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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Taib’s sister Zaleha – HIDDEN TALENT?


. Sarawak Report

The people of Sibu, as we know, live in ever-increasing danger of the constant flooding caused by logging. For years they have pleaded for government action with small success. So now they have clearly been delighted to learn that, on the eve of an election, BN have at last come up with the best their money can buy. Taib’s sister Zaleha has been hired to come to the rescue!

A family of multiple talents

Everyone of course knows that the Chief Minister has an extraordinary and talented family. Otherwise, why would his state government time and again hire either his children or his brothers and sisters or alternatively his cousins, nieces or daughters in law to carry out so many important and expensive projects? However, it has apparently remained a secret up until now that his sister, Zaleha Mahmud (twice married and of advancing years) has her own company specialising in flood mitigation.

Chosen to hold back the mighty Rajang River?

The Federal Government awarded its important project worth RM 137.2 million to deal with the pernicious danger caused by the badly clogged and silted Rajang River in 2009. However, as has become common practice in Sarawak, the internationally accepted method of public tendering for government contracts was again abandoned in favour of a secret, so-called ‘negotiated contract’ for this project. This means the choice of company and the cost of the project was left to Ministers to decide upon in private.

In their wisdom, Taib and his BN/UMNO colleagues from the Federal Government in KL decided that the sensitive work should be awarded to a consortium of the construction companies Hock Seng Lee (HSL), Dwimula Bina and Pembinaan Nomisual Sdn Bhd . HSL announced in July 2009 that:

“A group of companies led by Hock Seng Lee Bhd (HSL) has signed a RM137.2 million government deal for a flood mitigation project in Sibu, Sarawak. HSL will have an 85 per cent share of the project and the rest will be between Dwimula Bina Sdn Bhd and Pembinaan Nomisual Sdn Bhd. Works involve an engineering survey and design, piled and unpiled embankment works, pumping stations, drainage upgrading and tidal control gate.”

This is all evidently a highly specialised and technical job. The comfort and safety of the citizens of Sibu rests on a proper execution of the work and, of course, it is most important that all the allocated funds should be spent on the project itself, in order to ensure the maximum quality of work. So Sarawak Report decided to investigate the identities of these key expert contractors, who have been called in at huge public expense to save the citizens of Sibu from the raging waters of the angry Rajang River.

No surprise really!

We can now reveal that a Director and key shareholder of Pembinaan Nomisual Sdn Bhd is Zaleha Mahmud, the Chief Minister/Finance Minister Taib Mahmud’s own sister. The DAP’s Sarawak Leader and Sibu Representative, Wong Ho Leng, told Sarawak Report that he was “shocked” at this information and would be demanding an explanation from the Chief Minister as to why his family member is involved in this important public project.

However, surely there can be little real surprise, because Sarawak is now used to Taib’s family and their many talents. Indeed, to be a member of the Taib family is by definition to possess several areas of secret and unexpected expertise, ranging from shipping, construction and engineering to banking, finance and all forms of management and administrative know-how. And of course a deep knowledge of the lumber and plantation industries goes without saying with regard to any Taib family member.

Zaleha’s interest in the Sibu Flood Mitigation Project – as recorded in the Malaysian Register of Companies

Checks and balances?

Nevertheless, given that the Sibu flood mitigation project is such a life and death project for so many thousands of people who live in the city, would it be too much to request that Zaleha Mahmud should provide some proof of her qualifications and that of her company, in order to merit her involvement in such a project?

It would also be very nice and reassuring if the Chief Minister/Finance Minister, Taib Mahmud, could abandon his usual secretiveness regarding the breakdown of costings of government projects to let us know just what proportion of the millions of ringgit of public money being spent on the Sibu flood mitigation project will be staying in the hands of his sister and her company, rather than being passed to the more well-known engineering companies involved in the project?

HSL – a reliable state partner

The latter would of course include HSL, a company that has for years worked so closely with the Sarawak Government in carrying out numerous projects. However, it can only be described as questionable how many of these projects have been awarded to HSL in the form of consortia with companies owned by various members of the Chief Minister’s family (most notably his other well-known and talented sister, the fabulously rich Raziah Geneid, nee Mahmud).

Indeed it has been well publicised that the connections between HSL and the Mahmud/Taib family go even further than this. The soaring success of the company dates from a decision in 1994 to release shares from the once wholly private family owned company into the hands of six members of Taib’s family. Later, in 1996 the company then went public with a share issue, but it was noted at the time that by some extraordinary coincidence nearly all the shares on offer were acquired by Taib’s brothers and sisters rather than members of the public, even though the share offer was 77.2 times over-subscribed! Zaleha Mahmud herself acquired 500,000 of those shares, according to reliable reports, meaning that the better HSL does the more Zaleha and her brothers and sisters earn from the profits. They must be delighted every time Taib’s government awards HSL a contract and even more delighted when it is within a consortium with another company which they also own!

Another mysterious deal between Zaleha and HSL

However, on occasions when HSL is not directly acting together with a Taib family consortium to carry out a publicly funded project, it is always worth noting instead from where they inherited the contract. For example, just six weeks before the Federal Government awarded the HSL, Dwimula, Pembinann Nomisual Consortium the Sibu Flood contract, another very interesting deal took place.

On this occasion Zaleha’s Pembinaan Nomusal sub-contracted a separate major public job to HSL! The task of constructing of 1,000 ‘affordable living units’ in Bintulu. Clearly this contract had originally been awarded to Zaleha’s virtually unknown construction company. It was passed on to HSL, according to its company announcement, for RM 126 million.

Some questions for Taib

Sarawak Report would therefore like to know on what date and for what amount this Bintulu affordable housing contract was originally awarded by the Chief Minister to his own sister?

We also request proof that she is qualified to build a thousand affordable living units and that her company has proved its ability in this capacity in the past and employs the staff and equipment necessary to perform the task?

Finally, we require proof that all these millions of ringgit of taxpayers’ money, which is being channelled by the Chief Minister through companies owned by his family, is really being spent on helping the people as he likes to make out. Or could it be that a fat chunk of the money that was meant to fund affordable homes for the poor of Bintulu ended up in the pocket or around the neck of his fabulously rich sister Zaleha instead? The difference between the size of the original contract and the RM 125.7 million accepted by HSL will provide much of the answer we are looking for!

2 comments:

  1. Betul tu.... Zaleha binti Bujang adalah adik Taib bin Bujang, ketua menteri "bumi entah dimana" ketua menteri inilah akan diganti oleh baru bian apabila pakatan rakyat menang nanti kaahhhh, kaaaaaaaaahhhh, ueekkkkk.

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  2. Biar betul...Kalau nak tipu pun biarlah bertempat..Cuba baca betul2...Zaleha BIN Bujang...Bila masa plak perempuan guna 'BIN'...hahaha...

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