London's Independent daily has published a statement from Taib Mahmud's lawyers that licences for land was not "political patronage".
KUCHING: Why are the Dayak ministers and assistant ministers in the Taib Mahmud-led administration ‘silent’ over the derogatory remarks made by Fatimah and Norliah, whose father is former state chief minister Rahman Yakub and uncle to Taib?
According to Sarawak DAP, until today no Dayak leaders from any of the state Barisan Nasional component parties have come out to defend the natives, maligned by these women in the Global Witness video.
In the 16-minute video clip, Taib’s cousins Fatimah and Norlia were allegedly trying to sell their company, Ample Agro land of 5,000 hectares.
Discussions of the land and how to conclude the sale was covertly recorded by Global Witness who had posed as a foreign investor seeking to buy land for oil palm plantations.
The women had also further described natives living on these land as “squatters” and “naughty people” who park themself on “government land” the moment they are told that the land had been allocated to an oil plam company and could make life ‘difficult”.
Said Sarawak DAP secretay Chong Chieng Jen: “What are leaders of Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) and Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party (SPDP) doing about it?
“Do they agree with the statement that the Dayaks are squatters? The statement is very demeaning and insulting to the Dayak Community.”
“So I call upon them to make their stand clear,” he said. Video translated in Iban While on one hand demanding that native BN leaders state their stand on the issue, Chong was quick to admit that “statements” by Fatimah and Norliah will help increase the awareness of the Dayak community as to the exploitation of their rights and the domineering attitude of the government towards the community.
The video has been translated into Iban and Bahasa Malaysia and is rapidly making its way round rural Sarawak.
State PKR Chief Baru Bian had reportedly said: “I believe that the distribution of this video in the kampungs will be effective. It’s a matter that has been talked about for several years before but a lot of people didn’t believe it, but now it’s out from the mouths of the family.”
Meanwhile Chong also asked why Taib had made no move to act against his cousins.
“Why only sue Global Witness which is the publisher of the statement? He should also sue his cousins,” said Chong.
Meanwhile London-based Independent daily on Wednesday published a statement issued by Mishcon de Reya, a law firm representing Taib, in response to the Global Witness film.
The statement reads: “The government of Sarawak issues licences for land in very controlled circumstances… This is an administrative exercise, not political patronage. Our client never demands or accepts bribes for the grant of licences and leases.”
Taib had also reportedly told local media here that state government was accumulating information on the claims made by Global Witness.