A vast pool of information has been made available in Sarawak Report ( http://www.sarawakreport.org ) , the website recently uploaded the entire database of the Land and Survey Department of Sarawak that shows more than 1,000 plots of land acquired in recent years by the state, much of which have been passed on to Taib’s close relatives and cronies at dirt-cheap premiums. Many of these plots of land, which total more than 1.5 million hectares, were in fact NCR land, secretively sequestered from the natives.(refer to map below)
MACC fiasco over Taib Mahmud scandal — Kim Quek
April 02, 2011
APRIL 2 — The credibility of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) took a heavy beating when its two top officials floundered badly in a press conference over its failure to act against the notorious Chief Minister of Sarawak Taib Mahmud.
The latter has been in the limelight lately due to frequent exposures in the Internet of his fabulous wealth and massive land grabs, for which numerous reports have been lodged with the MACC.
In the press conference to present the annual report of MACC’s complaints committee on March 31, both chief commissioner Abu Kassim Mohammed and committee chairman Mohd Nor Abdullah were confronted by journalists over MACC’s deafening silence over long-standing accusations against the chief minister.
While Abu Kassim’s answers were hopelessly evasive, Mohd Nor’s reaction was outright obnoxious. The duo has conveyed this unmistakable message: Chief Minister Taib Mahmud is off-limits, don’t you dare push us further!
To reporters’ various questions such as: whether public complaints have been received, whether files have been opened, how many cases are there, will there be charges, Abu Kassim gave only irrelevant answers such as: we have to investigate all corruption, we cannot turn away any investigation, silence doesn’t mean inaction, etc. As questions persisted, he eventually repeated like a parrot to all further questions: “When there is a complaint, it will investigate.”
Mohd Nor, who was sitting next to Abu Kassim, stepped in to warn the reporters to back off. Obviously basking in his credentials as a former Court of Appeal judge, he asked reporters not to breach the Printing Presses and Publication Act (PPPA), which stipulates that news can only be published if there is reasonable cause to believe it is true. He said: “If you ask me whether there is any investigation on the chief minister, you may have breached the Act, as you already have the pre-conception of the CM’s corruption. You cannot ask me that. You cannot fish for evidence. Have you done your investigation? Inquire the truth first, then ask.”
While Abu Kassim’s utter timidity to touch on anything relating to the chief minister merely confirms what is already public knowledge — that the MACC is completely impotent to deal with any corruption case of ruling Barisan Nasional’s heavyweights — it is Mohd Nor’s menacing and stupid threats to news media that have riled the otherwise complacent public.
Mohd Nor talked as if we are ignorant of the mountain of evidence of corruption and abuse of power by Taib Mahmud unearthed and circulating on the Internet. Evidence against him is so voluminous and detailed that it formed a two-inch-thick book which was formally handed to the MACC. And reports that were lodged almost one year ago have met with only silence from the MACC.
The reports against Taib are mainly based on the website Sarawak Report (http://www.sarawakreport.org) which chronicles Taib family’s multi-billion ringgit fortunes in the form of overseas real estate properties, Malaysian enterprises and large areas of land in Sarawak. The Sarawak Report website carries amazing details of Taib family’s assets, complete with proof of ownership extracted from company registries and land registries. Perhaps it is these meticulous details appearing as incontrovertible proof that have unnerved the MACC, causing its two top officials to make a fool of themselves in public.
As an example of the vast pool of information made available in Sarawak Report, the website recently uploaded the entire database of the Land and Survey Department of Sarawak that shows more than 1,000 plots of land acquired in recent years by the state, much of which have been passed on to Taib’s close relatives and cronies at dirt-cheap premiums. Many of these plots of land, which total more than 1.5 million hectares, were in fact NCR land, secretively sequestered from the natives, whose complaints have resulted in more 200 land litigations. The few cases that have been heard by the courts have ended in favour of the native landowners, indicating the illegality of Taib’s land grab.
As proof that Taib’s family has been major beneficiaries of this illegal land grab, the names of some 50 companies featured in the land register as original recipients of land from the state were listed, each identified with members of Taib’s family.
Another piece of bad news for the embattled chief minister is the recent disclosure of a so-called black list of 49 companies spread worldwide, each linked to Taib’s family. This list, announced by the Bruno Manser Fund, a Swiss NGO dedicated to the cause of the oppressed Sarawak natives, shows 13 of these companies are located in Malaysia, 10 in Australia, nine in Canada, seven in Hong Kong, the balance in UK and other parts of the world.
The beauty of the entire Taib corruption episode is that Taib himself never really denies the existence of his family’s vast assets.
In an interview during the cyber campaign launched recently by him to fend off the various accusations, he attributed his family’s fortune to the entrepreneur genius of his daughter Jamilah. Taib explained that when he left the federal government three decades ago, he gave some money to Jamilah from his gratuity to start off her business in Canada. Due to her business acumen, that business eventually snowballed into an international business empire.
While one is still stretching his imagination as to what little credibility could be given to Taib’s rag-to-riches story, the answer came in another interview of Taib. To buttress the veracity of his story, Taib elaborated further that he had no choice but to do business abroad 30 years ago where his well-educated children were doing business. He said:
“I don’t want conflict of interests to haunt me all the time. If I do business inside the country, people will say I use my influence to enrich myself, so we did it outside the country.”
What a terrible lie that was! Who in Sarawak doesn’t know that the state’s largest conglomerate CMS is the flagship of Taib family’s business empire which creams off the juiciest contracts from the state, much to the revulsion of the local business community?
With that blatant lie, what credibility can we give to Taib’s self-made billionaire story?
Facing such awesome evidence of massive corruption, the chairman of MACC’s complaints committee had the gall to make legal threats to inquisitive inquirers, as if Taib is a victim of dubious accusation!
The Taib Mahmud story is only one of many of Barisan Nasional’s numerous mega corruption scandals involving its reigning elites which have been routinely neutered by our law-enforcing institutions, be it the MACC, police, Attorney-General or the judiciary.
And the latest theatrics of the MACC described here only confirms that nothing has changed despite Prime Minister Najib Razak’s much-trumpeted reforms via his numerous slogans.