12 Mar 2012

Spotlight On Masing – CORRUPTION EXCLUSIVE!

Spotlight On Masing – CORRUPTION EXCLUSIVE!

This post is also available in: Iban, Malay

Taib's key ally since 1983 - PRS leader has brought support from the Dayaks to Malaysia's BN coalition

Over recent days, PRS leader James Masing has attempted to defend the indefensible regarding his political persecution of a disabled man and his admission that he and his deputy sought kickbacks for NCR lands, taken for plantations.

So, we await his excuses over our latest information, which shows that he has also  benefitted from lucrative Belian concessions, huge state contracts, plantation licences on Native Customary Lands, a partnership with an international oil company and a prized car dealership licence.

Our investigations show that these handouts of Sarawak’s public resources have amounted to hundreds of millions of ringgit, in order to enrich a key BN ally of the Chief Minister.

We can also show that just before the last State election, a period when Masing had been publicly cosying up to opposition figures, a mysterious and very large timber concession was issued to close associates of James Masing, authorising his known business partner to plunder 40,000 hectares of NCR land in the Meluan Entabai Area and the Julau/Pitoh Jiet Area.

We ask whether it was this licence, issued in January 2011, that ensured that Masing and his key 8 PRS seats remained supportive of Taib and BN?

Hundreds of hectares of Belian concessions!

'Top businesswoman' - Corinne is the shareholder in numerous concessions and businesses that have received government contracts

Our exclusive leaked copy of the Forest Department’s timber concessions in the Baram region contains damning evidence of lucrative Belian concessions handed out to key political associates of Taib Mahmud.

We have already shown that the local Baram MP, Federal Minister Jacob Sagan, was one of the beneficiaries.  Now we can reveal that the wife of James Masing Corinne (Connie) Masing was another.

Corinne Bua Nyipa, known as Connie, is the proud concession holder of Belian Timber Licence 3333, which covers a massive area of land in the region.

Belian is meant to be a protected species, but we have established that Taib has nevertheless been handing out exclusive concessions for the endangered wood to his political allies.  So much for his trumpeted sustainable logging!

These concessions are worth millions of ringgit, because of the quality and value of Belian wood, which can sell up to RM40,000 per tree.

Madam Connie Bua Datuk Nyipa B/T Licence 3333 - James Masing's wife

Our researches show that Connie (Corinne) Nyipa/Masing also features as a shareholder in a number of companies that have benefitted from huge government contracts.  The same business partners feature in more than one venture.

Area of the map where Connie's concession lies

There are also inconstancies in some of these business records and some surprising names for shareholders in multi-million ringgit companies that have close connections to the Masings.

State contracts worth over 100 MILLION ringgit!

Readers of Sarawak Report tipped us off about the company Untang Jaya Sdn Bhd, which has received over a hundred million ringgit in public contracts, all of them in Masing’s own Kapit constituency!

Perhaps it is little surprise, therefore, that James Masing’s wife is listed as one of the shareholders and Directors of Untang Jaya, in the official register of the Construction Industry Development Board.

After all, BN ‘development’ policies would appear to mean that, whenever a public construction project takes place, it is the local MP who gets the lion’s share of the benefit!

Director and Shareholder of Untang Jaya - Corinne Bua Nyipa, Masing's wife

The contracts in Kapit awarded to this company amount to a staggering RM102million. Do we think that these contracts were awarded because Untang Nyipa offered the best value for money and because of Corinne’s expertise in construction or do we think they were awarded because Masing is the local YB and Taib wants to buy the political support of his PRS party?

Well over RM100MILLION in contracts back in Masing's constituency of Kapit!

And, do we think Untang Jaya did all this work or do we think that they sub-contracted it for a much lower sum?

Shares for Corinne

Proof of Corinne's shares. She is no longer listed in the current ROC documents, but she never resigned from the company!

Cita Information Systems Sdn Bhd 

Here is another company where Mrs Masing enjoys a share.

Yet another business opportunity for Mrs Masing - is she going high tech?

RM 26 million in contracts and several other jobs un-costed!

Corinne’s fellow shareholders include James Masing’s known business partner Kristoffer Nyuak Bajok and PBB member Minda Anak Mandau, sister of Robert Mandau, the ex-Peladang leader in Pantu.  They have netted a confirmed RM 26million in public contracts and many more un-costed ones as well.

Masing's political and business allies in business with his wife Corinne

Kristoffer Nuyak Bajok

It is worth noting that Cita Information Systems’ Director, Kristoffer Bajok, who is known for his ‘flash’ lifestyle, is also widely regarded as James Masing’s proxy and nominee.  He is certainly a business partner of the Minister for Land Development.

Both men are fellow Directors of CGGVeritas Services (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd, based in the Petronas Tower in KL.  This company is a subsidiary of the massive international oil exploration concern CGGVeritas, part of the French engineering giant Schlumberjer.

James Masing and Kristoffer Nyuak Bajok - fellow directors in the oil business!

This oil business directorship for an elected politician raises immediate concerns about possible conflicts of interest, given that Petronas controls all Malaysia’s contracts in the international oil business and much of that oil is off the coast of Sarawak!

So, did Mr Masing declare this interest and how did he acquire his 67,700 shares in this Malaysian subsidiary of the international oil exploration giant?  The issue raises questions for the global company, as to why it considered it appropriate to hire a sitting local politician (whose qualifications are in anthropology) to head up its local division?

The rest of CGGVeritas Services (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd’s shares are held by the parent company.

Masing is a shareholder in the seismic exploration group CGGVeritas Services (Malaysia) Sdn Bhd

Shares in big plantation concessions!

Busria Jaya Plantation Sdn Bhd is a major plantation company at the centre of another land grab dispute.

How does she ever find time? - Corrine plays the Ministerial wife, in between all her business commitments!

Natives seeking to take legal action over the logging and plantation of their Native Customary Lands in Sri Aman have now discovered that the busy Mrs Masing has also had her finger in the pie of this lucrative enterprise.

Busaria Jaya was given the 6,000 hectares of native lands for a knock down price without compensation to the local people, who have now once more lost their lands and livelihoods.

The matter was, of course, under the direction of the Land Development Minister (James Masing).

So imagine the anger of the people from 3 longhouses in the area after they hired the PKR leader and land rights lawyer, Baru Bian, to fight their case and discovered that Corinne Masing was an early shareholder!

Nice little earner for Mrs Masing, but what did the locals get for the loss of their native lands?

Land grab policy explained?

Earlier this year Masing spoke of his determination to ‘alienate’ double the number of native customary lands from 1 million hectares to 2 million hectares over the coming few years.

He announced this policy, despite the widespread outcries and despite the growing wave of successful court actions against Taib’s State Government over these land grabs.

The explanation for his stance would now appear to be that, despite the poverty and misery that such plantations have caused the people, these enterprises offer great opportunities for the shares and kickbacks for YBs that Mr Masing has now been exposed for taking advantage of!

Plantation concession - the contentious land grab by Busaria Jaya

Bully

Frusis with the official letter from Mong Dagang demanding his payments be stopped as a punishment for voting for the opposition party PKR

Yet it is clear that Mr Masing, who poses as a democratically elected YB, thinks he can continue to bully the ‘ignorant’ rural folk.

Just this week one disabled victim of the BN land grabs, Frusis Lebi, explained on Radio Free Sarawak that he had started to vote for the opposition only after his own father lost his lands to a plantation scheme, again organised by Masing, in Sri Aman.

Those villagers were promised a share of the profits in return for their lands.  Yet a decade later they have received nothing.

It has now been discovered that Masing himself and his Deputy Mong Dagang were seeking kickbacks of at least RM70million from plantation companies in return for these very lands, to be paid into companies owned by their own relatives.

Mr Masing’s reaction has been to cut Frusis Lebi’s disability payments of a mere RM300 a month and to make the public warning “jangan lawan tow key” (obey the boss) to anyone else who should dare to work for the opposition!

So it is clear that since he realises he has lost the hearts and minds of his Dayak voters, Masing has decided to resort to threats and bullying tactics as he seeks to push forward the destruction of Sarawak’s remaining NCR lands.

Car Dealer!

Mrs Masing also has a plum AP (Approved Permit) to run a lucrative car dealership in Kuching!

Approved Permit to import cars and sell spare parts - highly prized as it is a Government licence

The company Bahteranghkut Sdn Bhd sells cars and spare parts. Corinne is not only a Director of this outfit, but she is by far the biggest shareholder!

Biggest shareholder is AP car dealership!

Mystery timber concession

Given such a list of Taib handouts to this BN ally, Sarawak Report feels entitled to ask for full details and explanations about a mysterious timber concession that was granted to the company Sejahtera Ultima Sdn Bhd just before the last election.

A massive 40,000 hectares was signed over by the Forestry Department under Timber Licence No T/3561 on January 25th 2011 in the run up to the campaign.

The area covered Native Customary Lands in the Merurun/Meluan/Entabai area and also the Julau/Pitoh/Jiet area.  Protesters are saying that the local land owners were not notified or warned or compensated for this destructive incursion into their territories (so nothing new there).

Interestingly, the Directors of the Company are Masing’s known business partner and close confidant, Kristoffer Nyuak Bajok, and other people clearly linked to Masing.

Sejahtera Ultima Sdn Bhd - Directors

The actual shareholders of this company are two of the women Directors, Doris James Bangga and Sadiah Binti Taha.

Doris Bangga is known to be a close friend and confidant of another very close female friend and confidant of James Masing, the former reporter Angie Kueh.

Sadiah Taha is registered at a home address, which we have ascertained is a modest house that has not been occupied for at least 3 years. It is noteworthy that the same home address is also used by Sadiah Taha in a separate company venture, Ciri Kuasa Sdn Bhd, this time run with two daughters of the ex-Telko boss Abang Jemat.

They all register their home addresses as being the same modest house!

CIDB records show that Ciri Kuas has managed to rake in a further RM28million of public contracts in dismantling electrical sub-station equipment!

We therefore request that, in the interests of transparency and full disclosure, Mr Masing should ascertain from his business partner and also his close female confidant how it is that these Doris and Sadiah came to acquire such a valuable timber concession on NCR lands just before the election?

Doris is a friend of a friend, Sadiah is nowhere to be seen, but is in business with other cronies at the same address. And the whole company is Directed by Masing's business partner Kristoffer Nyuak Bajok.

We would like his reassurance that the licence had no bearing on retaining his wavering loyalty to Taib Mahmud in the run up to the last election.

 

 

 

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  • aborium

    What more proof do you need for the existence and extent of corruption and abuse of power among Sarawak State Ministers? If the Cowgate Minister can be made to step down, why not them when they are directly implicated? In the worst case scenario when nothing seems to move forward, the power to vote is still your hands. Don’t despair, we shall overcome!

  • Jom Berdagang

    If Salty ( masing) is clean, honest, kind, etc then the Lord must be crazy! Look at the ham sak face. Pukky look!

  • Iban rumah panjai

    With too many exposures of alleged corruption and abused of powers involving our Dayak ministers, it seems that they are to safeguard the interest and welfare of themselves and their families rather than to do it to their own community. They are more concerned for having highly profited from land handouts and government projects to keep themselves political survival.

  • DCCI Selfish Cronies

    This kind of Crony Kapitalism practiced by Masing, Mong, Sagan etc that DCCI-dayak association will never teach to its ordinary dayak members…

    If DCCI really honest in helping improve Dayak economy then DCCI must teach members how to bribe your way to get big projeks, timber lesen, resell it Ali Baba, AP car permits etc…

    Otherwise very unfair if DCCI top leaders, YBs, ministers keep themselves super rich while the rest of Dayaks keep wondering how they can be so damn rich…

    What a joke this DCCI bunch of crooks cronies unwilling to share their secret trick to become rich….

    __________________

    DCCI: Dayak firms need help from Bursa Malaysia

    Borneo Post, December 18, 2011, Sunday

    KUCHING: Dayak Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DCCI) yesterday called on the government to nurture and assist Dayak companies so that at least a few of them could go for public listing by year 2020.

    Its deputy president Dato Sri Celestine Ujang said this was a growing concern in DCCI and the Dayak community because current statistics showed no Dayak companies had been listed on Bursa Malaysia as yet.

    DCCI yesterday passed a resolution to propose that both state and federal governments urgently include in their policy and plan to assist a few DCCI registered contractors towards this end.

    “DCCI is very concerned about this. Under the Government Transformation Plan, there should be inclusiveness, but if you look at the statistics today, no Dayak companies have been public-listed.

    “Unless Dayak companies are nurtured and given assistance by the government, we have no hope of seeing them in Bursa Malaysia,” he told a press conference yesterday after the opening of DCCI’s luncheon talk here.

    The resolution was one of the seven points passed by DCCI to be presented to the federal government’s Cabinet Committee and Technical Committee on Sarawak and Sabah Bumiputera groups.

    DCCI currently has 500 members, comprising businessmen, businesswomen, and professionals.

    Ujang said another resolution called on the government to allocate a minimum of 30 per cent of consultancy works for federal- funded projects to Bumiputera consultants registered with DCCI.

    “We have complaints by Bumi consultants in Sarawak that they don’t have enough jobs … You see, quite a number of consultancy works are taken up by consultant firms in the Peninsula. It’s not fair that our consultants don’t get much. There are a lot of consultancy work around with all the mega projects in the nation, particularly Sarawak.”

    Other resolutions seek to get 30 per cent of contract works for federal-funded projects, for tendering processes to be less rigid, and for the cut-off system of tenders not to be applied to contractors registered with DCCI.

    The luncheon talk was declared open by Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Dato Sri Douglas Uggah Embas.

  • Good Storyteller

    Very funny this James Masing claimed that rubber is suitable crop for Dayak while all the expensive timbers he quietly keep for himself only!

    Typical ‘Dayak Nipu Dayak’ storytelling lah!

    ________________

    Rubber suitable crop for Dayak community

    The Borneo Post, Saturday 16 October 2010

    KAPIT: Rubber could well be the answer to the unregimented lifestyle of the Dayak community, especially the Ibans, said Minister of Land Development Dato Sri Dr James Masing.

    He said the community had tried its hand at other cash crops such as pepper and cocoa but all were found to be economically unsustainable due to various factors.

    On oil palm, he said Ibans in Kapit find it challenging to plant the crop due to their lifestyle and the undulating and steep terrain in the area.

    “The Dayak community, especially the Iban lifestyle, is very unregimented and they could not tied themselves down to a regimented crop like oil palm,” Masing said at the closing of an agriculture dialogue held at Rh Nading, Ng Selentang, Ga’at Balleh recently.

    He explained that a regimented crop like oil palm required stricter timeframe with regard to harvesting time and applying fertiliser.

    “For instance if oil palm fruits are ripening, you can’t wait and start giving all sorts of excuses such as having drinking sessions with friends. If you leave it, the fruit bunches would be rotten by then,” he said.

    Masing, who has a PhD in anthropology and specialises in the Iban lifestyle, pointed out that rubber would be more suitable for the community as it would not require too much time and attention.

    “Rubber would be ideal or smallholders in our community. We just need to plant the rubber tree with minimal maintenance. And after a few years, you can start tapping,” he said.

    As such, Masing who is also Balleh assemblyman invites Risda to assist the people in Kapit.

    “With the latest rubber clones, we can produce high quality latex,” he said.

    Meanwhile, Masing advised the people not to be hoodwinked by the opposition, especially Pakatan Rakyat, which was split in their fundamental setup.

    PAS wants an Islamic state; DAP wants the opposite while PKR is merely populist, Masing said.

    “For the Barisan Nasional (BN) government, our focus is on continued development,” he added.

    So in the next State election, they should not have to think too much on which party to vote for.

    The dialogue session was organised by Kapit Department of Agriculture.

    Present at the dialogue session were political secretaries Angeline Umis and Wilfred Nyabong, Deputy Resident Akmal Abdullah, Kapit District Officer Simon Japut and community leaders.

  • Good Storyteller

    Dayaks still poor, lagging behind? Says who Moggie?

    Tell us which Dayak ministers YBs leaders cronies that are poor like the rest of Dayaks?

    ______________

    Dayaks lagging behind other bumiputeras: Moggie

    by Tony Thien, Malaysia Kini,17 Feb 2003

    The launch of the Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association (SDGA) by Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud last weekend is seen as a move to bring in all Dayak leaders and intellectuals together o­n a non-partisan platform to discuss policies and issues affecting the community.

    It is also seen as a bridge across the political divide among the Dayak community, recognised as a minority group in Malaysia, to address the problems facing the community in joining the mainstream of economic development.

    The association, whose president is Professor Dr Dimbab Ngibang of Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, has received overwhelming response from Dayak intellectuals representing the various groups such as Iban, Bidayuh and Orang Ulu.

    In Sarawak, the Dayak form the largest single racial group, followed by the Chinese, Malays and Melanaus.

    In his paper delivered at a SDGA-organised forum o­n the social transformation of the Dayak, Minister of Energy, Telecommunications and Multimedia Leo Moggie – who is also Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) president – highlighted some of the difficulties facing the Dayaks today.

    Minimal equity shares

    He said: “The achievements of the Dayak, being a minority bumiputera group in the country, are relatively lower than that achieved by other bumiputeras.

    “Bumiputera minorities have the highest incidence of poverty, the largest number of poor households, the highest rate of unemployment, and the lowest in educational attainment,” said Moggie.

    “In the corporate sector, bumiputera minorities equity share is very minimal.”.

    Moggie said the Dayaks must acquire sufficient knowledge to manage the challenges of the new era and benefit from the opportunities available.

    However, based o­n the population census data, he said the Dayaks have yet to respond to the demand of the new economy as reflected by the limited number of skilled and professional Dayaks in all sectors of the economy.

    No knowledge of ICT

    Equally alarming, he added, was the result of a study o­n information communication technology (ICT) awareness among the Dayaks.

    The study, involving 1,500 Iban “biliks” (individual units of housing in longhouse) in Kuching and Sri Aman, showed that 86 percent have no knowledge of computers, and 88.7 percent have never used a computer.

    The study also revealed that 62 percent of respondents do not consider knowledge of computers as a relevant skill for employment.

    Moggie also said that the number of Dayaks enrolled in tertiary education and skill-training institutions is relatively low compared to other Malaysians.

    He cited the high incidence of school dropouts among the Dayaks as o­ne of the major contributing factors.

    “Poor households, and especially those in the rural areas, where students often travel long distances to get to school, are most vulnerable to pulling their children out of school,” said Moggie.

    He added: “The low educational level of parents and guardians also contributed to the high incidence of school drop out.”

    Parental control over their children, particularly among school boarders, is also weakening because of their sojourn away from their home, he said.

    Leonard Linggi Jugah, the former secretary-general of Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu (PBB), said during the forum’s questions-and-answers session that Dayak political leaders from different parties must sit down more often to discuss the problems affecting the community.

    “Examine policies, look at the weaknesses and take them up with the authorities,” he said.

    Be more united, Dayak leaders told

    His remarks were greeted with loud applause as he named several Dayak leaders who he said should meet more often and discuss matters affecting the Dayak community in Sarawak.

    “Dayak leaders in Sarawak should get their act together and identify ways to synergise for the betterment of the bumiputera minority in the new millennium.”

    “I would like to call upon all Dayak leaders to take cue from the chief minister’s call and set aside our differences for the common goal of uniting and bringing the community to greater heights.

    “I would like to call upon (PBB deputy president and Deputy Chief Minister) Alfred Jabu, LeoMoggie, (Sarawak Progressive Democratic Party president) William Mawan, PBB vice-president and Housing Minister Michael Manyin, (SPDP secretary-general and Assistant Minister of Infrastructure Development and Communications) Dr Judson Tagal to sit down together more often,” he appealed.

    Linggi said the Dayak could have achieved greater success if their leaders had been more united, adding that the “community would not be able to fully capitalise o­n the privileges if they were to continue to do things in their ways.”

    Need not depend ­n family name

    In his opening speech, Taib told the Dayaks that they could achieve success in their undertakings without having to depend o­n family name and influence.

    “You don’t have to be the children of an Abang, Wan, Tuanku or Penghulu to be successful in life because intellectual prowess and opportunities do not recognise this,” the chief minister said.

    He urged the Dayak community to broaden their social and intellectual horizons by grabbing the opportunity to acquire a good education that would enable them to become part of the globalised world.

    “That is why it’s important we create mobility in society, both physically and socially so that we can move in tandem with changing times and make adjustments to meet the needs of our ever changing world,” he added.

    “Every race can look after itself now and people can feel the change creeping in… faster and faster by the day.”

    Reminding the people of the challenges posed by the borderless world and emerging new economic dragons, he said changes had to come from within the people “because government efforts alone are not enough, reaching only the very select group that lies o­n the surface of interaction.”

  • Good Storyteller

    This is another stupid research shows that Iban poorest community when their YBs ministers are damn filthy rich millionaires!

    Poor my arse lah big joke research!

    ________________

    Sarawak Iban remain poorest community

    by Tony Thien, Malaysia Kini, 25 Sept 2004

    Poverty rates vary markedly among Sarawak’s diverse communities with the Iban having the highest at 10.5 per cent, according to latest data for 2002 made available today by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

    The Iban is Sarawak’s largest race forming 30.1 per cent of Sarawak’s 2.5 million population. It is estimated that more than 60 per cent of the Iban live in several thousand longhouses scattered throughout the largely riverine state.

    In a paper on ‘Paradox of Poverty Studies’ at a one-day seminar focusing on poverty eradication issues related to Malaysia’s bumiputra minorities in Sarawak or the non-Muslim bumiputra groups, Dr Richard Leete, UNDP regional representative said Sarawak’s poverty rates 2002 was 5.8 per cent.

    The seminar was organised by the Sarawak Dayak Graduates Association (SDGA) in response to Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi’s call for an all-out war against poverty affecting all groups in the country, especially bumiputra minorities in Sarawak and Sabah.

    Taking the Muslim and non-Muslim bumiputras as one, the average bumiputras’ poverty rate was 8.0 per cent.

    Under the bumiputra sub-groups, the highest poverty rate was the highest among the Iban (10.5 per cent), followed next by other indigenous bumiputras such as Bidayuh/Kayan/Kenyah/Lun Bawang/Kelabits (6.8 per cent) and the Malays (5.2 per cent).

    The poverty rate among the Chinese, the second largest race forming 26.7 per cent of the population, was the lowest with only 1.0 per cent.

    Leete said in terms of progress in poverty eradication in the state from 1990 to 2002, Sarawak was behind Melaka, Pahang, Johor, Negri Sembilan, Pulau Pinang, Selangor and Kuala Lumpur but ahead of the remaining states – Sabah, Terengganu, Kedah, Kelantan, Perak and Perlis.

    A rather alarming statistics is that 17 per cent of Sarawakians aged 6 and above in 2000 never attended school at all, and that 44 per cent of those who did only attended primary school.

    This compared with the national figure of 10 per cent who never attended school.

    Slow literacy progress

    Another alarming revelation from UNDP statistics is that Sarawak’s progress in literacy from 1990 to 2000 was the slowest in the whole country, even behind neighbouring Sabah.

    If it is of some comfort, only 10 per cent of the communities are not covered by rural water supply system in Sarawak. Kelantan fares the worst with Sabah next.

    Leete said there has, however, been significant progress overall in improving social and economic outcomes in Sarawak “but sharp differentials persist.”

    He added that there was a need for policies and programmes that would put equity at core and contribute to reducing inequities.

    He called for such issues as access to social services, including environmental services such as water safety and loss of biodiversity, as well as basics on infrastructure to be addressed urgently.

    The UNDP man qualified his observations by saying there was a need to improve on data collection to allow for what he called better identification of vulnerable groups.

  • Baleh Madman

    When Stupidity got no limit…

    _________________

    Masing: If we tell you to walk backwards, do it

    by Keruah Usit, Malaysia Kini, Mar 28, 2012

    THE ANTIDOTE When most Malaysian cabinet ministers open their mouths to talk, you might not expect much in the way of reasoned debate or intelligent conversation.

    But James Masing, rejoicing under the stupendous title of Senior Minister (for land) in Abdul Taib Mahmud’s Sarawak cabinet, ought to be different.

    He has a PhD in anthropology. He was once a dissident, a leading light in the opposition Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS).

    PBDS was a ‘pan-Dayakism’ party that nearly toppled Taib in 1987, but then crumbled under the prolonged and canny pressure of Taib’s iron fist. Eventually, nearly all PBDS leaders were bought over to BN, by Taib’s promises of power and timber concessions.

    james masingMasing (right) himself has now been accused of profiting from his wife Corinne Bua Nyipa’s extraordinary good fortune. According to the website Sarawak Report, a gadfly to Taib’s cabinet, Masing’s wife enjoys a huge logging concession (although she has no obvious credentials as a lumberjack).

    She is a prominent shareholder and director of companies that have been showered with government contracts worth RM100 million to build roads and rural classrooms, and to run electricity generators in Kapit’s deprived schools.

    Sarawak Report has systematically exposed the skeletons in Taib’s cabinet in recent weeks. The website has run shocking stories on BN ministers and elected representatives, buried to their eyeballs in government largesse and conflict of interest.

    Perhaps this helps explain Masing’s outburst a fortnight ago. He told voters: “Jangan lawan tauke” – warning them not to go against the boss.

    Politics in reverse

    Masing later spoke out to defend his view, brandishing textbooks of political science. He insisted that elected representatives are ‘the bosses’ during the five or so years after each election.

    “The confusion, it appears, is on the role of the legislature – which is the elected representatives or YBs. All YBs are elected by the people/voters. During the polling day, the ‘rakyat’ (people) who have been registered as voters are the boss. The power is invested on the ‘rakyat’ by the legislature, to elect who should be the administrator/boss of their lives for the next five years,” he was quoted as saying by the Borneo Post.

    “Once they have elected their YBs or the administrators, the role changes. The elected representatives become the administrators/boss of the ‘rakyat’, while the ‘rakyat’ plays a subservient role and will seek assistance from the YBs from time to time.

    “If their YBs, for instance, pass a law which tells the ‘rakyat’ to walk backward, the ‘rakyat’ must walk backward… Within the period of five years, the elected representatives have the freedom to decide what is best for the ‘rakyat’. If one or two people feel being neglected by their administrators/YBs, they have to wait for five years to change their elected representatives.”

    As retired MP Sim Kwang Yang has pointed out before, Masing surely understands the principle of the social contract espoused by Locke, Rousseau and Hobbes.

    This is, of course, not the witless and racist “social contract” imposed on Malaya by the departing British. The social contract is a mutual agreement: the population gives up certain individual liberties to the state, in order that the government exists to provide security and services to the people.

    “A government is legitimate morally as long as it looks after the personal security, the prosperity, and the natural rights of citizens,” Sim wrote in 2009, in an open letter to Masing.

    “When that government fails in its duty to the governed, then the people have the right to change the government – by a revolution even, according to Locke.”

    In his erudite history ‘The Age of Revolution’, Eric Hobsbawm remarked on the ‘birth certificate’ of modern democracy in the French Revolution – the seminal constitution established by the Jacobin regime in 1793.

    “The people were offered universal suffrage, the right of insurrection, work or maintenance, and – most significant of all – the official statement that the happiness of all was the aim of government and the people’s rights were to be not merely available but operative,” Hobsbawm observed.

    Distraction by hyperbole

    Two centuries later, Masing continues to pretend modern democracy begins and ends with regular elections every five years, where votes are paid for out of the taxpayers’ own money.

    Masing gets full marks for using highly publicised, overtly stupid political statements, in an attempt to deflect attention away from the torrent of Sarawak Report articles exposing the huge contracts awarded to companies fronted by wealthy ministers’ families.

    But can this smokescreen hide the allegations of corruption indefinitely?

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