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Taib steps down, Adenan Satem to be new CM

Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud has confirmed that he will be stepping down at the end of the month after 33 years helming the hornbill state.

It is learnt that Taib met with Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Abang Muhammad Salahuddin Abang Barieng to officially hand in his resignation letter this afternoon. The resignation takes effect on 28 February.

As part of an agreed “succession plan”, Taib was given the mandate by PBB to choose his successor. Today, Taib announced his choice as (PBB information Chief) Tan Sri Adenan Satem.

Earlier, the possible candidates had been speculated to be either (Tourism Minister) Datuk Amar Abang Johari Tun Openg, or even (former Federal Minister) Datuk Seri Effendi Norwawi.

During his tenure as Chief Minister Taib has clung on the power despite the multitude of allegations against him.

Whistleblower NGO Bruno Manser Fund has reported that Taib and his relatives received a significant percentage of commercial logging and oil palm contracts. Meanwhile, the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) is investigating Taib. The full extent of Taib’s wealth is not known, with his son’s recent divorce case revealing a glimpse of the large family enterprises owned by his family.

However, Taib will not exit the stage as he is likely to take up the post of the Yang di-Pertua Negeri when it falls vacant on 28 February. Today Taib submitted his resignation as Balingian state assemblyman. 

“It’s a misconception to think he’s really retiring. When he moves up to governor, he becomes even more powerful. Certain things need his signature. He appoints the chief minister. All mining leases must be signed off by him.” said James Chin, professor of political science at the Malaysian campus of Australia’s Monash University on Bloomberg News.

According to Ibrahim Suffian, a political analyst at the Merdeka Center for Opinion Research “Taib is not really gone from Sarawak politics. From behind the scenes or even as the new governor, he will play an important role including handling economic issues.” 

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