Hornbill Unleashed

February 27, 2014

EU should freeze trade talks with Malaysia if Taib becomes governor, says NGO

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
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TMi@BMF

A Swiss NGO is calling on European governments to freeze trade talks with Malaysia if Putrajaya continues to support outgoing Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud’s (pic) bid to become the state’s next Yang di-Pertua Negeri.

Bruno Manser Fund (BMF), one of Taib’s fiercest critics over corruption allegations, said Malaysia would have to face stern political consequences if it backed Taib as governor.

“We make it very clear that the Malaysian government will have to face political consequences if it backs Taib Mahmud, one of Southeast Asia’s most corrupt politicians, as governor of Sarawak,” it said in a statement today.

It said it would urge the European Union (EU) and the European Free Trade Association (Efta) to think twice about continuing its economic relations with Malaysia if it continued to turn a blind eye to Taib’s wrongdoings and to violate its international obligations under the UN Convention Against Corruption.

“In particular, the NGO community will pressure the EU to stall the ongoing timber trade talks under the its FLEGT (Forest Law Enforcement, Governance and Trade) programme.

“If the prime minister allows Taib Mahmud to become governor, he will personally endorse the rampant corruption in the timber and palm oil sector in Sarawak. As a consequence, the EU should stop the FLEGT VPA talks with Malaysia with immediate effect,” it said.

Saying that a public office might grant Taib immunity from criminal prosecution, the NGO also warned that it would alert the EU and the Efta, who are currently in the midst of economic talks with Malaysia.

While the Malaysia-EU free trade talks have been going on since 2010, the first serious round of negotiations between Malaysia and Efta (Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein) will start on March 24 in Geneva.

With an export volume of $8.9 billion (RM29.2 billion) in 2012, the EU is Malaysia’s fourth largest export market after Singapore, China and Japan.

“Malaysia should not be awarded international trade agreements if the country fails to respect basic anti-corruption norms and protects kleptocrats like Taib Mahmud,” it said.

Taib announced two weeks ago that he would be stepping down at the end of the month and will be succeeded by Tan Sri Adenan Satem, his former brother-in-law.

Speculation is rife that Taib, 78, will assume office as the seventh Yang di-Pertua of Sarawak on March 1.

He is expected to receive his instrument of appointment from Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim.

Opposition politicians and NGOs have voiced their objections to Taib becoming governor. NGOs have launched an online petition to protest the purported appointment, saying Taib was guilty of corruption and exploitation during his 33 years in office.

It was reported yesterday that DAP’s Padungan assemblyman Wong King Wei had filed a writ of summons in the Kuching High Court to restrain Taib from accepting the appointment of Sarawak governor.

Wong said Taib should be restrained from becoming Yang di-Pertua Negeri because the state constitution stated an appointee was prohibited from being actively engaged in business and commercial enterprise.

He also sought a declaration that Taib has violated Article 6(5) during his tenure as chief minister by actively engaging in commercial enterprises.

The BMF had previously said that Taib’s “illegal business activities” could be used to stop him from being appointed the state’s next governor.

It said research by DAP showed that according to Article 2(2) of the Sarawak constitution, the state governor – as the position was known when the constitution was drawn up – “shall not hold any office of profit and shall not actively engage in any commercial enterprise”.

The group, named after a Swiss environmentalist who had “disappeared” in the forest of Sarawak, claimed Taib’s family assets are estimated at $20 billion (RM66.7 billion) and that they also hold properties in Australia, Canada, Hong Kong, the United Kingdom and the United States.

However, it was recently reported that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) probe had failed to nail Taib for alleged abuse of power over large tracts of land and logging areas which were given to his relatives as the approvals were made by two senior state ministers.

The MACC investigation papers were opened five years ago as Taib was said to have used his office and position for gratification.

“The team discovered that Taib did not make the decisions to evade running foul of the law but he had delegated his authority on the two ministers who on separate occasions had given the approvals,” a source told The Malaysian Insider.

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2 Comments »

  1. WITHIN MALAYSIA THE PM CAN GET AWAY WITH IGNORING THE DIRE & PERSISTENTCALLS TO CHARGE TAIB OF CORRUPTION AND MAKES HIM ACCOUNTABLE, BUT INTERNATIONALLY, THE INEPT PM, WHO IS AS CORRUPT AS THE PAK MO, IT’S A DIFFERENT STORY. RIGHT NOW, MALAYSIA’S NAME IS TARNISHED BY ALL THE BN CROOKS WHERE CORRUPTION IS THE NORM. YET THE PM, WHO HAS THE SKIN THICKER THAN AN ELEPHANT ACTS AS IF NOTHING HAPPENS-MAKING THE COUNTRY A HAVEN FOR BIG-TIME CRIMINALS. WHAT A BLOODY SHAME!!!!

    Comment by Geronimo Miller — February 28, 2014 @ 6:32 PM | Reply

  2. Despite having the overwhelmingly ‘good to look at’ religious learning institution at Ong Tiang Swee and Churches all over town it seems that they are of a single entity – religious institutions and politicians walk hand in hand which does not act in the best interests of the people.

    Comment by loyarburok — February 27, 2014 @ 10:05 AM | Reply


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