Political novice Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib is being urged to contest on his father's party ticket.
KUCHING: Is embattled “kleptocrat” Chief Minister Taib Mahmud engineering his exit? Why otherwise would 13 villages in the Sadong Jaya constituency suddenly call for his eldest son, Mahmud Abu Bekir, to contest in the coming state polls?
Like his younger brother Sulaiman Rahman, who in 2008 won the Kota Samarahan parliamentary seat, previously held by Taib, Abu Bekir also has no political past.
Taib, who was rumoured to have identified Sulaiman as his political heir apparent, had in 2008 planned his son’s political ascent. But Sulaiman subsequently lost interest in politics.
Desperate for a successor, sources within Taib’s Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) are hinting that Taib may be now engaging his older son’s interest.
While Abu Bekir’s political history is limited to being the son of Taib, in the corporate world, he helms Sarawak’s largest business conglomerate Cahya Mata Sarawak (CMS).
CMS is directly owned by Taib’s closest family members.
It is also one of 49 Taib-linked companies across eight countries blacklisted by the Swiss-based Bruno Manser Fund which has alleged that the extensive Taib-family wealth was derived from the alleged injustices against the indigenous communities in Sarawak and the massive raping of the Borneo rainforest.
According to PBB sources, Abu Bekir has shown “no real interest” in active politics, preferring the boardroom to the State Legislative Assembly.
“(Abu) Bekir can be described as a political greenhorn. He’s has shown no interest in politics.
“But if his father (Taib) needs him, he will be there to support him, ” said the source.
On Monday, Taib had reportedly met with several senior PBB at his headquarters in Jalan Bako to discuss the list of candidates. The meeting has since spawned rumours of an April state election.
PBB is expected to field 10 to 12 new faces in the state polls and speculations are that Abu Bekir may step out of his comfort zone to aid his embattled father.
Calls for Bekir
Interestingly enough, also on Monday, 113 residents from 13 villagers in Sadong Jaya constituency gathered outside the same headquarters and urged Taib to field his son in their constituency.
The villagers said they needed a “true leader” who could bring to Sadong Jaya the much-needed change and development.
“We know and we want a Sadong Jaya candidate who can bring about changes, development and progress to the constituency,” said Kampung Semera Hilir headman Ain Mahli.
Ain said the Sadong Jaya constituents desperately want to see improvement in their socio-economic status.
He urged Taib not to trivialise their wish and asked that their proposal, which was handed over to PBB executive secretary Awang Bujang Awang Antek, be “viewed seriously”.
“We want the chief minister to field only capable PBB candidates. Abu Bekir can bring the much needed development to Sadong Jaya,” he said.
Sadong Jaya, however, is not quite the safe seat going by the majority polled by incumbent Wan Abdul Waham.
Taib might be less inclined to risk fielding his son here.
In 2006, four-term incumbent Wahab barely beat PKR to secure the seat. He took the seat by a 858- vote majority.
Wahab obtained 2,715 votes against Piee Ling’s 1,857 votes.Wahab has since decided not to seek a re-election.
Sadong Jaya is one of the 10 PBB seats which will see a new face.