Taib’s Ang Pow – Millions in cash!

By Sarawak Report

As the Chinese New Year celebrations get into their stride, inside sources have revealed how Abdul Taib Mahmud habitually exploits this annual opportunity to further squeeze his Chinese businesses cronies.

We have received extraordinary accounts of how the Chief Minister tours the big houses of Miri and Sibu each year, usually accompanied by family and grandchildren, in order to accept huge cheques and bags of cash from his dismayed hosts. 

Cash for concessions

Taib’s favoured partners from the Chinese community know they must continuously pay out in kickbacks and shareholdings if they want to receive favours and concessions at the expense of the state and the ordinary people. 

According to top businessmen who have confided directly to Sarawak Report, an upfront cut for Taib himself must first be negotiated and paid into his bank accounts abroad. Next, the deal will also involve shares and positions for family members in the company which has gained the concession to cut wood or plant oil palm.  In the case of timber, Taib also demands a further cut of 100 ringgit per ton, which adds up to billions of ringgit every year.  After that there are the shipping scams, where chosen exporters again have to pay enormous kickbacks.  

However, the towkays find the perversion of their Chinese tradition of Ang Pow a particularly unpleasant and greedy form of exploitation.

Red envelopes

New Year of course is the time when Chinese like to treat their children and friends with presents and little red evelopes with cash.  A visit to a friend during this period will hold the expectation that such a treat might be forthcoming at such a time.  A generous gift would normally be a maximum of 50 ringgit. But Taib has made clear he expects bigger and better when he is the visitor involved!

RM 100,000 cheque?!

“The Chief Minister will turn up, some years with the families of his daughter Jamilah and son Sulaiman and the children will be handed cheques of RM 100,000.  They are always readily accepted!”

One prominent businessman has confided how the Taib’s accept these gifts as their right and the Chinese hosts know they must make the gesture if they want to remain in Taib’s favour.  Sarawak Report has learnt that this practise is regarded as particularly offensive by the businessmen concerned, because it is an invasion of their homes and hospitality, but they have no choice.

Another angry business leader told us ” this is just another way of making the Chinese bend low before the Bumis, to show who is ‘boss’.  It is so greedy and disgusting”.

Bomoh is bag carrier – Nothing less than a million please!

We have also learnt from other sources that Taib’s once-favoured Bomoh, Ahmad Su’ut, has also performed a role in conducting the Chief Minister’s business on these occasions.   The source tells us that the method is for Taib’s secretary to ring the Towkay about a day in advance to ask how much Ang Pow will be provided if Taib were to favour them with a visit during his New Year ‘progress’.