Taib Strikes Back!

By Sarawak Report

BN and Sarawak’s Chief Minister, Abdul Taib Mahmud, have exhibited their concern about the growing tide of criticism engulfing their government by launching a series of lash-backs in the past 24 hours.

On Thursday night they utilised the police to arrest two groups of high-profile NGOs within a few hours of each other.  Both groups were threatened with charges of possessing seditious material, but were eventually released.

The material concerned included discs containing recordings of the popular Radio Free Sarawak programme, which operates as an independent political voice in Malaysia without a Government licence, as well as clips from the alternative Sarawak TV, Bebas.

Nervous of legitimate criticism?

Sarawak Report can offer exclusive pictures of the police raid on the Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA), which took place in Kota Sentosa, Kuching, in the early hours of the morning on Thursday.  Plain clothes police, accompanied by

Ransacking the SADIA office – exclusive

Malaysian Ministry of Home Affairs (Kementerian Dalam Negeri – KDN) officials, ransacked the office and removed the discs and copying machines, along with some leaflets and posters.  The offensive leaflets bore a compelling visual message – illustrating Sarawak as a milk cow and Taib Mahmud and Najib sitting beneath its udders and squeezing it dry!

The organisation’s Secretary General, Nicholas Mujah, and two associates were taken to the police station for questioning until after 3am before being released.  Police also removed legitimate equipment from the office, yet it is believed that the group was eventually released without charges.

Loot is shipped off in police vehicles

Parallel arrest in Miri

This raid in Kuching followed an earlier arrest at Miri airport of the respected NGO lawyer Abun Sui Anyit, who has fought a number of successful cases against the government’s seizure of Native Customary Rights Land on behalf of a number of local communities.  He had just arrived from Kuching and is believed to have also been in possession of

Removal of “seditious” materials – exclusive

CDs containing episodes of Radio Free Sarawak.  Clearly the fact that the radio station is building a faithful and growing audience in the state has worried the incumbent Chief Minister.  The station, which is broadcast on SW and is available also on the internet, is regularly highly critical of corruption and human rights abuses.  It also frequently draws attention to land grab issues affecting native communities, who have had their lands ‘alienated’ under Taib’s amended land laws.