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December 15, 2010

Abdul Karim, Taib and life in the Big Top

Taken from Hornbill Unleashed

Abdul Karim Hamzah, State Assembly representative for Asajaya, and chief political secretary to Sarawak’s Chief Termite Taib Mahmud, has made a sorry spectacle, clowning around to please his boss. “Voice recording here ”

Abdul Karim has endured punishing criticism (and even more fearsome, derisive laughter) from all over the country, thanks to his ill-advised comments in a recent interview with Sarawak Free Radio.

Taib, the Ringmaster in Sarawak’s propaganda circus, seems to need his retinue of clowns with slow wits and flat feet to speak up for him. The Ringmaster himself has not dared to produce the slightest peep over the devastating, carefully documented revelations of his property empire worldwide, and his land deals in Sarawak, in Sarawak Report and all over the worldwide web.

Laughing off the reports

His chief political clown Abdul Karim attempted gamely to defend his Ringmaster, by tooting his horn and giggling. When he said Taib had not sued Sarawak Report for libel because “I mean, to take up an action is not as simple as it is (sic)…sometimes it’s better to just leave things as it (sic) is, because it will, after a while, quiet down (laughs).”

He seemed to find it funny when he championed a White Paper obviously aimed at silencing political opponents, ranging from Sarawak Report, to Pakatan Rakyat leaders like Anwar Ibrahim, Sivarasiah Rahsia and Lim Kit Siang, to the new radio broadcasting station Radio Free Sarawak to blogs like Hornbill Unleashed, Broken Shield and Dayak Nation.

“If we feel that they are not desirable to us, if they are known to be…who have been running us down, from their writing, from their blogs, I think if they are not a friend to Sarawak, I would say, then we stop them (laughs).”

Indeed, if reports from insiders are accurate, Taib is planning to clamp down on Hornbill Unleashed, perhaps by legal action. He must be hoping his team of cracked sharpshooters can bring down the hornbill and bury it, never mind about the leash.

But his marksmen might be shooting their boss in the foot, since this would draw even greater worldwide attention to his plummeting reputation, just as the Clown Prince Abdul Karim has.

Life in the Big Top

The Clown Prince Abdul Karim seems to be living in an alternative universe. In his circus world, those revealing shady land deals in an effort to cut down on corrupt practices, and provide more state money for poor people, is “not desirable”. In his world, these people are “not a friend to Sarawak”.

Taib, on the other hand, appears to be desirable and friendly to Sarawak, though he has scrabbled together a vast fortune for himself, “for example” by acquiring land cheaply, as Abdul Karim puts it.

Do political secretaries understand the basics?

This ‘chief political secretary’ and state assemblyperson, and indeed the chairman of the Barisan Nasional backbenchers’ club, might be expected to understand the basics.

Sarawak’s government is not Sarawak. The government is merely a group of ordinary people voted in to administer Sarawak and use its resources for the benefit of Sarawak’s citizens, and not for themselves.

All elected representatives, even the Chief Termite, serve the people and the state (as outlined in the oath of office they swear), and not the other way around. If they indulge in private, personal wealth accumulation at the expense of the poor people of Sarawak, they are by definition the enemies of the people and of the state.

This is simple and universal political theory, but it appears to be beyond the grasp of the poor clown with the smile painted on his face. If he had any self-respect left, he would surely resign.

Abdul Karim’s pathetic defence of his master getting cheap land (“for example”) was greeted with contempt; unfortunately, although Abdul Karim claims he reads Malaysiakini and Free Malaysia Today, he may not be able to understand sarcasm. His use of English is not his strong suit; slapstick is more his style of communication.

He may even think the Facebook ‘likes’ given to reports of his Radio Free Sarawak interview may be ‘likes’ of him.

There are reams of publicly documented evidence of Taib and his family, featuring a smiling procession of his late wife, brothers, sister, children, brother-in-law Abdul Aziz Hussein, and cousin Hamid Sepawi, obtaining contracts from the state government.

Such beneficiaries of Sarawak’s taxpayers’ hard-earned money include CMS, Naim Holdings, Sarawak Energy, Titanium, Mesti Bersatu, Quality Concrete and numerous other family companies. These contracts were under the responsibility of Taib himself, as finance minister and minister for natural resources and planning.

There are tonnes of detailed descriptions of the timber concession holdings given by Taib, as minister for natural resources and planning, and lurid records of generous gifts to Taib’s family by cronies such as Samling.

And there is an intricately traced paper trail showing the lucrative land acquisitions by companies owned by Taib’s family. They have had vast tracts of cheap or free land alienated to them and have then been able to sell them on for immense profit.

Abdul Karim has succeeded only in highlighting his Ringmaster’s stinking wealth, and foul conflict of interest and instant riches from acquisition of land titles. Abdul Karim must now be one of Pakatan Rakyat’s newest assets in Sarawak.

Perhaps Abdul Karim should be exiled from Sarawak under his own White Paper, since he himself has “blatantly tried to run down the government, tried to create instability, whether economically or politically, in the state”, as he accused Taib’s critics in his interview!

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