British, Canadian governments urged to freeze Taib’s assets

Tarani Palani | March 1, 2011
Anti-Taib Mahmud protests in London and Ottawa greeted commuters heading for work in his-family owned buildings yesterday.
KUALA LUMPUR: Armed with banners and placards slamming corrupt Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud, several environmentalists and human rights activists took to the streets in London and Ottawa yesterday urging the British and Canadian governments respectively to freeze his assets.
Both protests were held in front of Taib-family owned businesses – Ridgeford Properties Ltd and Ridgeford Consulting Ltd and Sakto Corporation – in London and Canada respectively.
The London protest is believed to have been led by Radio Free Sarawak deejay Peter John Jaban, a native Sarawakian, and online portal Sarawak Report editor Clare Rewcastle Brown.
The Ottawa protest is said to have been helmed by Mutang Urud, an indigenous leader from Sarawak who has been living in exile in Canada since the early 1990s.
Mutang was arrested and placed in solitary confinement by the Taib government in February 1992 for running the Sarawak Indigenous Peoples’ Association (SIPA).
Swiss based Bruno Manser Fund (BMF), who released the anti-Taib campaign photos today, said activists from Malaysia, Canada, United Kingdom and Switzerland were involved in the protest yesterday morning.
The protesters called both governments to freeze the assets of all eleven – nine in Canada and two in Britain – Taib-linked companies.
The nine companies, allegedly had an estimated worth of about “hundreds of millions of US dollars” and were part of a blacklist of 49 Taib-family linked companies in eight countries identified by BMF .
BMF has also incidentally called on all eight governments to freeze Taib’s assets in these countries.
13 companies in Malaysia
In its disclosure, BMF noted that 13 out of the 49 blacklisted companies were in Malaysia and Taib’s own Cahaya Mata Sarawak (CMS) led the pack.
CMS allegedly holds a monopoly on projects in Sarawak
Taib, who has been in power since 1981, is facing a barrage of allegations including land grabs, administrative and financial abuse as he heads into Sarawak’s most politically defining election.
Environmentalist have accused him of destructive logging in the state and have claimed that Taib’s immense personal wealth was derived from raping the state’s rich natural resources.
Opposition and NGOs in Sarawak are also flagging these issues and reports of his family ‘ill-gotten gains’ at the expense of the state’s poor natives.
Sarawak which is an oil and gas hub is reportedly the third poorest state in Malaysia.

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