Khamis, 14 April 2011

Anti-corruption protests overseas making Taib scared.

Anti-corruption protests overseas making Taib scared.On Sunday, 10 April, a group of Malaysians living in the United Kingdom gathered outside the Malaysian Tourism Office adjacent to Trafalgar Square, to show solidarity for their fellow Malaysians from Sarawak. The rally was to support free and fair elections in Sarawak which goes to the polls, on 16 April.
The posters said it all “Respect Natives’ Rights”, “Save the Sarawak Rainforests”, “Stop Timber Corruption”, “Serious Fraud Office, Here’s a Case for You”, “Stop Illegal Logging on Native Land” and “Save the Borneo Jungles”.
In addition to the posters, the Orang Utan mascot distributed thousands of leaflets to the people in Trafalgar Square. The massive banner showed a smug faced Chief Minister Taib Mahmud against a backdrop of heavy logging machinery destroying the jungles.
The chants denounced Taib’s corrupt businesses built on timber. His billion dollar empire and his properties are reportedly based in at least 8 countries on 4 continents.
If Sarawak was not known to the Londoners and tourists before, they would have known, by the end of the rally.

If the locals imagined Sarawak an ideal tourist attraction, with its rainforests, caves and beaches, then the rally would have shown the side that visitors rarely see and would not have known about.
Beneath the fa├žade of a green and pleasant land lies an ailing country which is led by an autocratic ruler, Taib, who refuses to step down and who has singlehandedly brought Sarawak to its knees.
Londoners were shocked to hear that this man had destroyed 130 million year old rain forests, virgin jungle, just to satisfy his greed.
The British could not understand why the authorities in Malaysia allowed Taib to practise indiscriminate logging, which had led to a loss in bio-diversity and the destruction of flora and fauna.
The Europeans who are great champions of human rights, were aghast to find that NCR lands belonging to the natives had been seized.
It horrified them to know that traditional hunting lands had been destroyed or that families were displaced and that vast tracts of land, the size of Singapore had recently been flooded to make way for dams. They were shocked to know that Taib had plans to build 12 mega dams, in all.
For the animal loving British, the fact that endangered species were pushed to extinction was simply shocking.
Tourism plays a major part in Sarawak’s economy. In 2010, around 3.3 million tourists (both international and domestic tourists) visited the state.
The fact that the anti-Taib protests and Abolish ISA protests are held in Trafalgar Square, in front of the Malaysia Tourism Office, upsets the Malaysian authorities.
But best of all, you know you are doing the right thing, when someone makes a police report against you.
In this case, it is the Malaysian High Commission who phoned up the Metropolitan police to complain about the frequent Abolish ISA protests in front of the Malaysian Tourism Office.
They demanded that the Metropolitan police call-off the protest.
But the police told the High Commissioner that the peaceful, law-abiding Malaysian demonstrators were doing nothing wrong. (See letter below)
The High Commission officials then asked the police to block the entry of any of the protestors into the square.
Once again, the police had to patiently explain that this was unlawful, as every member of the public had a right to move freely in a public space, provided they behaved in a lawful manner.
The Malaysian officials then asked the police to cordon off the demonstrators in an enclosed pen-like space with barricades.
Yet again the police refused, stating they saw no reason why peaceful demonstrators needed to be treated like cattle.
Poor Malaysian High Commission officials. They probably had no choice but to do as instructed by Putrajaya.
Putrajaya was probably upset that the Metropolitan police did not hound the protesting Malaysians, fire tear gas at them, turn the chemical laced water cannons onto them and beat them senseless.
Putrajaya just does not understand that people have a right to peaceful protest.
At the last Taib protest march in front of one of Taib’s properties in London, the Ridgeford Properties, some residents of the area published an article in the local neighbourhood newspaper.
The article about the march, detailed Taib’s corruption, his vast business empire and overseas properties, his logging activities and his destruction of the rainforest.
It is alleged that the community newspaper was contacted and asked by Taib's company to retract their statements about Taib.
One thing is sure. The anti-corruption and anti-Taib protests are having an effect. Taib is scared.

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