A short film released by international NGO Global Witness documents an entrenched system of corruption in Sarawak, one of the two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo.
In the film, Global Witness reveals an intricate shadow state built with the express purpose of illegally exploiting Sarawak's ancestral lands and enriching the state's Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud.
Posing as potential plantation buyers, Global Witness's investigative team discovered a laundry list of shady mechanisms and loopholes used by members of Mahmud's inner circle.
This is not the first time Sarawak's government has been accused of exploiting the state's natural resources. Bloomberg reported in 2009 on hundreds of lawsuits filed by Sarawak's indigenous Dayak people alleging seizures of their land without compensation.
The rapid depletion of the state's virgin rainforests have garnered similar international attention. According to The Economist, Sarawak "has lost more than 90% of its 'primary' forests to logging and has the fastest rate of deforestation in Asia."