Friday, February 25, 2011

Anti-Taib protests planned in London, Ottawa

Taib Mahmud's worst nightmare is begining to unfold as planned protests in London and Ottawa against injustices to indigenous communities get underway.

KUCHING: As regimes fall and more disgruntled citizens rise against oppressors, Sarawak is seeing its own revolt against “corrupt” Chief Minister Taib Mahmud.

International human rights and environmental campaigners abroad are organising protests in London and Ottawa (Canada) against Taib’s plundering ways.

The campaigns are seen as a likely start to a series of protests against the injustices perpetrated against the indigenous communities in Sarawak and the massive raping of the Borneo rainforest.

The announcement of the protests comes on the back of the Swiss-based Bruno Manser Fund’s (BMF) latest revelation that Taib and his family’s wealth is directly linked to companies in eight countries around the world.

The BMF blacklist noted 13 companies in Malaysia alone with his own Cahaya Mata Sarawak (CMS) leading the pack. CMS allegedly holds a monopoly on projects in Sarawak

In Australia and Canada, Taib is linked to 10 and nine companies respectively. His other companies are in Hong Kong (seven), US (four), British Virgin Islands (three) and Jersey (one).

Campaigners in London and Ottawa are expected to flag these facts as they decry Taib’s land and development policies which have stripped dry its once rich rainforest and left its people landless and poor while he wallows in wealth.

It is now an internationally known fact that Sarawak is the the third poorest state in Malaysia despite being a oil and gas hub.

Both in London and Ottawa, campaigners are expected to hold their protests on Feb 28 in front of Taib-family-owned buildings.

In London, the protest, jointly led by Radio Free Sarawak deejay Peter John Jaban a native Sarawakian and online portal Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle Brown, will be held in front of the Ridgeford Properties Ltd building.

No protest in Miri

In Otawa, the protest will be held outside Sako Corporation. The Ottawa protest will be headed by Mutang Urud, an indigenous leader from Sarawak.

Mutang has been living in exile in Canada since the early 1990s.

He was arrested and placed in solitary confinement by the Taib government in February 1992 for running the Sarawak Indigenous Peoples’ Association (SIPA).

On Dec 10, 1992, Mutang spoke before the 47th UN General Assemly in New York about the plight of Sarawak’s indigenous peoples

Both Sako Corporation and Ridgeford Properties are listed in BMF’s blacklist of 49 companies linked to Taib.

BMF has also incidentally called on all eight governments to freeze Taib’s assets in these countries.

Meanwhile, the protest in Miri scheduled for today has turned instead into a discussion between natives and the authorities over their NCR land dispute.

Sources in Miri said at this point that “a fullblown protest is unlikely”.

“We want the land grab issues resolved and the government to give us an assurance that there will be no more intimidation of the natives,” said the source, referring to the widely reported incident of 100 armed gangsters bearing explosives who descended on natives in Rumah Ranggong, Ulu Niah.

The gangsters were allegedly hired by BLD Resources, a company to whom the NCR land had been leased to.

Worst nightmare

Objections to Taib’s rule is growing by the day here, courtesy of the social media, online portals and now RFS.

According to Sarawakian blogger John Brian, native Dayaks are “very audio-inclined”.

And the fact that Jaban speaks Iban fluently, he said, was a big plus point.

“So now we have Sarawak natives coming forward to share their personal stories with RFS… and they (the government) is now angry, of course ,” he said.

Taib, who celebrates his 30th anniversary as chief minister in May, is facing his worst nightmare here.

The protests in London and Ottawa are also expected to have a viral online effect, going by the scenarios in Libya, Egypt and Tunisia.

“There will be support and it will come fast… Taib and his old men have no idea how regimes have fallen on the back of the social media,” said a young activist in Kuala Lumpur.

Taken from Free Malaysia Today.

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