Malaysia

Kit Siang: Najib should ask Taib to step down until cleared of graft

By Shannon Teoh
December 13, 2011

Abdul Taib has repeatedly dismissed the allegations of graft. — file picAbdul Taib has repeatedly dismissed the allegations of graft. — file picKUALA LUMPUR, Dec 13 — Lim Kit Siang called on Datuk Seri Najib Razak today to state whether Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud will be forced to step down after 17 international NGOs and activists demanded the Sarawak chief minister be arrested immediately for abuse of power akin to an attempt to “form a criminal organisation.”

The DAP parliamentary leader said the prime minister must inform Parliament during the current Dewan Negara sitting of the status of graft investigations against the chief minister of 30 years.

“As Chairman of Barisan Nasional (BN), he should declare whether in view of the very serious allegations made, he would ask Taib to step down until he has fully cleared himself,” the Ipoh Timor MP said.

He added the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Agency (MACC), Attorney-General and Inspector General of Police must respond to the demands by the activists from six countries for the arrest and prosecution of Abdul Taib and 13 family members “for massive graft and plundering of Sarawak’s rich natural resources.”

The 17 signatories sent a 10-page letter to the AG, MACC and IGP detailing accusations against Taib and his family involving assets worth RM4.6 billion in Malaysia and billions of US dollars overseas spread over 85 foreign companies.

They accused Abdul Taib, his four children, eight siblings and a cousin of “abuse of public office, corruption and conspiracy to form a criminal organisation” among “various illegal methods” to enable the family to acquire the assets.

“Malaysia’s international credibility is at stake over Taib’s case,” the letter said.

Abdul Taib has repeatedly dismissed allegations of graft which gained momentum just prior to the April 16 Sarawak state elections, which saw opposition parties double their representation in the state assembly.

Anti-graft body MACC have opened investigations against the Parti Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu president who is also being probed for money-laundering in Switzerland and Germany.

It was also revealed last week that British public relations firm Bell Pottinger changed the Wikipedia page of the sister-in-law of former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown to include criticisms of her Radio Free Sarawak that has repeatedly attacked Abdul Taib’s Sarawak administration.

The UK’s Bureau of Investigative Journalism said that a Bell Pottinger operative amended the online encyclopaedia’s entry on Clare Rewcastle Brown, who also runs Sarawak Report, while also making positive changes to the chief minister’s page.