Paul Harriss MLC in Sarawak
I have taken this part entry from the Wikipedia site regarding the Taib Family in Sarawak who are looking to get $50 million out of the Australian Taxpayer via a YES vote over the IGA in the Upper House of the Tasmanian Parliament.
This entry uses words that suggest a close match with the Tasmanian logging ethos:
“transfer pricing, corruption, bribery, defamation, libel, scam, blockades, deaths, coercion and kickbacks
This Wikipedia entry, ( here ) is I suggest, good bedtime reading for our MLCs before they vote to give some $50 million to Ta Ann — a company now supported in Tasmania by the likes of Paul Lennon
What say you Paul Harris MLC, a known recipient of Ta Ann’s Largesse; will they get your vote in the Tasmanian Parliament?
This Wikipedia entry on Taib and his family suggests that they might not be the ideal recipients of the Australian taxpayers hard earned cash.
The involvement of Taib and his family in the logging industry is specifically mentioned in a report published by Forests Monitor. According to the report, the chief minister reserves his right to revoke timber licenses while no legal challenge is possible against the chief minister. This is to ensure that the anyone with logging interest is loyal to the chief minister. The report also notes that in general, mutually beneficial relationship between political elites and logging companies often results in corruption, bribery, and transfer pricing, where the financial details of transnational logging companies, including Malaysian ones, are difficult to track. Based on a book written by Michael Lewin Ross, the political insecurity of Taib Mahmud from 1986 to 1991 has enabled him to accelerate the pace of logging in Sarawak. Taib is reported to have used timber concessions for personal and family enrichment.
In 2007, The Japan Times reported that nine Japanese shipping companies, which transported timber from Sarawak, had allegedly failed to report some 1.1 billion yen in income over a period of up to seven years. The report claimed the money was paid to Sarawak officials via a Hong Kong agent linked to Taib’s family. Taib, however, denied totally the Japan Times allegations by presenting a 10-page clarification in the state assembly. He maintained that the payments were legitimate expenses on the directive of the Sarawak government. Taib subsequently filed a defamation suit against Malaysiakini for carrying the news. On 4 January 2012, Malaysiakini issued an apology to Taib after the death of one of its key witness and after the Tokyo Regional Taxation Bureau reversed its decision on the alleged kickbacks.This had led to the withdrawal of libel suit by Taib Mahmud.
In 2008, Indonesian newspaper Tribun Pontianak revealed that around 30 shipments of illegal Indonesian logs was imported into Sarawak and re-exported to other countries every month. Chief minister Taib Mahmud and the company Hardwood Sdn Bhd, a wholly owned unit of state agency Sarawak Timber Industry Development Corporation (STIDC), was implicated in this timber scam.
In 2009, the Malaysian 2008 annual auditor-general’s report labelled the forest management in Sarawak by state government as unsatisfactory. However, Sarawak’s Second Minister of Planning and Resource Management, Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan questioned the validity of the report as he claimed that the auditor-general’s department did not have the expertise in forest management.
The indigenous community petitions and road blockades against logging in their ancestral lands has led to forceful dismantling of blockades, several deaths and violent coercion by the police and logging industry enforcers.
According to Mongabay, Sarawak has lost 90% of its forests cover based on satellite images. However, Taib Mahmud refuted the claim and said that there are still 70% of its forests remain intact and he also plans to invite independent investigations on Sarawak rainforest. As on 3 November 2012, The Economist reinstated that Sarawak has lost more than 90% of its primary forests and has the fastest rate of deforestation in Asia which maybe attributed to the Taib’s control on logging industry.