Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Corruption in Malaysia, Singapore exposed as investigation catches Sarawak’s ruling elite on camera

We are a few days late for a full blog on this Global Witness video (though we linked to it earlier). It has attracted quite a stir in Malaysia, garnering over a million views and, among other things, a mention in today's FT.) As Global Witness say:
"For over thirty years, Sarawak has been governed by Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, who controls all land classification, forestry and plantation licenses in the state. Under his tenure, Sarawak has experienced some of the most intense rates of logging seen anywhere in the world. The state now has less than five per cent of its forests left in a pristine condition, unaffected by logging or plantations and continues to export more tropical logs than South America and Africa combined.

The film reveals for the first time the instruments used by the ruling Taib family and its lawyers to skirt Malaysia’s laws and taxes. It shows how they cream off huge profits at the expense of indigenous people, and hide their dirty money in Singapore."

One company, for example, was offered for sale through an illegal transaction in Singapore designed to evade Malaysian tax. The lawyer told Global Witness that Singapore has a “Chinese wall,” that it’s impossible for the Malaysian authorities to get any information out of Singapore, and that Singapore is for "people like us."

It's a really good, important investigation. See the original here, and the Global Witness press release here. For a long-time investigator of these and many other matters, see the Sarawak Report.


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