Sarawak Report

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Sara report.png
Web address
Commercial? No
Type of site
News, Document archive and disclosure
Available in English, Iban, Malay, Mandarin
Created by Clare Rewcastle Brown
Launched 12 February 2010 (2010-02-12)[1]
Alexa rank
Increase 310,090 (March 2015)[2]
Current status Active

Sarawak Report is an investigative journalism online news resource that offers "an alternative vision of justice, transparency and a fairer future in Sarawak."[3] It is based in London.


Sarawak Report describes itself as "a group of citizens and onlookers deeply concerned by the situation in Sarawak, East Malaysia." It was founded by Clare Rewcastle Brown, sister-in-law of former UK prime minister Gordon Brown. In 2013, Bridget Welsh, a political science professor at Singapore Management University and an expert on Malaysian affairs, credited Sarawak Report for its “impact on the political debate” over deforestation in Sarawak.[4] and the New York Times called Ms Rewcastle Brown "one of the most effective voices calling attention to deforestation in Malaysia"[5]

Sarawak Report editor, Rewcastle Brown was barred from entering Sarawak in July 2013. She arrived at Kuching International Airport in Sarawak, only to be detained at the airport and put back on a plane for Singapore.[5] The Chief Minister of Sarawak, Abdul Taib Mahmud is known to bar his critics from entering the Sarawak state.[6]

In 2010, Rewcastle Brown also set up sister organisation Radio Free Sarawak, an independent radio station that brings alternative news for 2 hours a day via shortwave to remote indigenous communities in Sarawak, East Malaysia.[7] The radio show won the IPI International Press Institute Free Media Pioneers Award 2013[8]

Major exposés[edit]

Sarawak Report was dubbed as the "Wikileaks of Sarawak" following its chain of exposés of alleged land grabs by the family of Sarawak's chief minister Abdul Taib Mahmud and their international property empire.[9][10]

Taib Mahmud family overseas property[edit]

In June 2010, Sarawak Report began its first exposé by publishing an article detailing about Canadian properties owned by the family of Taib Mahmud.[11] This was followed by subsequent exposés on his properties in United States[12] and London.[13] Taib Mahmud's former aide, Ross Boyert was the major source for Sarawak Report on the Taib family property empire in the United States.[14] Exposés by Sarawak Report have led to investigations by Germany, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and Canada into Taib family alleged assets.[15]

Bakun Dam construction methods[edit]

In April 2011, Sarawak Report claimed that its website was hacked after it reported that Chinese dam constructor Sinohydro had used faulty construction methods when building the Bakun Dam, one of the largest dams in Asia.[16] Sinohydro later acknowledged their flawed construction procedures in building the dam.[17]

FBC Media scandal[edit]

Main article: FBC Media § Scandal

In August 2011, an investigation by Sarawak Report revealed that FBC Media, a media production company had been acting as a public relations firm for Malaysian politicians including Abdul Taib Mahmud and Najib Tun Razak.[18] The exposé caused BBC and CNBC to sever their relationships with FBC Media,[19][20] and resulted in FBC Media going into administration on 24 October 2011.[21] The BBC later issued a worldwide apology and revised its commissioning procedures after the revelation that it had been commissioning programming from FBC at token prices, which the company had then used as a PR platform for its business and political clients.[22]

Musa Aman timber corruption[edit]

In April 2012, Sarawak Report published a series of leaked documents from Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), alleging the business relation between Musa Aman, who is the Sabah Chief Minister, and Michael Chia, the middleman in managing kickbacks for timber companies' operations inside the Sungai Pinangah Forest Reserve, in Sabah. Michael Chia was caught trying to smuggle SGD 16 million out of Hong Kong in 2008. Abdul Gani Patail, the Attorney General of Malaysia who is related to the Musa Aman family, was accused of trying to block the MACC investigation.[23][24] Swiss authorities cooperated with their counterparts in Hong Kong in the investigation of the Musa Aman case.[25]

Riza Aziz and Red Granite Pictures[edit]

The Sarawak Report ran a series of exposes on Riza Aziz, stepson of Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, and how he managed to get millions in funding for his film production company Red Granite Pictures. The production company was involved with funding the Oscar nominated movie, The Wolf of Wall Street to a tune of US$100 million.[26][27] Also reported was Aziz's purchase of a US$33.5 million luxury condominium in New York in November 2012.[28] Red Granite Pictures has threatened legal action against Sarawak Report, but no action has been taken so far.[29]

1Malaysia Development Berhad[edit]

The Sarawak Report ran several reports about 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), a strategic development fund supported by the Malaysian government and its business dealings. One such report was made about joint venture deal had been initiated by Jho Low, a Penang-born financier and his team on September 8, 2009 between 1MDB and PetroSaudi International, and how Jho Low allegedly siphoned off US$700 million from the deal into an account controlled by him.[30][31] PetroSaudi has denied the reports, while 1MDB has denied any connections with Jho Low.[32][33]

Media attention[edit]

In December 2011, Rewcastle Brown was featured on Canadian Global News TV on a programme entitled "Family Trees" which highlighted the Taib family property company SAKTO Corporation in Canada.[34] In September 2012, Rewcastle Brown was featured on AlJazeera's 101 East[35] and SBS Dateline "The Last Frontier" which focused on Australian investment in Sarawak's dam and timber business with links to Taib's cousin Hamed Sepawi.[36]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "WHOIS information for". Whois. Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  2. ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2 October 2013. 
  3. ^ "About us". Sarawak Report. Retrieved 2011-07-06. 
  4. ^ Mullany, Gerry (16 August 2013). "Barred From Malaysia, but Still Connecting With Critical Jabs". The New York Times. 
  5. ^ a b Mullany, Gerry (16 August 2013). "Barred From Malaysia, but Still Connecting With Critical Jabs". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ "About". Radio Free Sarawak. Retrieved 2014-02-08. 
  8. ^ "IPI International Press Institute: Free Media Pioneers Award". Retrieved 2014-02-08. 
  9. ^ Sarawak Report does a WikiLeaks on 'land grabs' Malaysiakini. URL assessed on 27 April 2012
  10. ^ Ready to ride out the storm The Star (Malaysia)
  11. ^ Exclusive – Taibs’ Foreign Property Portfolio Sarawak Report. URL assessed on 27 April 2012
  12. ^ New Exclusive – Sakti/Sakto Taibs’ Property in the USA
  13. ^ Growing Scandal – The London Connection! Sarawak Report. URL assessed on 27 April 2012
  14. ^ Film Tribute To Ross Boyert Sarawak Report URL assessed on 27 April 2012
  15. ^ “Arrest Taib”! – NGOs Call For Action Sarawak Report. URL assessed on 27 April 2012
  16. ^ "Bakun Dam ‘Unsafe’! – Exclusive Evidence on Corner-Cutting and Sloppy Construction Practices". The Sarawak Report. 2011-04-13. 
  17. ^ Sinohydro admits flaws in Bakun Dam construction procedures Asia Power. Accessed on 27 April 2012.
  18. ^ Taib Paid Out $5 Million To Attack Sarawak Report! – International Expose Sarawak Report. URL assessed on 27 April 2012
  19. ^ BBC Suspends All FBC Media Programmes Pending Enquiry Sarawak Report. URL assessed on 27 April 2012
  20. ^ CNBC Dumps FBC Media ! Exclusive Sarawak Report. URL assessed on 27 April 2012
  21. ^ Burrell, Ian (2011-10-28). "TV company at centre of global news fixing row goes into administration". The Independent (London). Retrieved 2011-10-28. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ Malaysian Foreign Minister Named In MACC Investigation Into Sabah Timber Corruption – NATIONAL EXPOSE! Sarawak Report. URL assessed on 27 April 2012
  24. ^ Sabah’s Smoking Gun! Bank Statements Show That Musa Aman’s Sons Accessed Dirty Money – National Exclusive! Sarawak Report. URL assessed on 27 April 2012
  25. ^ Yes, We Cooperated With Hong Kong On Musa Aman Case – Acknowledge Swiss Authorities! Sarawak Report. URL assessed on 27 April 2012
  26. ^ Dahalan, Zefry. "Najib’s son fumes over ‘misleading’ report". Free Malaysia Today. Retrieved 2014-02-08. 
  27. ^ Adam Sherwin (7 February 2014). "Makers of ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ could sue activist Gordon Brown's sister-in-law over allegations about how the film was financed - News - Films". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2014-02-08. 
  28. ^ Malaysia. "Who paid for the production of The Wolf of Wall Street?". The Malaysian Insider. Retrieved 2014-02-08. 
  29. ^ Brzeski, Patrick (2014-01-06). "'Wolf of Wall Street' Financiers Threaten Legal Action Over Article Alleging Corruption". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2014-02-08. 
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^
  33. ^
  34. ^
  35. ^ 101 East. "The Last Frontier - 101 East". Al Jazeera English. Retrieved 2014-02-08. 
  36. ^ "SBS Dateline | The Last Frontier". 2012-08-21. Retrieved 2014-02-08. 

External links[edit]