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Sunday, April 20, 2008

Born To Steal

New Version of Prince of Thieve- Taib Hood


The following is from the book "Nomads of the Dawn."

"For most of the last twenty-five years, Sarawak's Resource Planning portfolio has been retained in the office of the Chief Minister, the highest authority in the state. Since 1981 the Chief Minister has been Taib Mahmud, a man whose personal fortune, derived from logging, has made him one of the wealthiest men in Malaysia. According to a February 7, 1990 report in the Asian Wall Street Journal, " He lives in a well-guarded palatial home in Kuching, and rides in a cream-colored Rolls Royce. A dapper dresser, he is partial to double-breasted suits and sports a ring with a walnut-sized red gem surrounded by small diamonds."

That his office has been used for personal financial gain became clear during the run up to the State elections in April 1987. At a press conference on April 9, 1987, Taib Mahmud announced the freezing of twenty-five timber concessions totaling 2.75 million acres belonging to relatives and friends of the former Chief Minister Rahman Yakub. Estimates of the value of these holdings ranged from US$9 billion to US$22 billion. As it turned out, each of Rahman Yakub's eight daughters was the owner of a logging concession. In retaliation for these revelations, Rahman Yakub told the press the names of politicians, friends, relatives and associates connected to Taib Mahmud who controlled 3.52 million acres of concessions. Ironically the two antagonists were themselves related, Taib Mahmud being the nephew of Rahman Yakub. Between them, these two quarreling factions of the elite controlled 6.38 million acres, a figure that amounted to over half of all logging concessions and a full third of Sarawak's total forested land. So great is the potential for graft, and so high the financial rewards of securing government office, that politicians have been known to spend as much as US$24 million competing for the support of the 625,000 eligible voters in the state."

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How much is Taib Mahmud worth?

(A report by Forests Monitor, UK)
Raja Petra Kamarudin

Politics, law and the logging industry


The influence of the logging industry on the politics and laws of host countries should not be underestimated, particularly with regard to obtaining licences to log and to forest policy more generally.
There is often a mutually beneficial relationship between logging companies and political elites, involving the acquisition of large private wealth for both parties through bribery, corruption and transfer pricing, at the expense of public benefit through lost revenues and royalty payments and at the expense of social, environmental and indigenous communities' rights. At the very least, these relationships equate to a conflict of interest; at worst, they suggest an institutionalisation of cronyism and corruption. In most cases, there is a fundamental imbalance of power between economic interests, the State and civil society over the control, use and exploitation of forests. The long-term consequences of this are logging at unsustainable rates for quick profit; illegal felling and illegal trade; disruption of successful local economies; social instability; environmental degradation; and social, cultural and political oppression. The awarding of concessions and other licences to log as a result of political patronage, rather than open competitive tender, has been the norm rather than the exception in many countries. All too often, the identity of concession holders is surrounded in secrecy, as is the actual location of concessions. Occasionally, this information has been leaked from forestry departments or made available through unofficial channels. More...

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Thursday, March 29, 2007

Wood carriers allegedly hid 1.1 billion yen income
Kyodo News

Nine Japanese shipping companies that transport lumber from Sarawak, Malaysia, allegedly failed to report some 1.1 billion yen of income in total during a period of up to seven years through last March, sources said Wednesday, alleging the money constituted kickbacks to Sarawak officials via a Hong Kong agent.

Such tax irregularities have occurred as the Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau determined the companies' remuneration payments to Regent Star, a Hong Kong agent, which has a connection with Chief Minister of Sarawak Taib Mahmud and his family, were rebates, not legitimate expenses, the sources said.

More...
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My very first encounter with Taib Mahmud was in 1996 in SMK Padawan before I pursue my study in Kolej Tun Abdul Razak. We were standing side-by side in a long line to wait for Taib arrival. Teng Bukap, somewhere in Padawan province was crowded by many people form every sides of Padawan. That was my fist time traveling by an air-condition bus and it was so enjoyable. As we keep on waiting, for about 3 hours (from 7 am – 10 am), finally the sky was trembled by a Bell Helicopter and there came the man. After a while, I saw a white Mercedes Benz with the plate number “Kerajaan Negeri Sarawak” and there were two small flags stick on the bumper. As the man come out from the car, the host announced the arrival of the Chief Minister and everybody gave their round of applause. Then he shook hand with the students and those who were in the line. From one corner of the football field, I heard a group of people shouting “Hidup Taib” which means ‘long live Mr Taib”.

Teng Bukap, Padawan - Undelivered Promises

As the even goes on, were served with army exhibition and free Mayang tea. My mother managed to grab 4 boxes of Mayang tea and 2 packets of Osborne plain round biscuit “Biskut Rumah Panjang” and brought them home. All the villagers were call to come down to Teng Bukap to listen to Taib speech and enjoy the Mayang tea, boxed-meal “tapau” and Osborne biscuit. Transportation was provided for free of charge and there were type of buses that I havenever seen. I my heart, I feel that Taib is another god coming far from another side of Teng Bukap mountain.

Osborne Biscuits aka Biskut Rumah Panjang

As I grew up and start to understand a little bit about Sarawak politic, I get to know that Taib is the richest minister in Malaysia and has plenty of properties in Australia. He has the ultimate power to rule above the law of the country. Soon after SUPP constituency in Padawan was divided into two which is one side for PBB, I got to know that James Dawos was joining Taib the great. Then, Padawan was abandoned by the PBB and SUPP. None of them could ever upgrade the Padawan-Link road and the road was the only way to go down to Kuching. It is muddy during wet season and dusty in the dry season and the Padawanians have enjoyed it since the British era.

At one side of the district, The Borneo Highland Resort was under construction and I was many heavy trucks bringing logs and construction. On the way to Kuching, the trucks were loaded with logs and on the way from Kuching, there were loaded with building materials for Borneo Highland Resort project. What has saddened me was that the affected communities were given RM 200.00 compensation for every village. If we say this to our MPs, they will surely get burst and you have to be ready to get beheaded by them. Just beside my village (Kampung Senah Negeri), I can hear a roaring bulldozers and lorry of the loggers. The road to the village was badly damaged by the logging trucks and there were no way to travel by cars or motorbike. We were compensated with 2 liter of diesel oil for our Milo canned lamp by the logging company though some of the paddy farms were bulldozed brutally.

Why should we complain then since we do not have any right for our ancestral lands? The best we have done was looking at our damaged paddy farm and say nothing. NCR lands are not our though we have been there for centuries ahead from the logging company. Should we blame Taib and Dawos on their scarcity of humanity to the aborigines? Well, we were not daring enough because we thought that the laws were not always at our side. Next, will this prince of thief continue to rob every NCR lands of the aborigines? The Sarawakians will decide and they have their very option in their mind and heart.

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