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August 31, 2012

Royal Blunder! – William And Kate Are Set To Meet Musa In Sabah!

Filed under: Corruptions,Logging — Pengayau @ 11:46 am
Tags: , ,

“Oh No!” – Are the UK’s Royal Couple set for a Dirty Handshake?

Taken from Sarawak Report

Today’s confirmation by the Office of the Attorney General in Switzerland that it has opened a criminal prosecution against the banking group UBS, over suspected money-laundering on behalf of Musa Aman, looks set to cause an awkward diplomatic upset for the UK.

After all, the royal couple Wills and Kate are right now packing their bags to give Musa a friendly visit!

Sarawak Report first exposed back in May the evidence that the Sabah Chief Minister has taken tens of millions of dollars in kickbacks for issuing licences to chop down what remains of Sabah’s rain forests.

And we have laid out damning details of the money laundering operation conducted by the Musa and his associates through UBS accounts in a number of articles.

Details of bank statements and of the official investigations by the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission and also the Hong Kong authorities into the affair were made public in our series of exposes and the evidence was sent to Switzerland, where the Bruno Manser Fund requested the prosecution against UBS.

Yet, despite this mounting evidence, UK officials have refused to heed warnings against the planned visit to the state by the British heir to the throne and his new wife.

The visit is due to take place between September 11-19th, as part of a Royal Tour of the Commonwealth in celebration of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, marking her 60th year on the throne.  They will also be visiting Singapore and the Solomon Islands.

Photo-opportunity?

Great publicity – but could it now all backfire?

To begin with the choice of Sabah might have seemed perfect publicity for the environment conscious Royal Family.  After all the trip is being promoted as an “exotic visit to the Borneo Jungle”.

Just in the past few hours the British press has printed exciting details of plans to feature the Prince and his wife looking daring in lush forest canopies and cuddling up to cute baby orang-utans.

Given Musa’s energetic ‘greenwash’ PR of recent months, the objective has been to praise Musa for ‘slowing’ Sabah’s rate of deforestation, according to UK officials.  They are accepting claims that he now wants to protect what is left of the jungle.

However, for months Sarawak Report has been warning the Royal Palace and the British Foreign Office against becoming associated with Musa Aman’s new campaign to present Sabah as an eco-friendly state, when in fact the Danum Valley Reserve which they will be visiting is a small oasis in one of the world’s worst environmental disaster zones and the Chief Minister is still selling concessions for kickbacks throughout the state.

Sarawak Report has also warned that proof of Musa Aman’s timber corruption is now in the public domain, showing how the destruction of Sabah’s jungle since the early 1990s has largely been driven by his own greed, first as the Head of Yayasan Sabah (The Sabah Foundation which is the trustee of its national forests) and then as the Chief Minister.

There is evidence that over US$90million dollars have been money-laundered through accounts associated with Aman and his key conspirators, a family friend Michael Chia and the Sabah lawyer Richard Christopher Barnes.

For these reasons Sarawak Report has repeatedly pleaded against the Royal Couple being encouraged to endorse a man whose criminality has ruined the jungle that they say they want to see protected!

This is a photo-opportunity that could go badly wrong.

Why endorse a suspected criminal?

Musa and his forest Chief Sam Manan altered the contour maps to allow logging of these once protected steep mountain areas of the state

Despite warnings from Sarawak Report just last week that Switzerland was about to launch its criminal prosecution over Musa’s money, the British High Commission is allowing this visit to proceed!

This opens the Royal Couple to charges of complete hypocrisy.  They will of course be staying in pure luxury in the jungle resort in Danum Valley (a project sponsored by the world’s largest palm oil company, Malaysia’s government-controlled Sime Darby, while all around them millions of hectares of oil palm plantations are still being rolled out by their corrupted hosts.

The questionable judgement of such a visit is made even more severe by its timing, just as Malaysia approaches a crucial election.

What business has Britain to give such an endorsement to a notoriously corrupted and autocratic government, which has remained in power for longer than almost any other in the world?

After 50 years, who can still argue that BN has not cheated or bribed its way to its various ‘election successes’? Furthermore, evidence shows that more money is being stolen from the public in Malaysia and secreted out to foreign bank accounts, like Musa’s, than in practically any other country in the world.

Yet, it seems the royal advisors on this tour are preferring to present a lie rather than cancel the trip or upset their corrupted host, the Chief Minister of Sabah. They would rather the Royal Couple shake the hand through which a hundred million dollars of timber corruption money has passed than take a stand against the forces of corruption that are destroying Borneo!

Eco-friendly? Musa has just signed over 1/3 of Sabah’s forest reserve to ‘mosaic plantations’. He is selling off the licences in return for kickbacks

Most of that money has been stolen from the poor people of the Borneo states of Sabah and Sarawak, whose natural resources have been filched by their politicians, while they have been left in the deepest poverty.

At a time when Malaysia is at last waking up to these shocking truths and when the opposition parties are defying persecution and abuses against them to present for the first time some kind of real challenge to BN’s forces of oppression, is it right for Britain to prop them up with such a high profile visit by its as yet untainted young royal couple?

The cries in Malaysia and even in Musa’s own BN party in Sabah are now becoming deafening for his removal and his position is more precarious than ever.

How he will thank William and Kate, for stretching out their hands and offering him just the lifeline he needed with this visit and their silly praises for his greenwash PR about the ‘eco-friendly’ policies of Sabah.

August 11, 2011

Unseating Sarawak’s Last Rajah: A Brighter Future for Borneo’s Indigenous People and Rainforests? – The Ecologist

Filed under: Indigeneous People,Logging,Taib Must Go — Pengayau @ 1:40 am
Tags:

Three decades of government land seizures, rampant logging and oil palm expansion has decimated Sarawak’s rainforest and disenfranchised its native population. Yet a seismic political shift is occurring, which represents real hope for Sarawak’s people and its beleaguered forests. Through the work of tireless activists, a reform movement is rapidly gaining ground and exposing the duplicity of the existing government, and its ‘Godfather’, the Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud.

 In July 1946, Charles Vyner Brooke abdicated his position as the White Rajah of Sarawak, bringing a century of dynastic rule to an end. Yet sixty years later, despite its independence as part of Malaysia, Sarawakians are battling to unseat a new, thoroughly post-colonial type of Rajah: the Chief Minister-for-life Abdul Taib Mahmud.

 On a modest public salary of £35,000 per annum, Taib cuts a larger than life figure. His shock of white hair is often accompanied by dapper double-breasted blazers, sunglasses and a prominent diamond ring. He is chauffeured around in a cream Rolls-Royce and resides in a palatial mansion in the capital Kuching which, among other trophies, reportedly boasts a $2 million piano of the late Las Vegas showman Liberarce1. Whilst tracing his roots back to the Brunei Sultanate, his informal paternal nickname, Pak Uban (‘White-haired uncle’) has been adapted by his critics to ‘Last White Rajah’.

Situated on the island of Borneo, 1000km from Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur, Sarawak’s political relationship with central government had been contentious since Malaysia’s formation in 1963. The desire of Sarawak’s nascent political establishment to assert its autonomy was continually trumped by the central government, who wished to maintain tight control over Sarawak’s substantial oil reserves and quell any latent separatism in this, largely non-Muslim region. After seven years of battling, there eventually emerged a new political elite of Muslim natives whom Kuala Lumpur trusted, and to whom it granted a wide degree of latitude. This elite’s domestic power rested on a simple formula: as gate-keeper of Sarawak’s land and another of its natural bounties, tropical timber.

Taib was the second leader of this political dynasty, taking over the role of Chief Minister from his uncle in 1981. In the subsequent power struggle, he escalated the formula of control established by his uncle, becoming the political patron of prominent Chinese timber barons (known as towkays or ‘masters’) and guaranteeing them vast logging concessions in exchange for their unwavering political and financial backing. To ensure quietism from his peers in the State Assembly, he also rewarded loyal politicians with shares in the beneficiary companies, typically valued between $2-4 million.

As his clients cashed in on their concessions, a tropical timber boom ensued and Malaysia outpaced Indonesia as the world’s biggest exporter of tropical timber2. In 1990, the International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) concluded that unless logging was stabilised at a lower level, the state’s forests would be exhausted within a decade3. In fact, after just 8 years in power, Taib had licensed 8.8 million hectares, almost the entirety of Sarawak’s forest for logging4.

The irk for Taib was that much of the land he took the liberty of dispensing as political currency was inhabited by indigenous Dayak communities who had lived and cultivated their land for generations, mostly pre-dating the creation of the modern Sarawakian state. Thus, when bulldozers and pickup trucks arrived brandishing permits for the land, clashes ensued which often turned violent. During the height of the confrontations in the 1980s and 90s, the army and police were deployed to back up the companies, resulting in several deaths and hundreds of arrests under Malaysia’s draconian internal security laws5. 

This rapid escalation of land seizures was justified in terms of economic development; ensuring Sarawak was part of Vision 2020 (the goal set by Prime Minister Mahathir Mohammad of Malaysia becoming a ‘fully developed’ nation by 2020). Native land was designated as ‘idle’ or ‘unproductive’, an impediment to commercialisation, and villagers who protested were patronised and belittled as backwards.

Yet contrary to this ethos of common good, it is plain to see whom the overwhelming beneficiaries have been. Most logging permits have been awarded at grossly undervalued rates to private companies with political connections, generating meagre amounts of government income. In the last three years, public revenues from logging permits has averaged just £1.5 million per annum. Conversely, export values in the same period of consistently topped £1.4 billion per annum, with the vast majority of these exports being unprocessed logs rather than finished wood products. This suggests a truly ‘extractive’ model that intensifies upstream harvesting and minimises downstream investment in infrastructure, jobs and skills 6. With such ludicrously low levels of private investment and extremely high profits from export, it is unsurprising that Sarawak’s timber tycoons have become some of the richest men in Malaysia. 

The effects of this system on Sarawak’s environment and rural society have been transformative. Though Taib recently reiterated his claim that primary forest cover is at 70%, satellite images (pictured) or a flight over Sarawak’s hinterland show this to be patently false. Independent estimates put its primary forest cover at under 10%, in line with the prescient warnings the ITTO gave Taib in 1990 7 8. Yet the depletion of forests did not put an end to land seizures, which were then aimed at conversion into vast oil palm plantations, owned and operated by the very same companies (now international conglomerates) who made their fortunes in the timber boom. With international demand continuing to rise, the government plans to convert a whopping 2 million hectares into oil palm estates by 2020, with much of it on ‘idle’ native land9.

Taib’s effective formula of political patronage has been extended to almost every aspect of Sarawak’s economy, with his gilded family and allies being publicly listed shareholders on almost all lucrative land development and public works contracts, from hydroelectric dams to hospitals, road networks to luxury tourist resorts. Such concentration of money and power has led to staggering inequality, with indicators suggesting a rich-poor divide worse than Nigeria.

Such dire poverty is evident in Sarawak’s rural areas, where alienation of native land for logging and oil palm has stripped communities of their natural assets, their traditional self-sufficiency and independence. Some villages have been paid compensation but mostly on grossly unfavourable terms for land leases that would generate millions for the concessionaires. With little opportunities for cash income, most rural youngsters have migrated to the cities or outside Sarawak in search of work. Those villagers who have remained are dependent on poorly paid labour positions in companies operating on their former land, along with petty government handouts.

This economic disenfranchisement has left rural areas vulnerable to political manipulation and vote buying, which has, ironically, propped up the status-quo and allowed the land seizures to continue. “The problem is that politicians are elected by buying votes and their constituencies see them as a giver of money and not as a politician” explains reformist lawyer and politician See Chee How, “yet the representative needs to be close to the Chief Minister [Taib] in order to get logging or plantation schemes so that he can raise money to buy votes in the next election”.

The Rajah’s Shrinking Kingdom

Until recently, Taib’s system of patronage ensured almost total control, land alienation continued apace and Sarawak’s politics remained extraordinarily dull. In a land with isolated villages and little infrastructure, news traveled slowly, votes were bought, government promises never materialised and disaffected constituents lacked the means to challenge decisions.

It took the initiative of indigenous activists to educate themselves in state law and, alongside reformist barristers in the cities, file test cases on behalf of dispossessed villages against the state government and beneficiary companies. Much to the ire of the government, the judge ruled in favour of the villagers11. These precedents prompted an avalanche of cases from affected communities, demanding compensation and official recognition of their native land rights, of which there are now over 180 pending in the high court. These legal battles, together with local NGO’s work in educating villagers of their legal rights, broadened awareness among indigenous communities about the deeper political malaise they were embroiled in.

With the government swiftly moving to block communities’ access to such legal recourse, there emerged a growing consensus amongst Sarawakian activists that their real hope rested in political change under the umbrella reformasi movement that was rapidly gaining strength in West Malaysia. This awareness was boosted by a flourishing new media network.

Two of Sarawak’s most influential outlets have been Radio Free Sarawak and Sarawak Report, founded by Peter John Jaban, a former employee from the Sarawak Land and Surveys Department, and British investigative journalist Claire Rewcastle Brown. Based in London, far away from Malaysia’s stifling sedition and media laws, these outfits began investigating Taib’s empire and broadcasting its reports into Sarawak, exposing not only the magnitude of Taib’s vested interests but also where his illicit funds were ending up: not in Sarawak’s developing economy, but in a convoluted offshore portfolio estimated to top $1 billion stretching from London to Monaco, Ottowa to Sydney12.

The tension deepened even further when a prominent whistleblower, a former Taib aide named Ross Boyert was found dead in an L.A. motel room with bag taped over his head in a rare form of suspected suicide13. Members of the opposition have rightly pointed out that, since Malaysia has one the world’s highest rates of illicit capital outflows, totalling $291 billion between 2000-2008, Taib is an blinding obvious place to begin the clean-up of Malaysia’s politics and economy14.

Following pressure from Swiss NGOs, the Swiss President Micheline Calmy-Rey forwarded the Taib’s suspected deposits in the Swiss back UBS to the national money-laundering authority, a move which can only increase pressure on their counterparts in countries such as UK, Canada, and the USA to follow suit.

All this agitation climaxed in the state elections on 18th April 2011, where despite widespread reports of gerrymandering, vote buying and electoral fraud by the ruling coalition, the opposition gained 15 seats in the state assembly, denying the ruling coalition control over the major cities15. From the public response, it is clear that many see these elections as the high tide mark for Taib’s rule. Sarawakians are now relishing the challenge of political reform ahead of them, illustrated by the 40,000 people who took to the streets in the small capital Kuching in support of reform, one of the biggest rallies in Malaysian history.

With an effective opposition in the legislature, an emboldened civil society, international money laundering investigations and court cases piling up against members of Taib’s network, the existing system could well begin to unravel. The most inevitable factor weighing in against them is Taib’s own mortality. At 75, he is a political veteran who has spent thirty years cultivating his supremacy over Sarawak’s politics and economy, controlling 50% of the Sarawak’s state budget through his additional roles as Minister of Finance and Minister of Planning and Resource Management.

This has led to a system that is inefficient and top-heavy, not only in the public sphere but also in the private. Of the conglomerates who dominate Sarawak’s economy, which number less than ten, all have long-standing personal connections to the Chief Minister’s inner circle and rely on his political predominance for lucrative leases and contracts. In a society where political engagement and access to independent news is on the rise, the ruling government finds itself in an impossible situation: increasingly difficult to defend the duplicity of status quo, yet unable to undertake significant reform for fear of losing power 

Malaysia’s federal elections are expected to be called in 2012, and Malaysians are already heaping pressure on the ruling coalition to undertake electoral reform prior to the polls, to ensure that the results are, unlike previous occasions, free and fair. In July 2011, tens of thousands of protestors, including many Sarawakians, flooded Kuala Lumpur demanding these basic reforms, resulting in a brutal crackdown by the police. The opposition are confident that the the public want to begin a new political chapter for the first time since independence, and that electoral malpractice is the final obstacle to overcome.

In Sarawak, opposition parties have clearly articulated the basic structural changes necessary for a more efficient and just economy. Their policies have a strong emphasis on cleaning up land tenure and development practices. For example, in forestry, they have pledged to step up reforestation, reduce the size of logging concessions and encourage downstream timber processing whilst adopting tougher regulations on extraction that would make Sarawak’s timber more valued on the international market; all moves that would strengthen the sustainability of the sector in the long run. Whilst rather than focusing on vast oil palm estates on alienated land, they advocate granting indigenous communities titles and encouraging cultivation in small holdings and more favourable joint ventures. In addition, ensuring open tender processes for land development or public works contracts would raise more public revenue, allowing for greater investment in services, human capital and infrastructure, diversifying the economy away from its reliance on the primary sector”. 

Given that most of local opposition leaders have fought tooth and nail against Taib’s rule and have officially represented indigenous communities in their legal battles, there is considerable reason to believe they possess the political will to follow through with these sweeping reforms. Such moves would represent a huge step forward for the empowerment of Sarawak’s indigenous population, and for the conservation of its rainforests.

Yet Taib remains in power, and despite his tenuous grip, will undoubtably continue to use his leverage over Sarawak’s natural resource to this end. In the meantime, the giant logging and oil palm companies spawned under Taib’s rule have already moved to pastures new: Papua New Guinea, Guyana and West Africa. As such, international civil society must learn from the case of Taib in understanding the crucial links between weak governance and destructive social and environmental policy, with the aim of exposing and disrupting such odious ties, wherever they appear.

1. Asian Wall Street Journal. February 7th. 1990.
2. Mongabay Malaysian Profile – http://rainforests.mongabay.com/20malaysia.htm
3. Ross. 2001. 148 – Timber Booms and Institutional Breakdowns in Southeast Asia.
4. FERN/JOANGOHutan.2006.8
5. Our Land is Our Livelihood, IDEAL.
6. http://blog.securities.com/2011/03/malaysia-timber-export-recovery-2010/
7. http://www.sarawakreports.org/2011/03/22/logging-and-the-rain-forests-taib-open-to-%E2%80%9Cindependent-and-international-inspection%E2%80%9D/
8. http://news.mongabay.com/2011/0328-sarawak_google_earth.html?homepg
9. http://biz.thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2010/11/30/business/7432538&sec=business
10. There have been well documented instances of vote buying and political manipulation by promised infrastructure. Please see Sarawak Report for recent instances and for earlier examples, ‘Our Land is Our Livelihood’. IDEAL. 2001
11. Test Case of Nor Anak Nywai vs Borneo Pulp & Paper Sdn Bhd.- http://borneo.live.radicaldesigns.org/article.php?id=665
12. List of Taib’s assets http://www.stop-timber-corruption.org/resources/black_list_taib_assets_2011_02_21.pdf
13 Malaysia Today. http://malaysia-today.net/mtcolumns/from-around-the-blogs/35174-taibs-former-us-aid-found-dead
14. Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries: 2000-2009
http://chiengjen.blogspot.com/2011/01/massive-illicit-financial-outflow-from.html

April 13, 2011

Blowpipes & Bulldozers

Filed under: Indigeneous People,Logging,Politics Of Development — Pengayau @ 10:00 am

This beautifully filmed documentary follws the Penan peoples plight as they are moved off the land by logging companies and are forced to watch as their jungle homes, rivers and way of life are ravaged and destroyed by the loggers

The second part of this revealing documentary takes us into the lives of the Penan people of Sarawac on the island of Borneo as they resist being displaced and savaged by Malasian backed logging companies intent on destroying the the Penans’ jungle homeland for the logs and timber. It is believed that Bruno Manser the main spoke sperson in the video was killed by the loggers or the Malasian Government to keep him from speaking out for he Penan

The third part of this moving video follows the Penan indigenous people of Sarawac as they fight against insurmountable odds to try and save their homeland from the logging companies. To stop information getting out the malasian Governmnet imposed a total media blackout on Sarawac and killed or forced outspoken dissidents to flee the country for their lives

March 30, 2011

Pencerobohan Pembalakan di Taman Negara Lambir,Miri,Sarawak

Filed under: Logging — Pengayau @ 10:00 am
Tags:

This pictures being send to my email from an unknown email adress that requested me to post it in my Blogs


Hutan Taman Negara Lambir yang telah di balak


Jentera balak yang di gunakan


Pondok penduduk yang telah di robohkan oleh Pembalak

Kayu daripada Taman Negara Lambir


Pokok getah yang habis di tumbangkan oleh Pembalak


Kem pekerja balak



March 17, 2011

Protests in Australia and Europe announced


Taken from BMF

After street action in the UK, US and Canada, a second series of protests against Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s massive corruption is planned for next week in Australia and Switzerland, just ahead of Taib’s 30th anniversary in power on Saturday 26 March 2011.

Monday 21 March 2011
Sydney, Australia
12:30 p.m. in front of the Taib family-owned Valentine on George Hotel, 767 George St
Organized by Rainforest Information Centre, Sydney (www.rainforestinfo.org.au/borneo/21st.pdf)
The protest rally will be adressed by retiring Greens MP Ian Cohen
Contact: John Seed, Tel.                             +61 4 1037 0632              , E-mail: rainforestinfo(a)ozemail(dot)com(dot)au

Friday 25, March 2011
Adelaide, Australia
12:30 p.m. at the “Taib Mahmud, Chief Minister of Sarawak Court”, adjacent to the Ligertwood Buidling at Adelaide University
Organized by the South Australian Greens (www.sa.greens.org.au)
The protest rally will be adressed by MP Mark Parnell, State Parliamentary Leader of the South Australian Greens
Contact: Cate Mussared, Tel.                             +61 8 8237 9111              , E-mail: Parnell(at)parliament(dot)sa(dot)gov(dot)au

Friday 25 March 2011
Bern, Switzerland
11 a.m. Helvetiaplatz
Organized by the Bruno Manser Fund, Basel (www.bmf.ch)
The event will be used to deposit more than 6000 signatures of BMF’s Stop Timber Corruption petition to the nearby Malaysian embassy.
Contact: Michael Kraft, Tel.                             +41 76 428 25 11              , E-mail: timber-corruption(a)bmf(dot)ch

Saturday 26 March 2011
Hounville (Tasmania), Australia
10 a.m. at the Huon Valley Environment Centre, 17 Wilmot Rd., Huonville (www.huon.org)
The protest will be held in front of the nearby Taib family-related Ta Ann veneer mill. The logging group Ta Ann is controlled by Taib Mahmud’s cousin Hamed Sepawi. It is responsbile for destructive logging of High Conservation Value Tasmanian forests.
Contact: Jenny Weber                             +61 3 6264 1286              , E-mail: huonenvironmentalcentre(a)gmail(dot)com

We will keep you updated on planned further action in Vienna (Austria), Hamburg (Germany) and other cities around the globe.

(17 March 2011)

March 13, 2011

Growing World Attention Focusses on Sarawak


Latest exposure by Sarawak Report 
A picture from the Sunday Times article

The wave of protests and disgust against the destructive regime of Taib Mahmud in Sarawak is continuing and it has gained further attention in the international media.  There have been demonstrations outside properties owned by the Taibs in the UK, Canada and the US and now it has been announced that further protests are planned in Australia, Austria and Switzerland.

Today’s Sunday Times Newspaper, Britain’s premier weekly, has also reported on these developments and summarised the reasons why so many people the world over are rallying to support the plight of the people of Sarawak in the face of the greedy plunder of their jungles and natural resources.  The message is clear – you have not been forgotten and there are many in the world who will move to help you once you are rid of Taib Mahmud.

We present you the article in the Sunday Times, because you will certainly not be hearing about it through any licenced news channels in Malaysia.  This same issue has also been covered in Britain’s Independent Newspaper and also the London Evening Standard in the past few days – the photographs accompanied the article.

http://www.thesundaytimes.co.uk/sto/news/world_news/Asia/article576657.ece

This is what they are saying about Sarawak – The Sunday Times article

News

PLEA TO OUST RULERS RAZING BORNEO JUNGLE

Campaigners are demanding Britain freeze the assets of a family who have allowed Borneo to become a wasteland through logging and development

Michael Sheridan, Far East Correspondent

Published: 13 March 2011

Campaigners are calling on Britain to freeze the multimillion-pound assets of the ruling family of one of Borneo’s two Malaysian states, accusing them of corruptly benefiting from the rape of the island’s rainforest and the eviction of its native peoples.

The call is part of a concerted effort by conservationists and the Malaysian opposition to end the 30-year rule of Sarawak’s wealthy chief minister, Abdul Taib Mahmud, 74.

In that time, the rainforests of northwest Borneo have been devastated by logging and rare species have vanished. Jungle rivers run foul with industrial poison and the air is often thick with smoke.

Once a treasure house of nature — it is home to the world’s largest flower, flying squirrels and a bird named after the once-ruling British white rajah — Borneo is turning into a wasteland. Its ruin is symbolised by the plight of the orang-utans, whose numbers have fallen by half in 50 years. In place of the pristine rainforests, regimented plantations of oil palms arise to feed the demand for “green” biofuels.

The timber has been felled by companies dependent on licences issued by Taib, and in some cases they are financially connected to his family.

(more…)

March 2, 2011

Revolution Sarawak

Filed under: Good Governance,Indigeneous People,Logging,Taib Must Go — Pengayau @ 10:09 am

 

Tracy Chapman – Talking About The Revolution

Don’t you know you’re talking about a revolution
It sounds like a whisper
Don’t you know they’re talking about a revolution
It sounds like a whisper

While they’re standing in the welfare lines
Crying at the doorsteps of those armies of salvation
Wasting time in unemployment lines
Sitting around waiting for a promotion

Don’t you know you’re talking about a revolution
It sounds like a whisper

Poor people are gonna rise up
And get their share
Poor people are gonna rise up
And take what’s theirs

Don’t you know you better run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run
Oh I said you better run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run, run

Finally the tables are starting to turn
Talking about a revolution
Finally the tables are starting to turn
Talking about a revolution oh no
Talking about a revolution oh no

While they’re standing in the welfare lines
Crying at the doorsteps of those armies of salvation
Wasting time in unemployment lines
Sitting around waiting for a promotion

Don’t you know you’re talking about a revolution
It sounds like a whisper

And finally the tables are starting to turn
Talking about a revolution
Finally the tables are starting to turn
Talking about a revolution oh no
Talking about a revolution oh no
Talking about a revolution oh no

March 1, 2011

Pictures from Anti-Taib Stop Timber Corruption in London


Latest photos from the Stop Timber Corruption in London

Papa Orang Utan A.K.A Peter John Jaban!!

Pictures courtesy of Kakak Burung Tiung and more pictures here

The UK protest took place outside the London headquarters of Ridgeford Properties Ltd, the property company associated with Taib, at 9.30am GMT yesterday.

The protest in London is led by Peter John Jaban and Clare Rewcastle Brown. Peter John Jaban is the DJ of Radio Free Sarawak, an independent short-wave radio station which is broadcast from London. Peter John is the grandson of an Iban head-hunter from the rainforests of Sarawak. Clare Rewcastle Brown, a former BBC journalist, is the editor of Sarawak Report, a news website focussing on governance issues in the East Malaysian state on Borneo. Radio Free Sarawak and Sarawak Report were featured in the London Evening Standard earlier this week.

The Bruno Manser Fund, together with an international NGO coalition against Taib timber corruption, is asking the US authorities to freeze all Taib assets in the United States and to investigate the former Taib aide and whistleblower Ross Boyert’s allegations against the Taibs and the circumstances of his death.

Details of planned Taib street campaigns in the United States:

Seattle: Thursday, 3 March 2011, 12:00 p.m. outside the FBI Northwestern Regional Headquarters at 1110
3rd Avenue (corner Spring St)
San Francisco: Wednesday, 9 March 2011, 10:00 a.m. outside Citibank at 260 California Street
Phone contact for the United States:
Brihannala Morgan, The Borneo Project, Berkeley, California Tel. +1 415 341 7051
www.borneoproject.org
International campaign coordination: Bruno Manser Fund, Basel, Switzerland +41 61 261 94 74
http://www.stop-timber-corruption.org/@bmf.ch
Sources used for this release: http://www.sarawakreport.org/; research by the Bruno Manser Fund.
Follow our campaign on twitter: http://www.twitter.com/bmfonds

Bookmark this page for more updates – Stop Timber Corruption

Canada, UK governments asked to freeze Taib assets


From BMF

Canada, UK governments asked to freeze Taib assets

Protesters in front of the mansion of Jamilah Taib at Rockcliffe, Canada, defied ice and snow. Jamilah (Taib’s daughter) is a founding director of Sakto corporation and a major shareholder of Cahaya Mata Sarawak (CMS).

OTTAWA (CANADA) / LONDON (UK). Human rights and environmental campaigners from
Malaysia, Canada, the United Kingdom and Switzerland have today protested against corruption in front of property companies associated with the family of Abdul Taib Mahmud (“Taib”), the Chief Minister of the Malaysian state of Sarawak. The protests took place in front of Sakto Corporation in Ottawa and Ridgeford Properties Ltd in central London.

The Canadian and British governments are being asked to freeze the assets of nine Taib-associated
companies in Canada and two companies in the UK which are estimated to be worth hundreds of
millions of US dollars.

The Canadian companies blacklisted by the Swiss Bruno Manser Fund as being associated with the Taib family are Adelaide Ottawa Corporation (Business number 2028546); City Gate International Corporation (446027-8); Glowell Development Corporation (1545868); Preston Building Holding Corporation (2108122), Sakto Development Corporation Pte. Ltd. (155207-4), Sakto Corporation (340439-1), Sakto Management Services Corporation (655948-4), Tower One Holding Corporation (2028542), Tower Two Holding Corporation (2018543). The British companies named on the Taib family assets blacklist are Ridgeford Properties Ltd (3268801) and Ridgeford Consulting Ltd
(5572163). Ridgeford Properties Ltd is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Canadian City Gate International Corporation.

The Bruno Manser Fund also disclosed that it had lodged a detailed complaint with Jeanne M.
Flemming, Director of Canada’s Financial Transactions and Reports Analysis Centre (FINTRAC), in June 2010 already. Hitherto, FINTRAC has left the complaint unanswered. Earlier this week, the Bruno Manser Fund criticized the Canadian authorities for their close business ties with Taib-family companies. No less than eleven Ontario Government Ministries are occupying offices at Sakto’s Preston Square Tower III in Ottawa.

Abdul Taib Mahmud has been Chief Minister, Finance Minister and State Planning and Resources Minister of the Malaysian state of Sarawak since 1981. He has abused his political power in a spectacular way for personal gains and has managed to turn the resource-rich state of Sarawak on Borneo into his own private estate. Taib has been particularly criticized for the destructive logging of hundreds of thousands of hectares of tropical rainforest and for the marginalization of the state’s indigenous communities. Taib’s fortune is estimated to be worth several billion US dollars.

(28 February 2011)

February 24, 2011

Stop Sarawak Timber Corruption – Freeze Taib assets now!


 

The Bruno Manser Fund  has launch an international campaign against the blatant corruption and abuse of public funds by Abdul Taib Mahmud, Chief Minister of the Malaysian state of Sarawak. A campaign website, http://www.stop-timber-corruption.org/petition, has go online since Friday, 18 February, and will be regularly updated and equipped with features for an interactive campaign with public participation.

Taib, one of South East Asia’s longest-serving politicians, has been in office since 1981 and is planning to celebrate his 30th anniversary in power on 26 March 2011. The 75-year old kleptocrat will stand as an incumbent for another five-year term of office in the upcoming Sarawak state elections, which are due to be held before July.

Taib has abused his public office to a frightening extent and has managed to convert the state of Sarawak into his family’s private estate. He simultaneously holds the offices of Chief Minister, and Finance Minister, as well as that of State Planning and Resources Minister, which gives him enormous political power. In addition, Malaysia’s “Barisan Nasional” coalition, which forms the federal government, is dependent on Taib’s support to remain in power. Sarawak’s largest private company, its electricity supply, large-scale logging interests and the control of log exports are also concentrated in the hands of the Taib family.

Since 1983, Taib and his immediate family members have started to transfer considerable parts of their ill-gotten assets overseas. The Bruno Manser Fund has established a black list with 49 Taib companies in eight countries worth hundreds of millions, if not billions, of dollars. The list will be published next week, and the authorities of these countries will be asked to freeze all Taib assets and to launch criminal investigations against the Taib family.

In Sarawak, corruption has proved to be one of the main drivers of deforestation. While most of the state’s forests have been logged or converted into plantations over the last three decades, Sarawak’s indigenous communities have seen little, if any, benefit from Taib’s so-called politics of development. Poverty, illiteracy and a lack of basic infrastructure are omnipresent in rural Sarawak.

Sarawak’s numerous indigenous communities, and particularly the Penan, have struggled since the 1980s against destructive logging and have fought for their land rights but, in most cases, they have been outmanoeuvred and cheated by Taib and his cronies.

For 30 years, Abdul Taib Mahmud has been Chief Minister of the Malaysian state of Sarawak. Taib has abused his power in a spectacular way and has transferred the massive proceeds of corruption and illegal logging overseas. He and his family members own numerous companies in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the UK, the US and other countries.

Help us to build up international political pressure against the corrupt Taib family and sign the online petition!

Your e-mail will be sent to the authorities in Australia, the British Virgin Islands, Canada, Hong Kong, Jersey, Malaysia, the United Kingdom and the United States of America as well as to the Asia Pacific Group on Money Laundering.

Sign our online petition nowBookmark this page for more updates – Stop Timber Corruption

February 6, 2011

Nomadic Penan leader Along Sega has passed away


Taken from Baru Bian.net

It is with great sadness that we have to inform you that Along Sega, the iconic paramount leader of the last nomadic Penan group in the Upper Limbang region of Sarawak, Malaysia, has passed away yesterday, 2 February 2011, at 5 p.m. local time at Limbang hospital. Along was in his 70s and leaves behind his wife Yut and a number of children and grandchildren. While the exact cause of his death remains unknown, we have been informed that he had being suffering from strong pains in his legs during the last weeks.

Along Sega became world famous as an outspoken leader and spokesperson for the Penan’s struggle against the logging companies that started encroaching into the Borneo rainforest in the 1980s. Along Sega also had the role as a mentor and adoptive father to Swiss environmentalist Bruno Manser who spent several years living with Along’s group in the Adang and Limbang river region in the late 1980s. Along and his group’s struggle was featured in documentaries such as Tong Tana, Blowpipes against Bulldozers, Lakei Penan and The Last Nomads of Borneo. Having been born as a member of one of the last groups of nomadic hunter-gatherers, Along decided to become sedentary near Long Adang in Upper Limbang in the early 2000s, mainly because the Penan’s forests had been depleted by logging.

It was bitter for Along to realize that the Sarawak government never showed any respect for the nomadic Penan’s unique lifestyle and heritage and that all promises given to them by the Malaysian authorities in the 1980s were subsequently broken. In a 2005 interview with the Bruno Manser Fund, Along said that life had become very difficult for the Penan due to logging and he also talked about intimidation by loggers (see interview in the attachment). He also said that the Chief Minister’s promise to preserve an intact jungle area for the Penan was “all lies” and “nonsense” and had never been realized. Asked about the ongoing struggle for the conservation of the rainforest and the Penan’s land rights, he said that he was trying to teach the younger generation how to lead the struggle for the Penan rights: “When I die, they will continue our struggle because I asked them not to give up.”

Please find a few pictures and a copy of the 2005 interview with Along below.

Picture 1: Along Sega in 1986 with a “seperut” stick which is used by the Penan as both an ornament and talisman

Picture 2: Along Sega (centre) in 1996 with Bruno Manser

Picture 3: Along Sega in 2005 with a satellite image map of his logged forest

Picture 4: The last picture of Penan paramount leader Along Sega with his group at Long Gita, Upper Limbang, in November 2010

Copyright of all pictures: Bruno Manser Fund.

Interview with Nomadic Penan headman Along Sega, 8 July 2005

Bruno Manser Fonds: Along Sega, how old are you?

Along Sega: I don’t know exactly because my birth date is not recorded. But I am certainly older than 60 years now.

BMF: Where were you born?

Along Sega: I was born at Ba Ureu, close to Ba Nyakit where we are mostly staying now. My parents used to stay in the area for a long time before I was born, for at least one generation.

BMF: Could you please describe us some of your childhood memories.

Along Sega: I remember that I first learned from my father when I was still a young boy. I took a stick and used it like a spear. When I was first able to hit a target, I was good enough for hunting. My father made a first blowpipe for me out of a bamboo with which I practiced. He says I was a good hunter. When I started to hit the target, my father asked me to hunt the birds around our camp with the blowpipe. Then he gave me a spear to hunt. Later on, my father taught me how to process the sago. In the beginning, I could only process one sago tree. Later on, I could process two.

BMF: How many were you in your group?

Along Sega: I was born as the youngest one of 6 brothers and sisters. There was my eldest brother Aya, my second brother Medok, my third brother Nyagung and my fourth brother Luau. All of them have passed away already. The only ones still alive are my sister Tioung, who lives at Long Adang, and I.

BMF: When did you first meet anyone from outside your group?

Along Sega: The first white man I met was Tuan Seripen (=Tuan Beripin), the then Marudi District Officer. There was also a man who looked for Sedin Perait, the resin/glue.

(more…)

December 15, 2010

NCR Defender to be charged in Court tomorrow


Taken from Hornbill Unleashed


Numpang Anak Suntai (picture) will be charged in the Magistrate Court in Serian tomorrow morning, allegedly for criminal intimidation.

Last month, Numpang together with 290 other representatives of the 15 Iban communities from Sebangan, Simunjan, Sarawak had filed a suit against Quality Concrete Sdn Bhd, a logging company substantially owned by Sarawak Chief Minister’s sister Roziah @ Raziah Mahmud, for trespassing and encroachment into their native customary rights land.

Family members, friends and relatives of the gentle-speaking Numpang are expected to crowd the Serian District Office premises to show their support for him and the on-going battles to defend native customary land rights in Sarawak.

Related articles in Hornbill Unleashed:

Logging paper-trail leads to Taib’s family

15 Iban villages sue company of Taib’s sister

Logging company of Taib Mahmud’s sister sued by Sebangan natives

Iban logging protestors defy Taib’s family

Breaking News : Simunjan 7 NCR landowners freed!

200 NCR landowners demand to be detained

Raziah – Protestors jailed

NCR land dispute: ‘Intelligence report’ for PM

Raziah Grabs Multi-Million Dollar Forest For Just RM250!

Blatant disregard for native customary rights

They come at us with laws and guns and accuse us of intimidation?

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