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Shares linked to Sarawak Chief Minister fall on resignation reports

Published on Feb 6, 2014 12:20 PM

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Shares in companies linked to the Chief Minister of Malaysia's Sarawak state fell on Thursday following media reports that 77-year-old Abdul Taib Mahmud is poised to step down after more than three decades in charge of the resource-rich region.

Tan Sri Taib, who holds sway over some of the world's largest tracts of rainforest and whose family-owned firms routinely win state infrastructure jobs, is expected to announce a timeline for his resignation at a party meeting this weekend, the local media said.

Officials from his party, which is allied with Malaysia's long-ruling coalition, have declined to comment on the speculation. Mr Taib, who became Sarawak chief minister in 1981, routinely denies accusations by non-government organisations that he has amassed up to US$20 billion (S$25.3 billion) in personal wealth through corrupt practices.

His resignation could cast doubts over his US$100 billion plan to harness the state's rivers into 12 dams by 2020 and transform it into an energy hub that can power huge smelters and light up the rest of Borneo island.

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