MOHD FARHAN DARWIS AND EMILY DING
PKR will use the Global Witness video which allegedly showcases Tan Sri Taib Mahmud’s involvement in shady land deals as part of its electoral campaign in Sarawak to break the Barisan Nasional (BN) chief minister’s chokehold on Malaysia’s biggest state.
Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian (picture)told The Malaysian Insider the party will translate the global environmental campaigner’s video expose into several local languages and copy them into compact discs (CDs) to distribute to longhouses statewide in a bid to reach the key indigenous voter group living deep within the jungle state’s interior.
“Starting from now, we will translate the subtitles of the video to Bahasa Malaysia and Bahasa Iban and download it to CDs and disseminate it to the whole of Sarawak.
“I believe that the distribution of this video in the kampungs will be effective. It’s a matter that has been talked about for several years before but a lot of people didn’t believe it, but now it’s out from the mouths of the family,” the lawyer told The Malaysian Insider.
Global Witness (GW), a UK-based organisation, released on Tuesday video proof of shady land deals in Sarawak that appeared to implicate the long-serving state’s chief minister and his family, with parts of the clip aired on the Al-Jazeera news channel.
In a covert investigation, GW captured on video dealings with Taib’s cousins and several other intermediaries to acquire thousands of hectares of forest land that the London-based activist said revealed the systematic corruption and illegality that lay at the heart of Sarawak.
In a 16-minute video clip titled “Inside Malaysia’s Shadow State”, GW investigators, who posed as foreign investors, recorded snippets of their conversation with Taib’s cousins and lawyers, to purchase the land for hefty profit and which the environmental campaigner said would displace thousands of indigenous people living there.
Baru also said he would lodge a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) about the allegations made in the video this afternoon.
He added that PKR divisions and non-governmental organisations in Sarawak would file similar complaints to the authorities in the state too.
In response to the allegations, Taib suggested that his cousins and others implicated in the GW video were promoting themselves to be his agents to solicit favours.
“OK I saw the so-called proof. Could it not be someone who tried to promote themselves to be an agent to get favours from me?
“It has nothing to do with me. I think it is a bit naughty of them. They are using their big powers to blacken my name,” he said when approached by reporters in the Sarawak’s state capital Kuching late on Tuesday.
His comments were subsequently uploaded onto YouTube.
Taib, 76, has been Sarawak chief minister for 32 years, having taken office in March 1981.
His personal wealth has stirred much controversy, with detractors alleging he gained much of it through dubious means.