We're in the news!
It's been an interesting month, we've gained great publicity and been featured extensively in the local and international media. Whilst Radio Free Sarawak is now reaching indigenous peoples in the depths of Sarawak's interior, the global media are beginning to open their eyes to the injustice that is happening under the rule of thief minister Taib Mahmud.
AFP and Bloomberg run stories on Radio Free Sarawak
“Daylight melts away into the rainforest outside and the men of Menyang village sit on the floor of Luang's simple home, leaning in to hear as callers commiserate over alleged government-backed grabs of indigenous lands. The programme they are listening to has become so popular that authorities have threatened to jam it, activists and Malaysia's opposition are handing out thousands of radios, and villagers now plan their evenings around it. I think we would die without RFS Luang, said of the two-hour broadcast. “We used to eat dinner at this time, but now we listen to the radio first”
“At 7 p.m on the Malaysian side of Borneo island, Luang Entiuang turns the dial on a transistor radio in search of an anti-government talk show as about a dozen villagers sit cross-legged on the floor waiting to listen. Similar meetings occur daily across the jungles of Sarawak, Malaysia's biggest state and one that has underpinned the ruling Barisan Nasional alliance's 55-year hold on national power. The two hour broadcast by U.K-based Radio Free Sarawak, in which villagers call in to tell stories of land grabs by palm oil companies, aided by local officials, has helped to pry loose Entiyang and other lifelong BN backers since it began in 2010. “It makes a great difference because we are listening and learning” Entiyang, 61, said.”
National Geographic features Taib's plans to flood Sarawak and displace thousands of indigenous peoples
In a piece entitled “Megadam Project Galvanizes Native Opposition in Malaysia” journalist Gan Pei Ling travelled to the Long Lama region of Baram to witness the impact that the proposed Baram dam will have on the natives there. She wrote...
“The Sarawak project is changing landscape and lives. The dam across the sinuous Baram River will submerge 159 square miles (412 square kilometers) of rainforest, displacing some 20,000 indigenous people. Open acts of defiance are rare in Sarawak after three decades of authoritarian rule under the state's Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, who has long battled charges that he has amassed personal wealth by selling off swaths of the rain forest in corrupt deals with timber industry. But protests have become increasingly bold among indigenous people opposed to the megahydro plan. Last September, native tribes set up a blockade to protest the Murum River dam project in western Sarawak. And in January, the longboat protest came to Long Lama, with shouts of "Stop Baram Dam" in indigenous languages reverberating through the normally quiet town.”
Foreign Policy Magazine
“The head of the Sarawak state government, 76-year-old Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud, has been in office since 1981. According to Bloomberg, at least four of the major companies that have received contracts or concessions from the government (thus allowing them to reap profits from the area's vast natural resources) are linked to his family. The Bruno Manser Fund,...asserts that Taib presides over a fortune of some $21 billion, which would make him the richest man in Asia. A 2006 U.S. State Department cable published by Wikileaks contains this sentence about Taib: “Embassy sources outside the government uniformly characterise him as highly corrupt”.
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So, as you can see it's been a busy month, but we have many exciting stories in the pipeline so do keep reading.