Raziah Raids Reserve Forest Lands and Taib Profits – Major Exclusive!

Bejewelled – Raziah’s huge wealth owes to handouts of land titles and contracts from her brother the Chief Minister

We can reveal that Taib’s tycoon sister, Raziah Mahmud, has once again been seizing land from Sarawak’s people. And our investigations have exposed a clumsy cover-up that has lifted the lid on a massive land-grab that implicates the Chief Minister, Taib Mahmud himself.

Raziah’s attempts to conceal her involvement in plans to replace Reserved Forest Lands at Ensengei with yet another vast oil palm plantation have exposed a far wider scandal. We can now show the method by which she and Taib have extracted around a hundred thousand of hectares of state land – an area amounting to roughly half the size of Brunei – over the past decade alone! 

Alienation of traditional Native Lands  

Ensengei, is one of the few remaining areas of Forest Reserve Land left in lowland Sarawak. The traditional Native Customary Land Rights of the indigenous tribes of the area were recognised by the British in 1947, but in 1984 Taib ruled that it should be acquired by the State as a Forest Reserve. However, in a series of deals between 2005 and 2008 he then handed on roughly twenty thousand hectares of this supposedly protected land to his own sister!   

As so often happens in Sarawak, the first the Bidayuh communities of the area knew about these secretive transactions was when a series of logging companies turned up in their foraging areas and fruit tree plantations waiving licences to cut them down. This is the way Taib and BN have chosen to run Sarawak.  

Disputed areas

However, thankfully, by 2008 human rights lawyers, like the PKR leader Baru Bian, had developed successful strategies for opposing Taib’s seizures of Native Lands in the courts. His team has launched a number of cases against these companies and also against the Government of Sarawak, who sold the land and issued the licences. Until these matters are resolved the loggers have been ordered to pause their activities in the contested areas.    

Raziah’s clumsy cover-up  

Hamid Sepawi – Taib’s favoured cousin and major shareholder of Usiha Jasamaju

Meanwhile our investigations now demonstrate what few of the local people and their lawyers have been aware of till now, which is that the person behind the actions they are fighting is Taib’s own sister, Raziah Mahmud. Not only has she got close connections with the two largest palm oil companies to be awarded licences to destroy Ensengei, Lambang Sinar Mas and Usaha Jasamaju, but we have also established from the official records that she clearly secured and probably still controls their land titles.  

We can confirm that Lambang Sinar Mas is currently owned by the Yu brothers of the construction company Hock Seng Lee Bhd (HSL), well-known business cronies of the Taibs, while Usaha Jasamaju is owned by a number of companies of whom a major shareholder is Hamid Sepawi. Sepawai is the fabulously wealthy cousin of the Chief Minister, who has received numerous lands and favours from the State of Sarawak, to become one of Malaysia’s richest men.

Lambang Sinar Mas, owned by the Yu brothers

Usaha jasamaju, owned largely by Hamid Sepawi

However damming evidence in the Land Registry records reveals that the company which negotiated the issuing of the Ensengei land titles was in fact neither of the above, but Kumpulan Parabena, which is owned and managed by Raziah herself. You can tell this fact because the address and contact details given in the land registry (as shown above) is the same for both sets of land titles and it is the address for Kumpulan Parabena – 154/56 Jalan Sungai, Padungan, Kuching – and not the companies mentioned (see entry for Kumpulan Parabena in the Register of Companies below).

The address and telephone in the Land Registry matches that of Kumpulan Parabena

Sarawak Report can futher confirm that the two managers named as the contacts in the Land Registry concerning these two sets of transactions with Lambang Sinar Mas and with Usaha Jayamaju (whose concessions are next door to each other) work directly for Raziah Mahmud. Chia Hon Thin and Paul Yu Chee may appear to be representing the two other companies but they give the same Kumpulan Parabena address! Likewise Chia’sgiven telephone number Kuching 082 41 3877 matches Kumpulan Parabena’s number in the telephone directory.

Its all in the yellow pages!

Of even greater worry is that our exclusive research has shown that Chia has used these contact details in numerous other transactions that have been registered in the Land Registry. We will be detailing this further explosive material in later reports, but it means that land titles which have been handed out to dozens of apparently different companies worth hundreds of millions of ringgit were clearly in fact secretly owned and controlled by Raziah Mahmud! 

Sarawak Report believes that the extent of these lands could amount to roughly half the size of Brunei, all acquired from the State of Sarawak at nominal prices by the sister of the Chief Minister!

Taib himself has profited! 

Even more shocking than this fraud is the fact that we have recently proved that another major shareholder of  Kumpulan Parabena is actually Taib Mahmud himself! We have established that he personally owns shares in Mesti Bersatu, which in turn owns shares in Miri Properties,which in turn holds shares in Kumpulan Parabena! This directly implicates him in the profit that has been made in this fraudulent activity and raises even further questions about why he has chosen to hand out so much land to his own sister.

Raziah’s daughter Elia Abas – rather young to be a Director of a major Oil Palm Plantation enterprise! Nevetheless she was one of two Directors of Lambang Sinar Mas when it was handed 16,000 hectares of Forest Reserve Land. Her Dad was the other and her Mum was the Secretary!

The remaining shareholders of Kumpulan Parabena are also members of the Mahmud family and Sarawak Report also intends to detail shortly the enormous number of profitable Sarawak State contracts and indeed Federal projects that have been handed to this company. This means that Taib has also been handing vast amounts of state money directly to a company that he owns himself! Is this what his Political Secretary Karim Hamza meant when he recently suggested there is nothing wrong with a politician taking advantage of ’business opportunities’ that come their way?