There is very little to find on the newly created website for the alleged Indigenous People’s NGO, ‘Advokasi Primbumi Sarawak’ (APS).
The About Us page claims “APS is a non-government organisation set up to champion sustainable forest management and safeguard the interest of native communities in Sarawak.”
This mission statement goes on to cite the sustainable forestry goals of the UN and says its leader is one Nigel Raymond, a resident of Miri who appears to have no track record on the environment or indigenous advocacy. It says little more.
The only other section on this site, before today, exhibited press coverage of the project’s media releases since its launch on March 16th.
There have only been two, both of them attacking Sarawak’s well known environmental and indigenous rights NGO, Save Rivers, which is currently being sued by the global timber outfit Samling for criticising its logging activities in Sarawak.
There are, no references on the website to any actions or eco-advocacy achievements on the part of APS or Mr Raymond, who operates a 4X4 transport business in Miri.
One family friend has told Sarawak Report that the picture used for those press releases is indeed of Nigel Raymond (who is indigenous, part Kelabit and part Kayan) but associates believe he has nothing directly to do with this project, despite his photograph being used.
Following our expose yesterday, however, which revealed that a KL based high-end PR agency is behind this media oriented campaign, a new “Update” page has been added to the sparsely populated Advokasi Primbumi Sarawak (APS) site.
This update consists of a new attack, this time against Sarawak Report for questioning whether the bogus, PR generated NGO, which has succeeded in gaining so much media coverage expressing its support for Samling, was in fact expensively commissioned by Samling itself?
The ‘NGO’ accuses SR of operating an “Opinion Dictatorship” in Malaysia for asking such a question. It then, once again, extensively champions its own widely disseminated opinion that Save Rivers should settle with Samling, now that the timber giant’s defamation suit against them has backfired by provoking a wave of global condemnation over the bully boy SLAPP tactic that it so plainly is.
“All APS did was to call for an amicable solution to the defamation suit filed against Save Rivers by Samling as we believe that a long drawn-out defamation suit is wasteful and distract all parties from the main issues”
complains the APS ‘Update’ (as if Save Rivers was to blame and not Samling who brought the suit). It goes on to claim that SR has “discredited’ APS by suggesting it is an operation working on behalf of Samling, despite the fact this ‘Indigenous NGO’ consistently supports the timber company by implying it conducts ‘sustainable’ logging and has improved the lives of indigenous people.
If Samling is so noble, why would it discredit APS to suggest Samling commissioned its media activities?
Instead, it claims “APS would like to clearly state that our limited funds come from individuals who support Sarawak’s sustainable forest management agenda”.
If this support includes a pro bono offer from Mr Tai Chee Kien, whose big name KL based PR company, Maliquest, is behind the APS website and company formation, it would explain a great deal, as in general such services don’t come cheap. Nor do media campaigns come cheap.
However, instead of confirming his support for APS and its pro-Samling agenda, Mr Tai appears to have spent the last 24 hours (since we exposed the involvement of his company) paring down and making changes to the Maliquest website.
The firm has pulled down its extensive client portfolio, which readers had been invited to review until just a few hours ago.
Moreover, three of nine front page featured top clients have also been removed, including the boast of a “Strategic Partnership” with British American Tobacco.
Might one of the world’s most controversial cigarette brands have complained that it has no wish to be ‘discredited’ by an association with the notorious logging company Samling?
This was the Maliquest front page yesterday:
And here it is chopped back today:
Mr Tai is entitled to explain his sudden website alterations. These include changing his contact numbers, which are different today from yesterday. It may be coincidental.
Sarawak Report has reached out to Maliquest and Pribumi.com (APS) to invite them to answer our questions about the motives and sponsors behind this campaign and to respond directly.
However, it was APS’s own statement yesterday that claimed an association with Samling would “discredit” the NGO. So what about Maliquest and its other clients?