Malaysian illegal logger and politician repays O’Neill for keeping SABL with 8 new town houses valued AT K1 million each
By PAULUS PARAKA – PNG Blogs
Out at Waigani, behind the new National Conference Centre, a large residential village of 50 or so duplexes is being built by the little known foreign company Jaya & Berjaya Construction (PNG) Ltd.
Jaya & Berjaya is owned by Malaysian tycoon, politician and illegal logger Huang Tiong Sii, who in his many years of doing business here has made many valuable friends and contacts in high places. None comes higher than the Prime Minister, Peter O’Neill, and that is probably why Tiong has given him four of the duplexes, a total of eight town houses, to use as his own.
O’Neill recently visited the development to look over his gift, which is a valuable addition to his large and ill-gotten real estate portfolio, and expressed his satisfaction and gratitude to Tiong. The townhouses are valued at a minimum of K1 million each, so the total value of the gift to O’Neill could be as high as K8 million.
It is not known whether O’Neill intends to take the rent from the houses or to sell them and keep the proceeds. The Prime Minister has substantial real estate interests in PNG and Australia (on the Gold Coast and in Sydney where the properties are in other people’s names) and he was recently looking to buy penthouses in New York. Huang Tiong Sii is well known in Malyasia as a criminal warlord and politician who has family and business connections to Rimbunan Hijau and other illegal loggers. He is also a money-launderer through companies in the Cayman Islands.
He has substantial logging interests in PNG, including SABLs, which is believed to be the reason for his generosity towards the Prime Minister (in the same way Tiong was generous to former Prime Minister Michael Somare). O’Neill has repeatedly promised in recent years to cancel all SABLs. He told Parliament in 2013: “We will no longer watch on as foreign owned companies come in and con our landowners, chop down our forests and then take the proceeds offshore”.
But O’Neill has too much to gain from loggers like Tiong and Rimbunan Hijau, especially with his 2017 election campaign already under way and demand for cash to bribe the Electoral Commission, the Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary, other candidates, voters, criminal gangs, the mainstream media and so on. Tiong’s tactics in Malaysia (mainly Sarawak) are similar to those used by O’Neill – including bribery of politicians, police and other government officials on a vast scale, and intimidation and physical violence against landowners. They make a good partnership, with many interests and activities in common.