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Taib Mahmud’s last stand? June 1, 2007

Posted by elizabethwong in Democracy, Human Rights, Malaysia, Politics.

On Thursday, See Chee How and Wan Zainal Abidin received their writ of summons for defamation from Taib Mahmud, Chief Minister of Sarawak.

Both See (KeADILan Division chief of Stampin, Sarawak) and Wan Zainal (Sarawak KeADILan chief) were said to have defamed Taib when they distributed leaflets alleging kickbacks from Japanese shipping companies to a Hong Kong agent linked to the Chief Minister and his family (see end of post).

Ironically, some of us had dinner with See, an old NGO colleague (now lawyer specialising in environment and indigenous land rights) just a few nights ago, discussing about this case alongside other current affairs issues.

No doubt a defamation suit coming from an extremely wealthy and powerful politician is daunting.

I asked See, a quiet soft-spoken man, whether he was alright (meaning – how much sleep is he losing over this); to which he replied, “We now have the opportunity to bring up all that’s been buried by Taib.”

Malaysiakini.com and its editor-in-chief, Steven Gan received theirs on the same day too. The online paper still maintains its serialised section on this scandal, titled, “Tip of the iceberg” which undoubtedly irked the 71-year old Chief Minister even more.

It is not known whether Utusan Malaysia and its group editor-in-chief Mohd Khalid Mohd was served today.

There are however signs that Taib isn’t handling this all that well. During the first session of the Sarawak state assembly, he defended himself and issued a 10-page denial during the sitting.

Then the speaker disallowed questions on the matter and said the next day that any comment or discussion in the assembly would be deemed sub judice.

(PDF) The writ has been scanned and pdf-ed by KeADILan Sarawak, made available here or here. (Warning – 3Mb file size)

The originating article came from Kyodo News, dated 29 March 2007.  It is not known whethere Kyodo will be sued in the future too.

So here it is again ….Play it again, Sam!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Wood carriers allegedly hid 1.1 billion yen income
Kyodo News

Nine Japanese shipping companies that transport lumber from Sarawak, Malaysia, allegedly failed to report some 1.1 billion yen of income in total during a period of up to seven years through last March, sources said Wednesday, alleging the money constituted kickbacks to Sarawak officials via a Hong Kong agent.

Such tax irregularities have occurred as the Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau determined the companies’ remuneration payments to Regent Star, a Hong Kong agent, which has a connection with Chief Minister of Sarawak Taib Mahmud and his family, were rebates, not legitimate expenses, the sources said.

Although the Hong Kong agency did very little in the way of substantive work, the shipping companies are believed to have used rebates as a lubricant to facilitate their lumber trade, the sources added.

Lumber export is controlled by the Sarawak state government on grounds of forest resources protection.

Rejecting the tax authorities’ conclusion, the shipping firms claim the transactions with Regent Star have been legitimate and deny wrongdoing.

The companies accused of the alleged tax evasion include Mitsui O.S.K. Kinkai Ltd. and NYK-Hinode Line Ltd. belonging to the Nanyozai Freight Agreement (NFA), a cartel formed in 1962 to avoid excessive competition in import of lumber from Southeast Asia. The 12-member group is exempt from the Antimonopoly Law.

The shipping firms will likely be slapped with well over 400 million yen in back taxes along with heavy penalties, the sources added.

According to NFA and other sources, the Japanese cartel concluded an agreement in 1981 with Malaysia’s Dewaniaga Sarawak regarding lumber transport. Dewaniaga is a state-affiliated concern in charge of lumber export control and is headed by the Sarawak chief minister’s younger brother.



1. monsterball - June 1, 2007

Whatever it is…it is great to read people are daring and to speak out corruptions…more than ever before….especially under TDM…one speak against his loyal supporter..you are in big trouble.
Gone are those days..and for that..I salute Pak Lah.

2. kittykat46 - June 1, 2007

Wah….Elizabeth…you may be getting a writ from Mr. Sarawak too. Lets see him try to sue Kyodo news in Japan. They may just produce the evidence in court. In which case Mr. Sarawak should resign ?

EW: There’s no injunction on the said article.

3. hasilox - June 1, 2007

“Not known whether Kyodo will be sued in the future too”
You mean Kyodo, has not yet been sueeeeeed? Shouldn’t the original source be the main target for a person ‘wrongly accused’?

Why leh? Kyodo cannot be found or japan cannot be found?

4. Philip Lau - June 1, 2007

Hi Elizabeth,

When is your own Writ to be issued to those Min of Internal Security officers who seized the 10 copies of M13 from MPH Branch?

As for the Writ against the SM of Sarawak the Defendants must be prepared to contest up to the Federal Court? Need plenty of money for that.

5. Loanshub - June 1, 2007

Any ways, it really sounds good that people rights are still sured for use. everybody has right to speak even against his superiors if they are wrong.

6. monsterball - June 1, 2007

Liz..Went to MPH for book. Not available…still banned they say.
Where can I get few near Subang?

7. Mason From Kuching - June 2, 2007

According to a speech by Sarawak Head Of State recently, he was proud of the development of Sarawak under Cheif Minister Taib Mahmub. He added that Sarawakians were fortunate to have a government that is honest, systematic and capable of enhancing the State’s integrity. (Yes of coz, your Majesty. In his Highness’ “dictionary”, one who drives bank robbers is never guilty so long as they did not rob or steal. I salute you, your Majesty)

Mahmud, Mahmud, one who caught stealing a ‘belachan’ is jailed for 3 months (give or take), keep up the ‘good-work’ Mud. Way 2 go Mud!….Long live Mud! May you live till 200 so Sarawak can prosper under u……..

8. sam - June 4, 2007

I wonder how long this case will last, judging from experience of other cases… He is more than 70 yo after all…

9. monsterball - June 8, 2007

LIZ..Got the books. Bought one for Susan!!

10. Orang Utan - June 13, 2007

Could someone translates all these to sarawak’s natives languages? They are the people too naive and the power to make changes. We all know what “wrongs” the man’d done, he is only human even with his three devils he kept and a spear dropped into the sea’s floor at Mukah to protect himself from all you good righteous fellows. Even our lonesome protector who just got himself a pretty companion, does not bother, maybe blinded by the three devils, what could your “bla bla bla” do ?
And you all know too sarawak are full of loaded timber tycoons with cash stacked up all over the world, not only HONGKONG. Why? .. to evade tax of course !!
Stop all these then only then you could bring the man down !
Else just do what they do, chop the tree down until there is no more tree to chop, take the cash and migrate.
By the time the native and the poor of sarawak got their children educated, they were all already brainwashed to work like slave. There would be no more tree or orang utan but oil palm and car running on palm oil.

11. Jazzier - November 20, 2007

I’m glad the skeleton’s out of his closet. It’s about time! He’s taking my heritage land without compensation and taking away the land my ancestor’s have lived and died on. My parents have built a house for their retirement. I hope he fucking goes to hell for that.

12. SwakGurl - October 3, 2008

what I hope is Taib will pay for his crimes and his whole family will also have to pay what they had done to Sarawak ppl, No one dares fight Taib because everyone know he is THE CHIEF OF GANGSTERS OF SARAWAK!!!!

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