13 Dec 2010
Chief Minister, Abdul Taib Mahmud, has been attempting to use the Borneo Post in increasingly desperate attempts to rescue his reputation over Pulau Bruit. The fact that there has been a recent stream of announcements showing his sudden new concern for the poor islanders is a sure sign that the revelations that he and his family have stolen millions of ringgits of their land without compensation are causing him trouble!
How stupid do they think people are?
All Taibs sudden expressions of concerns came after we exposed him last week for stealing most of the land of Pulau Bruit and handing it to companies owned by himself and his family. We showed how his brothers made RM 40 million in 12 days by re-selling Native Customary Lands on the island, which Taib has organised for the government to sell to them for well below market price. We later showed that he had removed the rest of the available land and given it to a company Delta Padi, in which he owns shares himself along with other members of his family!
So now, according to the Borneo Post he has come rushing to the Island to make amends! The paper says that the Chief Minister “Apparently appalled by the depressing conditions in Pulau Bruit, has called for for immediate actions to be taken to improve health facilities for the people there”. What cheek given that he more than anyone is the cause of their problems!
The government-controlled newspaper labours on trying to repair the damage for the Chief Minister, but only makes it worse with laughable attempts to portray the greedy old man as being caring and generous towards the islanders. It reports that the Chief Minister made a dash to visit the area after the news broke about his thefts and “found the people were mostly suffering from malnutrition and there were cases of high blood pressure even among the younger generation due to improper food intake and frequent consumption of salted fish”
The Chief Minister has decided to blame the monsoon season for these problems, but the rest of Sarawak knows that the blame lies with himself, since he took these people’s forests and polluted their fishing areas through logging and palm plantations without providing compensation. Just a little of the RM40 million taken by Taib’s brothers could have made all the difference to these people’s lives. He could even now provide them with some money now to be more comfortable, but forget it. He needs the people to be poor so that they stay desperate and intimidated and agree to vote for him in return for RM 20 ringgit (or so he hopes).
Vague promises about solving an ‘emergency situation’
The Post says that the Chief Minister admitted that the predicament of the people of Pulau Bruit is “an emergency situation”. However, instead of offering immediate financial help the old man in his usual way prefers to rely on vague talk of better times in the future (once he has completed his grand projects in Tanjung Manis, by which he hopes to enrich himself further by cutting down the rest of the mangrove areas and making factories). And, rather than providing immediate sources of better food and fresh water, he offers wooly ideas about calling for the ‘provision of better health facilities’. He is laughably quoted as saying:
“If possible, I would like to appeal to the medical services in Sarawak to start something for the people there”
If possible?! Taib Mahmud has the power to take any land he likes and give it to himself, which is what he has done in Pulau Bruit. So why does he act as if he has to politely request for someone in the medical services to’ possibly do something’ to make life better in Pulau Bruit! If the people of Pulau Bruit are suffering from malnutrition then this needs a better response than such a woolly request.
Time to call in the UN?
A proper and caring government would be taking emergency action to meet an emergency situation. Why does Taib not use some of his Hornbill jets that everyone knows he keeps for his own use to do some good and fly in proper foodstuffs? That would address the malnutrition that he has personally caused. Or will the State of Sarawak, Malaysia, one of the richest countries in the world in terms of resources, be forced to call in the UN to help its people, because the Chief Minister refuses to spend money on anyone but himself and his family?
We predict that the Chief Minister will be making many more pronouncements in the coming days and weeks before the election showing his ‘concern’ for Pulau Bruit, which he admits has up till now “escaped our radar”. There will be talk of hundreds of millions in ‘projects’ for a start, but surely no one would be fooled into thinking the benefits of such money will go to the small population of the island. Just one million handed directly to their needs would go a long way to relieving their situation, but Taib would prefer grand projects which he can put through his family companies!
But, we at Sarawak Report will be happy to take the credit for whatever does now come to the people in Pulau Buit. This is because the Chief Minister, who managed to take their land but failed at the same time to notice their poverty until we pointed it out, seems to have woken up to the danger of mistreating his people in this way, now that we have brought it to public attention!