Dr James Masing have been doing his best to cover up his boss Taib’s mess in an interview with Aljazeera aired last night over satellite tv Astro channel 513. (scroll down for video)

He had to answer some very tough questions with regard to Taib’s family business dealings in the state. Instead of clearing air for his boss, Masing seemed to suggest there are indeed some vested interest involved.

When asked if Cahaya Mata Sarawak (CMS) involved in the construction of dams in Sarawak, Masing replied:

“Not I’m aware of …the dams construction are done through legal tender. The lowest tender get. It does not matter CMS or somebody else. It must be done on tender basis. that is very transparent — the international communities can have a look at it.”

Wonder if Jabu could have done a better job answering that question?

Masing were also seem to be trying his best to control his anger when pressed to answer question on Sarawak Chief Minister involvement with dams construction in Sarawak.

“No.. what is done is done in very transparent methods of tendering process and it’s an open book for everybody to have a look.

Aljazeera then asked “are you saying CMS will not providing any building materials for these dams?”

“If they are qualified…if they found by the tender committee to be qualified why not? it is an open tender process — the best will get it.”

Part 1

Part 2

Taib’s improper business dealings

Taib, the Chief Minister declined to be interviewed by Fauziah Ibrahim – the cunning Al Jazeera 101 East team.

“There has been though in the history of sarawak — in the 30 year history of the chief minister with Sarawak, there have been cases there were no open tenders and this is flouting the state legislation,” the Aljazeera host asked Masing.

Masing simply gave a short answer “I am not aware of it.”

Then the host quoted the aluminium smelting project with Rio Tinto was given to CMS — a family business and Titanium Management being given bridge building project – in which the chief minister son was a major shareholder.

“What you must understand is that we do have rules and laws regarding people to decide. if decisions are made by people with vested interest there are laws that will not allowed it,” Masing said.

“It is illegal for the people with authority to give that authority with vested interest. It is illegally done and we cannot do it. because there is no illegality i assume and all these things are done through tender process.”

Capital cronyism in Sarawak

Masing also seem to be hard press on the issue of cronyism. He denied there is a capital cronyism in the state and repeatedly told Aljazeera there is no capital cronysim in the state.

When it was pointed out there were instances the chief minister, who is also the state finance and planning minister giving lucrative contracts to his family members – Masing were quick to say that is wat a mere assumption.

“That is an assumption… you must understand there are laws in this land prevent happening of that nature. if there are people breaking that law then they must be put to task but until today there is none”.