Tuesday, 18 February 2014

A National Disgrace if Taib Mahmud is appointed as Sarawak’s Head of State

A National Disgrace if Taib Mahmud is appointed 
as Sarawak’s Head of State

Civil Society Joint Statement on 2014.02.17 

Taib Mahmud

We, the undersigned, register our strongest objection to the speculated appointment of Taib Mahmud as the Head of State (Yang di-Pertua Negeri) of Sarawak after his resignation as Chief Minister for 33 years. Considering that his assumption of the dignified office would be a national disgrace, we hereby list out the reasons why he must be stopped from doing so as follows:

1. Outrageous Corruption and Exploitation

Taib Mahmud has abused his power as Chief Minister in the past 33 years by outrageously exploiting Sarawak’s natural resources for personal gains. Sarawak is said to be having the highest rate of deforestation in Asia, reportedly having lost more than 90% of its primary forest to logging. Taib’s administration has also been building economically unjustified and environmentally detrimental mega dams throughout the state. Ironically, Sarawak remains one of the poorest states in Malaysia despite all her natural resources, while Taib has become one of the country’s richest man. A detailed research by Swiss-based NGO Bruno Manser Fund estimated Taib’s wealth at US$15 billion (RM46 billion) and a combined net worth of 20 Taib family members at close to US$21 billion (RM64 billion). International NGO Global Witness' undercover investigation implicates Taib's involvement in corruption, land grabbing and tax evasion through his control over licenses on logging and oil palm plantation in Sarawak.

2 Grave Human Rights Violations

Taib’s authoritarian rule in Sarawak has seen democracy and human rights being undermined on a daily basis, as civil and political rights are severely repressed, media freedom heavily restricted and elections blatantly rigged.

In particular, Taib has committed mass human rights violation against the natives especially the interior communities, despite himself being a native from the Melanau group. A majority of them have been denied development and live in extreme poverty. Many have been uprooted from their Native Customary Rights (NCR) lands and experiencing cultural genocide as Taib, his families and cronies brazenly/wantonly grab land for mega dam projects, logging and plantation. In his own constituency in Balingian, the locals suffer from serious pollution caused by an Aluminium factory, whose operation Taib had approved.

The Head of State should be a symbol of unity for Sarawakians from all walks of life and of all political persuasions. Clearly, Taib – emblematic of ethnic and political divide while having brought much suffering to so many Sarawakians -- is completely unfit for the office of Yang diPertua Negeri.

3. Dynastic Rule

There are serious concerns that, given his clan’s dynastic dominance over the state, a switch from the office of the Chief Minister to that of the Head of State on the part of Taib would mean an extended rule rather than retirement from active politics. It is worth reminding that his maternal uncle Rahman Yaakob stepped down as Chief Minister to become the Head of State in 1981, enabling the uncle and nephew to take a firm grip on Sarawak. Today, Taib’s chosen successor is none other than his ex-brother-in-law, ie. Adenan Satem, with the transition scheduled for February 28, 2014, exactly the day when the current Head of State’s term ends. Should this come to pass, the two ex-in-laws, in charge of Astana Negeri and the Chief Minister’s Office respectively, would have a full control of Sarawak, which would also imply that Taib could be protected by his ex-brother-in-law from investigation and prosecution of his wrongdoings against the People of Sarawak.

In light of all this, we call upon all Malaysians to stand up and be counted in stopping Taib’s appointment as the Head of State, for the people of Sarawak deserve a true democracy in which no one clan or family should be permitted to administer the state like a private property or entity.

Besides that, Taib must be held accountable for his crimes against Sarawak and Sarawakians. Taib Mahmud’s only rightful place is the accused’s dock facing charges on corruption, land grabbing and tax evasion, not Astana Negeri.

【An online petition has been set up to allow individuals to also voice against the purported appointment. We invite all to sign the online petition here: http://chn.ge/1cbEJuh


Undersigned by,

NGOs

1 ALIRAN(国民醒觉运动)
2 All Women's Action Society(AWAM,妇女行动组织)
3 BARAMKINI(当今峇南)
4 BERSIH Sibu(诗巫净选盟)
5 Center for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC,原住民关怀中心)
6 Civil Rights Committee of The KL & Selangor Chinese Assembly Hall(隆雪华堂民权委员会)
7 Community Development Center (社区关怀中心)
8 Damn the Dams Action Group(反水坝行动小组)
9 ENGAGE(愿景工程)
10 Gerakan Bunga Raya(行动大红花)
11 Hands Of Malaysians Extended(HOME,社会关怀小组)
12 Himpunan Hijau(绿色盛会)
13 Jaringan Rakyat Tertindas(JERIT,受压迫人民阵线)
14 JIHAH for JUSTICE
15 Johor People's Action Group(JPAG,柔佛人民行动小组)
16 Johor Yellow Flame(柔南黄色行动小组)
17 Kajian Politik untuk Perubahan (KPRU,政改研究所)
18 Kelab Bangsar Utama(艋砂第一会馆)
19 Kill the Bill(“反对和平集会法案”组织)
20 KOMAS(社区传播中心)
21 LLG Cultural Development Centre(林连玉基金)
22 Malaysia Youth & Students Democratic Movement(DEMA,马来西亚青年与学生民主运动)
23 Malaysian for Beng Hock(全民挺明福)
24 Malaysian Spring Single Mothers’Society(马来西亚春晖单亲妈妈协会)
25 Malaysian Election Observers Network(MEO-Net,马来西亚选举观察员网络)
26 Mama Bersih(净选盟母亲团)
27 National Indian Rights Action Team(NIAT,全国印裔权益行动组织)
28 Northen Green Youth(北方绿色青年)
29 Oriental Hearts and Mind Study Institute(OHMSI)
30 Pahang Ban Cyanide in Gold Mining Action Group(BCAC,彭亨反山埃采金行动小组)
31 Penang Voters Awareness(槟城选民醒觉小组)
32 Peoples' Green Coalition(人民绿色联盟)
33 Persatuan Alumni PBTUSM KL & Selangor(雪隆理华同学会)
34 Persatuan Kesedaran Komuniti Selangor(EMPOWER,雪兰莪社区自强协会)
35 Persatuan Komuniti Prihatin Selangor dan KL(雪隆社区关怀协会)
36 Persatuan Sahabat Wanita, Selangor(PSWS,雪兰莪妇女之友协会)
37 Pertubuhan Pembangunan Wanita Malaysia, PJ Branch(大马妇女发展机构—八打灵分会)
38 Pertubuhan Solidariti Hijau Kuantan(PSHK,关丹绿色团结组织)
39 Radio Bangsar Utama(艋砂第一电台)
40 Sahabat Rakyat Working Committee(人民之友工委会)
41 Save Malaysia Stop Lynas(SMSL,拯救大马委员会)
42 SAVE Sarawak's Rivers Network(拯救砂拉越河流网络)
43 Saya Anak Bangsa Malaysia(SABM,我是马来西亚之子)
44 SEED Lemon Melaka(马六甲向日葵选举教育运动)
45 Selangor and KL Hokkien Association Youth Section(雪隆福建会馆青年团)
46 Sembang-sembang Forum(大炮论坛)
47 Serdang Bharu School Alumni Youth Section(沙登新村学校校友会青年团)
48 Solidariti Anak Muda Malaysia(SAMM,大马青年团结阵线)
49 Solidarity for Civil Rights in China(SCRC,中国维权大马后援会)
50 Suaram Penang(马来西亚人民之声槟城支部)
51 SUARAM(马来西亚人民之声)
52 Sunflower Electoral Education Movement(SEED,向日葵选举教育运动)
53 Sunflower Paper(太阳花报)
54 The Islamic Renaissance Front(伊斯兰复兴阵线)
55 Writer Alliance for Media Independence(WAMI,维护媒体独立撰稿人联盟)

Political Parties

1 Angkatan Muda Keadilan(AMK,人民公正党青年团)
2 DAP Socialist Youth(DAPSY,民主行动党社青团)
3 Dewan Pemuda PAS Malaysia(DPPM,马来西亚伊斯兰党青年团)
4 Parti Sosialis Malaysia(马来西亚社会主义党)


Link:
1. 华文版声明 
2. Kenyataan dalam Bahasa Melayu

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