Sarawak Makes A Date On Australian TV

Sarawak Makes A Date On Australian TV

21 Aug 2012

This post is also available in: Iban, Malay

Prime Time TV in Australia makes a Date with Sarawak

Australia’s longest-running and highly prestigious TV current affairs programme, Dateline, has just devoted a full half hour show to the problems of logging in Sarawak and to Taib Mahmud’s crazy plan to build 12 more dams in the state

Their veteran reporter, David O’Shea, spent days filming in Sarawak and interviewing people who had been flooded from their homes by Bakun,

He also visited some of the villages which have been suffering from gangster attacks on behalf of logging companies.

These are, of course, daily issues for the poor people of Sarawak and they are heard about daily on the show Radio Free Sarawak.  However, for many Australians what is happening to the people of Sarawak and to their beautiful forest will come as a shock and surprise.

David O’Shea – the Dateline journalist who toured Sarawak last month

O’Shea features the Ukit people of Bakun, who have been reduced to living in their old homes, which are now floating on the waters of the gigantic lake which has flooded their lands.

He also interviews many villagers, whose timber is being ripped out by Ta Ann, the company owned and run by Taib’s cousin, Hamed Sepawi.

Later on the programme he challenges Sepawi and a Sarawak Electricity Board spokesmen about why they are driving through 12 more unnecessary dams without even conducting the proper consultation and impact assessments first?

Sarawak Report also took part in an interview about the corruption that is the real reason behind the building of these dams and the destruction of Sarawak’s great forests.  However, Taib Mahmud himself refused several requests to be interviewed.  Does he not dare to face tough questions from journalists whom he cannot control?

Australian connection

Eco-wood? Tasmania’s old growth forests are being destroyed to supply Ta Ann’s sawmills

Australia has become increasingly embroiled in the controversial activities in the State of Sarawak in recent years through a series of ties that have been developed between Hamed Sepawi and the State of Tasmania.  These matters have been frequently highlighted on Sarawak Report.

To begin with, in 2008, Sepawi’s company Ta Ann signed a deal with Tasmania to log out large areas of its native forests, many of which had been earmarked for protection.  Outraged environmentalists then discovered that Sepawi was marketing this wood as environmentally friendly “eco-wood”.

Much of this wood was marketed in Japan, but the scandal also hit London during the recent Olympic Games, when it was discovered that Ta Ann had also falsely sold the flooring for the construction of the London Sports Dock, where basketball was to be played.  That contract was cancelled as were key contracts in Japan.

Dams – Hydro-Tasmania has now picked up a huge contract to consult on Sarawak’s dam projects. But, the risk of involvement in such controversial developments are raising questions in the state.

Meanwhile, in one of his many other roles as Chairman of SEB Hamed Sepawi has simultaneously engaged Hydro-Tasmania to help lead the construction of Taib’s planned wave of destructive dams, which will displace tens of thousands of people and destroy Sarawak’s remaining great rivers and jungles.

David O’Shea explores these tangled relationships between the state industries of Tasmania and the state industries of Sarawak, which of course are mired in the corruption and graft of Taib Mahmud.

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    Australia and Sarawak not much difference actually, both founded by CROOKS

    Whatever the Australia may be now, the veins and bloods of Crooks Convicts still running until now and more than willing to help, transit, hide all Billions of loot from Sarawak people money

    Ironic isn’t it Australia champion itself as human rights advocate but beneath protecting Taib lootings plunderings and the rest gangs of BN Crooks

    Australia really safe heaven for Crooks hiding their Multi Billion lootings second to none after Switzerland, Monaco, Caribbean tax pirate offshore account islands

    How very true of this prophecy until now by Aboriginal activist Jenny Munro :

    ”In 200 years white Australians have learned very little about Aboriginal people, the importance of land to us, the importance of relationships to us. They have demonstrated their moral bankruptcy in so many different ways.”



    Convict Australia – Journey through our nation’s criminal past

    Brad Newsome, The Age, January 19, 2012

    Pay TV show of the week: Convict Australia, History, Thursday, 3.30pm

    THE History Channel hasn’t exactly busted a gut coming up with Australia Day programming this year. While it’s no doubt true that this program is, as the preview disc proudly declares, an ”Australian premiere documentary”, it’s also true that it was made way back in 1998. But don’t let that put you off – it’s still a good one. And it might even introduce you to a thing or two about which you’ve never heard.

    The first of these might come even before presenter Ian Wright (of the original Lonely Planet program fame) departs Britain for the antipodes. It seems that it was the done thing for convicts awaiting transportation was to painstakingly inscribe pennies with messages to their loved ones. On a boat on Portsmouth Harbour, Wright displays two of them and reads the inscriptions: ”Dear Sarah, When this you see remember me, when I’m in some foreign country” and ”I love thee ’til death shall take my breath.” They are, as Wright says, very sad – ”almost like tombstones of their lives in England.”

    When Wright arrives in Sydney, more interesting stuff follows, not least a look at the designs of the big back tattoos that convicts had done to send a message when their backs were bared for flogging. One of them exhorts – or taunts – the flogger to do his duty; another is a picture of Christ on the cross.

    But the documentary isn’t without its annoying oversimplifications. For one thing, Britain didn’t set about colonising Australia merely to keep convicts ”out of sight and out of mind” – there were important strategic and economic motives too. But the most frustrating thing is that while the documentary has captions to identify the places that Wright visits, it has no captions to identify the people he speaks to.

    You have to wait until the credits roll (and then hit the pause button if you can) to find out, for instance, that it was the Aboriginal activist Jenny Munro to whom he was speaking at the January 26, Day of Mourning protest in Sydney. Munro doesn’t mince words: ”In 200 years white Australians have learned very little about Aboriginal people, the importance of land to us, the importance of relationships to us. They have demonstrated their moral bankruptcy in so many different ways.” Munro also explains that Aborigines around Sydney felt sorry for the convicts they saw being brutally treated and helped them when they fled to the bush.

    It’s pleasing that the documentary seeks out an Aboriginal perspective and also that it looks at how the white perceptions of convicts have changed. From Sydney, Wright moves on to Canberra to learn about the convicts’ conditions of parole, to Port Arthur to learn about how that ”model” prison was an experiment in sensory deprivation, and to Norfolk Island, where conditions and punishments were so horrific that, legend has it, many convicts saw communal suicide as their only option.