Friday, March 29, 2013

'Give MACC absolute powers to probe Taib’

Priscilla Prasena

March 28, 2013
The Malaysian Citizens Initiative handed over a petition containing 14,000 signatures to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak calling for action against Taib Mahmud.
PETALING JAYA: A coalition of NGOs calling themselves Malaysian Citizens Initiative want an “immediate” response from Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak on its call for the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) to be given an “unambiguous mandate” to investigate Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud.
The coalition, which wants an answer from Najib before the 13th general election, also want the prime minister to approve the setting up of an Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) into power abuse and land scams in Sarawak linked to Taib and his family.
Spokesman for the coalition, Linus Chung, said Najib’s continuing “silence” on the issue was deafening, especially since he was “prompt” in reacting to allegations against Suaram.
Suaram had come under the spotlight for its foreign source of funds, particularly its alleged links to currency speculator George Soros. Najib had been quick to order the Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Ministry to investigate the issue.
“Why is the PM silent on the Sarawak corruption issue when he was quick to act on Suaram’s issue?
“Taib should be investigated thoroughly,” Chung said, alluding the to recent exposé in a covertly recorded 16 minute video by Global Witness, a London-based pressure group.
Speaking to FMT after handing over a petition, comprising 14,000 signatures by Malaysians, to a representative from Najib’s office, Chung said whatever the decision Najib takes now “will reflect on the current administration”.
Alluding to the signatures garnered, Chung said the coalition had posted a call on Facebook for Najib to initiate an RCI into Sarawak and to publicly provide MACC with an “unambiguous mandate” to investigate corruption involving Taib and his family in relation to the video.
In the video, Global Witness had posed as investors seeking to buy land for oil palm plantations. They were directed by the Regional Corridor Development Authority (RECODA), a government body charged with receiving foreign investment, to Ample Agro. Ample Agro is owned by Taib’s cousins Fatimah and Norlia Rahman Yakub.
Both Fatimah and Norlia, along with lawyers Alvin Chong and Huang Lung Ong, had given their candid views on how the sale process would be handled, how the natives would be dealt with, how taxes could be avoided and how “personal kickbacks” were allegedly to be paid to Taib.
Taib and his family members reportedly sit on 31 companies in Sarawak and have been allotted 200,000 hectares of land – equivalent to the size of Singapore – for oil palm plantations.
He has also come under pressure in recent months from local and global campaigners who have linked him and his family to hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of overseas properties, wealth allegedly derived from plundering the state.
~ Free Malaysia Today

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