It is time the forces of law and order came to the assistance of the Penan people, who are bravely continuing to resist the illegal destruction of Sarawak’s rainforest by Taib Mahmud’s logging cronies.
Instead they are helping the loggers tear down Penan blockades to protect their native lands.
“The whole world should know that we have given the logging companies four warnings already”, Penan leaders (above) announced last week, after their blockade had been ripped down by the logging companies, backed by the police for the 4th time in a week.
“From now on, we Penan will take all necessary measures to protect our forests and we will make the logging companies aggression on our livelihoods responsible for whatever might happen.”
Mental illness of greed
Why are these gentle people being forced into such a perilous stand by this assault on their very existence and the remaining few trees left standing in Sarawak’s Borneo Jungle? The reason lies with the terrible sickness of mind that now afflicts the Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud.
As we have demonstrated time and again on this site, Taib has run all the logging, plantations and exports from the state purely for his own enrichment. The land has been destroyed and the people are far worse off than before. Extremely valuable trees and resources have been plundered with the excuse of a ‘development’ that has never happened.
Now Taib promises that his latest mega-project, SCORE, will provide the promised wealth to his people that logging and oil palm have failed to do. It will not. In fact, it can already be demonstrated that this entire project is also purely designed to push more public money (or worse, borrowed money) through companies run by his own family mafia.
WTK – criminal conflicts of interest
Sarawak Report has already demonstrated the extensive links between Samling and Taib family concerns. All the crony timber tycoons have had to bribe heavily for their favoured status and permits from Taib to continue their psychopathic destruction of the jungle.
We can now reveal how WTK’s own shareholder lists expose the extensive and corrupted Taib family interests in that company. As major shareholders this means the Taibs benefit every time WTK cuts down a tree thanks to a permit from Taib. This is why it is a criminal conflict of interest for Taib to issue such permits (without tender) to companies where his close family are major shareholders.
To begin with the company Marjaharta, the main shareholder in CMS, which we demonstrated is controlled and to all purposes owned by Taib himself, has also been a major shareholder in WTK.
Marjaharta started out ‘belonging’ to Taib’s brother Onn Mahmud, but was then handed to Taib’s sons in 2003 when Taib and Onn quarrelled. It has now been handed on again and put in the hands of Taib’s daughters Jamilah and Hannifah! Jamilah has stated that she is just “a passive investor in Sarawak”, yet Majaharta is investing in WTK which is actively destroying the rainforest.
Another of the main shareholders in WTK has been Taib’s other brother Tufail. Tufail remains the Director of one of WTK’s subsidiaries Song Logging Company.
We have already exposed how Tufail Mahmud was given shares in another major logging company Sanyan, which he attempted to conceal under proxies at the time that huge timber concessions were being granted by Taib to the company.
There is also considerable concern over the clear involvement of America’s major insurance giant AIG in WTK’s environmentally destructive activities arising out of its criminal connections with Taib Mahmud.
The 4th largest shareholder in the company was for many years managed by AIG through a trust account in the money laundering and tax haven of the British Virgin Islands. AIG Goldflow, which then became Pinebridge Goldflow (under a subsidiary of AIG) has only just been sold on to another investment management concern called Pacific Century Group.
Strikingly the address used by AIG Goldflow/Pinebridge Goldflow was that of the Integro Trust, based at PO Box 438, Tortola, BVI.
This address is used by a number of companies, including the Taib connected companies Astar Investments and TESS Investments (which has invested millions in open-ended, interest free loans in Taib’s daughter Jamilah’s company in London, Ridgeford Properties).
It is also the same PO Box address as CMS Ltd, BVI.
Pinebridge Goldflow has now been taken over by PacificCentury Group, which is managed by a Canadian from Ottawa, where Jamilah lives. Michael W Verge spent the years from 1981-1987 working in Malaysia and has also acted as the Chief Financial Officer of pulp and paper company in the region.
Perhaps Michael W Verge or AIG could assist us in determining the actual owner of this mass of shares in WTK, a company that receives such a favoured status when it comes to the issuing of permits by the Chief Minister?
Taib’s greed is the driving force behind deforestation and the extinction of the Penan people
Taib has already foolishly admitted “I have more money than I could ever spend” – a remark that was recorded.
Given his many years in public office on a fixed salary, such wealth could ONLY have been gained illegally.
But, Taib has clearly started to find out what so many rich people do, which is that money alone cannot satisfy more than some of our human needs. His sickness is that he clearly thinks that by amassing even more billions than he has already, he will solve this problem.
The likes of Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and many other intelligent wealthy people have realised that the best use of excess money is to spread it to those who do not have enough of it. Likewise, Taib should be paying the Penan to act as custodians of Sarawak’s remaining jungle, so that tourists from all over the world can be attracted to visit Borneo’s unique heritage and protect it.
But the sick old miser and his grasping relatives cannot bear the thought that trees could be left standing for someone else to turn into cash!
He knows it has been a terrible crime to cut down the jungle, which is why he so blatantly lies to the outside world and pretends that 80% has been left untouched. But, driven by his mental illness of excessive greed, he cannot help himself.
Even worse, in his hurry to lay his hands on the wealth of Sarawak Taib has flogged off these valuable resources incredibly cheap. Borneo has suffered the fasted rate of deforestation in the world.
A cleverer and less money-mad ruler would have carefully conserved the supply of wood and land and kept the prices up – but, Taib sold it all cheap to the Japanese as quick as he could cut it down. The reason? To at least make sure that he personally got the lion’s share of the money.
Taib is now old and sick, he can’t buy his way out of either or these conditions. Neither should he be left in any doubt as to how he will be remembered after he is gone. The judgement of history is another thing that can never be bought.