29 Sep 2011

Prompt Action From Australia!

Prompt Action From Australia!

This post is also available in: Iban, Malay

Australian Foreign Minister, Kevin Rudd, addressing the UN earlier this week

Kevin Rudd, Australia’s former Premier and current Foreign Minister has issued a prompt and positive response to our request for an investigation into the Taib family’s foreign assets in that country.

In a letter received yesterday, just one day after Sarawak Report publicised the request, Australia’s Foreign Minister confirmed that the matter of Taib’s wealth has been referred to the Australian Attorney General’s Department for consideration.

This follows similar commitments to investigate by the Swiss and German governments.  Malaysia’s own Anti-Corruption Commission has also confirmed that it has launched an official investigation into the Chief Minister’s conduct. 

Taib has exerted a total control over Malaysia’s richest state in terms of natural resources for the past 30 years, occupying all main offices of state and treating all permits and licences as his own personal gift.  The Swiss-based NGO, the Bruno Manser Foundation, has requested world governments to now examine his extensive foreign assets as part of their StopTimber Corruption Campaign.

The letter in full

Kevin Rudd’s letter thanks the Bruno Manser Foundation’s Director for bringing the matter to the attention of the Australian Government and, crucially, reassures him that:

Australia takes it responsibility under the UN Convention Against Corruption and the UN Convention Against Transnational Organised Crime seriously and will continue to implement these obligations as a priority

Dr Straumann responded today that he is heartened by the response and looks forward to hearing further from the Australian authorities about the extensive assets held by various members of the Taib family across the country.

The letter from Kevin Rudd’s office in full

Political row

However, the issue has sparked a row in Hobart over the past days, where one of the Taib family’s major assets are located.  Two major timber processing mills are owned by Ta Ann Tasmania, a subsidiary of Ta Ann Sdn Bhd.  The Executive Chairman and major shareholder of Ta Ann is Hamed Sepawi, Taib’s cousin and highly favoured business associate.

Supporters of Ta Ann from the Australian timber lobby have complained that the company has been unfairly accused of causing evironmental degradation in Sarawak and claim that Ta Ann has had no role in exploiting native lands or destroying rain forest.  They also say that the company, which is one of Sarawak’s top five timber and plantation companies, has had no role in logging the remaining natural forests of Tasmania.

Bryan Green - not in Sarawak but in Shin Yang!

Yesterday, Bryan Green MP, Tasmania’s Deputy Premier, ignited the issue in the local Parliament by claiming that notices advertising talks by the Editor of Sarawak Report in Hobart and Launceton, implied untruthfully that Ta Ann has been logging in native areas of Sarawak.

However, the Deputy Premier demonstrated a certain lack of local knowledge and understanding of the issues in Sarawak when he proclaimed that the picture showing a Penan tribesman and a timber truck had nothing to do with Sarawak, but rather some place he called Shin Yang!  The picture he complained:

said effectively that this was in Sarawak, when we know full well that the photo was taken in Shin Yang and had absolutely nothing to do with Ta Ann.  It is vitally important that if people are going to turn up to this public forum that they understand it has been based on a false premise in the first place”. 

The picture Green objected to, which was used to promote a talk on Sarawak. the MP said this was taken in a place called Shin Yang!

Sarawak Report can confirm that this picture was taken in Sarawak and that Shin Yang is a logging company and not a place.  Both Ta Ann and Shin Yang are two of the major logging and plantation companies that have stripped billions of ringgit of timber out of Sarawak’s state lands and native lands. 

Recently Hamid Sepawi, the boss of Ta Ann, announced there was very little forest area left in Sarawak that has not been logged at least once.  A reason that possibly explains his own company’s interest in exploiting the remaining jungle of Tasmania.

Ta Ann itself escalated the row by issuing a press release today demanding “Truth in Advertising” and attacking the poster saying:

“It appears to be a case of the wrong words, wrong photos, wrong place, wrong time, and wrong company” [Dr Sii, spokesman Ta ann Tasmania]

In response Senator Bob Brown, the leader of Australia’s Green Party and also a representative of Tasmania, told reporters that the picture was of Sarawak and was a generic representation of the problems of logging.

The information about extensive corruption in Sarawak and Hamid Sepawi’s close relationship to Taib Mahmud was a matter of considerable concern to Australians, he added.  He stated this morning that he wanted to “put the company on notice” that its activities in Australia are now “under surveillance”.

  • Neutral

    Kevin R, get the ball rolling to hunt the sarawak thief minister taib mahmud & freeze his ill gotten assets- give back to swakians. put taib in jail for life.

    We don't trust MACC because the body only go for small fish but protect the chief criminal like taib.

    • http://hotmail Ayamkurus

      NICE PIECE OF ARSE IN SHIN YANG (IN NO MAN LAND?)!

      HAHAA! How ignorant can one possibly be. Make sure you get your facts right before you embarrass yourself!

      Let's hope fast gun Ruddy does not shoot from the hip as usual and misses the target.

      So Sarawak Report please provide the Australian minister with all the correct facts so they can freeze Taib's Australian assets (including his family jewels).

      Also the campaign should spread to the universities that have been receiving TAINTED money from the evil one.

      Shame on Adelaide Uni for taking bribes from Taib so he could have a courtyard named after him.

      More appropriate to raise a tombstone with the inscriptions "In Memory of a corrupt Robber Baron who without shame stole the people's land and stripped bare the ancient timber and wrecked the environment. May he be punished by rolling logs uphill in hell…"

    • Johnson Lu

      Fully agreed! MACC controlled by the government…

  • aborium

    To have a mix-up of Sarawak and Shin Yang is like mixing up Tasmania and Ta Ann – you end up eventually in a mixed up of what belongs to the people and state and what isn't.

    Under what rights and conditions should a private company or individual be given the timber concession whether in Sarawak or in Tasmania? Should the policy be change if it doesn't serve justice and fairness? If not, of what use then? Who profits the most and at what price to pay?

    Is this a matter of such importance to be left in a hands of a few to decide, more so if it involves the private sector? Think not. Private gains as against public gains. Where do you draw the line?

  • aborium

    “It appears to be a case of the wrong words, wrong photos, wrong place, wrong time, and wrong company” [Dr Sii, spokesman Ta ann Tasmania]. Replace 'wrong' with 'right', you get a different perception of an event or situation.

    Truth is knowing the right from the wrong. And moral judgements don't rest on advertising copywriters. They rest upon us to evaluate, accept, or reject. Viewers have a strong sense of the common good and universal values. Use it well.

  • Utz

    Let me take back everything nasty thing I have ever said about Rudd. You rock dude. Get this job done and you will have your name spoken so favourably from millions of Sarawakians. As a Bribane resident, I personally promise I will campaign for you in the next election.

  • http://sarawakcorruption.com Watch Dog

    Well done SR and also Kevin. How did TM owns a huge cattle farm in Queensland??

    May GOD bless you all SR and Aussies.More please SR!!

  • Blunt Speaker

    Faith and perseverance pays off! People who are weak in faith and perseverance easily give up hope! As for me and SR, the fight is on! No matter how difficult, tough and long, we will fight to the very end! Light will triumph over darkness! The truth will prevail! Evil men will be sent to Hell! Victory belongs to our Almighty God! Satan and his followers will be doomed! The hope for restoration of Sarawak is ever strong! Lets unite in spirit and in truth to ignite the zeal of every Sarawakian in wanting to save our homeland and restore it to its former glory! Lord, bless our beloved Sarawak and its people! Thank you and Amen!

    • aborium

      Blunt, you've a good heart and it shines on your points of view. We admire honesty and sincerity, two lonely words in dire need of wider public acceptance, support and use. An honest day's work, honest living and earning. And honest with oneself. The journey of a thousand miles begins with oneself.

      Yes bro, we need to be constantly reminded of driving on the correct side of the road. We don't take our chances on double lines nor double-agents.

  • bucklynn rimbar

    action can be taken in tasmania on ta ann but sarawak,i doubt it.we still hav a supreme@sovereign legitimate federal government and a state government.and no foreign government can take action against a head of state@taib( due to dctrine of governmental immunities and privileges).

    aborium and s.r,we still hav public international law to regulate any sort of proceeding against a head of state of sarawak and malaysia.

    correct me if i am wrong but i m sure this is the standing at this juncture.

    as for evidence,will the a.g hav sufficient evidence of all the crime or criminal activities allege in s.r reports.if not it another sensational report but lack material evidence to convict.

    pls don get upset or marah ya,kita jus wan to giv comments which are none bais and a man is innocent until proven guilty,dats the maxim that equility hang upon.

    God bless.

    • penan baram

      since we can't do much in that aspect, lets unite and use our votes wisely in our next GE.this is the only weapon that we have.

    • Iban Ngemah

      but in malaysia you are remain guilty until you proven innocent.

      • Neutral

        That's true for the opposition/ BN rivals. But for taib, he is always innocent though he stole billions of ringgits from the rakyat. Even he runs naked in the street the authority still see him under the clothing.

        • Lobo

          TM has robbed and sucked Sarawak dry, it is o.k. cos nothing seems could implicate him. Now, he has earmarked his another robber son to stand for the election. To this end, we could see the ball carriers whatsoever in Sarawak vigorously trying to tell the whole world of their support to his son. How pathetic! Everything seems to be emplaced according to their bloody corrupted plan, in spite massive corruptions being committed.

  • http://hotmail Jungle Folks

    BIRDS OF A FEATHER FLOCK TOGETHER

    Those with corrupt morals or moral conscience defend or cover up each other's anti-people crimes even when they may know the real facts.

    The case of the marauding white hair devil chewing up Sarawak forests has been news for at least 20 years.

    There have been long anti-logging campaigns in Australia highlighting the plight of the Penans.

    So our Tasmanian Dep Premier must have been asleep all this while!

  • aborium

    Like what we said, let the findings of the investigation by the Aussies do the talking. Let their court and lawyers decide on what is considered permissible evidence or not. Let the Aussies do it their way cause it's their system not ours.

    It's a two-in-one shampoo – indirectly the Aussies are doing us a favour.

  • Pingback: September 29, 2011 – 2107: Malaysia MACC: Prompt action from Australia on Taib family’s foreign assets » ICAC News

  • najibrazak

    The odds lengthen against Taib every day and it becomes more and more difficult to protect him. On top of that they will soon be shooting directly at us over the submarine and mongolian affairs. We have to dump Taib now. To throw him to the wolves could be seen as showing us as honest men and pay off in votes st the GE.

  • aborium

    The time has come for him to leave the stage where players have come before him and others still more to come. Facing the next GE with Taib's issue still looming large, I think, is a risky proposition. It's a heavy load to carry. Once the unloading is done, then you'd find better focus on winning the battlefield.

  • God worshipper

    The Satan worshippers will be doomed!! God reign!! The Almighyty is great!!!

    • anak sarawak

      Fine! You better pray day and night.

      Nothing is going to change.

  • aborium

    Here's a preface to UN Convention on Corruption:

    "Corruption is an insidious plague that has a wide range of corrosive effects on societies. It undermines democracy and the rule of law, leads to violations of human rights, distorts markets, erodes the quality of life and allows organized

    crime, terrorism and other threats to human security to flourish.

    This evil phenomenon is found in all countries—big and small, rich and poor—but it is in the developing world that its effects are most destructive.

    Corruption hurts the poor disproportionately by diverting funds intended for development, undermining a Government’s ability to provide basic services, feeding inequality and injustice and discouraging foreign aid and investment.

    Corruption is a key element in economic underperformance and a major obstacle to poverty alleviation and development."

    This should be made clear to all ministers, senior or junior. The people have had enough of corrupt practices.

    • Blunt Speaker

      All these ministers are too worldly and corrupt to care for the people. Once in a blue moon, yes, they will portray a good image and caring spirit, only to fool the simple folks with their pretentious acts and hypocrisy. What matters most to them is to stay in power, protect their seats at all costs, obsessed by the benefits and self enrichment at the expense of the people's trust as well as losing their souls for eternity!

    • aborium

      The January 2011 report from Global Financial Integrity, “Illicit Financial Flows from Developing Countries 2000-2009,” finds that approximately US$6.5 trillion was removed from the developing world from 2000 through 2008. The report also examines illicit flows from Asia, which produced the largest portion of total outflows.

      The report ranks countries according to magnitude of outflows with China ranking 1, Russia 2, Mexico 3, Saudi Arabia 4, and Malaysia 5.

      The report also shows the annual outflows for each country and breaks outflows down into two categories of drivers: trade mispricing and “other,” which includes kickbacks, bribes, embezzlement, and other forms of official corruption."

      • Avenged Sevenfold

        Aborium, the report by GFI is SPOT ON. Thanks for highlighting on that.

        GFI sent shock waves across many developing countries including Malaysia when it produced a devastating report on the “cost of crime, corruption, and trade mispricing on developing countries”. As a result of this toxic combination, there was an illicit outflow of funds, meaning that money was illegally transferred out of the country. This money which runs into billions of dollars was not earned by the sweat of the brow. It was made through illegal means: largely “proceeds from illicit activities such as kickbacks, including bribery and embezzlement of national wealth, and other forms of official corruption”. Money also flowed out because these “fat cats” want to shelter their wealth from the prying eyes of the taxmen.

        The perpetrators – individuals and companies – of this odious underground economy are devious. Through destructive accounting methods, they make sure that the money will not show up “in national accounts or balance of payment figures”. They “cheat on the value of goods and services” they provide – over inflating the prices of products sold overseas – so that they can evade paying tax on the profits they made. Once money flows outside the borders, it will never return to the country of origin. Companies grown bloated on illicit trade can expand their business empire with impunity and individuals groggy with ill-gotten gains can go on shopping sprees overseas. While all these crooks are enjoying their slushy foreign funds, it is the common folk who will eventually pick up the tabs and endure more hardship.

        Within a period of just a decade, since 2000, an official figure of RM 889 billion, missing from the watchful radar of Bank Negara. If that amount of money remains on shore, just imagine what whole of good can it do to the entire nation.

        Remember, Petronas only having ¾ of that figure as capital, yet they afford to contribute more than half of the nation’s coffer.

  • aborium

    Strange world we live in isn't it? When you speak your mind on an issue as serious as corruption, people will say lots of unsavoury things…like 'what if you're in CM's position, you'd do the same right?' (temptation), 'everybody does it, why bother?' (no moral conscience), 'what? are an angel?'(questioning your moral integrity)…….

    Bro' forget about the naysayers, they can say anything they want under the sun. But we put on our sun shades cause we don't want to get skin cancer from overexposure to toxic minds.

    Corruption should be taught as a 'living' subject in schools!

    • Blunt Speaker

      Imagine, Malaysia, being a small country ranking 5 in illicit money flow, many would not have imagined how corrupt these politicians are, especially those holding the reins of power. Many are well aware who these culprits are, but actions on these extremely greedy, corrupt barons is of utmost priority. The sin of commission and omission is just as bad. We cannot let this carry on till the whole country suffer in financial debt and ruin. What should have been a place of blessings has turned into a corrupt land with poverty still rampant among the populace and hardships still a stark reality. No doubt temptation is everywhere, especially when you are at the top holding power, but it all boils down to an individual's good character and moral values. Different individuals have different degree of good and bad traits but it seems that the degree of greed among malaysian leaders are of extraordinary high level of extreme to the point of incomprehension. It is satanic!

      • aborium

        Yes Blunt they see things with one eye close – literally. And it's the closing of the eye that has led to legitimizing corrupt practices into acceptable forms of behaviour and practices.

        It leads people to do things like laundering dirty money into clean money without scruples. Because basic issues such as moral conscience too have gone for several spins, quick washed, and dry cleaned. It no longer holds water. So you don't take much notice or be concern whether it's the right or wrong thing to do any longer. You accept it in auto-mode without questioning: what you see is what you get, and what you can grab and you send it to the laundry boys for fast cleaning.

        It's the push of the button that makes the job easier and faster, so too moral conscience, all too easily forgotten by peoples' unlimited desires and material wants in life – often at the expense of others rights over property and equitable sharing over common wealth.

  • Timo

    Unless changing federal government, it would be hard to reform Malaysia Anti Corruption Agency and Judiciary System as well as Police Malaysia.

    These three bodies are hand in hand pro UMNO. Look at the case of MOngolian mother? Malaysia Defence Minster (Najib) has never been mentioned in the murder of Mongolian mother who was killed by the body guards of who?

    The motives of the killers like the bodyguards have never been investigated and established by Malaysian Court.

  • Keling Langit

    It is about time that the whole world opening theirs eyes to the problem of logging in Sarawak. Australian government should do something. After timber what else, hydro electric projects. As a native it hurts to see the devastation cause by logging.

    • anak sarawak

      Who cares about sarawak?

      • http://sarawakcorruption.com Watch Dog

        anak sarawak..Well I DO so please join me on this.

        I HATE MONOPOLY BY ONE MAN/FAMILY / CRONY/ RACE

  • Angela

    Its not prompt. I wrote him a letter about this years ago! No reply!!

    • http://sarawakcorruption.com Shaking Steven

      Angela..monkey cannot read and so does their cronies and that

      was why you letter was not replied.

      Also now Malaysian education system has gone bananas and being politicised by Menteri Orang Malaya too.Kids cannot write a sentence in English and these days SPM students cannot write love letters.

      So don't be surprised that you did not receive a reply to your letter.