* ‘former’ is a word very vogue with PKR
Anyway, malaysiakini has an editorial on Abdul Taib Mahmud, Chief Minister of Sarawak
Editor Steven Gan provided the analogy of vultures circling a politically moribund CM, at the twilight of his 26 long years in power.
He reckoned that Taib, aware of the vultures, is either so spooked by corruption allegations of a timber kickbacks scandal, that he had even taken to suing an UMNO newspaper, Utusan Malaysia, or he has brought about a clever ploy by virtue of the lawsuit to bar everyone, especially the fledgling (principally DAP) opposition in the Sarawak state assembly from bringing up the matter.
Taib had issued a 10-page personal statement in the state assembly last month to deny his involvement in the scandal, following which the speaker not only refused to entertain any question on the matter but warned that any discussion on subject would be considered sub-judice during the eight-day sitting, because Taib filed writs of summons in the High Court against malaysiakini, Utusan Malaysia and two opposition leaders.
Check, though not yet checkmate!
But my posting is not so much related to those corruption allegations but more to the state scandalous management of timber logging.
It has been noted that Sarawak is undergoing the highest rate of deforestation in the world. Al Jazeera reported that as logging companies (licensed by the State government of Sarawak) moved further into Sarawak's interior, the primordial jungles have fallen catastrophically to their chainsaws and bulldozers.
Penan - al Jazeera photo
Those once-pristine forests have also been cleared for plantations. Worse, the humongous deforestation has affected over 70% of land the Penan used to roam to eke out a living.
Since the unmitigated avaricious vandalising the Penans have struggled to cope with a destroyed landscape that once teemed with wild boars and other flora and fauna that the natives require for their living and livelihood.
The Penans stated that the forest made them feel safe and peaceful, and when the loggers came, their lives fell apart.
Well, for those Sarawakians who always complained about Peninsula Malaysians as foreigners coming in to deprive Sarawakians from their jobs, rights and whatnot, as Chong Chieng Jen, the MP for Bandar Kuching had done, suck on the fact that your rich timber assets aren’t managed properly (by Sarawakians and not Peninsulaans) for sustainability, both to accommodate nomadic natives such as the Penans or for your future generations.
I have always been annoyed by people like Chong, who, after 43 years of being Malaysian, still
I also wrote Proud Sarawakian, Proud Penangite, Proud Malaysian? early last year to reveal/remind something to blogger Kenny Sia, who commented in my earlier posting Malaysians divided & conquered! to let us know why, as a Sarawakian, he thinks being in Malaysia sucks, or rather, that Malaysia is sucking Sarawak’s resources without a commensurate return for his State.
I raised the subject of Konfrantasi, when Sarawak was one the main state threatened by our southern neighbour. I wrote:
Many Peninsula servicemen and police, alongside with Commonwealth forces, served in Sarawak to resist the Indonesian intrusions. After Konfrantasi, the Malaysian communist insurgency that was still prevalent in Peninsula Malaysia was also experienced in Sarawak. A number of Peninsula servicemen and police died in those two conflicts in Sarawak.
If we hadn't resisted with many sacrifices, even of Malaysian lives, today we would be addressing Kenny as bapak Sia - ya dong?
'Twas not an easy stretch of period for any development to take place in Sarawak! Lots of money were thrown into the counter-insurgency campaigns which we won after years of effort and many sacrifices. Also, it should be noted that Sarawak has generally been keeping the central government out except on matters which they couldn’t, like defence and internal security.
However, I have many Sarawakian friends over in Peninsula Malaysia who have benefited from the total lack of restriction for Sabahans and Sarawakians seeking employment or domicile in Peninsula. And to rub it in our faces, many married beautiful Peninsula women - yes, lots of nyeh nyeh nyeh from those blokes.
On matters of oil and gas, these are national resources that come under the control of the national government with royalties paid to the state. It would be unreasonable for states to demand total control and benefits of such assets while the central government remains responsible for national defence and security arrangements and miscellaneous services such as health.
And this was what I also wrote:
The perception of being cheated could well lie in the ... the consequences of corruption including those perpetrated by Sarawakian officials themselves - the benefits haven't drizzled down sufficiently.