Anti-Taib deejay says safe, will stay in Sarawak to fight for change
KUALA LUMPUR, June 9 — The radio host for Radio Free Sarawak (RFS) who went missing on May 31, has finally announced he is safe after fears he was abducted in Miri due to his criticism of Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud’s administration in the state.
Peter John Jaban, had entered a Proton Saga along with three unidentified men after landing in Miri from Kota Kinabalu under mysterious circumstances with friends, family and colleagues left unaware of his whereabouts for the past 10 days.
But the presenter for RFS said in a statement today “I am safer here than in any other country.”
“I’ve decided that my future is here. I was born here and I intend to remain here. There is so much work to be done especially with crucial elections just round the corner.
“This is our chance is to bring about real change in Sarawak politics. My struggle for Sarawak will continue where it’s needed most,” he said.
RFS and its sister website Sarawak Report had in the months leading up to April 2011’s state election ramped up accusations of widespread corruption against Abdul Taib during his 30-year administration.
Although the chief minister’s coalition won the election, opposition parties managed to double their representation in the 71-seat state assembly.
This has led to speculation that the 75-year-old is behind the kidnapping of Jaban.
But other theories abound, with some saying Jaban, after being hounded by authorities, chose to disappear, or even fake his own abduction.
The Iban Sarawak native’s phone had been unreachable since, according to local opposition leaders and his boss Clare Rewcastle-Brown, who is former British prime minister Gordon Brown’s sister-in-law.
Attempts by The Malaysian Insider to reach Jaban had also failed to elicit a ringtone.
But he explained today that when he was waiting for his flight from Kota Kinabalu to Miri on May 31, immigration officers had hauled him into an office and told to wait for Special Branch officers.
“Special Branch... photocopied my documents and they took pictures of me from every angle, again very politely. Then, they informed me that I was being ‘referred’ to the Sarawak Police and escorted me to the aircraft,” he said.
According to his statement, he asked to be taken to Miri PKR chief Dr Michael Teo’s clinic as he was feeling unwell.
“As I sat, a car pulled up beside us on the fast lane. Two men got out — I recognised one of them from my flight — and told me that the police were chasing our car. So, on the spur of the moment, I decided to follow them.
“There was no time to update Dr Teo who was otherwise engaged on the phone anyway and I’m sorry for that but I had to make my move. These three men were genuine Samaritans — they sought only to help me and I thank them for that. They then dropped me somewhere safe,” he said.
He said he remained unreachable for the next three days as his phone was damaged in the heavy rain. He had travelled on foot and hitchhiked his way out of Miri until he was given a new phone.
“As for claims in the press that I ‘staged’ the whole thing, I suggest those journalists verify my version of events with Special Branch in KK.
“With regards the near future, I will continue to take action, fighting on the ground for the people of Sarawak. I fly no flag but theirs, as I have always done. I know that Radio Free Sarawak will carry on, business as usual, spreading the message to where it is needed and, of course, I will give them every assistance in that,” he added.
Jaban has been a key member of RFS as he worked for Sarawak’s Land Survey Department up to 2006 and has said “there is much that is very wrong with the way this chief minister has been taking away the land from the natives and handing it out to his family and political cronies.”
He helped launched the London-based radio station in 2010 first went to London in 2010 after working for private station Cats Radio in Sarawak, which he has said is “controlled by Barisan Nasional and it is owned and run by Taib’s own family members.”