Monday, May 7, 2012

Plunderous Musa Aman

Taib Mahmud is well-known for plundering Sarawak. But in neighboring Sabah, Chief Minister Musa Aman (left) is also proving to be another crook. The Swiss Attorney General’s office had confirmed that Musa has been under investigation over timber kickbacks worth at least $90 million – this fact was published on April 22, 2012 in the Zurich-based Sunday weekly, Sonntagszeitung. The national paper had also divulged that the Hong Kong authorities had traced millions of dollars, flowing from companies linked to Sabah timber concessions into a UBS Zurich bank account in the name of Musa Aman himself.

Sonntagszeitung first challenged UBS, the Swiss bank which had allegedly managed the transactions through a complex web of bank accounts, controlled by two of the Chief Minister’s close associates, the timber trader Michael Chia and Sabah solicitor Richard Christopher Barnes. Not surprising, the bank declined to comment.

In a further development, Geneva MP Carlo Sommaruga last Thursday, had raised the issue in Swiss Parliament, asking his government to freeze assets in the country held by Musa and other “Malaysian potentates” – including Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud and his family.

Sarawak Report has been highlighting the damning news but what is interesting is that Attorney-General, Abdul Gani Patail and Prime Minister Najib Razak have both maintained a regal silence on this investigation. Of course lah! Musa is a key political ally and Sabah is a safe vote-bank. Now that the word is out on Musa, will Sabahans still support UMNO? Or can they summon their collective courage to expel UMNO from Sabah?

Kalakau Untol, Japiril Suhaimin, Patrick Sadom, Jimmy Wong and other local leaders should band together to undo the damage done to Sabah by BN-UMNO. The World Bank’s 2010 Malaysia Economic Monitor had confirmed that Sabah is the poorest state in Malaysia and it is likely to stay that way for a considerable length of time. Isn’t it time to say, enough is enough?

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