Taib defends move to shackle opposition with ‘White Paper’

By FMT Staff

Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud has come out in defence of a motion to allow the state government to prepare a detailed “White Paper” to control activities by “outside” politicians.

Describing the “White Paper” as a move to “preserve the stability, security and unity’”of the nation, Taib said: “This is our nation, this is our Sarawak.

“This is the best way for us to differentiate between good and bad people. We don’t want to punish people who are not naughty or guilty.”

Last week, Sarawak Backbencher’s Club chairman Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah moved a motion to enable Taib’s government to publish a “White Paper” to curb “disruptive activities of members of the opposition, individuals, organisations and media from outside Sarawak”.

Citing the Sibu by-election as an example, Karim said the campaign tactics used by the opposition leaders were aimed at “arousing the people’s disatisfaction with the government”.

Yesterday, in his winding-up speech at the State Legislative Assembly Taib lauded Karim’s conscientious effort.

“I think it is an intelligent way to calm things down, to get people to see the rational approach to solving problems… (it is) not to muzzle the opposition.

“It (White Paper) is an effort to try to understand what the real situation is.

“Once we know the real situation, measures will be taken and prevention put in place to preserve the good character of the people,” he said.

Growing concern

Taib said the move was not new and was in fact used during the British colonial era and in Singapore.