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Adenan Satem, Sarawak, Sarawakian

Adenan shoots down Sarawak’s critics at international conference

Adenan Global Witness

Adenan with Global Witness’ Patrick Alley – The Borneo Post photo

WHEN Datuk Patinggi Adenan Satem took over as Chief Minister on February 28, 2014, I know some questioned what would happen to our great State.

Well ever since that day, our Chief Minister has definitely proven that he is THE MAN for the job.

At the 16th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) in Putrajaya last week, Adenan once again proved that he is indeed a real statesman of calibre, whose wisdom, knowledge, composure, stature and leadership make him the true captain and defender of our great State.

During a session where his critics were obviously salivating to burn him at the stake, our CM showed why he is our CM.

As many of us know, Global Witness is one of those organisations that is always ready to criticise Sarawak and to try to direct the lives of Sarawakians.

Adenan’s told them and other NGOs directly that the State is willing to work with them if they are willing to cooperate and share information on corruption.

“I have decided also not to be at war all the time with NGOs like Global Witness. If your agenda is the same as our agenda why cannot we work together? I want to listen to your agenda and you listen to our agenda too. That way we can move forward and let’s not look back,” he said.

The Chief Minister also said that he needs the assistance of NGOs and other interested organisations that have the same agenda with Sarawak — namely the preservation of our forests and sustainable exploitation of our resources.

He also addressed former Bersih co-chairperson Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan’s question of whether the State is prepared to work with Bersih and other NGOs to ensure a fair election and access to the media during the next Sarawak election.

“Yes, we are prepared, provided that you are not with the opposition. You don’t need to be with us either, all you need is to be objective. That’s all,” was Adenan’s reply.

He also stood firm on the State’s right to ban certain individuals from entering Sarawak.

“We exclude religious fanatics and extremism. Sarawak will never allow religious extremists and bigots such as Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali and controversial academician Ridhuan Tee Abdullah to enter the state. The people in Sarawak have been living in peace and harmony and we would not like to be poisoned by these people’s ‘venom’. For as long as you are prepared to compromise, why not?” he said.

One thing I definitely cannot tolerate is non-Sarawakians telling us Sarawakians what to do.

As a Sarawakian, I can confidently say that I trust our State’s sovereignty and future transformation is indeed in good hands thanks to Adenan.

Our CM has indeed done both our State and Malaysia proud at this international event.

The Borneo Post’s report:

Cool and composed response

By Phyllis Wong and Peter Sibon

Adenan unfazed in the heat of international media, NGOs barrage of questions, stands firm against graft

PUTRAJAYA: Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Adenan Satem rose to the occasion in fielding questions raised by Global Witness and the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) at the 16th International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) in Putrajaya International Convention Centre here yesterday.

Rebutting an allegation by Patrick Alley, co-founder and director of Global Witness, United Kingdom that Adenan’s predecessor Tun Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud was involved in mass corruption and in tricky and thorny practices in timber and plantation sectors, which had adversely affected the livelihood of the indigenous people in Sarawak and destroyed the environment extensively, the chief minister said Taib had been investigated by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) and had not been charged.

“We are governed by the rule of law. One of the rules of law says a man is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

“For your information, he (Taib) has been investigated by the MACC and we know he has not been charged. I believe he has come out with a clean bill.” said Adenan when answering a question from Alley at the Master Plenary II session.

Besides Alley, other speakers at the session were Daniel Kaufmann, president of the Natural Resources Governance Institute; Kevin J. Jenkins, president and CEO of World Vision International Canada; Dr Peter Eigen, founder, chair of Advisory Council of Transparency International and Monique Villa, CEO of Thompson Reuters Foundation, United Kingdom.

The moderator of the session was Ron Nixon, Washington correspondent for The New York Times and chairman of the Board of 100Reporters, USA.

Earlier in his speech, Adenan who is also the Minister of Resource Planning and Environment said he was committed to tackling the menace of illegal logging and corruption.

“I am fighting corruption the way I know because we want to get rid of this curse, especially in the timber industry. Since I took over the administration of Sarawak about 15 months ago, there have been some changes in policies.

“I want to put a stop to the rape of our forests, I want to put a stop to the deterioration of our environment because these somewhat relate to corruption. The first step I took was no more timber concession, no more, enough is enough,” he reiterated.

The chief minister also stressed that he had re-organised the Forest Department, Sarawak Forestry Corporation (SFC) and instilled in them a sense of purpose through tighter enforcement.

“We have combated illegal logging so much so that we succeeded in closing down 30 over sawmills throughout the state. We have stopped the transportation of illegal logs and so on so much so that there is stalemate in the timber industry in this particular matter,” he said.

Adenan also assured that he had sought greater cooperation from the timber companies.

“I have called on the big timber companies, the big 6, to behave themselves, their companies, their subsidiaries, their contractors and so on and now I have their full cooperation,” he said.

The chief minister also gave his assurance that his government was willing to work with the NGOs if they were willing to cooperate and share information on corruption.

“I have decided also not to be at war all the time with NGOs like Global Witness. If your agenda is the same as our agenda why cannot we work together? I want to listen to your agenda and you listen to our agenda too. That way we can move forward and let’s not look back.

“So I need the assistance of NGOs and other interested organisations that have the same agenda with us namely preservation of our forests and sustainable exploitation of our resources,” said Adenan.

He claimed that the new policy that he advocated had achieved some degree of success.

“I know we can’t rid ourselves completely of corruption and dishonesty and so on, but we must at least try. I don’t mean to close down our timber industry, but it must be properly regulated and enforced. So I seek everybody’s help. That is the new policy now,” said Adenan.

The chief minister also said he was very happy to address the international convention because he wanted the participants to hear the case of Sarawak and its future.

“Don’t look at the past, the past is past and nothing much I can do (about it). But for the future let’s look forward and not be incriminating one another. I don’t think this is fruitful pursuit to take,” he asserted.

Adenan’s open declaration of his willingness to work with NGOs prompted former Bersih co-chairperson Datuk Ambiga Sreenevasan to ask whether Sarawak was prepared to work with Bersih and other NGOs to ensure fair election and access to media in the coming state election.

“Yes, we are prepared, provided that you are not with the opposition.

“You don’t need to be with us either, all you need is to be objective. That’s all,” Adenan replied to Ambiga.

To a question posed to him by executive director of the Centre to Combat Corruption & Cronyism Cynthia Gabriel on barring some NGO leaders such as Ambiga to the state, Adenan replied that anyone acting in moderation was welcome to the state.

“We exclude religious fanatics and extremism. Sarawak will never allow religious extremists and bigots such as Perkasa president Datuk Ibrahim Ali and controversial academician Ridhuan Tee Abdullah to enter the state.

“The people in Sarawak have been living in peace and harmony and we would not like to be poisoned by these people’s ‘venoms’. For as long as you are prepared to comprise, why not?” he said.

Meanwhile during a brief press conference, Adenan said he was willing to allow NGOs to enter Sarawak in the upcoming state election provided they do not belong to any opposition party and as long as they remain neutral.

However, Adenan, who is the state BN chairman, said their machinery was now ready and was tight-lipped on when the polls would be held.

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