Saturday, March 23, 2013

Transparency International calls for resignation of Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud

Basel, 22 March 2013

Global graft watchdog urges Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to pressure the Sarawak Chief Minister to step down

Global anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International is calling for the immediate resignation of Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud. "Those who are being investigated should resign first ", said Transparency International Malaysia Secretary-General Josie M Fernandenz on kiniTV "so that investigations can be carried out without any influence or interference by those in power. We hope that Prime Minister Najib Razak will call upon the Chief Minister of Sarawak to resign as Chief Minister until investigations by MACC will be completed. "

Transparency International is referring to an investigation by the Malaysian Anti Corruption Commission MACC which was opened in June 2011 but never yielded a result. The resignation call follows a film release by British NGO Global Witness earlier this week in which an undercover investigator is exposing the mechanism how the Sarawak Chief Minister’s family and cronies are selling off native lands worth millions of dollars to foreign investors for oil palm plantations. Taib Mahmud is exposed as being the "Mister 10 per cent" who cashes in on every land deal in the state. According to the film, Singapore plays a central role as a hub for the flight of illicit capital from Malaysia.

Research by the Bruno Manser Fund has shown that Taib’s closest family members have ties to over 400 companies in 25 countries and offshore finance centers. The Taib family’s net worth is estimated at USD 21 billion. Taib Mahmud came to power in 1981 when he succeeded his uncle Rahman Ya’kub. He has been the political strongman in Malaysia’s largest state for more than three decades during which most of Sarawak’s forests have been logged. While Sarawak's forests are increasingly depleted, Taib's main source of income has shifted to selling off native lands for oil palm plantations.

The Bruno Manser Fund calls on governments around the globe to freeze the Taib family’s illicit assets and to declare the Malaysian politician’s family a criminal organization. - Ends -

Sources for this release :

Kini TV, 21st March 2013 :
Global Witness film on Taib corruption:
BMF report « The Taib Timber Mafia» :
List of Taib family land grabs 2006 to 2010 :

Bruno Manser Fonds, Socinstrasse 37, CH-4051 Bâle, tél. (+41) 061 261 94 74

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