By Hafiz Yatim
After travelling all the way from Miri to Putrajaya to lodge a report with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) on suspected abuse of power by long-time Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, Willie Kajan was expecting the federal agency to spring into action.
However, three months after making the trip, Kajan is left wondering if there has been any progress on his report, which is the second he lodged against the chief minister.
“Since the MACC took my statement on Jan 26, it is yet to brief me on the progress of the investigations. The MACC did not also contact me to verify any facts or take any further statement from me,” he told Malaysiakini.
Kajan’s (right) report alleged that Taib, who is also Sarawak’s planning and resource management minister, had abused his powers by directing the Sarawak Land and Survey Department to hand over 240 acres of native customary land in Mulu to Borsamulu Resort Sdn Bhd.
The land – known as Lot 7, Block 14, Mulu District and inhabited by some 1,000 people from the Berawan, Tring and Penan tribes – was used for the state-supported Royal Mulu Resort.
Kajan came to Putrajaya to make the second report after having approached MACC’s Miri office on Dec 13, and his earlier report was then referred to the Kuching office after it was considered a ‘high profile’ matter.
He said the MACC had told him it would take three months to a year to investigate the matter.
“Three months afterwards, I still do not know the progress,” he said.
No news in probe over RM3 billion fortune
Another complainant, James Wong, had lodged a report with the MACC in Shah Alam, along with John Brian Anthony, then in Putrajaya in June and August last year over the Taib family’s alleged RM3 billion fortune.
However, according to Wong (right), has been no indication of any progress in the investigations since then.
“They have not contacted me or Anthony to follow up on what we had reported. We were expecting the MACC to call us to take further statements from us, but there is nothing so far and it’s been almost a year,” he said.
“I do not expect the MACC to come back to us on what we reported. However, their inaction is truly puzzling. “Maybe such circumstances will not change until Pakatan Rakyat rises in Sarawak,” Wong said, referring to the opposition coalition of PKR, DAP, PAS and Snap.
He noted that if there were allegations against Pakatan politicians, the MACC would move in and there would be a lot of publicity, but when it came to Taib, it remained quiet.
The crux of Wong’s and Anthony’s complaints is based on posts in the whistleblower site Sarawak Report that the family commands an international business empire worth “in excess of RM3 billion”.
Many complaints have been made to the MACC over alleged impropriety and graft practices, particularly pertaining to Taib. However, progress in the investigations remains uncertain and whether charges would be preferred against Taib remains unknown.
Earlier this month, a two-inch thick document on allegations of corruption and abuse of power by Taib, extracted from Sarawak Report, was handed over to the Kuching MACC office by Movement for Change Sarawak leader Francis Siah (in red shirt).
Siah followed it up by going to Putrajaya yesterday and issuing an ultimatum to Taib to step down by Aug 13 – or risk the mobilisation of “people’s power”.
MACC keeping mum on Taib
Yesterday, MACC chief commissioner Abu Kassim Mohamed was asked several times on the progress of investigations into the reports against Taib, but he chose to keep mum.
Questioned by reporters, the commission’s complaints committee chairperson, Mohd Nor Abdullah, said he had not heard of any allegation that the investigations against Taib had been turned away or classified as “no further action” by MACC.
Mohd Nor even went on to describe such questions from journalists about Taib as akin to fishing for information.
Abu Kassim (left), who was also present yesterday, refused to shed light on the investigations, or on the possibility of any legal action against the Sarawak chief minister, despite being asked many times about this.
The MACC’s attitude and consistency in its action has been found wanting when the previous chief commissioner, Ahmad Said Hamdan, said that Selangor Menteri Besar Abdul Khalid Ibrahim could be charged in connection with allegations of abuse of power in the maintenance of a luxury car and purchase of sacrificial cows, only to see Khalid being cleared later.
Despite Abu Kassim keeping mum, Malaysiakini learnt that investigations into the reports against Taib are largely done by officers based at its headquarters in Putrajaya. – Mkini