Abang Johari had been Najib’s choice for Chief Minister the first time around, when Taib Mahmud was originally booted upstairs to the Governor’s mansion, but the departing CM sneaked the popular Adenan Satem into the post.
Now that Johari finally has the prize it is clear that he is obediently doing Najib’s bidding, including keeping China happy as part of the 1MDB bail-out plan, secretly organised by Najib’s proxy 2nd Finance Minister, Jho Low.
Johari’s first big foreign visit therefore was to China, where he signed a memorandum of understanding on behalf of Sarawak’s Economic and Development Council (SEDC) that has opened the way for the resource-hungry super-power to move in further on Sarawak’s economy.
In this respect natives from Mulu National Park have expressed outrage that the announcement of the cooperation deal included a cosy arrangement for the management of their National Park resort to be taken over by a Chinese company named Beijing Glory without a word of warning or consultation with the indigenous Berawan tribe, to whom the area once belonged before being confiscated.
Yesterday, he [Johari] witnessed the signing of memorandum of understanding (MoU) between Sarawak Economic Development Corporation (SEDC) and an international Chinese tourism development company, Beijing Glory International Culture Development Co Ltd (Beijing Glory), at Nou Hotel here…. Beijing Glory will take over management of some tourism destinations such as Bako and Mulu National Park [Borneo Post March 21st]
Today representatives of the tribe complained that they were shocked that the transfer of the management of the resort has been handed over to the Chinese company, without so much as a by-your-leave from the wealthy Geneid family (Taib Mahmud’s sister Raziah and her Lebanese husband Robert), who managed to grab control of the area years before in order to develop the luxury jungle ‘eco-hotel’.
The Berawan Tering community in Mulu were in utter shock when they read the above mentioned article. Feelings were mixed among the community members and most of us have an uneasy and uncomfortable feeling with this recent announcement.
writes the Action Committee, which includes activists Willie Kayan, Denis Along and Usang Baya from Long Terawan & Mulu Totoh Baram.
Numerous members of Taib’s family are now shareholders in the various companies behind the luxury resort, which has always been treated as a luxury jungle play-den by the Geneids, who have made millions out of lands and contracts gifted by Raziah’s brother.
The Berawan themselves have been reduced to seeking what jobs they can, serving and entertaining visitors at the complex.
Nevertheless, the hotel has not been making money and the Geneids, who head the Board of Directors of the Borsamulu management company, have been looking to off-load the management onto professional hands.
Originally, they did a deal with the Marriott Hotel group to develop an ‘eco-resort’.
However, it seems the US company has pulled out following criticism over the corruption associated with the project.
The Berawan protestors have made clear they do not take kindly to this announcement of new Chinese owners without any consultation.
Our community, being the first settlers and natives of Mulu, would truly appreciate that if there were to be any change in the management of Mulu National Park, first consideration should be given to local companies especially companies owned by the local people from the community in Mulu because we locals have first-hand knowledge of our forests and land.
This recent announcement seems to show total disrespect and disregard towards our community who are the natives of Mulu. Does the Sarawak government see us as mere “animals” that rove through Mulu National Park?
Not a single one of our local community leaders were notified or consulted on the Sarawak government’s intentions mentioned above. In the past, before Mulu was gazetted as a National Park, the Sarawak government at that time had the courtesy to seek permission from the Berawan community leader at that time before any final and conclusive decisions were made.
Now, the way things have transpired, it seems that the Sarawak government has not only totally ignored our community but has totally surrendered and handed Mulu over to China.
What is more worrying and is one of our main concerns is that when the Chinese company takes over the management of the Park, it will only hire people from China and not give any work opportunities to our local community who live here and need to sustain a livelihood to survive.
Another key concern is that we fear that our Native Customary Rights (NCR) Land would also be handed over to the Chinese company.
Therefore, we object that Beijing Glory should take over the management of Mulu National Park.
Few would argue with such concerns and Sarawak’s Beijing delegation included senior long-standing Sarawak officials, who ought to have known better than to steam-roller through such a deal, for example the State Secretary, Morshidi Abdul Ghani.
However, no one in Sarawak will be of course in the least surprised at Abdul Ghani’s compliance, since his total obedience in all matters has long since been bought and paid for by the present political leadership in the form of a 14,000 oil palm plantation handed to his immediate family for a bargain basement price.
As for the Geneids, Sarawak Report can reveal a brand new discovery from their astonishing wealth portfolio of properties and businesses world-wide, gained as family hangers-on to Taib Mahmud.
Geneid family members have been given to circulating happy holiday snaps of themselves of themselves enjoying their “new home from home”, featuring none other than a very fancy Japanese golf resort near Mount Fuji named Izu Heights Golf Club.
Research by Sarawak Report’s contacts in Japan has indeed indicated that the ‘entrepreneurial couple’ are as suspected the owners of the plush resort.
The parent company of the rolling golf course, is Izu Heights Development Pte. Ltd., whose representative is none other than Robert Geneid.
According to available data, the company was established on 28 February 2014 with 10 million yen in capital, but predictably operates at a loss.
In 2014 it had a revenue of 110 million yen (about a million dollars) and net profit of minus 24.7 million yen. In FY 2015 (Jan-Dec) it had revenue of 229 million yen and net profit of minus 17.9 million yen.
But, as far as the family are concerned this is their “Hot New Playground”, so perhaps there will be less time spent at Mulu, leaving the jungle resort with more rooms free to earn some money?
One thing is for sure, whilst the Berewan are expected to sit and take whatever the State Government decides, they can be rest in the knowledge that those State Government decisions have always been determined by whatever is best for the likes of Raziah and Robert and not themselves.