KUCHING (March 19): Sarawak chief minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud has denied the allegations of corruption involving land deals in a video released by the corruption watchdog group Global Witness and said that he was being framed.
"I saw the so-called proof. Could it not be that someone was trying to promote themselves to become an agent to get favours from me? It has nothing to do with me," he told fz.com here today.
He said the video was "a bit naughty" and was "using their big power" to blacken his name. This only reflected on the credibility of the group, said Taib.
The video was shot in a covert investigation by Global Witness that allegedly caught Taib's cousins explaining how they acquired hectares of forest land while circumventing state laws.
Appearing relaxed, the chief minister said that similar rumours had been haunting him since he was the minister in charge of forestry in the 1980s.
"I was in charge of forestry. People say... someone would come to see me... (but) I have made nobody as my intermediary. I don't believe in deals. Everything has to be done according to government procedures," he said.
When asked about his cousins featured in the video clip, Taib questioned whether he had a friendly relationship with his uncle, Tun Abdul Rahman Yakub, the former chief minister of Sarawak. The cousins featured in the video are the daughters of Rahman Yakub.
Taib said these cousins could not be "trusted agents".
"They try to frame people like me from evidence that can be interpreted either way. Anybody, even you, can go for an interview and say, 'I'll talk to the chief minister, you pay me something. Is that me, or...?" he said.
To view Taib's response video check out: http://fz.com/content/taib-alleged-corruption-video-attempt-frame-me-0