*Pic: Eric Abetz from his website …
Tasmania’s Bob Brown Foundation is supporting the Swiss-based Bruno Manser Fund’s call for Sarawak’s former premier and political ‘godfather’ Abdul Taib Mahmud to be a focus of the anti-corruption inquiry after Malaysia’s stunning change of government.
Sarawak is a state of Malaysia.
As Greens Senator for Tasmania, Bob Brown hosted crusading Sarawak-born British journalist Clare Rewcastle Brown – largely credited with blowing the cover on the deposed Prime Minister Najib Razak government’s multi-billion dollar corruption scandal – and other anti-corruption campaigners (including Bruno Manser Fund’s Lukas Straumann) to Tasmania after Taib-linked logging corporation Ta Ann set up in Tasmania in 2006.
Taib’s cousin, Hamed Sepawi, heads up Ta Ann. Australian and Tasmanian government grants to Ta Ann total at least $44 million, including a Tasmanian Forest Industry Development Grant of $7 million for Ta Ann to set up in Smithton in 2006.
Senator Abetz, formerly a Minister for Forests in the Howard government, visited Malaysian forests in 2012 to tout Ta Ann’s logging and, in a consequent adjournment speech to the Senate (Thursday 16 August 2012) lambasted the ‘extreme, manic campaigning’ of the Australian Greens against Ta Ann whose timber products were refused by the London Olympics.
Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak had close relations and political dependency on Taib who is blamed with looting Sarawak’s forests from its Indigenous peoples.
Former Forestry Tasmania CEO Evan Rolley became Ta Ann’s principal in Tasmania.
Ta Ann’s Tasmanian operations are based at Smithton and Judbury. The company has been the key to controversial logging operations in the Southern Forests, Tarkine and at Lapoinya where local residents and Brown were arrested during protests in 2016.
Taib studied at the University of Adelaide and has hotel investments in Australia.