KUCHING: Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib (pic) has denied his cousins' claims that they were his intermediaries for logging contracts in the state.
Taib, who was commenting on a video produced by an environmental group, Global Witness, on alleged corruption in land deals in Sarawak, said: “I saw the so-called proof. Could it not be someone trying to promote themselves to become an agent to get favours from me?
“I think it is a bit naughty of them for using their big power to blacken my name.” Taib said when interviewed by freelance journalist Liza Bong who posted the video recording of the interview on YouTube.
Taib denied that he had been involved in the selling of native customary rights land as alleged in the video and pointed out that when he was the minister-in-charge of forestry in the 1980s, he had made a public declaration to that effect.
“I made the public declaration that I make nobody as my intermediary because I don't believe in deals and everything has got to be done according to government procedures.”
The 16-minute video, shot with hidden cameras, featured a Caucasian man pretending to be interested in buying land in the state from Tun Abdul Rahman Ya'akub's daughters, Fatimah and Norlia, and having similar discussions with other locals.
Asked about his cousin's claim in the video that she could easily approach him on land deals, Taib retorted: “Do you know that cousin? You better find out what was the relationship between her father and I. Was it friendly or not? We were fighting at one time. So that cousin cannot be my most trusted but (it is) up to you.
“If they are trying to create something, find something more credible. They are trying to frame people like me with evidence that can be interpreted by anybody.”
The relationship between Taib and Rahman soured after Taib took over as Chief Minister in 1981.
In 1987, Rahman formed Permas to take on Taib in the state election but lost.
Several years ago, the two embraced each other on stage at a function, suggesting that the feud between them was over.
However, the latest development might open old wounds after Rahman's two daughter looked to have implicated Taib.