Sarawak's outgoing chief Taib expected to retain influence
KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - A controversial Malaysian state boss who has faced mounting accusations of corruption and environmentally disastrous policies announced his resignation on Wednesday but is expected to retain influence from behind the scenes.
One of Malaysia's most powerful political figures, Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, 77, has been chief minister of resource-rich Sarawak since 1981, implementing ambitious plans to develop the backward state, Malaysia's largest, on Borneo island.
But he has come under fierce criticism over the years amid allegations of blatant graft, rainforest destruction, and ill-treatment of Sarawak's native tribes.
"Taib Mahmud will retire as chief minister of Sarawak with effect from February 28," Samuel Simon, a Sarawak government spokesman, said.