The Taib family company CMS proudly boasts of its “vast land bank” in its annual reports and has started selling off chunks for tens of millions in Kuching.
Commercial centres and grand housing estates are also being developed in two key areas, Bandar Samariang, where CMS has 5,200 acres, valued around half a billion ringgit, and of course on the Kuching Isthmus, where land is even more expensive.
But, how did CMS acquire all this property and who has benefitted? (more…)
Shocking disrespect towards one of Sarawak’s most treasured historical figures has come to light, with this image of a Rajah Brooke memorial cross, plucked from its position outside the Governor’s Mansion in Kuching and dumped in a junk heap.
The white marble cross had stood in front of the Astana, as a memorial to three Brooke children, who were lost at sea.
It provided a poignant Christian symbol, with the famous phrase “suffer little children to come unto me” wrapped round its simple stem. (more…)
The term ‘Dayak’ has been pronounced a non-word by state ordinance, on the basis that the tribal people of Sarawak should no longer be encouraged to think of themselves as a nation, but only as groups to be divided and ruled.
Yet, how else to collectively describe the native people, who are surrendering up their vast natural resources to enrich West Malayisan leaders and their agents in Sarawak (Taib Mahmud and his BN cronies)? (more…)
Apologies for my absence last week, but it would have been impossible to finish my year-end university essays if I’d diverted my attention to the latest antics of the crooked morons in charge of Malaysia.
The most laughable of which, despite some stiff competition since, was surely Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s address to the crowd of cretins he wowed at the National Deepavali Open House at City Square, Johor Baru on Nov 9. (more…)
Who are those behind the issuance of a timber extraction licence for Mount Sadong located along the Baki-Riih Road in Serian about 40km from Kuching?
Is it the Forest Department or Sarawak Timber Development Corporation? Or is any minister involved? These are the questions 26 angry Bidayuh chiefs are asking.
Irrespective of the identities of those involved, the chiefs led by Temenggong Robert Sulis Ridu are demanding that the licence be revoked at once, failing which they and their ‘anembiak‘ (followers) will be forced to organsise a big protest against the exploitation of Mount Sadong, (more…)
He has made known his desire to transform Langkawi into a Bali or a Monaco but before catering to high-end tourists, he should address the needs of the local population
Najib Tun Razak expressed a wish that Langkawi would become like Bali and Monaco, but he should be very careful of what he wishes for. He said: “Thousands of tourists come here to spend, generating revenue not only for companies but also the Government.”
Before Langkawi can be like Bali and Monaco, there are many things Najib must resolve. (more…)
Alfian ZM Tahir
- Displaced Penans say they are thirsty, hungry and have no protection from severe weather.
Three hundred Penan families displaced by the ongoing construction of Murum Dam are living in desperate circumstances as they battle for justice.
They have no access to clean water and decent food, and their tents, constructed from tree branches and tarpaulin, are ineffective against heavy rain. (more…)
The eight Penans, whom police arrested at a blockade on the access road to the Murum hydroelectric dam in Ulu Belaga, Sarawak, Thursday afternoon, have been remanded for three days until Sunday.
Their lawyer, Abun Sui Anyit, said they were being held under Section 341 of the penal code.
Under the section, the arrested Penans, aged between 12 and 60 years old, would be in police custody until a magistrate could hear their case. (more…)
- PRESS STATEMENT – SUARAM Condemns Crackdown in Murum : Protesters, Including Children, Arrested and Detained
SUARAM condemns ongoing harassment of Penan communities in Murum and Baram. Yesterday (7 November 2013), saw another action from the Royal Malaysian Police which clearly shows the failed role of the police force. Eight Penan who have been blockading against the Murum damsince August were arrested yesterday and brought to the Belaga Police Station. (more…)
- Shahnaz Abdul Majid arrives at Kuala Lumpur Syariah Court.
The ex-wife to the son of Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Taib Mahmud was asked at the Syariah court here today whether she was a virgin when she married him.
At the retrial of Shahnaz Abdul Majid’s RM400 million divorce from Datuk Seri Mahmud Abu Bekir Abdul Taib, the latter’s lawyer, Saadiah Din, also asked Shahnaz if she had cooked and cleaned at their matrimonial home. (more…)
A group of 80 NGOs and social activists are urging that all works related to the Baram and Murum dams in Sarawak cease immediately until ‘open and fair’ consultations have taken place with the local community.
In particular, they want the Sarawak state government-related corporations, contractors and agents to stop the impoundment at Murum Dam and arson of nearby Penan communities.
Meanwhile at Baram Dam, the groups demanded that the work related to the survey and construction of the planned dam stop. (more…)
Affected by the proposed land acquisition for the dam, they are questioning the constitutionality of Section 5(3) and 5(4) of the Sarawak Land Code.
Natives from Long Na’ah and Long Kesseh in Baram are suing Chief Minister Taib Mahmud and the state government over the proposed Baram dam project which will eventually drown their ancestral and communal land.
They have named Taib in his capacity as Minister of Resource Planning and Environment and the state government as first and second defendants respectively. (more…)
- Picture: NGO campaigners protest in front of Mr. Sjotveit’s home in Bekkestua, a suburb of Norway’s capital, Oslo (Picture: BMF/FIVAS)
(OSLO / NORWAY) In a surprise move, Swiss rainforest advocacy group, the Bruno Manser Fund, and its Norwegian partner, FIVAS, have lodged an urgent complaint against the state-owned Malaysian power supplier, Sarawak Energy, with Norway’s anti-corruption agency, Okokrim. The complaint is directed against Sarawak Energy’s Norwegian CEO, Torstein Dale Sjotveit, for unduly favouring the family of Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud. Under Norway’s tough anti-corruption laws, Norwegian citizens can be held accountable for their involvement in corruption anywhere in the world. (more…)
When he is not tearing down tropical trees in Sarawak, the chief officer of Sarawak Energy has his home in a very smart, leafy suburb of Oslo in Norway, known as Baerum.
Last week, appalled at the latest round of mega-projectshanded out by this hired Norwegian to companies owned by his boss, the autocratic ruler Taib Mahmud, NGOs decided it was time to inform the residents of Baerum about the corrupt activities of their wealthy neighbour, who spends so much time on the other side of the world.
So, they came to Bearum, Norway to distribute leaflets explaining what Sarawak Energy (SEB) boss Torstein Dale Sjotveit is doing in Baram, Sarawak and how the entire project is linked to Taib Mahmud’s kleptocratic destruction of the world’s oldest rainforest. (more…)
Swiss based Bruno Manser Fund claims the Sarawak Energy Berhad CEO has ‘lost his credibility’ and is ruining Norway’s reputation.
Sarawak Energy Berhad’s chief executive officer Torstein Dale Sjotveit has made himself a “tool of the Taib Mahmud family’s unrestrained greed and corruption”, claims Swiss NGO, the Bruno Manser Fund (BMF).
Expressing its shock at the latest disclosure that SEB had awarded Sarawak Cable two new contracts worth RM618 million contract, BMF said the “act has passed all levels of decency”.
Sarawak Cable is helmed by Chief Minister Taib’s eldest son Mahmud Abu Bekir. (more…)
As the Penan community continues its battle with state-owned company Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) over the Murum Dam, SEB has awarded two contracts worth more than RM600 million to a company linked to the son of Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud.
According to a Aug 29 filing with Bursa Malaysia, Sarawak Cable Bhd said its subsidiary Trenergy Infrastructure Sdn Bhd (Trenergy) won two contracts, worth RM352.8 million and RM265.8 million each.
The contracts are for a 500kV electricity transmission line from Mapai to Lachau and the 500kV Lachau-Tondong transmission line, which will be completed within 23 and 26 months respectively from Nov 15. (more…)
Penan families affected by the Murum Dam have accused Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) of trying to mislead them and the general public into believing that they would receive RM213.3 million in compensation for their longhouses and infrastructure facilities
Peliran-Murum Penan Affairs Committee (Pemupa) chairperson Ngang Buling vehemently refuted the claims today and said there was no truth in the SEB statement.
“The Penan are shocked by the claim, which to them is all rubbish,” said Ngang.
He was commenting on a ‘blanket statement’ issued by SEB on the payment of compensation to the Penan communities affected by Murum Dam hydroelectric project (MDHEP) in the Belaga district. (more…)
Sarawak’s Taib Mahmud is back in the limelight after family-linked company awarded RM600 million contract by state-owned company. – The Malaysian Insider pic, October 31, 2013.A company linked to the family of the Sarawak Chief Minister has been awarded a contract worth RM618.6 million by state-owned dam builder Sarawak Energy to develop transmission lines in the state, drawing criticism from a Swiss-based environmental group.
The Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) – a group which has been critical of Sarawak’s policies on its indigenous people – said Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud’s eldest son, Mahmud Abu Bekir, is the chairman of Sarawak Cable Bhd (SCB), whose subsidiary won the contract. (more…)
- In reality Sarawak has no real need for Putrajaya and the recent ‘Allah’ controversy and Taib Mahmud’s stand has clearly set it apart from Sabah.
Sabah Chief Minister Musa Aman’s verbosity over a list of recyled projects on Budget 2014 and his spineless silence on the Allah issue is in sharp contrast with his counterpart in Sarawak.
Musa and Taib Mahmud are CMs of once ‘independent’ nations who signed the Malaysia Agreement in 1963, thus stepping in together with Federated Malaya and Singapore (who got purged out two years later) into a newly formed Malaysia. (more…)
Raja Ahmad Shahrir
As expected, Budget 2014 included the announcement of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) implementation, the removal of subsidy (one item now but potentially more within the near future), and the announcement of various spending allocations to boost the Malaysian economy, all embedded within the prime minister’s ‘Five Thrusts’ framework, with the hope to improve the nation’s fiscal deficit.
Frankly speaking, from a planning perspective, I believe that the budget contains steps needed to grow the Malaysian economy and enhance it through the development of basic infrastructure to the people, enhancing human capital development by focussing on the right sets of skills and knowledge, boosting economic activity to increase domestic and foreign investments, restructuring the tax system to enhance revenue, etc. (more…)
- Heavy police presence in downstream Long lama and fresh blockades by natives in upstream Baram has turned the area into a hotspot of demos.
BARAM: Native protestors who chased out 30 Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) workers doing geological studies at the Baram dam site last Wednesday, have set up fresh blockades on the access road into the construction area.
The indigenous landowners set up two blockades and appeared to have successfully prevented workers in the area from returning and pursuing their work on the proposed dam.
Swiss based Bruno Manser Find (BMF) in a statement today said the native are demanding an immeidate halt to all planning and costruction works at the dam site and its access road. (more…)
- Wright and the SEB team. He was invited to engage with NGO dialogue at Geneva – an invitation that was spurned
Nick Wright, Sarawak Energy’s Australian Vice-President in charge of Resettlement, Corporate Social Responsibility and Community Consultation, made a surprise appearance in Geneva this week.
It turned out that his mission was to present a highly sanitised report to the United Nations, praising his company’s treatment of the natives affected by the state’s mega-dam plans.
The document summarised the resettlement arrangements, which Sarawak Energy (SEB) claim to have agreed with the Penan and Kenyah of Murum, with the following statement: (more…)
- Welcoming site? – why the surprise impoundment of the dam before compensation was agreed or even these homes were built?
It has emerged that many of the families forced from their longhouses at Murum have found there is no replacement housing for them after all, in the half-built resettlement areas they have been bundled into by Sarawak Energy.
Visitors last week spoke to families in Tegulang, all of whom had been given supposed vouchers for a home in the new longhouses, but who found there was not enough room.
Such families are being forced to beg space off relatives, with as many as three families now crowding into the same pintu. (more…)
Sarawak’s political flagship Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) is on course for another victory in the next state election due by 2016, with Chief Minister Tan Sri Taib Mahmud at its helm.
Political observers believed that the party will still remain in power after consolidating its position following its recent 13th triennial delegates conference (TDC).
Their optimistic assessment is also based on the performance of the party over the years. The well-oiled PBB has displayed strong leadership, with minimum bickering under the leadership of Taib.
Said political analyst Dr Jeniri Amir, who is also a senior lecturer at Universiti Malaysia Sarawak (Unimas): (more…)
Logging disaster – Norway blacklists the culprits WTK
Once again Norway’s massive public pension fund has reviewed its investments in Sarawak and blacklisted two more unethical companies, both closely linked to Chief Minister Taib Mahmud.
Having vetoed Samling Global because of its destructive and illegal practices back in 2010, the so-called ‘Oil Fund’, which is the world’s largest institutional investor, has now produced detailed reports outlining why it has decided to also reject Ta Ann Holding Bhd, and WTK Holdings Bhd.
Ta Ann is controlled by Taib’s close cousin and effective nominee, Hamed Sepawi, whereas WTK is a well-known crony company that has been convincingly identified as being responsible for the shocking 30 mile log jam along the Rajang River in 2010. (more…)
My kids have got it up here – no help from me!
So, Taib Mahmud has yet another business in Sarawak, despite all his protests to the contrary, and it is even named after him.
Pehin Sri Heritage Sdn Bhd has featured on a list of 49 Malaysian companies identified in court by his former daughter in law Shanaz Taib, who is seeking a financial settlement from his son Abu Bekir.
From the value of these recorded companies alone (leaving aside foreign bank accounts and properties amassed by the Taibs) auditors were able to demonstrate that the CM’s son is worth over a billion ringgit in assets, which earn him more than RM2million income per year. (more…)
Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud received a resounding endorsement to continue as PBB president from its 71 divisions.
KUCHING: Former tourism minister Muhd Leo Michael Toyad appears to be coming out of the political woodwork lending weight to speculations of a bigger role awaiting him.
Toyad will contest against four state assistant ministers and a former state assemblyman for one of the three vice-president posts for Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) Sarawak in the party’s election tomorrow. (more…)
Surik Anak Muntai – beaten up as he picked up his son from school – had led the protest against loggers in Melikin
Taib Mahmud has complained that Sarawak is in the ‘media spotlight’ after years of ‘obscurity’.
But, thanks to that obscurity and his own media blackout, gangsterism has been allowed to flourish unreported against the native people of the state.
For years these organised thugs have waged systematic violence against rural communities, in order to enforce the timber and plantation concessions handed out by this Chief Minister. (more…)
Lim Mun Fah
The Auditor-General’s Report has been described as an annual “ridiculous story” and “speechless ending” over the years.
The alternative coalition and members of the public have severely criticised, but the involved ministers and departments have skilfully dodged the questions without promising no repetition of the exposed drawbacks, as “there is nothing perfect in the world”.
There is also no commitment to take immediate disciplinary actions, as “only negligence but no corruption is involved”. (more…)
At the weekend Taib Mahmud bemoaned that the recent ‘spotlight of publicity’ on Sarawak has created negative perceptions of his government of the state.
So, clearly he wants no further light shone on the disgraceful treatment of the Penan at the Murum Dam site.
The tribe are still holding out in protest against his authoritarian command to start filling the dam before compensation has been agreed or even the government’s own promises fulfilled.
However, one team of observers has just made the tortuous 9 hour journey to see the beleaguered community, who are maintaining their blockade at the site, despite a heavy and menacing armed police presence and the arrest of one of their leaders last week. (more…)
Let’s get our cheerleaders and start patting our backs for coming within the tops for corruption, again.
It is sheer nonsensical and incomprehensible when the public rattles in anger the moment issues surrounding corruption brew up. But,why the whining and complaints when we have re-elected the crooked government back into power during the May election? We could have booted out the corrupt with a cross but decided to keep the garbage with continuous power to rule and now suffer the consequences. The argument is neither speculative, nor a bedtime fiction but stark reality that is razor sharp hurtful.
The Auditor-General’s Report has annually stripped naked the BN government in revealing how hard- earned tax payers monies are spent in manner that borders vulgarity. The income taxmen will not wink an eye to persecute and prosecute any individual or company even for a sen; and literally beat the devils out of you if one cannot justify his personal accounts. With the current tax system, the liability falls squarely on the shoulders of the payee and there is no two ways about it. (more…)
The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home – Confucius
The Auditor-General’s Report revealed an annual series of endless possibilities of corruption and wastage, except that it depicts different projects for different years, albeit the need to strengthen fiscal prudence in Malaysia as the deficit gap and debt level heading towards single direction, skyward.
The report highlighted to the rakyat that behind the wall of bureaucracy in Putrajaya, the possibility for any projects or purchases by the government being ruined by mismanagement and fraudulent tender process is endless. (more…)
Penans from Ulu Murum, where the hyroelectric dam has been built, are terrified for their lives now that police have broken up their blockade, where about 300 have been demanding ample compensation for land and livelihood lost.
According to protester Gareng Jalung, 30-40 police officers armed with “loaded pistols and machine guns”came to break the blockade and bar protesters from stopping the dam impoundment.
Gareng, who was at Belaga police station when contacted, said that one long-house has also been torched, prior to the impoundment which has left seven Penan villages under water, all without notice.
“It is like the government is trying to kill us off. The Long Wat long house was torched last week, and we started our blockade on Sep 18. (more…)
Two contractors suffered delays of up to four years in civil engineering works, causing their costs to spike.
The government agreed to pay US$133 million (RM430 million) in compensation to two foreign contractors for losses incurred in the problem-plagued Bakun Dam, an audit has revealed.
The compensation, revealed in the Auditor-General’s annual report, is a rare official acknowledgement of problems in a highly controversial project that Transparency International once labelled a “Monument to Corruption”.
The report submitted to parliament yesterday said two contractors suffered delays of up to four years in civil engineering works, causing their costs to spike. (more…)
A tense situation prevailed at the Murum Dam blockade when 30 police officers confronted 300 Penan protestors who offered themselves for arrest.
MURUM: Police moving in to stop the ongoing blockade by Penans on the road to the Murum Dam construction site arrested a protestor and fired a shot in the air to “stop” the people.
Ngang Buling, a Penan from the Murum region, was arrested this morning for reasons as yet unknown. Police are holding him at the Belaga station for questioning.
Quoting Ngang Buling, Save Rivers Network, a coalition of NGOs said the police are likely to hold him for four days. (more…)
Native people of Murum say they are being bothered by a foreign troublemaker and have lodged a police report against him.
Torstein Dale Sjotveit is a Norwegian, who yesterday caused complaints after shouting in the faces of Penan indigenous people, whom he is ejecting from their ancient homelands.
It is also alleged that he berated the police, calling them ‘cowards‘ for not taking harsher action against the protesting natives. (more…)
He is one of the most controversial figures in the Malaysian political landscape. Over the decades, he has grown from being a politician to being regarded as the undisputed ruler of the resource rich state of Sarawak.
His protracted leadership has been marred by a slew of allegations, with detractors claiming that his family fortune runs into tens of billions of ringgit as the state lags behind in terms of development, with the indigenous communities being shortchanged.
However, Abdul Taib Mahmud, 77, sang praises of his administration when opening a shopping mall in Kota Samarahan this morning. (more…)
The credibility of Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak’s RM30 billion ‘Bumiputera Economic Empowerment Programme’ has taken a beating from allegations that zakat, the obligatory Islamic contribution to benefit poor Muslims, has been misused by the Sarawak government.
Sarawak PKR women’s wing chief Nurhanim Mokhsen has urged the MACC to probe allegations made by anti-graft website Sarawak Report against Daud Abdul Rahman, the Tabung Baitulmal Sarawak (TBS) chairperson and assistant minister in charge of Islamic affairs. (more…)
Japan’s relentless imports of Sarawak timber, valued at RM2.6 billion a year, and questionable logging practices of the state may soon deplete it of forest, says a special report released today by Global Witness.
Over the last two decades, Japan has consumed about one-third of all timber products exported by Sarawak, and this trade today represents the single largest bilateral flow of tropical timber, Global Witness said.
“The fact that so much timber from Sarawak receives a stamp of approval from Japan’s Goho-wood legality verification system, despite the evidence of systematic illegal logging by major logging companies (in Sarawak), is cause for serious concern,” the head of international forest policy at Global Witness, Rick Jacobsen, said in a press statement. (more…)
Despite the decades-old ‘politics of development’ policy in Sarawak, the state is still vastly behind on clean water, electricity and decent roads.
If a fast food outlet is a measure of “development” then Betong division with its 94,000 strong population in Sarawak is on the threshold of “having arrived”.
Betong, which was made a Division in 2002 and is now an administration centre ‘overseeing’ Saratok and Maludam, is a “well developed city” according to Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu Numpang.
And he’s attributed this to the state’s successful ‘politics of development’. (more…)
Shahnaz A Majid claimed her former husband Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib has cash amounting US$700 million (RM2.1 billion) and has stakes in 21 companies worth another RM1 billion.
Shahnaz is testifying in her RM100 million mutaah (gift) claim at the Kuala Lumpur Syariah High Court, following the divorce from the son of Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud.
“Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib is director in 150 companies. Of this, he has stakes in 51 companies.”
“Out of that 21 companies he has equity worth RM1 billion,” she claimed.
Shahnaz, 50, said that Mahmud Abu Bekir garners a salary of RM2 million annually since 2000 and said he could be earning more now. (more…)
Shahnaz A. Majid wept in court today as she recounted the physical, emotional and mental trauma she suffered during her marriage to Datuk Seri Mahmud Abu Bekir Abdul Taib, the son of the Sarawak chief minister.
In between sobs, Shahnaz related how she was beaten, punched, kicked and assaulted from 1994 to 1998 and the reasons why she stayed with her husband despite being abused.
“Usually, there was no specific reason for his violent behaviour. We would be talking, I would disagree with him and he would just beat me up,” she said when questioned by her counsel, Akbardin Abdul Kader, at the Syariah High Court in Kuala Lumpur today. (more…)
Families gathered at outdoor camps – last October’s Murum blockade was joined by women and children for several weeks
Sarawak Energy adopted a familiar tactic towards the renewal of the blockade at Murum by the indigenous Penan people at the weekend.
They patronised them, by complaining that they had been “instigated” by un-named NGOs.
Over the past days there have been reports that scores of the indigenous tribes people have again brought the construction site on their lands to a grinding halt. (more…)
Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud’s former daughter-in-law today testified about the ‘physical, emotional and mental abuse’ that she had experienced over 19 years of marriage to his son.
Shahnaz A Majid, 50, at times shed tears and sounded despondent as she told the Kuala Lumpur Syariah High Court of her ordeal.
She further claimed that Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib (left in photo) had failed in his responsibility as a husband, head of the family and father to their son. (more…)
In the past, you may have kept quiet because you feared a backlash or thought your effort would not come to much. When many of you wrote to condemn Culture and Tourism Minister Mohd Nazri Abdul Aziz, he was angered and became defensive.
The incident of the ‘Special Officer to the Culture and Tourism Ministry’ has proven that the voice of the rakyat can be a mighty roar!
When you speak out and refuse to keep quiet, injustices can be corrected, bullies can be punished and unjust laws can be removed. The courage to speak up can effect change. (more…)