Archive for the 'Sarawak' Category


Return ransom money to hostages’ kin, Zahid told

Return ransom money to hostages’ kin, Zahid told

Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has no right to channel the RM12 million that was raised to free the Sarawakian hostages, and should return the cash to their families and the public, an activist has said.

The Consumers’ Association of Subang and Shah Alam (Cassa) president Jacob George pointed out that the money belonged to the kin as well as members of the public, who had responded to their cry for help.

“It is not government money, so who is he to decide to give it to an Islamic agency? It is the height of irresponsibility and is totally unacceptable.

“It is also embarrassing to Islam and all Islamic agencies,” Jacob told Malaysiakini when contacted.

He was commenting on Zahid’s statement that the money the family raised to pay for the four’s ransom had instead been given to an Islamic body in the Philippines.

Zahid also confirmed that the money raised was from public donation and the family’s sale of assets.

“The government decided not to pay ransom, and police adhered to this order,” Zahid was quoted saying in Berita Harian today.

But Jacob said the government’s decision to channel the money would just spur more kidnappings in Sabah’s waters.

He added that the public would no longer believe the Home Ministry after its latest “stunt”.

“How do you expect us to trust these people with the security of the country after what they did?

“Zahid must apologise to the Malaysian public and come clean on what really happened, and who decided the money should be donated. We want accountability.”

He also urged leaders to stop issuing statements until they had obtained all their facts straight, so as to prevent confusion.

The hostages’ families had previously said they passed RM12 million to Special Branch officers to pay the ransom, after those who contributed demanded to know what happened to the cash.

This was because the police said the four were released without any ransom paid.

But Bukit Aman’s Special Branch director Mohamad Fuzi Harun had refused to comment on the matter, while deputy inspector-general of police Noor Rashid Ibrahim said any questions about the money should be directed to the family.

Return ransom money to hostages’ kin, Zahid told
17 June 2016 – malaysiakini


Sarawak Election – Surge of voter turnout defies logic

Bizarre leap in S’wak voter turnout defies logic

COMMENT Bersih chairperson Maria Chin Abdullah has expressed concern over the surprising rise in voter turnout in the Sarawak polls from 52 percent at 4pm to 70 percent at midnight, and has urged the Election Commission (EC) to look into the matter.

The near surreal upsurge of voter turnout at the last moment, I would like to stress, is a very grave discrepancy

The number of votes cast at 2pm, 3pm, 4pm and 5pm are 44%, 50%, 52% and 70% respectively.

It shows that the pace of voters’ arrival had been reducing gradually in the afternoon to a slow pace of 2% per hour until 4pm, when it suddenly surged nine times to reach 18% per hour.

Can this most fantastic spectacle be verified by eyewitnesses? Could our polling stations handle 200,000 voters in one hour?

Why didn’t the EC announce the last turnout rate promptly at 5pm as it had done earlier at hourly intervals? Why did the EC have to delay the last announcement until midnight?

Such bizarre happenings give rise to strong public suspicion of massive padding up of ballot boxes before counting began.

Hence, the police and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) must move in immediately to seize all computers and ballot boxes from the EC for a thorough investigation to ascertain the true cause of such massive discrepancy.

United DAP-PKR could have made difference

On another matter, while the numbers suggest DAP or PKR would have lost their overlapped seats anyway, even if either party had contested singly against BN, let’s consider this.

The PKR-DAP clash over the six seats had generated animosity that broke up their partnership in the entire election campaign, adversely affecting electoral support for all seats contested by them.

Imagine, if there had been no such break-up, their individual campaigns participated by both parties would have been more powerful and convincing, and the candidates of both parties would have received more cross-party electoral support, besides avoiding repudiation by electorate infuriated by the inter-party clash.

Bizarre leap in S’wak voter turnout defies logic
Kim Quek
9 May 2016


Sarawak Election – Gerrrymandering and low voter turnout

Kit Siang blames seat changes and low turnout

DAP leader claims Alan Ling the ‘greatest victim’ of new boundaries for ‘BN-created constituencies’

PETALING JAYA: The DAP has blamed changes in electoral boundaries for the party’s defeat in yesterday’s elections to the Sarawak state assembly.

DAP veteran leader Lim Kit Siang said that the changes, which he described as gerrymandering, favoured Barisan Nasional and had resulted in Sarawak DAP losing five of the 12 seats it previously held.

Lim congratulated Sarawak BN leader Adenan Satem for the party’s convincing victory, taking 72 seats in the 82-seat assembly. The DAP was returned in seven seats and PKR was re-elected to three seats.

He claimed that Adenan’s forecast of winning at least 70 seats had been based on gerrymandering in redrawing the state assembly seat boundaries.

He pinpointed Alan Ling Sie Kiong, the Sarawak DAP secretary, as “the greatest victim of such BN-created constituencies” for his defeat in Piasau.

Ling, dubbed a giant-killer, had won the seat in 2011 by defeating George Chan, then SUPP president, with a majority of 1,590 votes. On Saturday, he was unseated by SUPP secretary Sebastian Ting who won a comfortable 2,112-vote majority, polling 7,799 votes against Ling’s 5,687.

Piasau was one of the seats involved in the Election Commission’s (EC) redelineation of state assembly seats last year, in which 12 new seats were created.

In a statement issued at a news conference in Kuching today, Lim also blamed lower turnout as a factor in the party’s defeat.

He said Sarawak DAP could have retained the 12 state assembly seats from 2011 if the voter turnout had been closer to the 76.3 percent turnout for the 2013 parliamentary election. He claimed that voter turnout yesterday was only 68.1 percent. However, the Election Commission said today that the turnout was 70.1 percent, or the same level as at the 2011 election.

Kit Siang blames seat changes and low turnout
May 8, 2016 – FMT


Why Sarawakians must vote for a strong Opposition?

Sarawak Elections

Why Sarawakians must vote for a strong Opposition?

VIEWPOINT: The spotlight in the coming week is on the Sarawak election. All of Malaysia will be watching anxiously to see the outcome.

The great majority of analysts are of the opinion that the BN under Adenan Satem will win big. Even the Opposition has conceded that it will be an uphill battle for them to prevent the BN from getting a large majority – perhaps even bigger than in the last elections.

As for me, I agree that the BN will win. However, l am very concerned that if a landslide victory takes place, it will send the wrong message to the government as well as to the country.

The message which will be sent out is that we do not need to punish the successor regime to Chief Minister Taib Mahmud, who is notorious all over the world as a leader who had engaged in large scale corrupt dealings and ruthlessly exploited the natural resources of his state to become one of the richest men in the country.

It is an open secret that the “white hair”, together with his family and other cronies, have raped the forests and depleted the treasury of the state, leaving the majority of the people, especially the indigenous communities and urban poor, impoverished and struggling to survive.

Voters in Sarawak must realise that if they do not take the opportunity at the ballot box to vote for the Opposition on May 7, the rest of the world will assume the following:

1 Sarawakians have forgiven Taib for his over 33 years’ of corruption and abuse of state power which has destroyed the future of hundreds of thousands of families. They think it is perfectly okay for Taib to become a multi-billionaire with most of his money taken out of Kuching and invested in Britian, Canada, the US and other countries. They also believe that his alleged net worth of RM45 billion is simply due to his wise investments from his chief minister’s salary! And the fabulous wealth of his other family members is also due to their hard work and ability.

2 Although this is a state-level election, they are also willing to forgive Prime Minister Najib Razak who is desperate to cling to power, despite all evidence pointing to his involvement in the 1MDB and personal donation scandals. Najib and other federal leaders have been taking an active part in the campaigning. Najib has been making all kinds of promises to Sarawakians, especially the native communities. If BN wins big, Sarawak voters can be seen as putting their full faith and trust in the disgraced PM; and by extension, be also seen as agreeing with Umno’s ketuanan Melayu and ketuanan Islam ideology for the nation.

I am especially concerned about what will happen to the Chinese votes in the election. The BN has made it clear that they are going to try to kill off the non-Malay opposition in the urban constituencies. To make sure that this can happen, Adenan is putting up wealthy Chinese candidates of the tycoon class in several constituencies.

Sarawak Chinese need to ask themselves some important questions when they are in the voting booths.

Are these super rich Chinese the right candidates to lead the Chinese? Will they be able to take care of the interests of the Chinese middle class and poor as well as the needs of the non-Chinese communities? Can we expect SUPP and other Chinese party candidates fighting under the BN banner to bring change and reform to the BN government?

Sarawak’s Chinese voters need to be reminded that it is mainly the rich Chinese in the state who are cronies of Taib Mahumd that have benefitted under BN rule. For many years, they closed their eyes to the official discrimination practiced against the Chinese – in education, government employment, business opportunities, culture and religion at state and federal levels.

This was the same pattern as found at the federal level where we had the MCA and Gerakan leaders sitting at the main table with Umno leaders enjoying grand dinners. This has been going on for the past 50 years. At this never-ending dinners for BN leaders and cronies, the occasional crumbs and bones left over from the dinner were thrown to the millions of Malaysians outside.

Today we find these tycoons going around giving out chicken feed ang pows to Chinese schools and associations in Kuching, Sibu, Miri and other towns and claiming that they are fighting to defend the position of the Chinese and to get a better deal from Umno and the federal government.

Come on! Do you think that candidates such as Tiong Thai King, Sim Hui Kian, Hii King Chiong, Pau Chiong Urn and Huang Tiong Hii are interested in anybody’s interests except their own?

Haven’t Sarawak Chinese learnt lessons from mainland Malaysia where the leaders of Chinese parties in Barisan have consistently sold out and ended up with big fortunes and Dato-ship and Tan Sri-ship.

It has been said that the Sarawak Chinese should vote for BN because the Opposition is weak and cannot get its act together. It is necessary to turn this argument around and to emphasise that it is precisely because the Opposition is weak that we should do more to support and keep it alive rather than kill it.

Malaysia – all of Malaysia, including Sarawak – needs the strongest Opposition possible so that we do not end up as a failed state and continue to lose our young people and best human resources to others. Instead of giving the BN an even stronger mandate to loot our economy, undermine our racial and religious harmony and further restrict our constitutional rights and freedoms, Sarawakians, including the Chinese, should stand up against what will basically be a continuation of the Taib regime. There will be a few cosmetic changes here and there.

But that will be it.

Hence the message on May 7 should be that we have had enough of dirty Datos and wealthy YBs. Enough of false promises and abuse of power and resources. And to get the message across and fight the BN power monopoly, we need the strongest Opposition possible.

Why Sarawakians must vote for a strong Opposition?
by Aaron Hee
05 May 2016 – Ant Daily


BN’s Timber Tycoon Candidate For Repok Illegally Plundered Baram

BN’s Timber Tycoon Candidate For Repok Illegally Plundered Baram – EXPOSE

Radio Free Sarawak has revealed that Chief Minister Adenan Satem’s direct candidate for the Repok constituency, SUPP business tycoon Huang Tiong Sii, is the man behind MM Golden (M) Sdn Bhd, a company that clashed with the community fighting against the controversial Baram Dam for intimidating locals, blocking them from entering their native lands and illegally plundering timber from the area.

Our revelation comes just days after a press conference, where Chief Minister Adenan Satem, lashed out at critics for not giving him credit for cancelling the Baram Dam circulated on social media.

Anti-dam blockaders remain unsure if the mega-project has been officially cancelled and are waiting for a “black and white confirmation”, so continue to man their blockade.

In 2014, land owners from Long Keseh and Long Na’ah became aware of logging activities on their native lands by MM Golden and submitted an official complaint to the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and lodged a police report against the company, the Forestry Department, Sarawak’s Ministry of Resource, Planning and Environment and the Ministry of Natural Resources on the grounds that their native lands were being illegally logged.

Later that year, the company set up a logging camp near to the proposed Baram dam site, which was often manned by police and forestry officials. It was an issue that was raised by local communities and human rights groups at the time, who expressed concern over an “intimidating presence” in the area. The company also set up a road block to prevent the community from entering their land.

“The role of the police is to stop crime. The extraction of logs in the area of the proposed Baram Dam is a crime because the lands belong to the people of Long Kesseh and Na’ah.” said SAVE Rivers Chairman Peter Kallang

In an interview with Radio Free Sarawak today, Peter Kallang advised listeners:

Don’t vote for this kind of person, don’t give power to the robbers! We don’t want a warlord to govern us.

Up until now, locals have been in the dark about who Mr Huang Tiong Sii was. In fact, his candidacy was a surprise to his own party SUPP, who expressed alarm that Adenan had overridden their own choice for the Repok seat.

BN’s Timber Tycoon Candidate For Repok Illegally Plundered Baram – EXPOSE
1 May 2016 – SR


DAP’s Sarawak election campaign gaining momentum

Sarawak Election

DAP at last whips up Saturday night election fever

S’WAK POLLS DAP’s Sarawak election campaign of is finally gaining momentum with a total of over 6,000 people turning up at their Saturday ceramah in three major towns, Kuching, Sibu and Miri.

This is seen as an encouraging development following the lacklustre response in the first five days of the opposition’s ceramah, which is a gauge of their support on the ground.

Approximately 2,300 showed up in Kuching ceramah, while 2,500 and 2,000 attended the ceramah in Sibu and Miri respectively.

The arrival of Penang chief minister and DAP secretary-general Lim Guan Eng in Kuching on Friday saw over 2,000 turning up at a ceramah Jalan Tun Jugah, while a smaller crowd of 300 attended the one at Bintawa.

The roads linked to Jalan Tun Jugah were jammed with people rushing to catch sight of Lim.

Addressing the crowd, the DAP secretary-general continued to slam the 1MDB fiasco, saying people nationwide have had to bailout the Finance Ministry fund by paying its debts.

“Sarawak deserves better than that, you have vast resources but many are left in poverty,” he said.

DAP at last whips up Saturday night election fever
1 May 2016 – Malaysiakini


High Court nullifies EC’s Sarawak re-delineation

In a landmark decision, the Kuching High Court today nullified the Election Commission’s re-delineation exercise for Sarawak.

Following this, Justice Yew Jen Kie granted a declaration sought by Sarawak PKR that the re-delineation lacked in detailed particulars of the areas specified in paragraph two of the 13th Schedule of the Federal Constitution.

The court also granted a mandamus order to compel EC to republish the notice of its proposed recommendations to review the division of the Sarawak state constituencies for the purpose of elections for the state legislative assembly.

The application was made by Batu Lintang assemblyperson See Chee How (photo) and a voter of Baram.

This is a victory of sorts for the opposition who had been contesting the re-delineation exercise as invalid because it lacked particulars for voters to protest.

The Kuching High Court granted leave (permission) on Feb 7 to See’s application for a judicial review.

Today’s decision would hamper Chief Minister Adenan Satem’s plan to seek an early mandate following his appointment last year. The state must hold elections before the middle of next year.

At present, Sarawak has 71 state seats and the re-delineation exercise by EC seeks to increase it to 82 – an additional 11 – for the state legislative assembly.

Besides this decision today, activist Haris Ibrahim has also filed a judicial review against the EC to compel the electoral body to provide details of the re-delineation process for all constituencies in Malaysia.

Thanked civil society groups

See, when contacted, said today’s decision was good for the people of Sarawak as the EC should not bulldoze through a re-delineation exercise like it had done in the past.

The decision, he said, meant the court found that the EC had not been complying with the 13th Schedule as required by the Federal Constitution.

“This is not only a victory for Sarawak but for other states facing re-delineation exercises. I would like to personally thank electoral watchdog Bersih, Tindak Malaysia and NGO Rise of Sarawak Efforts (Rose).

“They and other civil society groups contributed much to our efforts and in supporting us in our challenge.”

With the decision, the Batu Lintang assemblyperson said EC will have to comply with what is required under the Federal Constitution.

May 15, 2015 – Malaysiakini
High Court nullifies EC’s Sarawak re-delineation


All M’sians must stand united against mega dams in Borneo

FOCUS: Some 250 km from Miri, Sarawak, a community is bravely standing in the way of being displaced and to protect the surrounding environment.

They have been doing so for 562 days now through a non-violent blockade to prevent loggers and the Sarawak Energy Bhd from accessing the construction site of the Baram mega dam.

Recently, in conjunction with the 555th day of the blockade, the Borneo Project released a second film as part of a series on short documentaries on the proposed mega dams in the country’s largest state.

The video, titled “Commerce or Corruption” highlights the risks posed to the people and environment, while questioning the need for the mega-dams citing the enormous cost and its economic unfeasibility.

Critics of the dams say that the project will result drive tens of thousands of the land, the extinction of untold species, pollute rivers and produce more greenhouse gas emissions per megawatt of energy than a coal-fired power plant.

They also say that the dams benefit very few people, most notably the family of former Sarawak chief minister Abdul Taib Mahmud.

In Sabah, the proposal to build the Kaiduan dam, in Ulu Papar has also been met with fierce opposition by the indigenous community and activists.

They too do not want to be driven from their homes and fear the destruction of the biodiversity-rich area.

I can’t help but feel sorry for the affected communities as they have everything to lose.

Yet, I can’t help feel they are fighting a losing battle against the might of the government.

While this issue affects those miles away from Peninsula Malaysia, the destruction of the environment and the well-being of its people is a national issue.

The Baram mega-dam for example will see 20,000 displaced and 400 sqkm2 of rainforest inundated.

I believe that the collective voice of the people can go a long way in helping and supporting the cause of the affected communities of these damned dam projects.

10 May 2015 –
All M’sians must stand united against mega dams in Borneo


Swiss group pushing for probe into Sarawak company linked to Taib

A staunch critic of Sarawak governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud is pushing Putrajaya to set up a royal commission of inquiry (RCI) to look into the privatisation of a conglomerate linked to his family.

Swiss-based Bruno Manser Fund said the RCI should investigate the legality of the privatisation of Cahya Mata Sarawak (CMS), a former state-owned company listed on Bursa Malaysia with monopolies in cement and steel production, into the hands of the Taib family.

Saying it has uncovered “systematic corruption” to show how Taib as chief minister “generated massive profits for CMS by the awarding of state contracts, making the former chief minister’s family the single largest beneficiary of public contracts in Sarawak”, BMF urged that all shares held by his family members in the company be frozen.

Taib stepped down as Sarawak chief minister on February 28 last year after 33 years in office.

He was succeeded by his former brother-in-law, Tan Sri Adenan Satem.

In its report “Corruption Management Sarawak – Cahya Mata Sarawak and Malaysia’s Taib family”, BMF analysed 89 contracts granted to CMS between 1993 and 2013.

It alleged that CMS received over RM4.9 billion in state contracts since its takeover by Taib’s family in 1993 up till 2013.

The contracts include the RM295 million construction of Sarawak’s new state legislative assembly building in Kuching, and a 15-year contract in 2003 for the maintenance of all state roads valued at RM86 million annually.

BMF said it wanted the RCI to investigate the series of reverse takeovers that began in the early 1990s that “privatised CMS into the hands of the Taib family”, claiming that the takeovers were “carefully crafted political manipulations”.

CMS started its business in 1974 as Cement Manufacturers Sarawak Sdn Bhd, and originated from a joint venture between the state-owned Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) and the Sabah Economic Development Corporation (Sedco).

Following its privatisation, the company was renamed Cahya Mata Sarawak, retaining the company initials CMS.

Taib’s brother Onn Mahmud was appointed chairman of the group and was superseded seven years later by Taib’s youngest son, Datuk Seri Sulaiman Abdul Rahman Taib.

The BMF report said that though CMS appointed as chairman Tan Sri Syed Anwar Jamalullai, who is not related to Taib’s family, as well as British lawyer Datuk Richard Curtis as group managing director in 2006, the company remained firmly in the hands of the Taib family.

It said for the past 20 years, Taib’s family has controlled the group with 11 family members being involved as shareholders, directors or members of CMS senior management.

Swiss group pushing for probe into Sarawak company linked to Taib
26 January 2015 – TMI


The Mahathir Syndrome

Just after I questioned the need for the so-called ‘moderate Malays’ to meet Mahathir Mohamad – in my view the begetter of poisonous, racist politics in Malaysia – over Najib Abdul Razak’s failure to rein in the radical forces, yet another group has courted the ‘benevolent dictator’ for its cause.

This time, it is Save Rivers, an environmental group formed to defend forests, rivers and sustainable livelihood in Sarawak. Its chairperson Peter Kallang recently invited Mahathir to speak on their behalf, and the former prime minister readily did it in a keynote speech in Kuching earlier this week, urging the Sarawak government to “rethink its controversial dam-building initiative”.

Yes, controversial is the keyword. Barely a few years before the Asian financial crisis hit Malaysia in 1997 and halted Mahathir’s hitherto uninterrupted ‘economic miracle’, the then prime minister argued for the case of the now ill-functioning Bakun Dam that would not only provide the cheapest source of energy but would also spur Malaysia’s industrialisation.

The mega dam would involve the relocation of up to 10,000 indigenous people from the Kayan, Kenyah, Kajang, Ukit and Penan ethnic groups, and radically alter Sawarak’s ecological system including the flows of the Rajang River and destruction of rainforests. Protests by grassroots activists went largely unheeded as Malaysians indulged themselves in the economic booms of the 1990s, entrusting the megalomaniac leader to do whatever he saw fit to ‘modernize’ the nation.

Prior to that, Penan protesters who wanted to preserve their land and traditional way of life were rounded up and manhandled by the police on Mahathir’s watch. One Sawarakian campaigner for indigenous rights and rainforests, Harrison Ngau (right), was incarcerated under the notorious Internal Security Act in 1987, while another by the name of Anderson Mutang Urud had to flee the country in 1992 just to avoid draconian legal snares.

The Bakun Dam was suspended thanks to the financial crisis, only to be revived in 2000 as Mahathir was adamant that “money spent on pre-construction works should not be wasted”. Forced relocations and resettlements therefore continued, much to the detriment of the indigenous peoples.

On June 27, 2013, Sarawak suffered a state-wide power failure and it was attributed to, guess what, the Bakun Hydroelectric Plant!

Throughout his 22 years of excessive rule, Mahathir never stopped being fond of mega projects.

Jan 30, 2015 – Malaysiakini
By Josh Hong
The Mahathir Syndrome

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Mahathir in Putrajaya ceramah


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All that is necessary
for the triumph of evil
is for good men
to do nothing.

- Edmund Burke
When the people
fears their government,
there is TYRANNY;
when the government
fears the people,
there is LIBERTY.

- Thomas Jefferson
Do you hear the people sing?