Thursday, February 17, 2011

Malaysian government fears anti-Taib protests

For immediate release
BRUNO MANSER FUND, BASEL / SWITZERLAND

Public anger at Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahumd on the rise - police issue warning over protest rally announced for Sunday

KUCHING, MALAYSIA. Weeks ahead of the elections in the Malaysian state of Sarawak in Borneo, the Malaysian police are fearing public protests against incumbent Abdul Taib Mahmud, one of the longest-serving and most corrupt politicians in South East Asia.

On Thursday, Sarawak State Police Commissioner Mohammed Salleh warned the public against attending an anti-Taib protest rally announced for Sunday in the state capital, Kuching. According to the Borneo Post, those attending face "the risk of getting arrested for participating in an illegal gathering". News about the planned protest had been spread via SMS.

Taib Mahmud has recently come under fire for his family's excessive wealth, which includes overseas assets worth hundreds of millions, if not billions, of US dollars. Taib has been in power since 1981 and simultaneously holds the offices of Chief Minister and Finance Minister, as well as State Planning and Resource Management Minister of the resource-rich state in Borneo.

The Taib family has profited immensely from the destructive logging of Sarawak's tropical rainforests and today has a stranglehold over the state's economy. Among the companies controlled by the Taibs are Achi Jaya, which has a monopoly on log exports, and Cahya Mata Sarawak (CMS), a construction company which is routinely awarded public contracts without open tender.

Malaysia does not grant its citizens either the freedom of assembly or the freedom of association. The authorities are free to clamp down on citizens under the draconian Internal Security Act (ISA) which allows for detention without trial or criminal charges.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Street protest is a good approach to deliver our message. It is protected under our constitution.

Anonymous said...

Sarawakians in Peninsular can do it. Organise a big gathering and send memorandum to investigate Taib to SPRM HQ.