Media Release: With Fresh Allegations Surfacing, AG and MACC need to act on the Governor of Sarawak

WITH FRESH ALLEGATIONS SURFACING, AG AND MACC NEEDS TO ACT ON THE GOVERNOR OF SARAWAK

PRESS RELEASE 25 JULY 2018

PETALING JAYA (Wednesday): C4 Center calls for fresh investigations to be opened on Sarawak Governor Abdul Taib Mahmud, as Sarawak Report has surfaced a new allegation of impropriety over oil leadings in Oman. Given the history of questionable investigations into his personal wealth, the Pakatan government must live up to its promise of anti-kleptocracy and anti-corruption in Malaysia by decisively settling his case once and for all.

Last week, Sarawak Report published a report highlighting a potential conflict of interest in a hiherto unknown company, South Sea Energy Sdn Bhd, raising an $150 million investment in Oman with the alleged backing of Sarawak’s newly minted state oil company, Petroleum Sarawak (Petros). The report noted that the executive vice president of South Sea Energy was Datuk Seri Mahmud Abu Bekir Taib, the son of the sitting governor of Sarawak.

However, the Sarawak Chief Minister’s office has published a denial of links between Petros and South Sea Energy, except for a lapsed MoU which covered local investment only. Now the public sits in a “he-said-she-said” situation without clear information about whether there is a real conflict of interest or not.

At the same time, PH government minister Liew Vui Keong has made a parliamentary reply that the attorney general under Abdul Gani Patail had ‘cleared’ him of wrongdoing in 2013 after the investigation papers were referred to his office.[1] Recent as well, new MACC Chief Commissioner Datuk Seri Mohd Shukri Abdul reported that 15 files were opened on Taib, but there was no way to implicate him until new information is received.[2]

Given this new expose by Sarawak Report, it is time that investigations be reopened. Furthermore, Switzerland-based Bruno Manser Fonds (BMF) has expressed their willingness to share evidence of corruption.[3]

BMF has estimated his wealth to be in excess of RM46 billion. While this wealth and business activities spread across the world, his family has controlled the approval of logging and plantation concessions in Sarawak, resulting in the deforestation of more than 90% of the tropical rainforest in Sarawak.

Because of this, and the hiherto absence of good governance and transparency laws in Malaysia and Sarawak that would clarify the issue, a deeper and impartial investigation into the wealth of Taib Mahmud must be conducted. This must be done to clarify if the state had truly been kleptocratically plundered and to seek justice for citizens deprived of their rightful taxpayer benefits.

Former Attorney General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail needs to be responsible to 2.69 million Sarawakians by explaining why Taib was not charged back then.

The Malaysians who have voted in the spirit of anti-kleptocracy and anti-corruption in Malaysia cannot tolerate this impunity to continue on. C4 Center calls on the Pakatan Harapan government to take stern and necessary action.

We call on Attorney General Tommy Thomas to be brave, fair and non-discriminatory in prosecuting all cases of kleptocracy—and reopen Taib’s case! We cannot be hawkish on 1MDB and yet allow this to pass. Such corruption, if true, has no place in Malaysia Baharu.

 

Released by:
Cynthia Gabriel (Ms.)
Executive Director, C4 Center