Category: Poverty

Spirit of Along Sega’s struggle lives on

Few Malaysians may have heard of him but that in no way takes anything away from the towering stature of the legendary Penan leader, Along Sega, who passed away on 2 February 2011.

Along Sega and his grandson, perched on a tree stump, witnessing logging activities - Photo courtesy of Ngo/Greenpeace

He was an outspoken leader of the Penan’s struggle against the timber firms that encroached into native customary rights lands from the 1980s. (more…)


Radio Free Sarawak: Who’s behind it

Who is responsible for Taib Mahmud’s worst nightmare? Clare Rewcastle Brown, sister-in-law of Gordon Brown, and Peter John Jaban aka ‘Papa Orang Utan’, the grandson of a Dayak headhunter, are the driving force behind the mysterious Radio Free Sarawak.

Clare and Papa - Photo credit: London Evening Standard

The report in the London Evening Standard

Clare, a former BBC investigative journalist, is also the author of the Sarawak Report website. (more…)


Egypt: A memo to dictators everywhere

After what’s been happening in Egypt, I thought I would draft a memo to dictators and authoritarian leaders around the world to give them some free and unsolicited advice.

Inspiring photo of the day: Egyptian Christians protecting fellow Muslim protesters who were praying at Tahrir Square earlier today - Photo credit: ShawkattRaghib via twitter

Dear Mr Dictator/Authoritarian Leader

Recent events in Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and elsewhere must be giving you sleepless nights or making you feel terribly uneasy.

May I offer a few tips so that you don’t see similar eruptions in your own countries:

Do not suppress dissent

Allow your people sufficient avenues and outlets to express their frustrations, anger, complaints and criticism. You don’t want their anger and frustration to be pent up. Think of these avenues as built-in safety valves. In this respect, free media and a functioning Parliament have a big role to play. Don’t forget to free up the state-run media as well. Get rid of all repressive laws, especially detention without trial, and bring back democracy quickly before it’s too late. Liberate your people! (more…)


Egypt was World Bank’s “top reformer”

By now, we are gradually becoming familiar with the poverty, unemployment (especially among youth) and income inequality in Egypt that seems to be fuelling the protests. But what is less well known is that Egypt, like Tunisia, had only recently been viewed as an ‘economic miracle’ after it wholeheartedly pursued standard IMF/World Bank ideas.

(Follow the ‘one million-strong’ gathering in Cairo ‘live’ over Aljazeera here.)

It’s funny that Hillary Clinton now says that Egypt has to”‘reform”. Only in August 2010, the Wall Street Journal reported that Egypt had become Washington’s economic favourite. And last year, the World Bank, in its ‘Doing Business 2010′ report gushingly (and embarrassingly) applauded Colombia and Egypt as the “top global reformers in four of the past seven years”. I kid you not. How wrong can you get? Unless they meant reforms to profit a small minority of the business elite.

Such IMF/World Bank ‘structural adjustment’ policies include privatisation, subsidy cuts, market ‘liberalisation’ and deregulation. Sound familiar? (more…)