Correction and Apology

Worth Every Cent?

What is the Chief Minister’s Official Salary?

 Sarawak Report has had its attention drawn to an inaccuracy regarding its reporting of the Chief Minister, Abdul Taib Mahmud’s, official salary.  For this we apologise, as we have attempted, despite a conspicuous lack of public information, to stick to accurate and objective reporting.

In this context we have frequently questioned how Mr Mahmud’s reported remuneration of 20,000 ringgit per month could have supported a multi-million dollar property empire across the globe.

We are now advised that the Chief Minister’s official salary is MYR 13,000 per month (excluding allowances or perks, such as the sole, exclusive use of a personal jet courtesy of the Sarawak taxpayer).

Nevertheless it is important not to forget the numerous other salaries that the Chief Minister has simultaneously obtained through awarding himself a number of key top jobs at once.  On top of his Chief Minister’s salary he has enjoyed his Federal Parliamentarian salary of MYR 10,000 per month, his State Assemblyman’s salary of MYR 8,000 per month.  With great energy he also commands the two other key financial offices of Sarawak in his roles as Finance Minister MYR 9,000 per month  and State Planning and Resource Management Minister another MYR 9,000 per month.

This all totals a very attractive MYR 49,000 per month, the sort of salary that any Chief of State would be pleased to receive.  However, Sarawak Report remains baffled as to how such a salary could begin to support the hundreds of millions of dollars worth of property across the globe, which we have unveiled as belonging to his family in recent reports.  By contrast, for example, Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister, has been much criticised for  a collection of family properties that now extends to three houses and a couple of flats. Yet, his resources to pay for these relatively modest properties are easy to identify.   His wife is a high-flying UK barrister and he now occupies a number of directorships and positions. The couple have also both been paid for their books and he gets a huge amount for speaking engagements.

But where does Mr Mahmud get his wealth, which is exponential by comparison with Mr Blair?  Perhaps those simultaneous three roles as Chief Minister, Finance Minister and State Planning and Resource Management Minister are part of the answer.  For what can get done in Sarawak without the say-so of this trinity – wrapped up so conveniently in one?

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