Don’t Blame The BN Bosses – Blame Their Employees!

Ooops! I didn't quite mean what I said.
Ooops! I didn’t quite mean what I said.

It took a mere 24 hours for the ‘clarifications’ to emerge over the Chief Minister’s vote-fishing remarks about combating corruption yesterday.

NGO’s were still trumpeting Adenan’s ‘change of heart‘, while he sounded his own change of tune….. by explaining what he had really meant to say.

Following the furore over his condemnation of timber corruption in Sarawak, Mr Satem hastily rang round the press, confirming he had not meant to cast aspersions against any senior timber tycoons, large companies or (naturally) a single BN politician.

No, he was referring to the small fry.

It is those lowly ‘sub-contractors, camp managers and workers‘, who are now apparently to blame for tearing out  Sarawak’s remaining jungle regions.

Also, of course, an army of petty officials for turning a blind eye to the problem.

As for those politicians and political relatives, who are on record for owning substantial shares in the logging companies concerned?

How beastly to suggest any of them should be held accountable!

 “What I said was that I want them [the timber tycoons] to monitor their subcontractors, camp managers, supplies and workers closely as I don’t want to see any of them failing to adhere to the pledge,” Adenan said.

“Some of the newspapers misrepresented what I said,” he added.

He admitted that corruption and illegal logging “are very serious” in the timber industry in the Sarawak, adding that he wanted these timber companies help the government to monitor it.

Adenan said if illegal logging and corruption were not stopped it would cause the state not only to lose millions of ringgit in terms of revenue, but also give a bad name to the state.

When he said not to“mess with me”, he meant these illegal loggers and corrupt people” [Malaysiakini]

Meanwhile, Satem pointed out that his friendly timber tycoons and a bunch of officials and politicians have now got together to sign a ‘corporate integrity pledge‘.

Sitting pretty - timber tycoon, Shin Yang's Ling Chiong Sieng's, Miri Mansion
Sitting pretty – timber tycoon, Shin Yang’s Ling Chiong Sieng’s, Miri Mansion

So, that’s ok then.

BN can now set about locking up some camp workers and forest department officials – and then storm ahead to win all the seats in the state election!

What won’t wash

Unfortunately, certain things just won’t wash with this tactic of blaming the little guys.

Let’s start by following the money – those billions that Adenan has complained are being stolen through illegal logging.

Is it the camp managers, forest department officials and sub-contractors who are building vast homes, buying silly cars and investing billions overseas – or is it Sarawak’s timber tycoons and top politicians?

We all know the answer.

Why so hard to meet international monitoring requirements?
Why so hard to meet international monitoring requirements?

Then consider the logistics – we are not talking about stealing tiny diamonds or light feathers.

We are talking about socking great big logs; expensive heavy machinery and complex storage and shipping arrangements.

So, how could sub-contractors go about felling thousands of hectares of timber from under the noses of the greedy concession holders, who are armed with geo-sat technology, helicopters and gangs of ‘tough individuals’, without their complicity in the arrangement?

And finally, consider the management of these operations – why so slack?

After all, how can it be that the arrangements at the timber camps are so disorderly that it has become impossible to prove the origin of incoming logs and how come Sarawak has refused to improve its verification procedures, in line with the recommendations of international monitors?

Are we to conclude that these super-rich timber tycoons are really so dopey in running their businesses, or are we merely witnessing a convenient arrangement for distancing illegal behaviour by the use of ‘third parties’?

Hard to spot? Easy to organise 'under the radar'?
Hard to spot? Easy to organise ‘under the radar’?

Surely, the direction of the money shows us the answers to these questions and where the MACC should be focusing their attention?

Who is bribing who?

There is much more, of course.

Sarawak Report has exposed how forestry officials are bribed to produce false reports on illegal logging.

And we exposed how the people bribing them were the company Samling.

We have further evidence, which shows that exactly the same behaviour is being adopted by other big logging companies and it is this that the MACC should be investigating, not petty camp managers who are just doing their bosses bidding and trying to earn a bent penny in the process (as their ‘betters’ have taught them to do).

Do small sub-contractors and camp workers have the funds to mobilise machines like these?
Do small sub-contractors and camp workers have the funds to mobilise machines like these?

But, if any of this corruption is to be rooted out, Adenan has to address why this scandal has been known about and complained about for years and years and years, but nothing has been admitted officially till now?

Indeed, BN politicians have outright denied the problem all this time, while at the same time building their fancy houses and riding round in their silly cars.

How come?

Sarawak Report has worked on providing the proof of the pudding in this matter.

We have shown time and again how these BN politicians have been taking timber concessions for themselves, along with shares in logging companies.

Yet, there they were today, all lining up behind one of the worst offenders in the matter, none other than Awang Tengah, whose personal assistant’s company was hiring gangsters to beat up locals in Melikin earlier this year, to enforce the illegal logging of their native lands.

At the same time as solemnly signing their ‘integrity pledges’ to eradicate illegal logging these BN politicians are also backing a motion with the DUN privileges committee to move against the MP Violet Yong, who has pointed out the hypocrisy in this matter and criticised Tengah.

Can BN perform the necessary surgery on itself?

What is the difference between legal and illegal logging in a corrupted state where politicians have ignored the rulings of the courts?
What is the difference between legal and illegal logging in a corrupted state where politicians have ignored the rulings of the courts?

So, within 24 hours of acting out the big hero, it turns out that Satem is the sort of general who blames his foot soldiers.

The kind of warlord who knows nothing of atrocities carried out by underlings.

And his ‘integrity pledges’ are merely designed to win votes and squeeze big businesses, while letting them off the hook.

Instead, he plans to hit some poor nobodies with all the blame.

Time to remember that Adenan Satem was the Governor Taib Mahmud’s side-kick for decades.

Adenan Satem was chosen by Taib, in the face of opposition in his party.

And Adenan Satem has pledged to continue with Taib’s dam building frenzy in Sarawak, which will cause as much deforestation as all the illegal logging put together so far.

Consider how Satem is personally backing the illegal loggers MM Golden, which is using state police and gangsters to force its way into native lands in Baram, in order to build a construction road for the as yet unauthorised Baram Dam.

He can sign all Sarawak up to his ‘integrity pledges’, but Adenan Satem must speak by his actions not mere words.

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