PETALING JAYA: The daughter of Sarawak Yang di-Pertua Abdul Taib Mahmud has rejected calls by Swiss-based pressure group Bruno Manser Fonds (BMF) to explain her wealth, following allegations that she has amassed hundreds of millions of dollars when her father was the chief minister.
Jamilah Taib Murray is suing BMF over the allegations, in a case to be heard in Switzerland later this year.
The suit was filed in January last year by Canadian real estate company Sakto Corporation, which is owned by Jamilah and her husband Sean Murray.
Her lawyer Thomas Weibel reportedly said that she owed no explanation to anyone.
“We are not talking about Mr Taib’s wealth. We are talking about a Canadian real estate corporation and its directors,” Weibel told Swiss television SRF yesterday.
“Yes, she is the daughter of Mr Taib. But she owes this information to no one. She answers to the Canadian government. She answers to her auditors. But to say ‘you have to explain your wealth’, that’s a no-go,” he added.
BMF has accused Jamilah’s company of money laundering as well as links to grand corruption in Sarawak, where her father ruled from 1981 to 2014.
The group also alleged that Jamilah was linked to real estate worth more than US$300 million (RM1.2 billion) in Canada, Australia, the United States and the United Kingdom.
“In 2011, her father admitted that he provided her the means to launch her property business but refused to disclose the exact amount,” it added.
BMF said Jamilah’s suit raises questions on the accountability of politically exposed persons for their unexplained wealth.
It quoted Swiss anti-corruption expert Mark Pieth, who told the same news programme that the lawsuit if successful “might stifle civil society’s ability to blow the whistle on bribery and other corporate crimes”.
BMF, named after missing Swiss rainforest advocate Bruno Manser, engages in rainforest protection and the rights of the indigenous peoples in Sarawak.
In July last year, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) confirmed that it was investigating Taib.
“If there are complaints, if people have any information or complaints, they are most welcome to bring it in and send it to us, and we will send it to the investigation department,” MACC chief Latheefa Koya had said.