9 September 2018
KUALA LUMPUR, Sep 8 — Noted journalist Clare Rewcastle-Brown agreed that the new federal government has a moral obligation to investigate corruption issues behind former Sarawak Chief Minister Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud as quickly and efficiently as possible.
She said it also is up to Sarawak’s electorate to decide if it will continue to support a state government system that has remained largely unchanged since Taib stepped down from the post in 2014.
“Frankly, I think it is very, very difficult for a highly corrupted regime to reform itself. But it will be interesting to see if gestures or attempts are made in that direction,” Rewcastle-Brown told reporters following the launch and signing of her book The Sarawak Report on the investigations into the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) scandal.
She said that were it to occur, it is likely many people will be sacked as a result.
“But really in the end, that is for the people of Sarawak to decide at the ballot box,” Rewcastle-Brown said.
She also agreed when asked if the reason why Taib, who became Chief Minister in 1981, could rule so long was because of the backing and support from the federal government under the previous administrations.
18 August 2018
10 August 2018
PETALING JAYA – Patience is needed in the 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) investigations said Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle Brown as it’s going to be a slow slog.
“We have seen charges being raised now, I think it is going to be quite a slow process. Things are going to be done properly.
“Clearly, the investigations are going to be thorough and there is a determination to do things correctly,” she told StarTV in an interview on Thursday (Aug 9).
When asked about Pakatan Government’s inaction over investigations linked to Sarawak Governor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud, Rewcastle Brown said that it was probably not the main priority of the government right now.
“I’m not sure if that statement that the present Government is not interested in taking action is a totally fair summary.
“I think it has become clear that it’s not a priority right now. The priority, it has been made clear is 1MDB,” she added.
20 June 2018
Sarawak, the Taib family and their stolen money cannot be over-looked in Malaysia’s clean up
The cleansing sweep of GE14 has flushed out the Federal Government and also sent Sabah’s Musa Aman packing. Yet, one glaring piece of unfinished business remaining among various pockets of entrenched corruption is Sarawak and its limpit of a leading politician, Governor Taib Mahmud.
Social media over the past two days has buzzed with footage of the ageing Governor, apparently disabled down his right side as he stretches out his left arm from a seating position to great Aid Fitr guests.
Taib has dominated the state for nearly four decades, during which he has acquired ownership of much of the local economy, along with estimated billions of dollars of kleptocratic spoils, squirrelled away abroad. He should be got rid of and the money returned.
However, signs are the present leadership plans to allow the potentate to remain, at least until Sarawak voters get their say in state elections some way off. Prime Minister Mahathir has been indicating to some that he doesn’t wish to move against a veteran leader, who is plainly becoming frail (also, some note, a key ally from the past).
Such indulgence to an elder politician may be generous spirited on a personal level, but many Sarawakians will view the matter differently, not least because the disgraceful poverty, substandard education and insufficient services suffered by so many of the native people in Malaysia’s wealthiest state, owes to the decades Taib prioritised his own bank balances and continuing power over their welfare.
This website has not hesitated to put its view that none of the enormous wealth that lies within the grasp of the stupendously rich Mahmud clan has been legitimately obtained. Sarawak Report agrees with very many others that all these ill-gotten riches ought to be nationalised back to the state for health, education and general economic progress from which it was diverted.
Ragad’s own family and various close companions pass a lot of time in and around the Taib family home and over the past months she has managed to secure the adoption of her two sons by Taib, along with ‘native status’ for all three of them. They are now poised to inherit Taib’s fortune equally with his actual adult children and also to engage in land dabbling and other concessions exclusively allowed to ‘natives of Sarawak’.
The former issue can only have worsened the rivalry and tensions within the Taib family itself, whilst the later has infuriated just about every denizen of Sarawak. Neither is Ragad’s ostentatious, flashy and flirtatious style perceived as dignified on the arm of the elderly Governor: people find it hard to believe that her heart is really in the job and suspect instead that her eye is on the money.
All of which has thrown into sharper focus the pressing matter of a review of the Taib family entitlement to any of that money in the first place. With Taib failing and his offspring and siblings left fuming impotently on the sidelines, Ragad is feared to be readying herself to depart the scene with a hoard that will have made her decade in Sarawak more than worth its while.
There are concerns that this political wife now stands between every transaction conducted between the Governor and his once loyal private secretary, to the extent that rumours have circulated that Taib remains incarcerated in a locked room for considerable periods – the key being on the outside of the door. If half the rumours are true, then this Head of State is no longer in control of state affairs nor indeed of his own vast financial empire.
All of which is worrying for Sarawak.
A starting point for addressing these matters would be for the suspended MACC report into Taib’s financial misappropriations from the state to be re-opened. The matter of the Governor’s physical and mental health and state of independence ought also to be transparently addressed. Since his daughter has now become a public figure, she should come out with a statement of her own position on this matter and assessment of her father’s situation.
Meanwhile, the federal government must not hold back from reforming outrageous inadequacies in the anti-corruption legislation brought through by the previous BN government, which has protected corrupted ministers. Under these rules the likes of Taib only had to exit the cabinet roon during the moment decisions were made that benefited them personally, in order to avoid culpability for blatant self-enrichments.
That ‘get-out’ needs ending and the money Taib stole needs to be returned in trust to the State of Sarawak.