Timber concessions to MP’s family a ‘reward’?

Revelations by Sarawak Report provide clues as to why Jacob Dungau Sagan is an ardent supporter of Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, says PKR’s Baru Bian.

(Free Malaysia Today) – Was Jacob Dungau Sagan, Baram MP and Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister being rewarded with business contracts and belian (Borneo iron wood) concessions for supporting the construction of the dreaded Baram Dam?

This is the question being asked by his constituents, including those from his own longhouse of Long Anap.

On Feb 25, Sarawak Report revealed that Sagan, his wife and daughter are the secret holders of three timber concessions in Sagan’s parliamentary constituency of Baram.

The concessions, estimated to be worth several millions, are specially licensed to harvest belian, a particularly rare and sought-after Southeast Asian tree species.

Belian has been classified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), as a vulnerable species and is banned for export from Sarawak and from Indonesia.

Said Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian: “Sarawak Report has revealed that Sagan’s family company, Dema Tiga Sdn Bhd, is held by his wife, brother and sister-in-law [believed to be his proxies].

“The company has received RM63 million in public contracts over the last five years, including one for a rural water supply system funded by the federal government and commissioned by the Sarawak Public Works Department.

“These revelations provide the answers to those who have been wondering why Sagan has been an eager supporter and defender of Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud.”

Sagan was reportedly upset by his (Bian’s) statement that Taib’s promise that Sarawak would be the richest state was nothing but another one of his hollow promises.

Sagan said Bian’s statement clearly showed that he has no confidence in the Sarawak people to develop the state, and was not aware of programmes the state government was working on.