Illicit outflow: Was it timber money, Taib?

Joseph Tawie | December 20, 2012
Taib Mahmud who is Sarawak's finance minister is duty-bound to declare how much of the US$64.38 billion came from Sarawak.
KUCHING: How much of the US$64.38 billion (RM196.8 billion) illicit outflows of capital from Malaysia came from timber-rcih Sarawak?
Posing the question to the state authorities, Bandar Kuching MP Chong Chieng Jen said Sarawakians were “interested” to know this because it is common knowldge that the timber industry is closely related to the illicit outflow of money internationally.
“I urge (Chief Minister) Abdul Taib Mahmud as the state finance minister to give an account of his ministry on how much estimated amount of this USD64.38 billion of the illicit outflows of money comes from Sarawak.
“As a finance minister, Taib is duty-bound to give an account to Sarawakians. It is more so, when timber in Sarawak is a big industry.
“And the people of Sarawak are interested to know,” said Chong who is also state DAP secretary-general.
Chong was commenting on reports by Global Financial Integrity (GFI) that Malaysia came second after China in terms of illicit outflows of money in 2010.
China’s illicit outflows were reported to be US$420.36 billion as compared with US$64.38 billion from Malaysia.
“By all scale this (US$64.38 billion) is an astronomical amount and if we go by outflows per capita, Malaysia is top in the world given China’s 1.3 billion population.
“China’s illicit outflows per capita would be US$323. But for Malaysia’s population of 28 million, the illicit outflows per capita are US$2, 299.
“If you compare with Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of Malaysia in the year 2010, our FDI is only RM7 billion and the illicit outflows are almost 10 times over our FDI.
“Against this background, Sarawak is a state in Malaysia, which is a major player in the timber industry. The timber industry has quite close relation with such illicit outflows internationally,” said Chong, pointing out that Taib should clear the air.
Chong supported the call for the establishment of a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) to look into this financial blunder.
GFI reported that illicit outflows for Malaysia in 2009 stood at US$30.41 billion and dramatically jumped to US$64.38 billion in 2010.
Figures for 2011 and 2012 will be included in future reports.
The GFI also reported that for the 10 year period (2001-2010), Malaysia ranked third in the world after China and Mexico.
The amount illicit outflows were estimated at US$285 billion or RM871.4 billion.

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