Activists want Taib Mahmud arrested

They want Taib and 13 family members arrested for massive graft and plundering the rich natural resources of Sarawak.

(Free Malaysia Today) – Environmental groups and activists from Malaysia, Europe and Australia called Tuesday on Malaysian authorities to arrest Sarawak chief minister Abdul Taib Mahmud and 13 relatives accused of massive graft.

Signatories including Greenpeace and the Swiss-based Bruno Manser Fund released a letter sent to the Malaysian government that urges the immediate arrest of Abdul Taib Mahmud, chief minister of Sarawak state since 1981.

Taib opponents have long alleged systematic corruption and plundering of the rich natural resources of Sarawak, by Taib, 75, and his family.

The letter signed by 17 non-governmental organisations and activists, alleged crimes including illegal appropriation of public funds and land, abuse of office, fraud, money-laundering “and conspiracy to form a criminal organisation.”

The Bruno Manser Fund, which spearheaded the effort, has said public records in several countries show Taib and his family members have stakes in 332 Malaysian and 85 foreign companies worth several billion dollars.

The letter added that Taib family stakes in 14 large Malaysian companies alone exceed $1.46 billion.

“We allege that only the systematic breach of the law and the use of illegal methods has enabled Taib and his family members to acquire such massive corporate assets,” it said.

The appeal was sent to Malaysia’s attorney general, anti-corruption agency, and inspector-general of police.

The Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission said earlier this year it was investigating Taib but its director of investigations, Mustafar Ali, declined comment to AFP on the probe and Tuesday’s arrest appeal.

An official in Taib’s office also declined to comment. Taib has previously denied such allegations.

The NGOs said immediate arrests were needed to prevent the accused destroying evidence.