Everything is alright about Sabah’s Nature Conservation Agreement (NCA), said Sabah Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan.
“It is going good (well). Those who make noise, they do not understand or because they have some personal or private interests, that is why they said something.
“Actually nothing is not good, everything is good, the only thing is that we do not open about it (NCA) earlier,” he told reporters after the launching of “We Be-Leaf” initiative programme at a preschool here.
Last year, the 100-year agreement was secretly signed between Sabah government and Singapore’s private firm Hoch Standard that would look into carbon and nature trade deals involving up to 2 million hectares of state land.
Jeffrey, who is also state Agriculture and Fisheries Minister, had said that the Chief Minister had instructed him to realise the carbon trade deal.
Following the expose, conservationists and politicians have come forward to object to the deal due to lack of transparency.
So, the Deputy Chief Minister has had the brass necked cheek to accuse those who have raised the alarm over the disgraceful secret plot to put billions of dollars worth of Sabah’s carbon assets into the hands of a private company of having “personal interests” in the matter!
Thus does he highlight the exact concern about his own management of the shady arrangement which his own government’s Attorney General has now slammed as “Incomplete”, “illegal”, “inequitable”, “absurd” and “unfair”.
However, in the process of making this libellous allegation against his critics, before hilariously claiming he can say no more because the matter is ‘sub judice’ (it is not yet a criminal case so sub juice does not apply), Kitingan made a major admission. He said that the Chief Minister had put him in charge of the whole process of setting up this carbon trade deal.
So we are now confirmed that Kitingan is indeed the man responsible for this entire scandalous state of affairs. He drove through the secret ‘negotiated’ contract that was NOT put to tender nor any form of consultation either. He CHOSE the private company Hoch Standard with whom this deal that is so contrary to the interests of the people of Sabah was made.
So, Mr Kitingan, who is the anonymous shareholder of Hoch Standard, namely the beneficial owner of Lionsgate in the British Virgin Islands? If anyone knows the answer it has to be you.
It is this anonymous entity that holds the ‘private and personal interest’ in this bogus Nature Conservation Agreement not those who rightly criticised the deal for all the reasons that have been pointed out by the state’s own chief law officer.
Unless Mr Kitingan is prepared to stop hiding behind his ludicrous and baseless excuse that the matter is now the subject of a civil action (which accords no privacy rights in the manner he suggests) and unless he is prepared to provide this simple piece of what ought to be public information about who owns Lionsgate, then the people of Sabah are fully entitled to come to an obvious conclusion.
That conclusion would be that the owner is either Mr Kitingan himself or interests connected to him. In short, that the “private and personal interest’ is his own.