Re-entry of Taib family member into CMS raises eyebrows

Datuk Seri Sulaiman Abdul Rahman Taib – Berita Harian photo

By Chew Lip Song

THE re-entry of former Deputy Tourism Minister Datuk Seri Sulaiman Abdul Rahman Abdul Taib into politically-linked conglomerate Cahya Mata Sarawak Bhd has set tongues wagging within corporate circles.

Sulaiman is the son of Sarawak Governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud and brother of the company’s deputy chairman Datuk Seri Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib.

Sulaiman was appointed on July 8 as company managing director, replacing Datuk Isaac Lugun, who will continue to serve as a non-independent non-executive director.

UOB Kay Hian Research analyst Noor Hazmy Noor Hazin in a company update, said investors could expect near-term share price weakness for the company, Focus Malaysia reported.

“This change, together with other events such as the conflict-of-interest allegation against Mahmud (Abu Bekir) and the temporary suspension of group chief financial officer (Syed Hizam Alsagoff) for the past two months has caused Cahya Mata’s share price to plummet over 40% year-to-date.”

The research house attributed the drop in Cahya Mata’s share price as a sign of the market’s  disappointment with the company which had earlier announced plans for its founding family members to take a step back from key management roles.
“Now, it seems that the family still wields influence in Cahya Mata,” UOB Kay Hian Research pointed out.

Sulaiman was re-appointed as Cahya Mata’s director on June 22, a day after Ho Heng Chuan and Datuk Seri Yam Kong Choy resigned from the board.

The ex-Kota Samarahan MP was first appointed a director at Cahya Mata in 1995 and held multiple executive positions there. He resigned in 2008 to take up the post of Deputy Minister of Tourism.

“(That) these major moves that happened in a span of only two months seem to indicate a deeper internal issue at Cahya Mata,” UOB Kay Hian Research said.

In April, Mahmud took leave of absence from the company amid the allegations of financial mismanagement in relation to the company’s investments and operations pending an internal investigations.

He was cleared in the probe and returned to duties in the company the following month.

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