Hornbill Unleashed

April 12, 2012

‘Dead men’ drag Taib’s coal mines into spotlight

Joseph Tawie

Twenty-eight years of complaining about pollution and destruction from coal mines in Sarawak have fallen on deaf ears because the mines are linked to Chief Minister Taib Mahmud.

The death of four Chinese national miners in Sarawak last month has brought to light the shocking environmental devastation and safety issues facing 38 Iban longhouses in Abok and Silantik in Pantu area.

For the past 28 years, the residents of these longhouses have been complaining to the authorities about the pollution caused by coal mines in the area. No action has been taken.

According to them, their farm lands have been destroyed, their drinking water sources polluted and their personal safety threatened.

They have lodged reports against the miners but except for a cursory visit by the director of Mines and the State Resources Planning and Management Ministry’s permanent secretary, nothing has happened.

Said a Kampung Abok spokesman Jacob Imang: “Following our complaints, the director of Mines and the ministry’s permanent secretary visited the sites. We did not hear anything after that. Our complaints just stopped there.”

“Besides affecting our farm lands and our health, the mines have also caused environmental destruction and pollution to rivers such as Sungai Sanjau and their ecosystems,” he said.

According to Imang, the pollution is so bad that the Sanjau River which they are dependent on is “just dead”.

Unknown to these villagers was the fact that the mines belong to Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s daughter, Zaleha, and his cronies.

Luckyhill Mining owns some 10 mines in Sarawak which employ about 200 Chinese nationals and fewer than 10 locals.

WTK and a Korean are major shareholders, and other small shareholders include Benedict Bujang Tembak, Zaleha Binti Mahmud (Taib’s daughter), Halimah Abdullah (wife of former Commissioner of Police Hamdan Sirat) and Abang Abdul Karim Openg (Senior Minister Abang Johari’s brother).

Explosives kept underground

Kampung Abok’s plight came to light again after two explosions occurred in the mines on March 30, causing the deaths of four Chinese Nationals and injured nine others. (Their bodies were cremated on April 9).

“Now we are more concerned with our safety as the mines exploded in my land,” Imang said, pointing out that the farmers are not allowed to till their land near the mines.

He was told that the explosives are kept in the underground tunnels.

Last month’s explosion was a second incident. The first one happened in 1999.One person was killed.

The whole incident was hushed-up by the authorities, but the villagers knew that the decease’s family was paid a paltry sum of RM7, 000 as compensation.

Imang, who is a retired school teacher, said: “Our safety should be of prime concern now. We are not safe now, we have never been safe.

“We urge the authorities to suspend the operations of the mines pending full investigations and find out the root cause of the problems.

“New measures should be taken to ensure our safety as well the safety of the workers from China,” he said.

Suspend mining operations

On river pollution, Imang said that before the coal could be transported to Kuching, it had to be flushed by clean water from Sungai Sanjau.

“The mud, the coal debris and the poison are washed out to Sungai Sanjau. The water goes down to Pantu Bazaar where the water from the river is sucked into the Pantu Water plant and it is distributed to consumers in Pantu Bazaar, Lachau and nearby longhouses including Abok.

“I believe the number of people consuming water from this river is between 7,000 and 8,000,” he said.

Imang also said the Luckyhill Mining had failed to pay compensation for their land now under the mines.

They promised to pay, but their promise remained unfulfilled until today, he said.

A Sarawak PKR vice-chairman See Chee How agreed that the mines be suspended pending full investigations.

“This is to ensure no more lives will be lost and to mitigate the impact on the environment.

“This is our main concern,” he said, adding that Second Resource Planning and Management Minister Awang Tengah Ali Hassan should personally look into the matter.



  1. What is so great, mighty and powerful about this thief in Sarawak?? The clever Taib Mahmud has been outwitted and fooled by a mere Lebanese waitress who made Taib her husband number 3. With all his ill gotten wealth and money Taib cannot even indulge in what Hugh Hefner or Donald Trump were were to do with money and beautiful young chicks. As an ordinary Melanau, I can still attract virgin girls. What a shamless loser!

    Comment by Ismyet — April 13, 2012 @ 11:34 PM | Reply

    • Indeed, Taib is the most stupid and foolish man I have ever known. Now he is just another collection and a concubine to his new wife.

      Comment by Suhardy — April 14, 2012 @ 9:41 AM | Reply

    • Aiyoh yoh yoh! So filthy rich and thinks he is so powerful and untouchable but still conned by a waitress from Lebanon? hahaha. Stupid idiot if he doesnt know he is her suami nombor tiga ! Serve this monkey right.

      Comment by Kushari — April 15, 2012 @ 6:14 PM | Reply

  2. Breaking news! Sarawak assistant minister for public health said that it is only fair for the government to prioritise BN supporters in disbursing aid and allocating development projects.

    We need to drag this rotten idiot from his house to the central padang and make him repeat what he had said. If this is the view of our UMNO controlled BN lawmakers and ministers, all right thinking Malaysians who are for good governance and not supporting BN, should stop pay all form of taxes to this corrupted regime.

    This ridiculous remark and excuse from a BN minister is the biggest insult of all times! Show these BN idiots the exit and retire them permanently.

    Comment by Mata Kuching — April 13, 2012 @ 11:00 PM | Reply

  3. CM and cronies has done a great job making sure the people continue live in ignorance, he’s definitely Sarawak’s smarter than the average bear ….

    Comment by Nazeri Abghani — April 13, 2012 @ 6:59 AM | Reply

  4. Malaysians in Sarawak shall not sit still and be robbed of its natural resources and a green environment belonging to our children and grand children, being destroyed. Calling all NGOs in Malaysia to work with the NGOs in Sarawak to take the thief minister and his cronies to court. Similar health hazard has been experienced in Balingian where the aluminium plant , owned by Taib;s company, Press Metal, is located.

    Comment by Michael Parker — April 12, 2012 @ 8:53 PM | Reply

  5. Is there any business in Sarawak that is not linked to Taib or his cronies? I’m worried on my roadside burger store.

    Comment by Junit — April 12, 2012 @ 7:49 PM | Reply

  6. We have smart and clever Thief Minister,families and cronies.Don’t worry.They will give you the not so smart and clever natives bones, crumbs and promises as usual and hey,… presto,….back to business as usual.

    Comment by Reapusow — April 12, 2012 @ 6:26 PM | Reply


    Comment by ANON — April 12, 2012 @ 5:42 PM | Reply

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