Taib Mahmud treated to a Cultural Performance by Protesters at Oxford

By Leong See-See, Loyarburok

Taib Mahmud was set to get the ball rolling as the speaker to make the opening remarks at the Inaugural Oxford Global Islamic Branding and Marketing Forum. Instead, he was slapped around from one door to another – much like in a giant pinball machine – unable to get out of his car without walking into demonstrators.

Failing to make the glorious entrance he expected after footing out a huge sponsorship for the event, Taib was eventually decantered through a back door typically used for accepting kitchen deliveries or taking out the trash.

By the end of the day, his own flunkeys called it curtains for Taib when they pulled down the blinds at the Said Business School to shield him from disbelieving protestors peering in to gawk at the Chief Minister who had been in power since 1981 – two years after Margaret Thatcher became the UK’s first woman Prime Minister.

A leadership challenge ended Maggie’s tenancy at No.10. Her memoirs of the Downing Street years have long been available. So too is John Major’s while Tony Blair’s is in the works. All three can be purchased together from Amazon come September.

By 1990, the year that Thatcher stood aside, practically the whole forest area of Sarawak had been licensed for logging (ref: FERN). Demonstrators took part in protests around the UK to call for the protection of the Sarawak rainforests as chainsaws claimed the dues Taib had parcelled out to his family and cronies.

Today, besides Taib – only 3% of the forests remain. Oil palm plantations have taken over enough land to establish Malaysia as one of the largest producers of the commodity. Alerted to a billion dollar market for Halal products, Taib was persuaded to lead Sarawak’s first investment mission to the United Kingdom.

When it was learnt that Taib would appear at the Oxford conference, those with long-standing concerns about Sarawak’s social and environmental record did not hesitate to show up bearing placards. The most penetrating picket insisted Taib declare the source of his wealth.