Abdul Taib Mahmud, a politician in Malaysia since 1981, was found to be corruptly taking government land and destroying the Borneo rainforest at the same time. This was discovered in December 2011 when land registry records were leaked. Since that time the Malaysian government was given time to take care of this corruption. However, authorities have protected Taib and are neglecting the facts. With the lack of concern shown the United Nations received a letter requesting them to impose sanctions against Malaysia for breaching international treaties.
The letter was sent from 21 non-governmental organization (NGO) from nine countries around the world. It asks for the UN to become involved as Malaysia is breaching several international treaties under the UN, including anti-corruption and anti-money-laundering. This coalition is led by the Swiss Bruno Manser Fund.
The NGO coalition, led by the Swiss Bruno Manser Fund, criticizes the Malaysian government’s non-implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) and the UN Convention against Transnational Organised Crime (UNTOC) in the case of Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud (“Taib”).
In particular, the Malaysian authorities are criticized for granting unlimited legal and political protection to Taib, one of the wealthiest, most powerful and longest-serving politicians in South East Asia, who is the chief culprit when it comes to the large-scale destruction of Malaysia’s tropical rainforests by logging.
Taib Mahmud has concurrently held the posts of Chief Minister, Finance Minister and Minister for Natural Resources of Sarawak, Malaysia’s largest state, since 1981. Three decades in office have allowed him and his closest family members to amass illicit assets worth an estimated several billion US dollars.
“It is alleged that the Malaysian authorities are deliberately and actively protecting Mr. Taib and his family members from criminal prosecution”, say the NGOs. “Malaysia’s failure to charge Mr. Taib with criminal and other offences is contrary to its international duties and legal obligations as a party to UNCAC and UNTOC.”
The NGOs are calling on the United Nations “to reprimand Malaysia, as party to UNCAC and UNTOC, and as a member of the international community, for its inaction over the Taib case and to impose sanctions or take other appropriate measures against Malaysia.”The complaint has been endorsed by NGOs from Malaysia, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, Germany, Norway, the United Kingdom, Nepal and Australia.
Taib has been taking government lands for pennies on the dollar or giving it away to family. Most of these lands are located in the Borneo rainforest where the trees are being cleared for oil palm plantations. For more information on the earlier complaints and the Borneo rainforest, please read Corruption in Malaysia: Taib Family is Destroying Borneo Rainforest in Oil Palm Land Grab. Without UN involvement it appears Taib will not be held responsible for destroying a large part of the oldest rainforest in the world.
Do you think Taib should be held accountable and the UN should get involved?