Political Crocs And Clare Rewcastle – New Sarawak Tribune
Just before April 7, 2009 during a Sarawak state by-election was held at Batang Ai constituency, Clare contacted me saying she had been “invited” to cover the event.
Interestingly, leader of the Opposition coalition Pakatan Rakyat (PR), former deputy prime minister Datuk Anwar Ibrahim was also present.
It was at this by-election that Clare met Anwar and it appeared they had a special understanding on his approach and steps to take in order to topple the government and eventually rule Malaysia.
As Clare must have imagined, if Anwar became prime minister, he would not only stop logging in Sarawak but also corruption in Malaysia.
She was well aware that Anwar had an axe to grind with his former Umno friends who abandoned him when he was jailed on the flimsy charge of sodomy…
A month after the Batang Ai by-election in 2009, Clare returned to Sarawak – this time it was to film deforestation and the sad story of a Penan blockade in Miri.
Before she left, a local paper frontpaged a story about foreigners being involved in a blockade which alleged that Clare had masterminded and coordinated the blockade.
Before she left for the UK, she was stopped by several Special Branch officers and interrogated. She called me and I put her onto a senior politician who sorted out her problems with the police…
From the last I heard, Clare has met with current Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad and discussed some issues.
Currently, she is lying low now for obvious reasons.
But I bet it won’t be for long because her friend Anwar is waiting on the wings of his political ascendancy.
James Ritchie has a habit of ringing women whilst drunk in the early hours. The Editor of Sarawak Report has been more fortunate than others in this respect since his early hours have tended to be still daytime in the UK.
This may explain his failures of memory as time has passed and also his need to continue to take the Taib coin (New Sarawak Tribune) whilst privately confessing to loathe the kleptocratic family.
So, let us correct James Ritchie’s account about the visit to Sarawak where his advice was asked about destinations, back in 2009, before he became too tiresome and his continuing connections to Taib too suspect.
It was James Ritchie himself who was insistent SR should go up to cover the Batang Ai by-election. It took some convincing, since SR was more interested in the jungle and local people than a local by-election controlled from start to finish by BN.
Ritchie clinched the decision by putting SR in touch with his own friends in the Batang Ai area, who were kind and wonderful in introducing SR to the local people for a couple of days during that election (they remain friends to SR and they firmly supported the opposition to Taib).
That Anwar Ibrahim turned up was a total surprise and an exciting news event in the remote town. Being a journalist SR chased him down in the market place and got a short recorded interview – it was the first time SR had met or spoken to the opposition leader and the episode is written about in the book The Sarawak Report.
It was not till years later in London that SR next connected with Anwar Ibrahim at a speaking event (the Taibs hacked SR’s gmails, so they know).
So much for Ritchie’s professed conspiracy theory about the Batang Ai meeting, but perhaps his befuddled memory and a touch of the fellow Sarawak journalist Lester Melanyi syndrome (you pay, I say) are to blame for the inaccuracy about events he knows more about than most.
Taib Mahmud also turned up while SR was in Batang Ai. However, he arrived by helicopter and his fleet of limos then swept along a newly made stretch of road (we watched it laid the day before) straight to a fancy white tent to give an invite only speech, surrounded by armed police who had filled the town menacingly throughout the by-election period.
So, no chance to catch up with the likes of him in a lowly market place.
Whisky loving Richie has also ‘evolved’ the story about the ‘senior Sarawak politician’ telephoned from the Miri police station blockade the following visit. It is possible James had originally passed that politician’s number to SR (it wasn’t hard to get) however SR had long since made the connection and had an interview booked the next day.
No need to call James Ritchie therefore to intercede with the local police. The politician’s number was on speed dial and SR passed the phone to the police chief who had detained several reporters at a road blockade. People can also read about this episode in The Sarawak Report.
SR is a not for profit effort and the editor has not been paid for the years of work put in to exposing the corrupt causes of the destruction of Sarawak. Tipsy Ritchie knows that.
As to what “issues” SR is alleged to have discussed with the present PM are left unsaid by Ritchie – perhaps because a writer for NST knows better than to speculate about a long-standing political ally of his boss?
However, SR can reveal the secret. The last time SR got a ten minute audience with ‘Dr M’ was in London 2019 and SR took the opportunity to advocate a green agenda to bring Malaysia into the lead with the rest of the world’s democratic countries concerned about climate change.
Sarawak Report has certainly not been lying low, as Ritchie claims. To the contrary it has continued to propose reforestation and social justice (and expose corruption) since the election and many of the progressive leaders in Malaysia agree. SR’s recent articles have focused on forest crime and the activities of the Sarawak timber mafia who have caused misery in Malaysia and far beyond.
But, don’t expect James Ritchie to write about that – sadly he admits he can’t. The timber mafia have paid his boss Taib Mahmud billions out of the timber they felled across the state, depriving his people of their greatest asset and all their wealth.
If SR is a “croc”, then be assured this croc has a clear conscience, is beholden to no one and knows exactly what it is here to write about and why. SR wants Sarawak back for its people, its nature and its crocs.