Clare Rewcastle Brown,has made the health of the trees and bugs in the Malaysian state of Sarawak her Holy Grail.
Rewcastle Brown recently made the claim on her blog that only 3% of Sarawak’s rain forest remains. In no small part because Ms. Rewcastle Brown belongs to the clan of upper-class Brits who believe that one tree is worth hundreds of humans, this has distressed her to the point at which she is openly aiding the political opposition in Sarawak, who she for some reason imagines will stop the state’s drive from crushing poverty to gainful employment. (Her brother-in-law, the former prime minister of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, helpfully chimes in with a claim that only 5% of the area’s rain forest remains.)
Abandoning the question of whether it is an objectively good thing to try to force people to live in grinding poverty — a fond memory of Rewcastle Brown’s — so that wealthy Brits can feel better about themselves, here’s a different question: What if most of Sarawak’s rain forest is still there?
That is exactly what Abdul Taib Mahmud, the Chief Minister of Sarawak and Rewcastle Brown’s current hate target, claims in a recent interview:
The Chief Minister noted that in addition to the 70% of virgin rain forest which remains intact in Sarawak, “another 14% of our secondary jungle has been replanted and is undergoing plans for replanting. This is the simple fact and if people want to verify it, then they are welcome to come to Sarawak. …”
In announcing plans to invite independent inspection by qualified experts, the Chief Minister said his government and forestry officials would provide full cooperation. At the end of the day, he explained during the half hour interview, he was interested in seeing the truth documented to avoid misunderstanding and distortions.
If you look carefully at Clare Rewcastle Brown’s interview and blog, even she doesn’t bother to allege torture, denied voting rights, or any human atrocity. Her only obvious concern is that the people of Sarawak might not have to “dodge scorpions” on a day-to-day basis, as in, she perceives a life without scorpions as a bad thing. (There are assuredly no scorpions in her house.) Shouldn’t this, then, be the acid test?
Pictured here is a shot of Sarawak from Google Earth, which seems to suggest a lot of trees are still standing in Sarawak. Even Wikipedia, which is prone to left-wing capture, admits that the rate of rain forest depletion has not been the subject of any controlled study. Taib’s government has made conservation a critical goal, and he has promised a transparent, external review of the state of Sarawak’s native jungle by outside groups.
Taib may be bluffing, but it wouldn’t make sense to do so. His re-election chances are good, and the opposition is too ensnarled in its usual infighting to pull off an election day miracle. Furthermore, Taib’s many years at the helm have not been the result of torture or Potemkin voting; it is the result of a crashing poverty rate and a booming economy. As Taib noted in that same interview:
For the sake of argument let’s assume it’s a bluff, and the poor scorpions are running out of places to endanger Iban children. It should be the easiest thing in the world to grab the odd, well-funded, politically independent scientific group based out of London and send them packing off to Borneo to do some surveying. Read on.
The Chief Minister also noted that there had been allegations about the extent of poverty in Sarawak, and it was time to set the record straight here too.
“When I took over in 1981, the rate of poverty was close to 40%,” he recalled. “We have worked hard on this top priority over the years and got some results which encourage me by 1985 it went down to 32%. And now the rate of poverty is 5.3%.”
(Clare Rawcastle is another Bruno Manser wannabe but falls flat on her face for the hypocrisy of her cause. Manser, at least, was an acclaimed environmentalist with genuine desire to see the Penans preserved the forests and their way of life.
Manser was prepared to put his life on the line to fight the government of Sarawak for the Penan people rights to the forests.Unfortunately, Manser disappeared, presumably killed by his enemies or rumoured to be a possibility, by the Penan people.
Rawcastle is just another publicity crazy journalist,lazy and stupid enough to swallow the Malaysian opposition's propaganda hook, line and sinker without getting the real dish, cooking her political garbage from the comfort of her flat at Covent Garden
Sarawak cannot keep intact 100 percent of her forests, there got to be some activities to develop the land for sustainable economic returns - Hantu Laut))