Hornbill Unleashed

November 12, 2013

‘Probe into Global Witness video still ongoing’

Ng Ai Fern

Malaysia Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) assures today that the Global Witness video case, which exposed alleged corrupt dealings implicating Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud, is still being investigated.MACC deputy commissioner (Operations) Datuk Seri Shukri Abdull also denied claims that the commission did not investigate many cases, especially those involving top politicians.

He stressed that all cases were being handled seriously and an improved conviction rate was proof of that. (more…)


October 18, 2013

Two Sarawak timber companies blacklisted for environmental violations

Kalimantan forestEILEEN NG

The Norwegian government has blacklisted two of Sarawak’s giant timber companies for severe environmental damage caused by their logging operations in the state.

The US$760 billion Norwegian Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) – the world’s largest sovereign fund – had divested its stakes in WTK Holdings Bhd and Ta Ann Holdings Bhd, based on the recommendations from the fund’s Council of Ethics.

Both WTK and Ta Ann, have extensive logging operations and timber plantations in the Borneo state.


September 12, 2013

Japan’s demand the cause of Sarawak deforestation


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…)

July 2, 2013

MACC’s multi-agency task force a sham?

Joseph Tawie

SAVE Rivers said that many reports were lodged against Chief Minister Taib Mahmud as far back as “five or six years ago” and MACC had allegedly been “completely indifferent and quiet”.

A coalition of Sarawak NGOs has accused the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) latest announcement of a multi-agency task-force investigate allegations against Chief Minister Taib Mahmud as just another ‘sandiwara’.

Save Sarawak’s Rivers Network (SAVE Rivers) which comprises NGOs and concerned citizens questioned the “unusually” late bid by MACC to set up the agency. (more…)

June 28, 2013

Question on Taib’s ‘naughty’ MACC rejected

Ram Anand

The parliamentary secretary today rejected a question by DAP’s Segambut MP Lim Lip Eng on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) action against Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud.

Lim told reporters at a press conference outside the Dewan Rakyat today that his question was rejected by Dewan Rakyat secretary Rosmee Hamzah on the basis that it was a “hypothetical” question.

Lim wanted to ask whether the government would take any action against Taib for calling MACC “naughty” earlier this year, and who had also expressed his refusal to cooperate with MACC in the wake of a controversial video by international corruption watchdog Global Witness. (more…)

May 15, 2013

HSBC-Sarawak logger links under the spotlight

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
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HSBC-Sarawak logger links under the spotlight

A new video campaign has been launched by Global Witness today, aimed at pressuring on global banking giant HSBC for dealing with logging companies operating in Sarawak’s forests.

The “mockumentary-style” four-minute video stars British entertainer William Edgar Oddie who narrates how HSBC – against its own policies – is funding companies flouting international forestry standards.

The basis for the video is research conducted by international human rights NGO Global Witness, who had last year launched a report condemning HSBC for bankrolling seven logging companies in Sarawak. (more…)

May 2, 2013

Sarawak’s RM4.9b bonds banker Goldman Sachs facilitating corruption, says Global Witness


Taib was cast into the international spotlight after Global Witness released a video documentary alleging the state Barisan Nasional chief to have received millions of ringgit in kickbacks over land deals.

Goldman Sachs Inc has been flayed for underwriting RM4.87 billion (US$1.6 billion) in bonds for Sarawak’s energy corridor projects and ignoring alleged corruption in the East Malaysian state by activist group Global Witness.

However, the global investment banker has denied any mistakes in underwriting bonds for the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE) project, which won it the ‘Bank of the Year 2012’ award by International Financing Review Asia for “breaking with tradition to win new business in difficult conditions”. (more…)

April 10, 2013

‘Sarawak gov’t should also apologise over video clip’

Dukau Papau

Sarawak PKR today demanded that not only Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud’s cousins should apologise for their demeaning and insulting remarks against the Dayak community, but also the state government for its cruel and mindless acts against the community.

Norlia and Fatimah, the daughters of former chief minister Abdul Rahman Yakub had insulted the Dayak community with their derogatory descriptions in a covertly recorded video by London-based Global Witness.

The two sisters were alleged to have uttered that the Dayaks are “squatters” living on state land and that they have “low intelligence” which allow them to be easily exploited by businessmen. (more…)

April 5, 2013

Might as well dissolve MACC after Taib snub

The Malaysian Insider

Naughty seems to be the byword in Sarawak.

The long-serving state chief minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud used that word today to describe the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission’s (MACC) for its investigations into alleged graft in timber land awards.

“They don’t deserve my cooperation because they have been naughty… and they have not been honest,” he told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.

The MACC probe was launched after an environmental activist group released a video documentary alleging the state Barisan Nasional chief to have received millions of ringgit in kickbacks over land deals that have denuded the Borneo state. (more…)

April 3, 2013

From Global Witness to Eco Crime Watch: In The Palm of His Hand

crime watchThe Editor

( Video Link inside ) As the controversial  Global Witness ‘sting’ video continues to gather steam in Sarawak, US online news channel Eco Crime Watch has broadcast a remarkable feature on alleged Taib corruption in the Malaysian state of Sarawak in Borneo.
Watch Episode 2 by US journalist Bill Paul, speaking to the Chief Minister of Sarawak Taib Mahmud, former UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, founder of Sarawak Report and Radio Free Sarawak Clare Rewcastle and Bruno Manser Fonds Director Dr Lukas Straumann, at Crime Watch

Watch this Video on Hornbill Unleashed: In the Pum of His Hand

April 2, 2013

Dayak businessmen up in arms over Sarawak video expose


Screenshot of one of the scenes in the video clip as released by London-based activist group Global Witness.KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 — Sarawak’s Dayak corporate chiefs are reportedly seething with rage over a video exposing racist remarks by some prominent state personalities with close government links and want Putrajaya to address their economic woes.

The Borneo Post Online reported today the video, produced by UK-based environmental campaigner Global Witness, was the hottest debate topic at the Dayak Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s (DCCI) annual general meeting in Kuching yesterday. (more…)

April 1, 2013

SDNU openly champions Native Customary Rights and Lands!

 Vernon Aji Kedit

Surprise! Surprise!

It has taken the Sarawak Dayak National Union (SDNU) a week and a half to react to the Global Witness video. SDNU’s Vice President Anthony Banyan, in a statement published in the Borneo Post last February, was quite clear that “SDNU has no political affiliation and this is how it should always remain,” and I applaud him for his neutrality (see ). And today, Banyan has kept his word by coming out strongly against the allegations made in the Global Witness video (see ). (more…)

Julau People Outraged Over Taib Family Land Grabs

Sarawak Report

Don’t you dare call us “Squatters” in our own lands!

The people of Julau who saw themselves victimised on the devastating film expose by Global Witness last week have come out in fury to protest at the secret disposal of their Native Customary Rights lands to Taib’s family members.

PKR front-runner in the area, Andy Wong, made a police report on the 23rd of March, followed by a report to the MACC on the 26th of March.

On the same day Andy and many from the PKR Julau Branch attended a demonstration against the alienation of their land to the greedy daughters of of the former Chief Minister, Rahman Ya’kub, who are cousins of Taib Mahmud. (more…)

March 31, 2013

Global Witness and their Sarawak expose

Interview by Jon Chew

A provocative video about alleged corruption and illegality concerning land deals and logging within Sarawak has stirred the masses here. So we wanted to talk to the people directly responsible for the video: Global Witness.

Inside Malaysia’s Shadow State is an investigative piece that includes taped interviews with individuals related and allegedly linked to Sarawak’s state government and its leaders. Since it was released two weeks ago, those mentioned within the video have come out to refute the allegations and accusations. At the centre of this storm is Global Witness, a London-based non-governmental organisation that investigates and campaigns to prevent natural resource-related conflict and corruption, and associated environmental and human rights abuses. Amongst their previous work, it includes their investigation into the presence of conflict diamonds, with their founding report in 1998 shining light on the role of diamonds in funding civil war in Angola (and later providing the spark for the film Blood Diamonds). (more…)

March 30, 2013

Sin City – ‘the jurisdiction of choice by people like us’

Tan Wah Piow

Singapore is “the jurisdiction of choice by people like us”. This boast by rogue lawyer Alvin Chong of Sarawak, caught on video by journalists from London-based Global Witness posing as investors interested in land deals,  has gone viral.

The “people like us” presumably  includes the minions and their corrupt politicians in Asia, as well as tax dodgers, and criminals who erstwhile had sheltered their ill-gotten wealth in Switzerland.

The stealth video exposes not just the rampant corruption in Sarawak, it also highlights how virgin forests are stolen from the people, and the arrogant contempt for the indigenous people by the perpetrators of such crimes. Viewers are universally shocked by the revelations. (more…)

March 29, 2013

‘Give MACC absolute powers to probe Taib’

Priscilla Prasena

The Malaysian Citizens Initiative handed over a petition containing 14,000 signatures to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak calling for action against Taib Mahmud.

A coalition of NGOs calling themselves Malaysian Citizens Initiative want an “immediate” response from Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak on its call for the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to be given an “unambiguous mandate” to investigate Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud.

The coalition, which wants an answer from Najib before the 13th general election, also want the prime minister to approve the setting up of an Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into power abuse and land scams in Sarawak linked to Taib and his family. (more…)

Lawyer in Global Withness’s video was SUPP advisor, is SUPP involved in the Scams?

Joseph Tawie

The video exposé by London based Global Witness has turned public focus from Sarawak DAP’s internal strive to SUPP once again.

Sarawak DAP has taken its nemesis Sarawak United Peoples Party (SUPP) to task over its ‘deafening silence’ regarding the ‘candid’ and ‘explicit’ interview given by SUPP “legal advisor” Alvin Chong in the covertly recorded Global Witness video which has garnered over 695,110 viewers on YouTube.

The video, which was released two weeks ago and excerpts of which was aired over Al Jazeera, has given the state opposition additional leverage. (more…)

March 28, 2013

‘Taib will not dare act against Global Witness’

Dukau Papau

Sarawak DAP believes Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud will not take legal action against the London-based NGO Global Witness, as this could open up a can of worms.

“What has been exposed so far is just the tip of the iceberg,” said state party secretary Chong Chieng Jen (left).

He was commenting on Taib’s statement last Saturday that the state government is mulling action in relation to an undercover investigation by Global Witness that exposed an attempt to sell land  licences held by relatives and individuals claiming to be close to the chief minister. (more…)

March 27, 2013

Najib should nudge Taib on graft videos, says TI-M

Nigel Aw

“We believe that the right thing for him (Najib) is that he should actually ask for things to be made right, in accordance to the pledge,” Low told a press conference at TI-M headquarters in Petaling Jaya.

Transparency International Malaysia (TI-M) president Paul Low said Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, who last month signed the organisation’s election integrity pledge, should “nudge” Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud into addressing the alleged abuses in the Global Witness videos.


March 25, 2013

Billion Venture Vs “Squatters” – The Story Behind The Hii Family’s NCR Land Grab

Sarawak Report

A sign that spells a million miseries for the native people of Sarawak

Huang Lung Ong is the lawyer who was caught on video representing the Hii family in their attempt to sell the 32,000 hectares of forested land licensed for plantation under their company Billion Venture.

[Click here for the Iban version of the secret filming by NGO Global Witness]

Sarawak Report can now further reveal that this lawyer appeared to be withholding crucial evidence from his prospective buyer. (more…)

Mainstream media, or BN’s shrill mouthpieces?

Fikry Osman

A friend used to call Malaysia’s mainstream media the daily comics. It made him laugh with all the stories that they came up with, and how wonderful life is in Malaysia.

I never knew what he meant until I returned home last year to work in Kuala Lumpur. And, boy, was I amazed with the ludicrous coverage in print and television.

The prime-time television news is rubbish and should aptly be called the Comedy Hour. Instead of producing well-researched, intelligent and relevant news, some private stations produce drivel, innuendo and calumny.

The print media is no better. There was hardly any coverage of the most striking event of the year, a video clip of Sarawak lawyers and business people openly talking about shady deals and utter disregard for the Sarawakians who live in the verdant jungles. (more…)

Taib fingers Anwar for Global Witness videos

anwar ceramah in johor bharu live streaming 230313


Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud has fingered PKR supremo Anwar Ibrahim for videos accusing the former’s family of corruption that was released by international NGO Global Witness.

Taib said Anwar (right) had used his strong links with international NGOs to bring the Sarawak state government into disrepute on the international stage, according to a report by the Sunday edition of Berita Harian.

“All kinds of issues were raised, about Sarawak’s rain forest being cleared, that none is left. (more…)

We, the peasants

Erna Mahyuni

 It has become increasingly clear that many of our leaders are out of touch with the realities of everyday living for the less monied.

When our own prime minister says that RM50 a month is enough money for a family’s groceries, you wonder if his accountant is spiking his Kopi O with happy pills.

Singleton me spends at least RM50 a week on groceries, not including the food for my two cats. RM50 a month would have me eating nothing but eggs and rice with maybe the occasional can of sardines.

But besides the cluelessness about what things cost in relation to average Malaysian salaries, the level of condescension is what irks me the most. (more…)

March 24, 2013

Squattersgate :They Look At Us Like Kings?

Sarawak Report

MP Norah Abdul Rahman’s nephew being trained to think he is a King of the poor – Norlia’s son hands out Ang Pow to the poor kids in Tanjung Manis.

The people of Sarawak are still digesting the arrogance of the Abdul Rahman sisters, revealed in the Global Witness expose on the land grabs this week.

Two of the eight sisters, who own companies given NCR land by their cousin the Chief Minister, explained in a secretly recorded interview how they consider their relationship with the “very, very poor” people of Sarawak. (more…)

Sarawak’s shame

P Gunasegaram

It is a common thing in Malaysia for many politicians to live way beyond their means. And although there are ways and means to check anyone’s wealth simply by tracking down their assets, these people live in relative peace being troubled neither by the police nor by their conscience.

The anecdotal evidence has been there that corruption is a great problem, especially grand corruption of which virtually nothing has been done. And this has been greatest in Sabah and Sarawak where those in power live with fabulous riches and are associated with other rich, but often infamous people. (more…)

No escape for Taib Mahmud

Kim Quek

The embarrassingly weak retort by Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud to the recent crystal-clear Global Witness video expose of his timber corruption virtually confirms his guilt.

The video produced by the London-based NGO Global Witness captures the conversation between its undercover investigator and Taib’s first cousins,.

It stunningly reveals the truth about how Taib and his family make illicit fortunes from the illegal disposal of Sarawak’s vast timber land. The video was posted on YouTube, and featured in global TV network Al Jazeera on March 18. (more…)

Taib Mahmud Dynasty: A Regime-Changing Time Bomb

PRU – Think tank Political Studies for Change

Taib Mahmud Dynasty: A Regime-Changing Time Bomb

An investigator for an international non governmental organisation (NGO), Global Witness went undercover posed as a foreign investor in an undercover sting to expose the corrupted and fraudulent activities of the family members and business partners of Sarawak’s chief minister (CM), Taib Mahmud that was committed at the expense of the people of Sarawak in order to gain illegal profits worth millions if not billions of Malaysian ringgit.

Global Witness published an approximately 16-minute long short film, with a title aptly named Inside Malaysia’s Shadow State, perfectly describing the beastly corruption of Sarawak CM Taib, his administration, family and business associates. Although during the course of the film Global Witness investigators did not negotiate with Taib himself, the Global Witness investigator did negotiate with the other family members of Taib, which claimed to have a close relationship with him and those close acquaintances include his cousins, lawyers, and others. Those negotiations with his close acquaintances proved that those individuals had heavy backing from Taib Mahmud himself. (more…)

March 22, 2013

Singapore denies claims it facilitates tax evasion

Today Online 

Screenshot of one of the scenes in the video clip where a lawyer made a claim that Singapore facilitates tax evasion in Malaysia.SINGAPORE, March 22 — The Singapore government has rubbished claims made in an online video about corrupt land deals in Sarawak, in which a lawyer alleged that the island facilitates tax evasion in Malaysia by withholding information requested by the Malaysian government.

In response to media queries, the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and the Ministry of Finance (MOF) said last night that the claims are “simply false”.

The denial came two days after the video by non-governmental organisation Global Witness, which was posted on YouTube on Monday, showed investigators posing as foreign investors interested in buying land in Sarawak as they recorded snippets of their conversations with Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri AbdulTaib Mahmud’s cousins and lawyers. (more…)

Global Withness’s Video expose on Taib links to drive PKR’s Sarawak campaign


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. (more…)

Lawyers in Taib video expose to face police probe, answer misconduct charges

Global withnessIDA LIM

London-based activist group Global Witness’ video appears to implicate the state’s chief minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud and his family, with parts of the clip aired on the Al-Jazeera news channel.

Two lawyers secretly recorded in a covert video on shady land deals involving cousins of Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud will face an inquiry and a criminal investigation for possible misconduct after the Advocates Association of Sarawak lodged a complaint with the police in Kuching today.

The duo, identified as Alvin Chong and Huang Lung Ong, were shown separately in a video released by London-based activist group Global Witness as proof of shady land deals in Sarawak that appeared to implicate the state’s chief minister and his family, with parts of the clip aired on the Al-Jazeera news channel. (more…)

Lawyers’ group wants duo in corruption video probed


The Advocates Association of Sarawak (AAS) wants the two lawyers implicated in the recent Global Witness video alleging corruption in the state to be investigated for possible professional misconduct.

Its president Khairil Azmi Mohd Hasbie said the association has decided to refer the two lawyers to the Advocates Inquiry Committee, an independent disciplinary body separate from the AAS.He said, in a statement today, this is so that the committee can “conduct its inquiry into possible instances of professional misconduct under laws and regulations governing the legal profession in the state.” (more…)

AAS lodges report against lawyers implicated in video

Ng Ai Fern

The video features recorded conversations with two Sarawak lawyers discussing illegal manipulation of local laws.
Advocates Association of Sarawak (AAS) has lodged police reports against the two practicing lawyers implicated in the ‘Global Witness’ video exposé.
In addition, the two Sarawak lawyers – Alvin Chong and Huang Lung Ong – will be referred to the Inquiry Committee. (more…)

March 21, 2013

CM Taib may have to step down before GE13: INI KALI LAH TAIB MEMANG KENA!

S'wak CM may have to step down before GE13: INI KALI TAIB MEMANG KENA!

Joe Fernandez

The Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission (MACC) has been uncharacteristically quick to say that they will look into video reports apparently implicating long-serving Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud in allegedly shady land deals which, from all accounts, have resulted in considerable lost revenues to the state and Federal coffers while virtually robbing the affected kampung (village) folks of their Native land.

The Global Witness’s investigative reporting has turned up evidence on film which the authorities will be unable to ignore or sweep this time.

Radio Free Sarawak is already going to town with the expose video — under the carpet: (more…)

It was mere ‘coffeeshop’ talk, says Sibu lawyer

Pearl Lee & Haresh Deol, The Malay Mail

A lawyer in the centre of an explosive video expose that implicates the family of Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud in alleged shady land deals has claimed he was trapped by an international activist organisation.

Huang Lung Ong told The Malay Mail by phone from Sibu yesterday: “I was trapped. I was consulted on legal matters regarding land,” he said.

“Why should I speak about the chief minister?” A partner of law firm Huang & Co fumed.

“I may have uttered some words out of frustration as he (the ‘foreign investor’) kept on asking me many questions. I was pressured,” he said. (more…)

MACC to ‘act accordingly’ on Global Witness claims

Hafiz Yatim

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) “will act accordingly” on information revealed in a sting operation by NGO Global Witness on backroom negotiations by relatives of Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud.

MACC director of investigations Mustafar Ali (below right) in a in a text-message response to Malaysiakini said a file had been opened based on previous corruption allegations against Taib.

The investigation is under way, Mustafar said via SMS, and added: “With the new evidence that has emerged the MACC will act accordingly.” (more…)

Taib Blames His Own Uncle And A Conspiracy To “Frame” Him!

Sarawak Report

“It’s nothing to do with me, right?”

The strain on Taib was there for all to see yesterday, after the corruption video exposing his family and his entire regime went viral.

Speaking to journalists on camera yesterday a rambling Chief Minister attempted to appear jovial and easy-going, but his anger was barely concealed.

Sarawak Report has learnt that his London lawyers spent weeks trying to gag the Global Witness expose before it was released.. (more…)

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