Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sarawak's leader under investigation for corruption linked to logging

From the indispensible Mongabay: After months of heavy campaigning by human rights organizations and environmental group, the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission's (MACC) announced it is investigating Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud for corruption.

In his 30 years of rule over Sarawak, the western-most state in Malaysian Borneo, Taib has had enjoyed close ties with the logging sector. During that time, Taib and his family members have amassed hundreds of millions of dollars in overseas properties. Campaigners allege the holdings are a direct product of his links to the forestry industry, which has inflicted heavy damage on state's rainforest and run roughshod over the rights of traditional forest dwellers, including the once-nomadic Penan. Taib has at times resorted to force in breaking up protests by the Penan against logging and oil palm plantation development. He has also greatly restricted press freedoms in the state.

The announcement that Taib is facing a graft probe by the federal government was welcomed by the Bruno Manser Fund, which has long advocated on behalf of Sarawak's forest people. "The announcement of MACC's probe into the source of Taib's assets is long overdue", said the Bruno Manser Fund's executive director, Lukas Straumann, in a statement….

Dawn in Borneo, shot by Cayce, Wikimedia Commons via Flickr, under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license

No comments: