Malaysian born Hollywood star Michelle Yeoh, who plays pro-democracy champion Aung San Suu Kyi in an upcoming film, has been deported by army-dominated Myanmar and blacklisted, an official said Tuesday.

“She did not have the chance to enter Myanmar again. She was deported straight away on the first flight after arriving at Yangon International Airport,” a Myanmar official, who did not want to be named, told AFP.

“She’s on the blacklist now,” a second official said, declining to say why.

The Malaysian-born former Bond girl met the Nobel Peace Prize winner at her Yangon home in December after shooting scenes with French director Luc Besson in Thailand for the production, which has been kept under close wraps.

The film is expected to be released later this year.

Suu Kyi was freed in November after seven straight years of house arrest, less than a week after an election that critics said was a charade aimed at preserving military rule behind a civilian facade in Myanmar.

Suu Kyi, who turned 66 this month, has won international acclaim for her peaceful resistance in the face of oppression.

In 1990 she led her National League for Democracy party to a landslide election win that was never recognised by Myanmar’s military rulers. She boycotted last year’s vote, saying the rules were unfair.

Yeoh, 48, a former Miss Malaysia, shot to international fame when she co-starred with Pierce Brosnan in the 1997 James Bond film “Tomorrow Never Dies” as a tough but beautiful Chinese spy.

She then starred in Ang Lee’s “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” — a Chinese-language martial arts epic that was an international hit — and “Memoirs of a Geisha” based on the best-selling novel by Arthur Golden.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Taib Mahmud has no Swiss bank account

Taib Mahmud said he has no Swiss bank account. Would you believe him? Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Abdul Taib Mahmud has categorically denied allegations by the Bruno Manser Foundation (BMF) that he has Swiss bank accounts, assets or investment in Switzerland.

He also made the denial in a personal statement in the State Legislative Assembly (DUN) sitting after the question and answer session yesterday morning.

“Let me state categorically that I have no secret Swiss bank account, nor assets or investments of any description. None whatsoever (in Switzerland).

“Indeed, I have so stated in unequivocal terms in a letter last month to the president of the Swiss Federation.

“In my letter, I have specifically asked the president to confirm if she has allegedly ordered any investigation into the allegations by the BMF to the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority or furnish me with a copy of the application so that I can exercise my right to seek and obtain an appropriate legal redress.

“I also pledged to render my fullest cooperation to the Swiss Federation to swiftly bring the truth to light so as to nail down all malicious falsehoods.

“Let me reiterate here that the allegations by BMF are utterly false, evidently politically motivated,” Taib told the august House here yesterday.

Taib who is also the Minister of Planning and Resource Management and Minister of Finance said the BMF had a track record of making scurrilous and scandalous allegations against the state government for many years.

These include claims about the cutting down of 90 per cent of the state’s rainforests, although both local and international forestry experts have certified that 70 per cent of the state’s forests are still being preserved and sustainably managed.

“Therefore, BMF’s false allegations about my assets in Switzerland are a continuation of its malicious efforts to smear the state government, the state and the leaders,” he reiterated.

Taib said his attention has recently been drawn to allegations online in a “disreputable website” that claims the Swiss authority may investigate him and the nature and sources of assets belonging to him located in Switzerland.

“The allegations by BMF have since been used by local politicians to advance their own political agenda against me and the state government that I lead, which once again have received a strong mandate from the people during the last state election. As head of the state government and a member of the legislature, in keeping with the parliamentary practice and tradition, I am accountable to this august house.

“Therefore, it is only proper and right for me to make a personal statement to this august house in accordance of Standing Order 22 on the allegations by BMF, a foreign NGO not at all accountable to the people of Sarawak,” he added.

On Tuesday, Taib had said that he would make his statement on the issue as it has been highlighted by recent reports by the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission (MACC) which is also investigating the case. Taib added that the opposition was “barking at the wrong tree”.

“You will have a surprise (from me) tomorrow,” Taib had told the media after attending the opening State Legislative Assembly by head of state Tun Abang Muhammad Salahuddin at DUN complex here Tuesday.

Before the sitting, DUN Speaker, Dato Sri Asfia Awang Nassar had told the media that the opposition would table a motion over the allegation of the MACC against Taib at the ongoing DUN sitting. The opposition had picked up the issue after MACC chief commissioner Datuk Seri Abu Kassim Mohammad had confirmed that MACC was investigating Taib on the allegation of timber corruption in the state on June 9.

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