(Taken from Free Malaysia Today)
February 4, 2012
What wealth can Taib Mahmud promise Sarawakians when the state has already been ripped off?
KUCHING: When Abdul Taib Mahmud became Chief Minister on March 26, 1981, he promised he would turn Sarawak into the “richest state” in the Federation of Malaysia.
Sarawak then had plenty of resources – oil and gas, timber and land.
But today, 31 years later, Sarawak under Taib has become the third poorest state in Malaysia.
And the question here now is: where have the state’s resources gone and to whom?
At a Chinese New Year dinner to celebrate the 33rd anniversary of the Federation of Kuching and Samarahan divisions’ Chinese Associations on Thursday, Taib again proclaimed that by 2030, Sarawak would become the “richest state” in Malaysia.
His declaration, however, rings hollow. Taib and and his family’s vast network of businesses that cuts across global borders and the unimaginable wealth amassed puts him firmly as one of the richest in men in the world, wealthier than even England’s Queen Elizabeth. His wealth allegedly originated from Sarawak reources.
Responding to this proclamation, Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bain said: “Has he (Taib)become so desperately short of ideas that he is recycling his speeches from 1981 when he became the chief minister?
“This is the sort of promise a fresh-faced leader would make upon assuming office, when he is full of vigour and inspiration, and driven by visions of development and progress for his state and people.
“That Taib should still be spouting his empty promises 31 years after taking office is proof that he has been and is a failure as leader of the state.”
No reason to let BN continue
“Let him answer these simple questions: Why is it that you have failed to achieve this status for Sarawak in the 31 years you have been chief minister?
“What exactly have you and your ministers been doing all these years aside from enriching yourselves and your families?
“Why should we give you and Barisan Nasional another 18 years when you have failed us so badly for the last 31 years?”
Bian, who is Ba’Kelalan assemblyman, said that in his speech, Taib called on the people to look at the success rather than the failures in the past.
“What success is he referring to? The most significant statistic and one that speaks volumes about Taib’s reign is this: Sarawak has the dubious distinction of being the richest state in natural resources but at the same time, one of the poorest in the country.
“Sarawak also has the dubious distinction of having a chief minister who is reputed to be wealthier than the Queen of England.
“The shocking revelations made over the past year about the Taib regime’s wealth, businesses and properties in 25 countries around the world is an indictment of the corruption that has blighted this once pristine land.”
Taib has ‘robbed’ the state
Recalling Taib’s pre-election speech in April last year, Bian said at that time Taib had promised that Sarawak would become the richest state by 2020. It was part of the state BN’s manifesto.
“So, why now has the goalpost been moved forward 10 years in the space of less than a year?
“Does Taib actually keep track of the nonsense he feeds to the masses? Does he actually have a plan in place or is he making up stories in his old age?
“In his speech at the dinner, Taib also said that every community in the spirit of give and take can find a place in our struggle to build a better future.
“Many Sarawakians can attest that Taib, his family and cronies are exceptionally accomplished in the practice of ‘taking’ – amassing obscene amounts of wealth from land grabs and awarding contracts to family-controlled companies.
“They have effectively robbed the people of their lands and livelihood so that the once-proud natives are reduced to struggling with poverty and hardship.”
Only Pakatan can help Sarawak
Bian added that Taib’s claim that Sarawak will become the richest state in country by 2030 was “spot-on” but only if Pakatan Rayat and its leaders come into power.
“I have to agree, however, with one point made by Taib. He is absolutely spot-on in saying that Sarawak will be the richest state in Malaysia by 2030 (or even 2020) because the state has better leaders coming up in the future.
“What he omitted to say was that these leaders are from Pakatan. Our leaders are people-oriented, and not self-serving opportunists like many of the current BN politicians.
“Our leaders are motivated by altruism and not by greed. Our leaders are committed to undoing the damage done by Taib and his ilk.
“Our leaders are determined to make up for years of neglect and abuse of the natives by the government.
“Our leaders have policies to develop and prosper the people and the state.
“I fully support the call of Taib to help these leaders so that they can come up and take the challenges to build our country together,” he said.