The White Rajah Brookes were an English dynasty which ruled over Sarawak from 1841 to 1946. The current Chief Minister of Sarawak, Taib Mahmud, is in his 30th year in power and like the Brookes, aims to start his own dynasty - the Muslim Melanau dynasty of the Rahman-Taib Family.
Kuala Lumpur helped Taib and his maternal uncle, Abdul Rahman Ya’kub, scupper Dayak plans to lead Sarawak. Now that allegations of fraud and corruption have surfaced, on the national and international arena, pressure is bearing down on Taib step down.
Before he leaves, a successor is needed to look after the interests of the dynasty and to make sure the state can be milked further. Until recently, Taib has been unwilling or unable to find someone capable enough, to step into his shoes.
Taib’s new wife is too young and too new, to learn the ropes in a hurry. Morevoer, there wil be language problems and being a foreigner will not augur well with the Malaysian public.
Taib’s two sons have proven useless. Too much of the good life has spoilt them. The older son, Mahmud Abu Bekir is going through a RM400 million divorce settlement. He hates the political limelight.
The younger son, Sulaiman Abdul Rahman, the political hope in Taib’s family, has allegedly been disowned by Taib because he is suffereing from a lifestyle disease. His love of fast cars and women have messed up his life.
Taib’s two daughters are stong feisty women but one, Jamillah lives in Canada and together with her husband, manage Taib’s billion dollar empire in the northern hemisphere. The younger daughter Hanifa, who is married to a Singaporean lawyer, has to look after her father’s business interests in Sarawak.
However, Taib cannot risk fielding a candidate from his immediate family because of the allegations of corruption and abuses of power. He has also been hit by waves of accusations of nepotism, and the anti-graft body Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) has joined the call in asking the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to investigate the allegations.
On a trip to the Said Business School, University of Oxford last July, very few people noticed one person whom Taib was pushing into the limelight and whom he was quietly grooming.
That person addressed the delegates and helped promote Taib’s SCORE project which included the Tanjung Manis Halal Hub Development. That person addressed a roundtable meeting with UK-based small and medium enterprises and exchanged views on policies across the halal industry and business opportunities in Tanjung Manis. A meeting at the House of Lords in London soon followed.
That person is the MP for Tanjung Manis and is the executive chairman for the Tanjung Manis industries, Norah Abd Rahman.
In plain life, Norah is Taib’s cousin as Taib’s mother and Norah’s father, the previous Governor and Chief Minister Abdul Rahman Yakub, are siblings.
Taib’s long-awaited replacement is a settled issue which Umno/BN is reluctant to acknowledge. In Taib’s eyes, the throne is safe for the Muslim Melanau dynasty of the Rahman-Taib Family.
Norah, 51, will be chief minister, but not just yet.
Taib will step down and in doing so, will deflate Pakatan’s push into Sarawak and also deflect the pressure of allegations of corruption, away from his immediate family.
Norah is at present the MP for Tanjung Manis, a seat this first-timer won ‘unopposed’ after taking over from her cousin Wahab Dolah who moved to the new Igan parliamentary seat. He had also ‘won’ Tanjung Manis unopposed in 2004.
While Norah cuts her political teeth, to be further groomed for her role, Taib’s “seat-warmers" are to be selected from the oft-mentioned few.
There is PBB deputy president Alfred Jabu Numpang. Jabu is needed to help ensure that the 5,000 longhouse chiefs in Dayak country continue their allegiance to Taib.
There is the PBB deputy president Abang Johari Abang Openg, but he’s Malay and the Melanau and Dayak communities would rather avoid him. It is believed that Najib prefers Abang Johari who is also a Deputy Chief Minister. Having him would mean continuing proxy rule by Putrajaya which is driven by its Ketuanan Melayu (Malay supremacy) and dominanation by the Malays, mindset.
There is the state minister Awang Tengah Ali Hassan or Taib’s ex brother-in-law, Adenan Satem who was beaten twice for the PBB deputy presidency by Abang Johari who clinched Dayak support, state speaker Mohamad Afsia Awang Nassar and Effendi Norwawi, 62, all Melanau.
Whilst the others are bickering, Norah will quietly watch and just take stock of everything, then quietly slip into her new role.
Many doubt that Norah’s elevation would happen this year, but if it did, it would be a political and personal coup for Taib to crown his successor Norah, as the first woman Chief Minister in the 100th anniversary of the International Women’s Year. - Malaysia Chronicle