KUCHING, June 26 (Bernama) — A Sarawak backbencher today questioned the use of funds by the Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) to help the Penan in the state.
Dennis Ngau (BN-Telang Usan) said facilities like schools, clinics and so forth were all provided by Barisan Nasional (BN) government in Penan settlements.
“Where have all the funds they have collected all this years for the so called victimized Penan go to?
“What has the organization done for the Penan, I don’t even see a single toilet built by them, let alone a clinic or school,” he said when debating the motion of thanks for to the Yang Dipertua Negeri’s aaddress the assembly sitting here.
Dennis also urged the opposition to stop making use of the Penan as tool to gain support or political mileage. — BERNAMA
KUCHING, June 22 (Bernama) — Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said he would give his full cooperation to the Swiss Federation to clear his name and that of the Sarawak government over allegations of timber corruption by the Bruno Manser Foundation (BMF).
He said his attention had been drawn to the recent allegations by BMF which claimed that the Swiss Anti-Corruption Agency might possibly investigate him and freeze assets belonging to him in Switzerland.
“Let me state categorically that I have no secret Swiss bank account nor asset or investment of any description in Swizerland. None whatsoever,” he said in his personal explanation at the State Legislative Assembly sitting in Petra Jaya, here, today.
Taib, who is also state BN chairman, gave his side of the story on the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC)’s investigation into the allegations following the purported decision of the Swiss Anti-Corruption Agency to freeze his assets recently.
He said the allegations had since been used by local politicians to advance their own political agenda against him and the state government, which had once again obtained a strong mandate from the people through the state election in April.
As head of the state government and a member of the legislature in keeping with parliamentary practice and tradition, Taib said he was accountable to the august House to make a personal statement in accordance with Section 22 of the Standing Order.
“Indeed I have stated in clear and unequivocal terms in a letter addressed by me last month to Swiss Federation president Micheline Calmy-Rey to confirm if she had allegedly ordered any investigation into the allegations by BMF,” he said, adding that BMF was a foreign non-governmental organisation that was not at all accountable to the people of Sarawak.
Taib had also asked the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma) to furnish him with a copy of the allegations to enable him to exercise his rights to seek and obtain appropriate legal redress.
In pledging his full cooperation to the Swiss Federation “to swiftly bring the truth to light so as to nail down all malicious falsehood”, he reiterated that the allegations by BMF were false and evidently, politically motivated.
“The BMF has a track record of scurillous and scandalous allegations against the Sarawak government for many years, including the allegation of felling 90 per cent of our rainforest although local and international forest experts have certified that 70 per cent of the forest is still being preserved and sustainably managed.
“Therefore, BMF’s false allegations about assets held in Switzerland by me is a continuation of its malicious effort to smear the state government and leaders,” he added.
On June 9, MACC chief commissioner Datuk Seri Abu Kassim Mohamed confirmed that MACC was investigating Taib over allegations of timber corruption, while Calmy-Rey was reported to be aware of the allegations and had forwarded the
information about Taib’s assets in Switzerland to its regulatory body, Finma, for investigation. — BERNAMA