Sarawak Report

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Sara report.png
Web address www.sarawakreport.org
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.

History[edit]

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 former Chief Minister of Sarawak, Abdul Taib Mahmud was 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 Sungai Pinangah Forest Reserve, 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] In April 2013, Reuters validated that the documents released by Sarawak Report as genuine. Two of the timber firms confirmed with Reuters that the money was transferred to secure the logging contracts. MACC officials also told Reuters that the documents are authentic and Musa Aman was the focus of the investigation.[26]

Riza Aziz and Red Granite Pictures[edit]

In December 2013, Sarawak Report ran a series of exposes on Riza Aziz,[27] 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.[28][29] Also reported was Aziz's purchase of a US$33.5 million luxury condominium in New York in November 2012.[30] Red Granite Pictures has threatened legal action against Sarawak Report, but no action has been taken so far.[31] In January 2014, Riza Aziz was dropped from a list of nominees for Academy Award for Best Picture after he was nominated by Producers Guild of America (PGA) for the movie "Wolf of the Wall Street".[32]

1Malaysia Development Berhad[edit]

In May 2014, Sarawak Report began to allege that 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB) was backing Jho Low's company, Wynton Group, for a bid to purchase Maybourne Hotel Group in London.[33] In August 2014, Red Granite Pictures admitted that its financial backer for film production was Aabar Investments where the latter had a strong investment ties with 1MDB.[34] In March 2015, the website ran several reports about 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 on September 8, 2009 between 1MDB and PetroSaudi International, and how Jho Low allegedly siphoned off US$700 million from the deal into an account controlled by him.[35][36] PetroSaudi has denied the reports, while 1MDB has denied any connections with Jho Low.[37] Sarawak Report further alleges that the 1 billion loan paid by 1MDB to PetroSaudi has not been declared to Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM), the Malaysian central bank.[38] KPMG was alleged to have provided fraudulent accounting practices to 1MDB. However, KPMG global headquarters has since denied any links with 1MDB and they are not responsible for accounting practices held by its partners in Malaysia.[39] 1MDB was also accused of providing false documents to Malaysian central bank and other international banks.[40] The website also alleged that US$ 1.16 billion from 1MDB went into a company account, Good Star Limited controlled by Jho Low,[41] US$ 700 million into personal account of Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak,[42] and RM 2 million into prime minister's wife Rosmah Mansor personal account.[43] Najib has since denied that he had taken 1MDB funds for personal gain[44] while Rosmah denied that she has misappropriated the funds from 1MDB.[45]

In June 2015, a former PetroSaudi employee named Xavier Justo was arrested in Thailand for leaking information about 1MDB and attempting to blackmail his former employer.[46] Meanwhile, Protection Group International (PGI) alleged that Sarawak Report documents were "inconsistent" and "unreliable".[47] Lester Melanyi, former editor of Sarawak Tribune who worked for Radio Free Sarawak (RFS, sister site of Sarawak Report) for a brief period in 2011, posted a series of videos on Youtube that alleged Sarawak Report for tampering documents related with 1MDB scandal. However, Sarawak Report has since denied the allegations and while questioning Lester credibility and accuracy in making the allegations.[48][49] On 19 July 2015, Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) decided to block access to Sarawak Report because the content of the website appears to be "unsubstantiated" and it may "undermined the stability" of the country.[50][51]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "WHOIS information for sarawakreport.org". Whois. Retrieved 12 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "sarawakreport.org 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". Freemedia.at. 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. ^ http://www.bbc.co.uk/bbctrust/assets/files/pdf/appeals/esc_bulletins/2011/bbc_world_news_apology.pdf
  23. ^ "Malaysian Foreign Minister Named In MACC Investigation Into Sabah Timber Corruption – NATIONAL EXPOSE!". Sarawak Report. Archived from the original on 13 July 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  24. ^ "Sabah’s Smoking Gun! Bank Statements Show That Musa Aman’s Sons Accessed Dirty Money – National Exclusive!". Sarawak Report. Archived from the original on 11 April 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  25. ^ "Yes, We Cooperated With Hong Kong On Musa Aman Case – Acknowledge Swiss Authorities!". Sarawak Report. Archived from the original on 29 January 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  26. ^ "Insight: In Malaysia's election, a focus on rainforest graft". Reuters. 2 April 2013. Archived from the original on 6 July 2015. Retrieved 8 April 2013. 
  27. ^ "Wall Street Greed / Malaysian Money - EXPOSE!". Sarawak Report. Archived from the original on 8 July 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  28. ^ Dahalan, Zefry. "Najib’s son fumes over ‘misleading’ report". Free Malaysia Today. Retrieved 2014-02-08. 
  29. ^ 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. 
  30. ^ Malaysia. "Who paid for the production of The Wolf of Wall Street?". The Malaysian Insider. Retrieved 2014-02-08. 
  31. ^ Brzeski, Patrick (2014-01-06). "'Wolf of Wall Street' Financiers Threaten Legal Action Over Article Alleging Corruption". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2014-02-08. 
  32. ^ "Malaysia’s ‘Wolf of Wall Street’ producer dropped from Oscars". The Malay Mail Online. 23 January 2014. Archived from the original on 26 January 2014. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  33. ^ "1MDB Backed Jho Low's £1Billion London Hotel Bid! EXCLUSIVE EXPOSE". Sarawak Report. Archived from the original on 27 March 2015. Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  34. ^ "Wolf Of Wall Street Backer's Business Links With 1MDB And Jho Low!". Sarawak Report. Archived from the original on 8 July 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  35. ^ "HEIST OF THE CENTURY - How Jho Low Used PetroSaudi As "A Front" To Siphon Billions Out Of 1MDB!". Sarawak Report. Archived from the original on 8 July 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  36. ^ "Jho Low allegedly siphoned off US$700 million from 1MDB, says website". The Malaysian Insider. 1 March 2015. Archived from the original on 1 July 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  37. ^ "PetroSaudi slams ‘malicious and slanderous’ claim about 1MDB monies". The Rakyat Post. 1 March 2015. Archived from the original on 1 July 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  38. ^ "Jho Low Claimed The "PM/ FM" Gave Approval To Keep Bank Negara In The Dark On 1MDB Loan". Sarawak Report. Archived from the original on 9 July 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  39. ^ "Don't Ask Us! - KPMG Global's Astonishing Response on 1MDB". Sarawak Report. Archived from the original on 10 July 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  40. ^ "Investigators Conclude 1MDB "Cheated" And "Made False Document" to Bank Negara, Deutsche Bank And Others EXCLUSIVE". Sarawak Report. Archived from the original on 29 April 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  41. ^ "How did billions end up in Jho Low’s account, Sarawak Report asks Najib". The Malaysian Insider. 27 May 2015. Archived from the original on 16 July 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  42. ^ "SENSATIONAL FINDINGS! - Prime Minister Najib Razak's Personal Accounts Linked To 1MDB Money Trail MALAYSIA EXCLUSIVE!". Sarawak Report. Archived from the original on 2 July 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  43. ^ "Millions In Cash Go Into Rosmah's Account - How Come? EXCLUSIVE!". Sarawak Report. Archived from the original on 24 July 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  44. ^ "PM Najib rebuts 1MDB allegation, accuses Mahathir of making up lie". Channel News Asia. 4 July 2015. Archived from the original on 10 July 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  45. ^ "Lawyers for Rosmah deny cash deposits from 1MDB, cry harassment". Malay Mail Online. 10 July 2015. Archived from the original on 12 July 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  46. ^ Yunus, Akil (23 June 2015). "Former PetroSaudi employee arrested in Thailand for allegedly leaking 1MDB information". The Star (Malaysia). Archived from the original on 23 June 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  47. ^ Reena, Raj (5 July 2015). "Sarawak Report data on 1MDB ‘unreliable’, says PGI chief". The Malay Mail Online. Archived from the original on 24 July 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  48. ^ Khor, Samantha. "7 Key Points & The Glaring Inaccuracies From Lester Melanyi's Sarawak Report Video Exposés". says.com. Archived from the original on 24 July 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  49. ^ "Sarawak Report goes for Lester's jugular". Malaysiakini. 21 July 2015. Archived from the original on 24 July 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  50. ^ M, Kumar (19 July 2015). "MCMC blocks access to Sarawak Report website". The Star (Malaysia). Archived from the original on 24 July 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 
  51. ^ "Admitting cannot fully block Sarawak Report, MCMC calls circumventors malicious". The Malay Mail Online. 24 July 2015. Archived from the original on 24 July 2015. Retrieved 24 July 2015. 

External links[edit]