Hornbill Unleashed

July 28, 2010

No red carpet for Sarawak CM at Oxford

protest against taib mahmud in oxford university londonBy Mariam Mokhtar of Malaysiakini

For someone who is used to the red carpet treatment, Taib Mahmud’s ignominious entry into the Said Business School, University of Oxford, yesterday must have seemed repugnant.

For the man who has everything, Taib was denied the fanfare and was treated more like a common criminal. With protestors at the front entrance of the building and a police car and two policemen stationed nearby, Taib’s three-car convoy employed evasion tactics to smuggle him into the building.

The crowd then started to get noisy and waved their placards. Police reinforcements were called in and a few minutes later, more officers appeared. Altogether, nine men, one in plainclothes, manned the strategic entry points.

They were joined by three burly white-shirted men, who were part of the security detail of the Said Business School.

When the black Mercedes, registration number ‘1M’, came into view, it went down the side road to the back entrance, where some of the demonstrators had positioned themselves. They were disappointed when Taib did not emerge from the car. The decoy had worked.

bn supreme council mt meeting sapp sabah issue 190608 taib mahmudSome suspect that Taib (right), the Chief Minister of Sarawak, had probably been smuggled in through the kitchen.

Dispensing with the norms, Taib was transported, at least on this last leg of his journey, in a navy blue van with diplomatic number plates which also contained the Deputy High Commissioner, Rustam Yahaya, and the Second Secretary, Amal N. Asarani.

A smartly-suited man, who refused to give his name and the company he worked for, hinted that he was in charge of security. He said, “We don’t care what the principal wants, we bundle him in, even if he does not like it.” The impression was that Taib had probably wanted to make a grand entrance, but was prevented from doing so by the security detail.

Troubled look

For Taib, who rarely sets foot outside the country on business trips, his Oxford reception must have been an eye-opener. For someone who is used to being protected from opposing views by a retinue of sycophants, he must have been acutely embarrassed.

Inside the foyer of the conference hall, the troubled look on Taib’s face betrayed his emotions. The man beside him, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Nor Mohamed Yakcop, looked very disturbed and angry that the demonstrators should dare spoil Taib’s big day in front of the delegates who had paid £1,000 (RM5,100) each to attend this forum.

One protestor slipped through the security cordon and tried to take Taib’s photograph. She was manhandled and ejected from the building.

After this, members of the delegation lowered the blinds or placed notice boards against the glass-fronted building, to prevented Taib from being photographed.

Taib is so used to having his flunkeys present a rosy picture that he must have been shocked to discover that people despise him and wave placards and shout at him, demanding answers to the Sarawak land issue and the Penan problem.

protest against taib mahmud in oxford university londonIt is pathetic that when Taib walked into the foyer, a couple dressed in ‘native’ costumes danced to the rhythm of a piped Iban song. How ironical too, for observers to be given an orang-utan pencil mascot as a souvenir. It is Taib’s timber policies that have all but driven these animals to extinction.

If Taib thought the protest was ‘mild’ and probably a failure, then he is wrong. This is the summer vacation when students have broken up for the holidays. Most of the demonstrators were not informed until late on Friday night that Taib would be in Oxford.

It is probable this seminar was timed to coincide with the summer holidays. The Oxford student population can be very radical and can mobilise people from all over England to assemble for what they consider worthy causes. Taib had got off very lightly.

Furthermore, the idea of peaceful protest and the right of freedom of expression were lost on most of the Malaysian delegates. They probably don’t know the meaning of freedom of expression, having been brought up on a diet of ISA.

NONEA lady delegate thought it was wrong for children to be made to hold placards and participate in demonstrations. She said, “This is child labour.” Has she forgotten the suffering of the Penan children, or other Sarawak children in the longhouses?

The demonstrators were aggrieved they were denied the opportunity to question Taib. A press conference scheduled at 12.30pm was cancelled. Was Taib afraid he might have to answer awkward questions? But he needn’t have feared.

Most of the reporters who accompanied him were from Bernama.

Demonstrators were ‘well-behaved’

Did he require as many as three, possibly four Bernama reporters and one from the Eastern Times of Sarawak in his delegation? Or were they on a press junket, enjoying a summer vacation in England at the expense of the taxpayer?

Two of the policemen on duty said the demonstrators were ‘well-behaved’ and ‘not a problem’. In contrast, anyone taking part in a peaceful demonstration in Malaysia would have been arrested or had water-cannons trained on them and tear gas fired at them.

If the demonstrators were described as civil, it was the behaviour of the delegates that was disgusting. When some of the delegates went outside to smoke (UK has strict anti-smoking laws in public buildings), they started to admonish the demonstrators.

The demonstrators who wanted to engage received only arrogance. One man in Taib’s delegation, who claimed he was a Dayak, started to berate the demonstrators: “What do you know? Have you been to Sarawak? Where are you from? Where do you get your information?”

If he cared to listen, he would have discovered how intimately these ‘Mat Sallehs’ knew Sarawak.

With contempt, he barked, “You know nothing. You are talking bull****. You are talking rubbish. When I was small, I had worms cNONEoming out of my backside.”

He then pushed his hand right up to within an inch of a demonstrator’s face and glared, “Taib changed everything. I am happy. Now I have a big house.”

People like him are fortunate. So, why has he ignored his fellow countrymen? Thousands of Sarawakians have been turfed out of their homes, driven from their ancestral land, and had their way of life destroyed. This man may have been cured of his intestinal-worm problem, but for many Penans, their life-suffering continues.

Our undisputed opinion is that if Taib’s administration carries on in this manner, it won’t be long before the worms will turn.


  1. […] Mariam Mokhtar of  Malaysiakini – HORNBILL […]

    Pingback by Katijah and Anak » Blog Archive » No red carpet for Sarawak CM at Oxford — July 28, 2010 @ 4:05 PM | Reply

  2. The Dayaks with Taib Mahmud must have been infested with worms before and today they have become the worm or leech in the Dayak community. They think the world doesn’t know how they ‘sucks’. Parasites!

    Comment by batulawi — July 28, 2010 @ 12:54 PM | Reply

    • the part where one malaysian delegate with taib claims he was dayak? they attempt to make a fool of dayak. luckily, the worldwide audience knows intimately how much dayaks are being manipulated by malaysians. it can be used as a bullet against taib

      Comment by kara — July 28, 2010 @ 5:59 PM | Reply

      • Any picture of this guy? Maybe can ‘deal’ with him when he comes back to sarawak!

        Comment by anak penan — July 28, 2010 @ 9:45 PM | Reply

  3. The arrogant behaviour tells us a lot, doesn’t it?
    This shows a lack of sophistication.

    When Goh Chok Tong visited his old school (Williams College) in the USA and the students demonstrated against him, Goh merely smiled.

    Comment by Phua Kai Lit — July 28, 2010 @ 9:52 AM | Reply

    • Those scumbags were lucky no eggs were hurled at them because they were running around and scurrying for cover like rats. Malu!

      They have no conscience, history will remember this notorious family for robbing the natives and stealing nation’s natural resources for over 2 decades!

      Go for CHANGE Sarawak, it’s the best option! No more a “BN fixed deposit”, Sarawak!

      Comment by Jong — July 28, 2010 @ 10:15 AM | Reply

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