KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA. Jacob Dungau Sagan, Malaysian Deputy Minister of International Trade and Industry and Member of Parliament for Baram (Sarawak), has been caught in a timber corruption scandal that is likely to become a major embarrassment for the Malaysian government under Prime Minster Najib Razak.
According to the  documents published on Friday (25 February 2012) by the whistleblower website, Sarawak Report, Jacob Dungau Sagan and his wife and daughter are the beneficial owners of three timber concessions in the parliamentary constituency of Baram in the Malaysian state of Sarawak. Sagan’s concessions, with an estimated worth of several million dollars, are specifically licensed to harvest Belian (Borneo ironwood), a particularly rare and sought-after South-East Asian tree species. Belian has been classified by IUCN, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, as a vulnerable species and is banned for export from Sarawak and from Indonesia.
The corruption scandal hits the Malaysian government at an inconvenient moment, with a General Election expected to come up within months. Jacob Sagan is already the second Malaysian minister involved in a corruption scandal.