Sunday 12 June 2011

'Only PKR gov't will ensure Taib's prosecution'

Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian does not believe that Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud would be prosecuted so long as the BN controls the federal government.

"He will be prosecuted on charges of corruption and abuse of power only when Pakatan Rakyat forms the next federal government after the upcoming general elections," he said at a PKR Gawai Dayak dinner at Batu Kawah, near Kuching, last night.

"That is why I say that it is crucial for Pakatan to win the general elections if we want to see Taib charged for corruption and abuse of power," he said, referring to confirmation by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) that it was investigating reports lodged against Taib.

Baru, who is also the state assemblyperson for Ba'Kelalan, is one of the individuals who has filed reports against the long-serving chief minister.

He said it was difficult to prosecute Taib so long as the BN continued to hold power at federal level because of it was indebted to him.

He said the billionaire chief minister would remain a free man even if the Opposition won the recent Sarawak state elections.

Baru urged the people of Sarawak to give their support to the PKR and its Pakatan partners, the DAP and PAS, in the upcoming general elections, if they want to see Taib charged in court.

He said if Pakatan could win enough parliamentary seats in Sarawak, the possibility of a Pakatan government cannot be ruled out.

"Therefore, PKR needs to strengthen and polish its election machineries at all levels of the party in the state so we can win.
"Our post-mortem on PKR's performance in the recent state elections showed our machinery was weak because we have not been opening up new branches and failing to register new voters.

"We were rather complacent because we thought that we could win based on a strong anti-BN sentiment. We were wrong because the sentiment alone could not ensure victories for us," he said.

External factors

Baru said the PKR leadership also realised that the party lost in rural areas because of external factors, such as threats against the voters by the BN supporters, threats against the community leaders and widespread deployment of money politics.

"Gangsters were also deployed to threaten the PKR supporters," he charged.

Baru said he expected the coming Sarawak state assembly sitting to be lively because the Opposition state assemblypersons were expected to raise many issues, including on corruption and abuse of power by BN.

He said he would also raise the issues on a proposal to set up a land commission.

"The commission will not only cover the native customary rights land, but also all types of land," he added.

Batu Lintang state assemblyperson See Chee How asked the people of Sarawak to rally their support behind Pakatan in the coming general elections if they wanted the large amount of cash deposited by Taib in foreign banks, returned to them.

"If we can get back the money, it can help the state to prosper. We can build roads and other infrastructure with the money," he said.

See noted that the MACC is rather slow in its investigation into reports lodged against Taib for corruption and abuse of power.

"We don't even know when it is going to complete the investigation," he said.

See also heard that some BN leaders see Taib as a liability to the coalition.

"But there are also some BN leaders wo want to see Taib remains as chief minister because they are obligated to him," the state PKR information chief, said.

"For now, Taib is still safe," he added.

'Set up inquiry committee'

A motion to set up opposition-headed committee of inquiry into Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud's "grand corruption" allegations should be first item of new Sarawak State Assembly business said DAP supremo Lim Kit Siang in a statement today.

NONEHe suggested that Taib Mahmud (left) should go on a leave of absence until the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) had cleared him of grave corruption allegations.
Otherwise it would a shame to Sarawak and Malaysia to have a state chief minister actively under MACC investigations following international pressure.

He added that it has become a diplomatic scandal with Swiss Federation President Micheline Calmy-Rey forwarding information about Taib's assets in Switzerland to its regulatory body Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority (Finma), for investigation.

Kit Siang asked if Taib would go voluntarily on a fairly extended "leave of absence."
The answer must be a categorical no as this will be against the entire history, culture and tradition of accountability and responsibility of the BN leadership whether at national or state levels."

If Taib is not prepared to go on leave of absence on his own, Kit Siang said the newly-elected Sarawak State Assembly had to act.

He suggested it should: (1) Motion for Sarawak State Assembly to decide whether Taib should take "leave of absence" until fully cleared of corruption allegations both in the country as well as internationally; and (2): Motion to set up an opposition-headed committee of inquiry into Taib's "grand corruption" allegations comprising equal number of Assembly representatives from both BN and Pakatan.

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