Growing Mystery Over Taib Family’s CMSB Shares

Denizens in Kuching continue to be bewildered by the situation regarding the severely indisposed Governor, Abdul Taib Mahmud (87), who is currently said to be recuperating from an emergency operation in Turkey under the tender loving care of his second wife Ragad.

Ragad (44) has been uploading videos of her distinctly fed-up looking spouse to a soundtrack of her cooing sweet baby protestations about how much she and everyone loves him.

Meanwhile, back home in Sarawak, Taib’s children have been filing urgent civil and it would seem criminal complaints against Ragad over her sudden acquisition of 50 million CMSB shares which were originally left by Taib’s late first wife to their offspring.

Taib, who was the administrator of her will, had guarded the estate for the past decade and more without distributing the shares.

However, hours before the couple flew to Turkey on what turned out to be a fateful flight during which the Governor fell seriously ill, he apparently signed the lot over to Ragad. The shares sell at RM1.00 each.

A court filing almost immediately after, supported by Taib’s two sons, claimed that as Ragad was not a beneficiary of her predecessor’s will she has no right to the stunning windfall.

Now, according to cognoscenti around town, it emerges that a police report was also lodged claiming that Taib’s signature was forged on the alleged transfer documents. Given the former potentate has become so visibly frail and apparently confused, a shaky signature would in any case have been expected.

Unfortunate Coincidence Over Norway Share Acquisition?

It was in the context of this toxic situation that CMSB today proudly announced that Norges Bank “the central bank and sovereign wealth fund manager of Norway, has officially become a substantial shareholder of Cahya Mata Sarawak Berhad (Cahya Mata)”.

The jubilant press release which has been widely reported goes on to explain that the Norwegian national bank has acquired “54,051,439 shares which represents a 5.03% stake in Cahya Mata”.

It is unreported at this stage from where such a large number of shares were acquired. Only Taib family members, the Sarawak Development Corporation and Tabung Haji have control of sufficiently large amounts of shares to have made such a sale.

CMSB largest shareholders (Ann Kept 2022) before the transfer of 50 million to Ragad
CMSB largest shareholders (Ann Kept 2022) before the transfer of 50 million to Ragad

Although the figures seem remarkably similar to the number of shares allegedly provided to Ragad by Taib (half the shares left in Laila’s will) according to the court case brought by her stepsons, a court ruling would seem to have precluded Ragad’s ability to sell them

The very first hearing of this dispute produced a court order whereby both parties, the plaintiff and defendant, promised not to deal or sell the shares in question until the matter was adjudicated.

So, plainly Ragad could not have sold these shares frozen by a promise to the court nor could Norway’s prestige public bank respectably have bought them.

In fact, Sarawak Report is of the view that no respectable institution should have any business in buying CMSB shares given the kleptocratic associations of the company with a family who has built its base by abusing power to plunder Sarawak’s resources, handing their own company monopolies, plum contracts and concessions.

We have written to Norge Bank to ask the following questions and we await their reply soonest:

1 – Has your due diligence into the company [CMSB] raised any questions about the notorious status of this ‘family’ company belonging primarily to the Governor of Sarawak, Abdul Taib Mahmud, and his immediate family members, despite more recent gestures at diluting the ownership?

2 – does it concern Norges Banks that the bulk of the concessions and acquisitions of the company in which they have now invested are widely agreed to have been corruptly acquired through the blatant abuse of office by Taib Mahmud, who exploited his multiple offices of state to ‘privatise’ huge chunks of state property into CMSB along with lucrative monopolies in one of the best documented acts of kleptocracy recorded?

3 – are you aware there is currently a family squabble over the ownership of circa 50 million of these shares which the now failing Taib had kept for years in the name of his late wife as the administrator of her estate? These were transferred in July into the name of his second wife Ragad days before the sickening ex-potentate succumbed to his ailments and was taken to hospital – he is still in recovery and ‘temporarily’ stepped aside from his post. The children of his former wife are contesting that they were the stated beneficiaries of the will and that their father was incapacitated at the time of the transfer – it has been allegedly reported to the police that the signature was forged.

4 – is there any possibility that the 50 million shares acquired by Norges Bank  are the same shares that were acquired by the second wife and are therefore the subject of a court order where both sides had agreed not to sell shares pending a resolution?

It would certainly be reassuring if this seemingly high minded bank could explain how buying into CMSB equates with its social responsibility principles and likewise if the origin of these shares can be established as having no connection whatsoever with the loot obtained by Ragad which she has agreed not to flog off until the Malaysian courts confirm she has a right to it.


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