Nervous Sarawak government cracks down on native leaders

By Bruno Manser Fonds

We have just been informed on a crackdown by the Malaysian authorities against native leaders in the East Malaysian state of Sarawak on Borneo. Less than six months ahead of the upcoming state elections, the Sarawak authorities are reportedly nervous due to a never-ending stream of evidence on corruption and land grabs by the ruling Barisan Nasional government under Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud.

According to Sarawak NGO sources, native lawyer Abun Sui Anyit was arrested last night at the Miri airport and detained at the Miri central police station for several hours. According to a police spokesperson, he had been detained “for political reasons” because he had carried a box of CDs with political contents. It has been learnt that the CDs had contained Radio Free Sarawak ( broadcasts and video clips by the alternative TV Sarawak Bebas. While the police first planned to charge him under the Malaysia Act, they later released him on bail without being charged.

In a related development, the Malaysian Ministry of Home Affairs (Kementerian Dalam Negeri – KDN) raided the Kuching office of the Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA), a well-respected advocacy organization for the concern of Ibans, Sarawak’s main indigenous population. During the raid, a number of CDs, leaflets and two CD duplicators were confiscated by the police. Several staff and friends of SADIA, including secretary general Nicolas Mujah, were brought to the Satok police station where they were questioned until after 3 a.m. local time.

Your BMF team


Here are links to some of the information sources the Sarawak government is fearing:

Video on Taib Mahmud:

Video on native leader Baru Bian, challenger of Taib in the upcoming state election:

Sarawak Report exposes on Taib corruption:

Daily news shows focussing on rural Sarawak interest: