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!
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.
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.
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!
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?
And, do we think Untang Jaya did all this work or do we think that they sub-contracted it for a much lower sum?
Cita Information Systems Sdn Bhd
Here is another company where Mrs Masing enjoys a share.
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.
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.
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.
Shares in big plantation concessions!
Busria Jaya Plantation Sdn Bhd is a major plantation company at the centre of another land grab dispute.
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!
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!
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.
Mrs Masing also has a plum AP (Approved Permit) to run a lucrative car dealership in Kuching!
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!
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.
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?
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.