KUCHING: The people behind Radio Free Sarawak and Sarawak Report have been revealed at last.
They are Clare Rewcastle Brown, the sister-in-law of former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, and Peter John Jaban, an Iban activist known as Papa Orang Utan to his listeners.
Rewcastle Brown is also the author of the hard-hitting Sarawak Report — a blog that has been making several allegations against the Chief Minister —that gets 18,000 hits a day. They went public in a report by tabloid London Evening Standard on Wednesday, said an article by The Malaysian Insider.
The independent radio station has also been critical of Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.
The tabloid said they had decided to expose themselves as they wanted to come out fighting ahead of the state election expected to be held in April.
Sarawak Barisan Nasional Backbenchers Club chairman Abdul Karim Rahman Hamzah said as the people responsible had been revealed, the authorities must investigate them and bring them to book.
“What they have been doing is malicious and dangerous. They have campaigned not only against the Chief Minister but also the nation.
“They have launched an underground radio station, inciting one race to go against another, which is an offence in Malaysia,” he told Star Sarawak.
Jaban was an Iban DJ, starting with CATs FM in 1996, said former CATs FM staff Roland Duncan Kelabu.
He said Jaban left CATs FM sometime in 1999 to pursue his own business.
When told that he was one of the persons behind Radio Free Sarawak, Roland said: “I’m not surprise.”
The London Evening Standard claimed it had visited the Radio Free Sarawak studio in a flat above a restaurant in Covent Garden in London, from where they broadcast around the world.
Rewcastle Brown, 51, was said to be born in Sarawak to British parents and she lived in the state until the age of eight.
“English is still the unifying language in Sarawak and I use my blog and broadcasts to expose the outrageous deforestation,” she said.
Rewcastle Brown told the tabloid that there were just five of them with a couple of laptops and a mixer.
“Advances in MP3 technology meant that these days shortwave radio is cheap and easy to do. We’ve been so effective that Taib’s people believe we’re funded by George Soros, whose foundation funds Radio Free Burma,” she told the tabloid.
She denied that former British PM Brown had funded her work but she said: “His support is strictly moral.”
An investigative journalist who started with the BBC World Service in 1983, her passion for the rainforests of Sarawak was kindled as a child when she accompanied her mother Karis, a midwife, into the jungle.
Rewcastle Brown left for the UK when she was eight and it was 38 years later that she returned to Sarawak on a media trip where the deforestation shocked her.
In 2008, she went back to report on a by-election and secretly filmed companies clearing rainforest for oil palm. Last year, she invited Jaban to become the voice of Radio Free Sarawak in London.