AG urged to order probe into Taib Mahmud’s wealth

Anti-corruption activist Cynthia Gabriel raises questions about Taib Mahmud and illegal logging. (Reuters pic)

PETALING JAYA: The Attorney-General, Tommy Thomas, has been urged to scrutinise allegations about the vast wealth of former Sarawak chief minister Taib Mahmud “with a view of at least investigating Taib”.

Ramkarpal Singh.

Bukit Gelugor MP Ramkarpal Singh said that Taib should be prosecuted if the allegations were found to be true.

“That’s why it is imperative for Taib to be investigated. There are no two ways about it,” he told FMT in response to a statement about Taib by prominent activist Kua Kia Soong.

Kua said the new Pakatan Harapan federal government should show it was not being selective in pursuing corruption cases and should be willing to take action against those seen to be close to the prime minister, Dr Mahathir Mohamad.

Kua urged Mahathir to show that he was not conducting a personal vendetta against former premier Najib Razak and ignoring “his long-time ally in Sarawak”.

To which, Ramkarpal said: “I hope the attorney general will look into this issue carefully with a view of at least investigating Taib.”

Taib was chief minister of Sarawak for 23 years, much of it coinciding with Mahathir’s 22-year premiership.

Taib has been accused of amassing huge wealth and government contracts to benefit his family members, including by his foreign critics, such as Swiss-based Bruno Manser Fund (BMF), which estimated his wealth at billions of dollars.

The anti-corruption group Center to Combat Corruption and Cronyism (C4) also called for a full investigation, and dismissed a claim by Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission chief Mohd Shukri Abdull that MACC could not take action on 15 investigation files opened on Taib since 2015 because investigations showed he did not chair any meetings or make decisions regarding certain projects.

Cynthia Gabriel.

C4 executive director Cynthia Gabriel said Shukri’s reason was not good enough. Taib might have been smart enough to avert direct decision making and might have used proxies.

“There is so much evidence to show an abuse of power, nepotism, and connection to illegal logging,” she said.

Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle Brown told FMT that huge amounts of the state’s wealth had allegedly been “criminally misappropriated” and Taib and his successors must be made to open up the books on their vast wealth.

Now go after your friend Taib Mahmud, Mahathir told