Sarawak cabinet to sign pledge ‘in due time’

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KUCHING: All Sarawak ministers and assistant ministers would make their integrity pledge against corrupt practices in due time, Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem said yesterday.

He said his plan was to start requiring all officers and staff of state government departments and statutory bodies to sign the integrity pledge first before extending this requirement to all the state cabinet members.

“I am sure that my ministers and assistant ministers will sign the pledge in due time,” he said at the signing of a corporate integrity pledge (CIP) for government and private agencies in the state’s forestry sector.

Adenan said the opposition was questioning why the other cabinet members were not following his move to make a pledge of not allowing his family members and relatives from applying for timber concession licences or state land that he made in June, this year.

“It is not fair to say that they (the ministers and assistant ministers) are afraid to sign the integrity pledge [just] because they have not done it yet. It is not fair to accuse that they are dishonest,” he said.

Adenan said the state government was serious in combating corruption, particularly that involved the state’s timber industry, and through collaboration with the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC), it had organised a series of seminars on integrity for about 2,000 enforcement personnel throughout the state.

He said the seminar which involved state government agencies and government-linked companies was organised with a “difference” as it aimed “to create fear of God among the dishonest”.

As State Resource Planning and Environment Minister, he also decided not to issue anymore new timber extracting licences, while warning existing licence holders to keep tabs of their contractors or subcontractors’ activities to ensure that they were not involved in illegal logging.

He said illegal logging activities had given Sarawak a bad reputation internationally and those entrusted to enforce the law should not be cowed by the intimidation posed by the perpetrators.

“Fear of the gangsters or other threats should not be an excuse for not doing anything. [To the illegal timber operators] Don’t mess with me. I will get you with the assistance of the MACC and other agencies,” he added. — Bernama

This article first appeared in The Edge Financial Daily, on November 18, 2014.