1837: One eye-witness observes of the delegates: “(Almost) everyone looks Malaysian. Very odd!”
1811: The protesters are holding up placards bearing messages such as ‘Any forest left?’, ‘Stop denying Penan rape’, ‘Don’t halt EU-Malaysia anti-illegal logging deal’, and ‘Declare your wealth’.
1800: Taib Mahmud has entered the conference hall. He must have used a side-entrance and given the demonstrators the slip. The protesters are unable to enter the hall due to prohibitive conference registration fees: 1,000 pounds sterling plus VAT per person. For groups of three or more, it is 880 pounds plus VAT per person. Way too expensive for the common folks.
The protesters are from assorted groups; they are mostly individuals concerned about various issues. Says one British activist: “We want to make people in the UK and around the world aware and to let them know that there are people who care about the Penan. It is completely unacceptable that under Taib’s administration, much of the forest has been given to plantations and dams. The Penan have the right to their land.”
1725: Those at the conference are now waiting for Taib Mahmud. Protesters are gathered at the two entrances. His car is now moving around the area.
1714: There are about 30-40 protesters, mostly British, joined by a couple of Malaysians. The Malaysian delegates to the conference are walking into the venue in small groups.
1651: Protesters have gathered at the entrance to the Said Business School, according to a source. Reporters are also present. Malaysian officials are looking a bit lost, unable to stop the protest.
The protest is against the School’s decision to invite Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud to deliver a special address at the opening of a two-day forum, organised by the Said Business School of Oxford University and backed by Malaysian corporations.