Press Statement: 21st March 2013
SARAWAK INDIGENOUS RIGHTS OWNED AND SOLD IN SECRET DEALS
SUARAM refers to Global Witness’ video titled “Inside Malaysia’s Shadow State” available for viewing at http://www.globalwitness.
Rights of the indigenous peoples were sold with the lack of “free, prior and informed consent” through the Regional Corridor Development Authority and Sarawak’s Ministry of Resource Planning and Environment headed by Chief Minister Taib Mahmud. The latest ambition of the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy of building 50 hydroelectric dams further risks the erosion of native customary rights (NCR) of indigenous peoples.
The said video had further strengthened the urgent need for a robust investigation on the allegations of Taib’s corrupt practices. The violations of indigenous peoples’ NCR and deforestation to foot the bill of one family’s riches must be exposed and revealed to the public. Without any meaningful actions by the government and its enforcement agencies, indigenous peoples will be systematically stripped off their customs and identity.
In view of the above, SUARAM urge the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission to conduct a thorough investigation on the matter and make available the result of the investigation. SUARAM further demands that a Royal Commission of Inquiry be establish to determine the matter in the most impartial and transparent manner. Taib’s assets, if found to be illegally obtained and amassed over the years, must be returned to the people of Sarawak with immediate effect.