Tuesday, September 18, 2012

An uplifting email from the indefatigable Bruno Manser Fund...

Bruno Manser (25 August  1954 ~ ???)

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear friends,

We would like to inform you that the Bruno Manser Fund is about to release an explosive report on the Malaysian Taib family, one of South East Asia's most notorious kleptocratic clans.

Sarawak has been in Taib Mahmud's
greedy clutches for more than 30 years
The report entitled The Taib Timber Mafia: Facts and Figures on Politically Exposed Persons (PEPs) from Sarawak, Malaysia contains twenty portraits and details on the corrupt business connections of long-term Sarawak Chief Minister, Abdul Taib Mahmud ("Taib"), and his closest family members and associates. Taib is the main culprit for the destructive logging of the rainforests of Sarawak, one of the world's biodiversity hotspots.

As an exclusive, the report will give estimates on the net worth of 20 Taib family members and associates and will systematically expose their business ties to the timber, plantation, construction and media sector in Malaysia and other countries such as Australia, Canada, the US, the United Kingdom and Hong Kong. The report follows up on our earlier research on the Taib family, published in December 2011.

The unembarrassable Dompok:
politician with a rhino hide
On Wednesday, 19 September 2012, the report will be presented in Brussels to the EU Commission on the occasion of a visit of the Malaysian Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Bernard Dompok.

The report will be released to the general public on Thursday, 20 September 2012, 3 p.m. GMT. Copies will be sent to all major international financial services providers as well as to cabinet ministers and government agencies from OECD and ASEAN countries. The Bruno Manser Fund calls on the international community to take decisive action against the Taibs, in particular to freeze their illicit assets and to prosecute them for corruption, money-laundering and related crimes.

Interested journalists may obtain a copy of the embargoed report beforehand, by sending us an email.

Your BMF team

Legacy of rainforest "Robin Hood" lives on
11 March 2005

Bruno Manser: officially dead
but not forgotten
Environmentalist Bruno Manser has been declared officially dead by a Swiss court, five years after he disappeared in the Malaysian jungle.

But Manser’s efforts to save the rainforest have not been forgotten and continue to influence attitudes towards tropical wood.

"It’s five years since Bruno vanished without a trace, so it’s not just a legal step, but also a symbolic one," said Lukas Straumann, director of the Bruno Manser Fund, set up by the environmentalist to spearhead his campaign.

"Friends and family have had to say farewell to him in stages."

Manser became a household name in Switzerland in the 1990s, when he staged a spectacular 60-day hunger strike outside parliament in Bern to highlight the plight of Malaysia’s Penan tribesmen.

The Penan, who still live a nomadic lifestyle in the forests of Sarawak on the island of Borneo, are threatened by illegal logging practices that encroach on - and destroy - their habitat.

Manser became interested in the Penan in the 1980s and often clashed with the Malaysian authorities and timber companies as he defended tribal land rights.


"Bruno Manser is still a hero to the Penan because he made their struggle known to the world," Straumann told swissinfo. "He also made a stand when fighting deforestation and related human rights violations was not very popular."

The environmentalist spent six years living with the tribesmen. He was banned from Sarawak after launching his campaign against rainforest logging.

He disappeared in May 2000, when he is believed to have entered Sarawak secretly. Investigations by the Malaysian police and Swiss activists failed to find any trace of Manser.

Many of his friends believe he was killed because of his campaign, which embarrassed the Malaysian government and earned him plenty of enemies along the way.

But despite vanishing, Straumann says that Manser has had a powerful influence on attitudes towards tropical wood. "He is the person who made it headline news in Switzerland," he added.

[Read the rest here.]