving them all to Taib, but he gets 70-80% of them!

Once the Taib company has received the Federal Contract it then sub-contracts the work for a nice profit and lets someone else do the work with a much smaller budget. This means there is a likelihood that it will be sub-standard and everyone else is squeezed.

Income Stream 9
The Alienation of State Land to Oil Palm Plantations – Our business leader informant tells us that Taib charges at least RM 1,000-1,500 per acre in kickbacks.

This amounts to at least RM20,000,000 for a 10,000 hectare plantation His chosen negotiator will explain this to the purchaser. The licensee has to pay the money outside of Sarawak into an off-shore account.

YB Ali Mahmud is just one of the family members to have done well out of land grabs.

Leaked records from the Land and Survey Department to Sarawak Report shows that around 1.4 million hectares has been handed out by land and survey for plantations. So if our informant is right this amounts to a very nice sum of money for Taib 1,500 X 1,400,000 is RM 2,100,000,000 or RM2.1 billion.

How it works is the person who wants land writes to the Land and Survey Department run by Taib. You pay the official premium to the Government, which is for example RM300-350 per acre, but on top of that it is the secret RM1,500 that you have to pay to Taib.

Now the prices are rocketing, Taib likes to complain to his business cronies that he regrets having sold so much off so quickly in the early years!

Income Stream 10

Borneo Convention Centre and just about any other State Contract you care to mention goes to Taib companies.

State Contracts- Taib has full control over these and at least 70% goes to his own family companies, bringing in hundreds of millions annually.

Recent eye-catching state projects that went to the Taibs have been the new DUN Parliament Building and the Borneo Convention Centre

Our contact says this is by no means a complete list of the money-making opportunities the Chief Minister has enjoyed in Sarawak, but it goes some way to explain the enormous wealth visibly enjoyed by himself and by his family.  One other obvious way in which the Mahmuds have made even more money is their urban landgrabs.  The areas taken by Raziah in Miri, Batu Lintang and Bintulu Airport, taken by Naim Cenderas are just some which have been covered by Sarawak Report.

Plenty of questions to answer - staged interviews are not enough.

Once this wealth has been taken abroad and invested in property and other ventures there has been a whole new opportunity to multiply the wealth several times over.

Taib is known to have done very well investing in rocketing property markets in the US, Canada, UK and Australia. However, he is also believed to have lost money in poor investments such as the Icelandic banks!

River view. Taibs Sarawak home.

Not far down the road from Taibs house in Kuching.

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22 Responses to Taib’s Ten Income Streams

  1. Engkabang Kapit says:

    Very sad truth of the wealthiest man in Sarawak or perhaps Malaysia…. Taib has no shame!!!

  2. Proud Sarawakian says:

    bravo! the more they use coward moves to hack your sites, the more attention it’ll create internationally. they are too stupid to realize the cyberattacks they initiated will backfire. keep up the pressure and hope the information you have collected will set the base for the new government to pursue Sarawak money he’s hiding overseas!

  3. bubukbusu says:

    What happen to free radio sarawak. I cannot get into it. Any other link.

  4. 416 says:

    36 hours more, Taib will become the opposition leader, let us charge him to court !

  5. apaituai says:

    A property developer said CM charged RM15K for each unit of shophouse. The owner of one piece of prime land at kuching triangle was asked for rm2mil and 20% share so the developer packed up, abandoned the project and do business in sabah. A lesson in management, greed is a powerful motivator.

  6. aborium says:

    Taib’s deceit and corruption know no bounds. He has broken the law too many times, but most important, is the loss of trust and betrayal of the people of Sarawak. He’s too arrogant to admit his own failures blinded by the riches which he used to great effect to control, split, and manipulate the chieftains of all races.

    This is a classic example of narcissism, a mental state or condition when a person has too much love of himself and whatever he’s doing to the extent of ignoring others feelings and viewpoints, and importantly, the law. He thinks he’s above the rest of us.

    That’s his folly, but what concerns his citizens right now is bringing social justice on the table, which by the way, is now firmly entrenched as one of the pillars of SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT! How could sustainability be interpreted otherwise?

    One of his greatest failures is to dampen the spirits of brilliant Sarawakians who have left the State to seek their fortunes elsewhere. Why? Because Taib’s regime does not encourage people who are smarter than him or his cronies ’cause they do not serve his purpose nor his screwed up vision for Sarawak to enrich his family and cronies.

    He’s a lost soul in a blue ocean.

  7. kee says:

    I believe that the majority of those reading all these expose’ on Taib are either not Sarawak voters or Sarawak voters who are already non Taib/BN supporters.

    If Sarawak Headhunter and Sarawak Report cannot convince the descendents of Sarawak headhunters not to continue supporting and voting for Taib and BN, all the expose’ amount to no more than syiok sendiri.

  8. HoPekMoTho says:

    HO PEK MO THO !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. Jepi Anak Mermamat says:

    Datuk Jabu was reject go to Ulu Padeh and Ulu Layar because the road was bulid by villages peoples they the village people rent excavator and budozer to make road to thier longhouse, so when Jabu want campagin to that houselong the tree was chop to block Jabu “What ashme of Jabu”

    On another Development at Ulu Padeh, Jabu also given RM500.00 for door graft the voter: Merujau ulu padeh

  10. See hanson says:

    The more Taib Mahmud tries to stifle the opposition who tells the truth about his ill-begotten wealth, the more publicity it receives! Dear Taib if you’re reading this, it is called backfire.

  11. aborium says:

    Kee, I beg to differ – the issue of the fight for social justice isn’t ‘syok sendiri’, but a darn serious agenda for social transformation and sustainable development.

    Sorry, the fight isn’t going to be decided at one election, but a long-term commitment to bring about social equality, no matter how elusive or daunting it may seem at this point in time.

    Short-term gains at elections do help, but we shouldn’t limit the social justice agenda to ‘win-lose’ at just one election. We’re hoping we can work together to put the nuts and bolts in place which will take time, effort, and a mindset to make it happen.

    If you’re thinking that everything in life is to decided at election booths alone, then that’s giving too much credence to politicians and our political system! We don’t, and that’s the reason why we advocate, criticise (for constructive reasons), and do a better job at check and balance than political parties, all for the sake of our own future.

    Our future is for us to decide and it’s high time for us to decide to become drivers or just passengers of change!

    • Bleeding Sarawakian says:

      aborium, I totally agreed with you! We have to fight together against the devil despite of the election.

    • kee says:


      You misunderstood. Read my comment again. I did not say the fight for social justice is ‘syok sendiri’.

      I referred SPECIFICALLY to expose’ by Sarawak Headhunter and Sarawak Report and stated that:-

      “If Sarawak Headhunter and Sarawak Report cannot convince the descendents of Sarawak headhunters not to continue supporting and voting for Taib and BN, all the expose’ amount to no more than syiok sendiri.”

      Hope you understand what is meant by “If Sarawak Headhunter and Sarawak Report cannot convince the descendents of Sarawak headhunters not to continue supporting and voting for Taib and BN” and “AMOUNT TO no more than syiok sendiri.”

      Exposing Taib’s plunderings is one thing. Convincing his supporters to abandon him and his BN partners is something else. Not being able to convince his supporters to abandon him and his BN partners is like a business that is always pulling in the customers but is also at the same time always losing money.

      When you harp on “the fight isn’t going to be decided at one election” and “long-term commitment” , I agree. However you seem to have forgotten that Taib is not a one-term wonder. He’s been around for some 40 years, with 30 of those years as CM.

      As for your quip on “become drivers” and not “just passengers”, I hope you won’t be the driver that goes round and round but cannot reach your destination.

  12. Kiki says:

    我们要让TAIB把钱给吐出来- 归还给人民百姓。给百姓有个清楚的交代 –

    Poor people in Sarawak . Sarawak Should be the richest state in Malaysia with plenty of Gas …. but sadly ……

  13. DrebarTaib says:

    i x sangka yg i drive Malaysia’s Top Billionaire… i berasa bangga… i think i have to kidnapped him for ransom…

  14. mafia_bau says:

    i keaap money since i was young to fly to oversea… Taib, see u in oversea… u can run from rakyat sawarak, but you cant run from me…i have close link with mafia in otawa, canada

  15. alienation says:

    Not satisfied with his Datuk Patinggi title, Taib chose an honorific that describes his 30 years in Sarawak to a tee: PayHim Taib Mahmud.

  16. PR Lovers says:

    This is sumthing that Sarawakian didn’t know………..
    All about TM,families,relatives either his cronies will expose after oppositions win the elections! Wake up peoples of sarawak!, this is your time to changes.

  17. Are We Fools? says:

    No amount of Hell money is enough to burn this Pek Moh in Hell.

  18. Racism? says:

    I’m Chinese and I don’t support him. Right now even our Tun Mahathir is trying to make the ‘anti-Taib’ issue into something Chinese racism. Are we racist? WE ARE NOT! We just don’t vote for corrupted government who doesn’t develop our states! We don’t need a ruler who take everything from us and give nothing back! I hope that any other races who read this please wake up and tell your friend.

    Taib has been ruled for the 32 years and how much development we had done? Sarawak is one of the most resourceful state in the Malaysia, but try to compare us with other state, how much development had done? We have petroleum, oil palm, natural gas, logs, and etc. What development is done to those rural area? They don’t even have a proper road for cars! Take a look at Limbang, how much development is done? Kapit? Bintulu? How many years? Then ask your bumiputra friends, are they really well-treated? The logging company is often comes with gangster, who ‘helps’ them in logging. Any bumi who tries to fight will be fought back during the ‘invasion’ with gunpower. Crap? Try ask around! Sarawak has one of the most wonderful rainforest in the world. Not only we did not preserve it, we destroy it. By the time, everyone is awake, it’s too late already! I just hope that everyone takes some time to think about it and try to make some change. Ask your friend, ask your relatives.

    Finally I repeat again there is nothing about Chinese racism. Try have some non-Chinese candidates, we Chinese will support as well. We just don’t want CORRUPTED GOVERNMENT!!!

    • Maharacis says:

      Yes, I noted that Mahathir is very racist when I followed his chedet. He is one typical corrupted leaders who use sensitive issues like racism to cover all his corrupted deeds. Sadly, like Taib most of the followers keep supporting them blindly. Imagine the amount of Malaysian money wasted to launch their children into billionaires. So I find Chedet very irrelevant and had not bother reading it anymore.
      Fighting for Ubah is not really for the Chinese. Clearly we will lose the Chinese representation in the govenment. Anyway what had SUPP or the BN done for few decades? BN or no BN the Chinese are doing quite well on their own. It is the majority of the Bumi, after supporting the BN for few decades still have to beg for instalment to buy a cheap TV. And their future generation will not be any better without Ubah. If the Taib family would set aside 10% of their ill-gotten wealth for their own race, ALL the Melanau would be richer than most of the Chinese. If all these corrupted money were invested back to the Bumi, all Sarawakian Bumi will be richer than Australians. When the Bumi is rich, the other races will also become rich.

  19. Fuming-Mad Sarawakian! says:

    Sarawak report has done an excellent job. Just keep all these reports locked up somewhere save as we will be using them one day to get back Sarawak’s plundered riches. Human beings have very short memory or perhaps they always think they can ran but they did not realize they cannot hide. Taib will be another Marcos who will be hunted down all over the world and I sincerely hope that that day will come soon. Soon and very soon…

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