Don't Make Malaysia A Joke

Police are investigating DAP leader Tony Pua under the Sedition Act 1948 over his Facebook posts criticising the Pardon Board’s decision to reduce Najib Abdul Razak’s prison sentence.

Inspector-General of Police Razarudin Husain said Pua’s remarks were seditious for criticising the Yang di-Pertuan Agong’s power to give pardon and inciting others to hate the royal institution.

In a statement, the top cop said police have summoned the former Damansara MP to give his statement to investigators at the Bukit Aman police headquarters at 1pm tomorrow.

“Police confirm receiving reports regarding statements made by Tony Pua on Facebook that insulted the royal institution.

“Such statements were by nature seditious, inciting the public to hate and insult the royal institution over the sole discretionary power of the Yang di-Pertuan Agong as per Article 42 of the Federal Constitution.

“Investigations are being carried out by the Classified Crimes Unit under the Bukit Aman Criminal Investigation Department, under Section 4(1) of the Sedition Act and Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998,” Razarudin said.


Our comment

It appears the top cop has all but convicted a joke-cracking politician in advance of even getting round to charging him – this for an alleged very serious crime associated with conspiring and plotting to overturn a government, which is not what a joke is generally about.

(In days gone by, Kings would go so far as to hire Official Jokers to make light of issues such as this).

Such threats against free speech and comment are no laughing matter on the other hand; they put the reputation of Malaysia in danger, once again, of being treated as a joke.

Mr Pua merely issued a sly comment about the leniency of the revised sentence for Malaysia’s world famous kleptocrat, Najib Razak. In doing so he reflected the view of the vast majority of Malaysians who are well aware that anyone not well connected like Najib would be languishing in jail for decades for the crimes he has committed.

The proof of that popular opinion was reflected in the two recent general elections where Najib’s party UMNO has sunk towards oblivion in the popular vote. Tony Pua has therefore reflected a public disgust – he has not suggested the toppling of the government or head of state.

Meanwhile, those same UMNO supporters of Najib expressed their own profound disappointment at the decision of the Pardons Board, as headed by the former King, in that it did not let their wealth-laden former leader off entirely.

Najib has come out with the same complaints, articulated by his petulant daughter.  Yet only UMNO have gone running off to file police reports arguing that whilst their own moans and groans are somehow not critical of the king’s decision, those who are unhappy for the opposite reason are being ‘seditious’.

The pardons board devised a compromise that left few people happy, few compromises do. However, under the laws of Malaysia, happy or not, the decision will prevail – no one has suggested otherwise.

In a free country anyone should feel free to moan, criticise or crack a joke about a public matter such as this. It goes without saying that to urge rebellion is completely different, but no one has on either side.

The job of the police in such a situation is to handle childish behaviour in the manner it deserves, not to indulge in it as well.

What's The Back Story On Taib's Apparent Secret Removal From Office?

DEWAN Negara president Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar has tendered his resignation to assume the position of the eighth Sarawak governor, as indicated in his resignation letter seen by The Malaysian Insight.

It is understood that he will get his letter of appointment soon and then take the oath of office later, succeeding Abdul Taib Mahmud, who has held the position of Sarawak governor since March 2014.


Our comment

Sarawak chat groups are now in meltdown following the brief revelation published just a couple of hours ago by the Malaysian Insight.

The news is based on a leak of a letter from Junaidi apparently tendering his resignation from his role as President of the Dewan Negara in order to BECOME THE NEW GOVERNOR!

This before anyone had been told the old governor had resigned – if he has.  Indeed, was  he capable of officially doing so and has he merely been secretly removed from office?

Everyone has known that Taib Mahmud has not been capable of performing his basic official role for months, given the obvious effects of his considerable age and ill health that has been progressively apparent for years.

Yet, he was been allowed to return to his post at the start of the year, following extended medical treatment in Turkey, and his ambitious young wife has persisted in uploading pictures of the plainly dazed old man onto the internet as if he was heading to the office each day, performing official functions and attending social events.

Everyone knows he he was not performing that role. He even missed the state’s major 60th Anniversary Independence Celebrations in the middle of last year.

So, it is right that he has been replaced, but wrong it has happened in this way and without a proper official announcement before inevitable leaks occurred.

In a democracy people have a right to be informed if their representatives are not able to carry out their role, just like a boss expects a sick note and doctor’s explanation when you take off work.

While the questions fly, Sarawak Report can add some inside information about the present circumstances of the ailing now former governor, whom many have started to speculate might even have passed away.

According to our sources, the indefatigable Ragad, his younger second wife who is now in outright battle with  Taib’s family over the old man’s billion dollar fortunes, has once again whisked him back to Turkey.

He is assumed to be again receiving treatment there for the complications of long-term cancer. However, insiders have told SR “he’s totally inaccessible to his own family”.

Their lament is that Ragad has cut her debilitated husband off from all contact from his children and siblings since the recent court cases emerged, accusing her of stealing their inheritance.

At the centre of the ongoing legal disputes are alleged signatures by the elderly political tycoon on documents which suddenly signed over major shareholdings and assets to his wife as his health plummeted.

One assumes meanwhile that Taib is getting the world’s best medical attention and is surrounded by all the support and comfort that money can buy.

Premature Announcements Create Premature Opposition!

The proposed cascading dam projects, including in Sungai Totoh Baram, are in a preliminary state in the Sarawak government’s plans with its implementation contingent upon a comprehensive feasibility studies (sic) examining technical and commercial viability, as well as obtaining consent from local community through engagements and consultations.

Deputy Minister in the Premier of Sarawak’s Department, Gerawat Gala [said] responding to concerns and opposition raised by several quarters including Senator Abun Sui Anti, the non-profit organisation Save Rivers and affected local communities.

“Those reported to be against the building of cascading dam should not jump the gun and start campaigning against the proposal before the start of the feasibility study and the final decision-making process.

“Wait for the right information to be communicated during engagement sessions to be conducted and to express your views, concerns and suggestions at that time.  Keep an open mind and be rational instead of getting agitated and emotional prematurely”, he said in a statement today (!!)


Our comment

The Sarawak State Government appears by this statement to have stepped back from its over-hasty and premature announcements that no less than three so-called “Cascading Dams” were to be built along rivers in native areas, without so much as a by-your-leave to those who stand to be affected.

This is the right thing to have done in response to the predictable public outrage over the past few days as teams hired by the Land & Survey Department pitched up unannounced at kampungs in the target areas, trying to measure up so called perimeter surveys with the clear purpose of extinguishing native land rights where they plan to flood the land.

A hastily organised petition over the weekend pointed out to the authorities that there had been none of the legally required consultation and very little public information about these dams, likewise over the perimeter surveys.

Deputy Gerawat Gala now concedes that very point: according to his own words the plans are at a preliminary stage, feasibility studies have not been started nor has there been any consultation with the local communities.

So why on earth has this government been spewing out announcements over the past few weeks stating its intent to build not just one but three sets of these multiple hydroelectric dams and laying down bills to amend the state laws to push them through?

Why are teams turning up in villages to measure up their land in accordance with these premature plans?

Why did the Premier himself state the Green Light has already been given?

All this has been done on the excuse of permission having allegedly been obtained from local communities, when ‘Gigawatt’ Gala now admits it hasn’t.

So, if anyone has been ‘jumping the gun’ it is clearly the State Government which has been caught red-handed trying to steamroller through these mega-projects without proper due process or consent and alleging community consent that has not been gained.

Some Cheek!

Having been forced to back down over the false claims, it therefore behoves the Deputy to be a little more gracious in his language towards those who rightly called out these half-baked plans.

What cheek to patronise native constituents telling them to “be rational instead of getting agitated and emotional prematurely” after dams were announced for their rivers and government agents turned up in their villages to measure out the land.

And what cheek to instruct them “to wait for the right information to be communicated”  when that is exactly what villagers are asking for, instead of the untrue public statements about their consent being given and the projects being “Given the Green Light”.

It is the Sarawak State Government that has been premature to act in this matter and they deserved the prompt and timely rebuttal that they got.

Fossil Fuel Giant vs Jewel Of Natural World


Deputy Premier Datuk Dr Sim Kui Hian describes the towering flagpole at Dataran Ibu Pertiwi here as a gift to the people of Sarawak, thanks to a collaborative effort by petroleum industry giants Petros, Petronas and Shell Malaysia.

He said that the emergence of the landmark in the heart of Kuching is a grand gesture of celebration for the 60th anniversary of Sarawak’s Independence.

“The newly named Dataran Ibu Pertiwi proudly hosts the tallest flagpole in Southeast Asia, standing at an impressive 99 metres.

“This monumental structure is now officially recognised as the highest flag pole in South-east Asia,” he added in a post on his official Facebook page on Monday night.


There’s a new record for the tallest tree in the tropics, and the scientists who found it say it could add to our understanding of how and why some trees grow so tall.

A survey from an airplane in 2014 of the forests of Danum Valley Conservation Area in Malaysian Borneo helped University of Nottingham geographer Doreen Boyd and her colleagues pick out the sky-scraping tree that they’re calling Menara, the Malay word for “tower.”

But it wasn’t until Unding Jami, a local tree climber with the South East Asia Rainforest Research Partnership, or SEARPP, hoisted himself into the canopy of the yellow meranti (Shorea faguetiana) and lowered a measuring tape back to the ground that they were able to confirm the tree’s height at 100.8 meters (330.7 feet).

Our comment

Tall Cylindrical structures are generally associated with a certain manifestation of the male ego.

Competing fossil fuel interests have apparently Shelled out the money to build this record tall cylindrical monument to ingratiate the Sarawak state leadership for reasons that can be divined.

What is does for hungry rural folk crying out for utilities and jobs is less apparent.

Perhaps it will entice tourists to view the tallest flagpole in Southeast Asia?

Or might such folk, who have just rediscovered the joys of post-pandemic travel, choose instead to to visit an even taller object of wondrous living nature that was discovered just before Covid at the Danum valley nature reserve, namely the tallest recorded tropical tree on the planet?

Dubbed the ‘Menara’ it stands as straight and higher at 100.8 meters.


Johor Makes Bid For Absolute Monarchy, Resents Being A "Rubber Stamp"?

Johor Ruler Sultan Ibrahim Iskandar has said that among his focus when he takes on the duty as the 17th Yang Di-Pertuan Agong is to stop corruption.

In an exclusive interview with the Singapore Straits Times, he said ensuring there is no disunity in the country will be his biggest challenge.

He said a stable government must be consistent, with a sustainable policy that is needed to fix the economy.

A key cause of political instability, he said, was “sour grapes” by those at the losing end…..

“From my great-grandfather, we were great hunters. I make sure when I go hunting, I bring back nice game. But when I’m in KL, it’s a concrete jungle, so what do I hunt? I’m going to hunt all the corrupt people. I make sure I bring results,” he was quoted as saying.

He also suggested that the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission report directly to the Agong, instead of to Parliament as it does now.

“If it comes to the Agong, it means you are not under the influence of anybody from the executive. Even Petronas shouldn’t be under Parliament, report directly to me,” he said, referring to the state oil giant.

He also suggested that judicial appointments must “be separated from the executive — they must be independent”.

Judges are appointed by the king, on the advice of the prime minister after an appointment panel recommends candidates.

“We only get the list (from the Prime Minister’s Office) during the Conference of Rulers. Why don’t you bring the name down (to us) before you appoint? We are not a rubber stamp,” he reportedly said.




Our comment

The Sultan of Johor will surely take a refresher course on his upcoming role in the Malaysian Constitution before he steps into his five year tenure as Agong in January.

This will doubtless remind him of the strictly limited role of a constitutional monarch as the head of state in a democratic country. His job is to preside over a system of checks and balances designed to uphold the rule of law and to protect individual citizens from the abuse of power in any quarter.

The King therefore is not in a position to choose judges, run the key investigation agencies or “go after” people he disdains using such critical instruments of power.

He is certainly not entitled to chase after people as if they were a big game sport, such as entertained his forefathers who engaged in killing animals in the jungle, subsequently felled largely to fill royal coffers and to create the ‘concrete jungle’ where he hopes to pursue his new sport – namely human targets.

As for his vow to ‘end disunity’ in the country, which he claims is caused merely by ‘sour grapes’ among those who lost elections, he appears to show an intention to intervene in politics to silence opposition parties in the name of national harmony. The job of an opposition is to hold the government to account and that role should continue to be protected, whilst the role of the Agong is to remain above such politics.

There are likewise questions over his proposed solution to perceived problems in the economy as well, i.e. that he should directly take over all the major sources of the country’s income. “Even Petronas shouldn’t be under Parliament, report directly to me”.  

It is not in Malaysia’s constitution that the King of five years should control the country’s economy nor that he should subvert the independence of the judiciary by choosing all the judges, whom he resents having to appoint from a selected list of suitable candidates.

This reduces him to a mere “rubber stamp” he complains.  Yet, the role of a constitutional monarch is exactly that. It is to be a rubber stamp/the last signature on the legislative process and a last check on the abuse of power from quarters beneath him.

In this lofty, well pampered role It will be for him to uphold the dignity of Malaysia and in so doing to remain strictly above the political fray, the daily economy and day by day administration of the law.

That is the constitution, however noble his stated intention might be to prevent kickbacks and corruption.

Stability is the Status Quo

Proclaiming his new agenda the incoming occupant of the Astana has proposed such changes as if they were minor and that placing the courts and corruption police under the direct control of himself as King would make them “independent”. Likewise the control of Malaysia’s oil reserves.

Indeed, he assumes that it is taken for granted that he as a wealthy royal, and presumably all his family and hangers on are somehow regarded as uniquely incorruptible and uncorrupted. Therefore, the pursuit of corruption can be left safely in his unsullied and disinterested hands along with absolute power over the country and its judicial process.

Unfortunately, such a perception cannot exist and the confidence and safety of the population can only be maintained in accordance with the constitution that is carefully framed to avoid any one person getting too much power, however confident the Sultan appears to be in his own capabilities and judgement when it comes to appointing the right people.

It does not help that in the recent past there have been so very many corruption scandals involving his own state or that the former prime minister, who was the longstanding ex-Menteri Besar of Johor and close ally of the Sultan, is now also mired in charges of corruption and a suspected history of dubious practice.

The Sultan ought instead aspire as King to keep to his prescribed important role as the head of state above the daily conduct of government, administration and politics. He should support the government in performing its allocated tasks, encourage the pursuit of honest administration and fair justice that he craves to see, but without interfering in all these spheres.

He can likewise look towards righting the situation regarding corrupted practices in his own state, which includes a very long list of self-interested contracts and concessions that have even benefitted his own royal household.

Any incoming King of Malaysia is reminded that theirs is a temporary post within a system where this balance of powers (together with a military that knows its role is to protect and not to interfere) has worked for over half a century to provide Malaysians with a rare stability in the region.

What is destabilising and divisive is to frighten people by using the language of dictatorship, violence and permanence in office: also promoting a major centralisation of fundamental powers under the auspices of the titular monarch as if it was a minor organisational re-jig for efficiency purposes.

Sarawak Report "Misleading" On Sabah Land Issue?

There is no “cheap sale” of the troubled Sabah Forest Industries Sdn Bhd (SFI) land to anyone, as claimed by Sarawak Report, says a lawyer [Fuad Ahmad] who represents the Sabah government’s interests….

“The article concerning land previously owned by SFI is misleading, inaccurate and contains a number of factual errors,” he said in a statement on Tuesday (Sept 5).

The article claimed that a private operator received assistance “from the top” to have the land for only RM256mil – which the article claims to be a fraction of its market value – for the 280,000ha of forest land. The article also claimed that when SFI was first put up for sale in 2017, the same individual had agreed to pay RM1.2bil…

“Indian company Ballapur Industries Ltd who owned 90% of SFI, mismanaged both SFI’s timber concession and its pulp paper mill, causing operations to cease in November 2016.

“In 2017, SFI’s receivers and manager (R&M) – Grant Thornton Consulting Sdn Bhd – put the assets of SFI up for sale by tender.

“SFI’s assets consisted of the integrated timber complex machinery and an Acacia Mangium Forest area situated on 15 parcels of land amounting to approximately 12,000 ha,” he said, adding that the tender exercise did not include SFI’s timber concession licence as under the license terms, the concession cannot be sold.

He said that in August 2022, the Sabah government acquired the 15 parcels of land from the insolvent SFI under the ‘Sustainable Forest Timber Utilisation, Processing, Management, Conservation Research and Development Scheme, District of Sipitang’ (Public Purpose Scheme)…..  The sum offered was RM256mil.

“The basis of valuation, among others, recognised the fact that SFI’s buildings, structures and facilities were poorly maintained and in a hopeless state of disrepair.

“Moreover, the Acacia Mangium Forest areas were not maintained and properly managed, resulting in trees rotting, over-growing and suffering from disease. Also, SFI – having ceased operations in 2016 – cannot be valued as a going concern.

“The acquired land now vests absolutely in the Sabah government and will be developed in accordance with the Public Purpose Scheme by the Sabah government in conjunction with its various agencies and GLCs.

“That the R&M failed to mention this demonstrates bad faith on their part,” he said.

CM's decision having earlier granted the concession

CM’s decision having earlier granted the concession

Our comment

Lawyers will eventually battle this matter out in court arguing the points from either side.

However, what is clear is that the mismanagement of the SFI rescue sale owes to the decision by Sabah politicians back in 2018 to hand over ownership of the entire business valued at RM1.2 billion to Malaysia’s best-known crony capitalist, Syed Mokhtar, on the basis of a 10% deposit.

The timber concessions were included in that agreement.

However, Mr Mokhtar did not complete on the payment as the hunt got underway to find a joint venture partner that was actually qualified to run the business.

Despite a renewal of the arrangement by the present CM to give an extended deadline (which included a commitment to include the timber concessions which it seems that Fuad Amad seeks to claim could not be included) Syed Mokhtar instead tried to knock down the price.

It was the CM himself who intervened before the deadline expired on this arrangement to withdraw the timber license and thereby scupper the re-sale by devaluing the bulk of SFI’s key assets (that swathe of concessions).

Here is his signed letter to that effect – see opposite. This was in defiance of a commitment by the state attorney general (viewed by SR) that should Mr Mokhtar not deliver on his chance to meet the extended deadline the receivers would be able to re-tender the SFI package – including those timber concessions.

It was also the CM who, according to Sabah Hansard of 24th May, confirmed to Shafie Apdal that under the proposed ‘Sustainable Forest Timber Utilisation, Processing, Management, Conservation Research and Development Scheme’, by which he had now confiscated SFI’s timber license, “We decided to give the concession to Tan Sri Mokhtar Al-Bukhary’s company“.

Hence, while thousands of dwellers of Sipitang have lost their livelihoods owing to the years of delay by Mr Mokhtar in fulfilling his commitments, Mokhtar himself has gained control of the area without paying more than a fraction of the initial RM1.2 billion which he originally promised.

What Punishment For The Astana Over Its Previous Fake News?

Sources: Asfia to be sworn-in as acting TYT tomorrow

KUCHING (Aug 16): State Legislative Assembly (DUN) Speaker Tan Sri Datuk Amar Mohamad Asfia Awang Nassar will be sworn-in as the acting Head of State tomorrow, reliable sources said.

The term for the acting TYT will be announced by the Premier’s Office.

The sources said the appointment of an acting TYT is necessary because Governor Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud is now on extended leave overseas.

Earlier, The Borneo Post had reported that the swearing-in will be held on Friday, but it was learnt that a decision was made this afternoon to hold the swearing-in tomorrow.

It is understood that the acting TYT will exercise all constitutional powers vested in the TYT during Taib’s absence.

Asfia was last appointed acting TYT was on Dec 1, 2019 to Jan 11, 2020.

Taib and his wife Toh Puan Datuk Patinggi Raghad Kurdi Taib had left the state on a holiday about a month ago.

On Aug 3, Taib’s private secretary Junih Salleh Ahmad, in a statement to refute claims about the Governor’s condition, had said Taib would return home from overseas soon pending approval from his doctor.

Subsequently, Raghad had shared a video on social media of Taib at a seaside café in a foreign country.

Yesterday, it was revealed that Taib had undergone surgery and is recuperating in Istanbul, Turkey.

New guy Asfia

Acting new guy – Asfia


Our comment

Sarawak Report has fought a somewhat lonely battle over the past weeks, asking for fuller transparency over the health of the absent Taib Mahmud who has now been replaced as Governor, at least for the time being, in a final admission he is incapable of the job.

Others had been cowed into silence after threats by staff from the Astana who reported to the police station and demanded that anyone who circulated the reports that Taib had been possibly taken into hospital and operated on be investigated for “Fake News”.

The Astana claimed that to the contrary Taib was “Well and in good Stead”. They let it be known that anyone providing information to the contrary could be prosecuted under multi-media laws and jailed up to a year and fined on top.

Yet, it was Sarawak Report that had provided the correct information, not for the first time, in defiance of lies produced by those in authority – on this occasion the Astana.

So, will those officials responsible for hoodwinking the public by denying the Governor was unwell and undergoing significant surgery now be prosecuted instead for Fake News – perhaps jailed and fined?

The public deserve to be kept informed about the state of health of the person they hire as head of state. If he is not up to the job, either temporarily or as in this case it would seem permanently (we were promised he would return by the 16th August in the latest statement by the Astana, which again proved untrue) then a proper announcement is required immediately and not just “reliable sources” now quoted in The Borneo Post.

Meanwhile, the real issue concerning Sarawakians in this matter is that it is clear from the current court case brought by Taib’s sons that the second wife Ragad took the opportunity of Taib’s clear degeneration in the hours before this episode (he was taken acutely ill in transit as they left the country) to have her elderly husband sign over tens of millions of CMS shares into her own name.

The family say these were left in their mother’s will to them. Sarawakians may feel the company actually belongs to the public wealth. Most are agreed that the claim by Ragad raises considerable questions indeed…. along with the transfer in the same time period as her elderly husband was about to collapse of large chunks of valuable land into her name in Kuching.

It is hoped that someone besides this lady is in attendance at their hang out in Turkey, where she is believed to have set up a base owning various assets that she has managed to acquire.



Astana Still Issuing Threats & Fake News

Stop sharing fake news on Sarawak governor’s health condition, says Astana Negeri

Astana Negeri today warned social media users to stop posting fake news regarding the health condition of Sarawak Governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud, who is currently recuperating overseas.

Taib’s private secretary Junih Salleh Ahmad said it has come to the palace’s attention that members of the public have continuously harped on the health conditions of the head of state.

He said this despite the assurance from both the Astana and Sarawak premier’s office that he is currently recuperating overseas.

“On behalf of Astana, once again we would like to assure the people of Sarawak that his condition has been improving and God willing, and with his doctor’s advice, he will come home very soon,” Junih said in a statement.

“We hope that the people will be patient and not be easily hoodwinked by unverified news and speculations on Tun’s current health,” he said.


Our comment

How does one’s condition now “improve” from being “well and in good stead”?

That was the description given in the original statement released by the Astana about the Governor’s health, back in June when concerns were first raised.

The Astana then went on to issue threats and police reports against anyone mentioning the possibility that the Governor might indeed be under medical care, something they took six weeks to admit was true.

So, how can social media denizens (now once again threatened in the darkest terms to shut up) take any of these contradictory statements seriously, or as bearing the slightest authority or relation to the truth?

There has been no information given as to which country the Governor is even in (whilst missing the top ceremonial occasion of the year), let alone the nature of his affliction, which is implied to be minor even though it has now persisted for several weeks.

We do know, thanks to yesterday’s state government release, that Taib was indeed “taken ill” (as reported by Sarawak Report) at the time the Astana lied that he was “well and in good stead” and demanded that the police hound those who had reported the truth.

The Astana now “assures” the people of Sarawak that the Governor’s “condition is improving” and that (if God is willing and his doctors agree) he will come home “very soon”.

Those are big ifs and the Astana has discredited itself.

Many may hope for the revival of the man who has dominated the state for half a century. However, Sarawak deserves to be run professionally for the benefit of the people (at last) and not merely its office holders.

As far as truth and transparency are concerned the Astana has proven itself to be as bad as any conspiracy theorist online and someone should report it for issuing FAKE NEWS!

5 Questions In Answer To Kitingan's 'Just Shut Up' Demand

Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jeffrey Kitingan said critics of the Nature Conservation Agreement (NCA) should stop talking and make things happen for the benefit of the State.

“These are those who do not understand. These people are slowing us down, while others are already far ahead,” he said when asked about the numerous opinions made about the NCA.

“It is unfortunate, but we want them to understand that we’re missing out on an opportunity to increase our revenue because other sources of revenue can only go so far.”

He said this when met at the 17th Global Congress and Conferment Ceremony held at the Sabah International Convention Centre, here, Saturday.


Our comment

Sarawak Report is used to being told to ‘shut up’ and accused of ‘not understanding’ by people who will do anything to avoid answering pertinent questions.

However, the media has a duty to ask about matters that are in the public interest and, as a politician, Kitingan has a duty to answer those questions, instead of seeking to silence valid concerns.

Sarawak Report has five main questions we want answered which reflect widespread concerns of NGOs:

1. Where are the detailed research documents commissioned by the state government to justify his claim that $800 million can be gained per year from his NCA and what are the specific areas this NCA will cover?
2. What process was undertaken to select and appoint the Singapore shell company Hoch Standard Pty Ltd to be the ‘management’ entity controlling the project, given the matter was never even put before the state assembly? Hoch Standard just happens to be represented by one Stan Lassa Golokin, a businessman who was caught up (together with Kitingan himself) in some extremely troubling prosecutions over the earlier disappearance of an alleged billion dollars from similar eco-projects in the 1980s, according to a letter to the UN Special Rapporteur that has not been denied.
3. Given Hoch Standard is due to be accorded a staggering 30% of all the profits of this enormous public venture why does the state government not instead simply hire the required experts to form a department to manage the project and save the taxpayer a fortune?
4. Being there is sooooo much cash that is going to be filtered out of the project to the company fronted by the dubious Mr Golokin, who is the actual shareholder of Lionsgate, the BVI entity that is registered as the beneficial owner of Hoch Standard? Indeed, how can it be possible that the Sabah state government could have signed up to a ‘binding agreement’ involving so much money with an anonymous entity?
5. On what possible justification has this binding agreement included a ‘cancellation clause’ that would allow Hoch Standard to claim its entire share of the projected profits (which have been condemned as being outlandishly optimistic) whether or not the project comes to fruition?

We ask these questions because far from needing to rush into the NCA in order not to miss out on opportunities to make billions for the people of Sabah, the terms of the agreement as presently drafted and signed up to by Kitingan and his boss, would allow the anonymously owned Hoch Standard to make a complete hash of the entire process but nonetheless claim 30% of the unfounded profit projection.

Quite the opposite of making Sabah money, this would amount to yet another appalling raid on the taxpayer for the benefit of an anonymous person whom Mr Kitingan seems to be keen to enrich.