Low Chia Ming
A candlelight vigil by some 30 people in front of Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) showing solidarity with detained student Adam Adli Abdul Halim was disrupted by a rowdy group last night.
The thugs, numbering about 10, shoved a student and Suaram coordinator Sean Ho and hit two journalists on their arms during the vigil.
Police Special Branch officers and Universiti Sains Malaysia security personnel were present, but they did not take any action against the thugs.
The vigil began about 8.20pm with the singing of theNegaraku, followed by several brief talks given by participants. (more…)
The sleepy town of Batu Kawan, tucked away in the southern corridor of Penang, came alive last night when thousands, dressed in black, made their way to the stadium for the second leg of Pakatan Rakyat’s Black 505 rally.
Held three days after 120,000 people showed up for a similar rally in Kuala Lumpur, Penang drew an equally large crowd, who were joined by those from two neighbouring states – Kedah and Perak.
There were also participants from Selangor and Negri Sembilan as well, who waved their state flags incessantly amidst Pakatan’s rocket (DAP), moon (PAS) and eye (PKR) symbols. (more…)
The Malaysian Insider
Pakatan Rakyat leaders take a pledge at their recent convention in Penang. BN has an uphill task to make waves in the state.
Given no chance of eating into Pakatan Rakyat’s (PR) commanding position in Penang, Barisan Nasional (BN) now believes it can make waves on election day.
PR now controls 29 out of the 40 state seats in Penang, with Umno holding the remaining 11 constituencies. Gerakan and the MCA lost in all the seats they contested in 2008. (more…)
The state and federal governments must pay swift attention to NCR land issues and welfare of the Penan community.
More than 2,000 Penans from seven Penan villages in Sungai Patah and three in Long Akah in Baram are facing simultaneous double threats – indiscriminate logging and the proposed construction of the Baram Dam.
Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) president SM Mohamed Idris said that SAM has been informed by Penan villagers in Sungai Patah, Baram, that loggers have encroached into their native customary rights (NCR) land. (more…)
To ensure that prevailing views remain, Penang Pakatan Rakyat is sticking to its 2008 formula of the DAP contesting 19 state seats, PKR 16 and five by PAS against Umno’s 15, Gerakan’s 13, MCA’s 10 and two by the MIC.
This saves the coalition unnecessary conflicts, such as being embroiled in intra-party rivalries, given what took place in Johor recently, with the DAP and PKR leaders publicly condemning each other in their fight for certain seats
“We will maintain the status quo in Penang. That is confirmed,” said state DAP election director Ng Wei Aik (left), brushing aside any chance of such conflicts cropping up. (more…)
Lu Wei Hoong
Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud’s recent visit to the sleepy hollow of Long Lama, a remote logging outpost in Sarawak’s vast Baram region, was met with protests from indigenous groups over many issues plaguing their community.
Some 70 people took their protest right up to the doorsteps of Baram MP Jacob Dungau Sagan’s office, which played hosted a function featuring Taib as the guest of honour last Saturday.
The protesters were armed with the placards which read, “stop Baram dam!”, “return our traditional land” and “listen our heave”. (more…)
What’s the point of having 1Malaysia clinics in cities which already have so many hospitals and private healthcare facilities?
Puzzled members of the Penan community in Upper Baram today visited the Sarawak Health Department to ask why there was no 1Malaysia clinic in their village.
“We have heard many times about 1Malaysia clinic. We thought that 1Malaysia clinic is to be built in every village including a Penan village. It is pointless to build 1Malaysia clinics in cities and towns where there are already health services available,” said Stanely Petrus, a Penan from Long Lamai. (more…)
Napoleon once famously observed that god is on the side of the big battalions.
This may be true of military battles but yesterday some Penangites furnished reason to believe that in electoral ones, the deity may not always favour the Goliaths.
On Sunday morning, the first day of the Lunar New Year, celebrants in George Town awoke from their feasting at family reunion dinners of the previous evening to find their city decked in endless rows of blue ‘1Malaysia’ flags.
Thousands of these flags were posted along every major street of George Town and several minor ones. (more…)
The priest said Ibrahim and Perkasa’s provocations were not the model behaviour needed by Malaysia.
Catholic Bishop Sebastian Francis paid an unscheduled visit to Datuk Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat on the PAS leader’s 82nd birthday yesterday in Penang, Harakah Daily reported today, in what is seen as a bid to douse potential religious fires between Muslims and Christians amid the “Allah” storm.
The senior clergyman in charge of Penang was reported by the PAS news site to have said that the country needed to emulate the example set by the Islamist party’s spiritual advisor and not the provocative sentiment shown by right-wing Malay lawmaker Datuk Ibrahim Ali or the latter’s supporters. (more…)
Barisan Nasional (BN) is still ahead of Pakatan Rakyat (PR) in the race to the ballot box, Penang DAP chief Chow Kon Yeow admitted today, saying current forecasts show the ruling pact could score 120 seats in Parliament against PR’s 100 if polls are held now.
While this is a far cry from BN’s aim of recapturing its traditional two-thirds parliamentary majority, Chow’s admission reflects the same observation among his political allies that the next polls contest will be a stiff one.
Observers have noted that it will be a more united and organised BN under Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak that will march to the battle lines this time, fuelled by a strong determination to return to power with an even stronger mandate. (more…)
The PKR president should contest for a state seat as that would derail attempts by BN from playing up issues about marginalisation of Malay leaders by the DAP.
Reports that PKR president Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail will be a candidate in the next general election is a hotly debated issue among the public.
Will she be a candidate or not? Where will she be a candidate to fight her way back into mainstream politics?
These are the main questions. (more…)
Sarawak Land Development Minister James Masing has warned his colleagues in the government and large-scale developers they need a “human touch approach” in dealing with the Penan community as the eyes of the world are watching the government’s moves.
“If we approach big development projects affecting our people in the future in this manner, I am confident that we will be successful and (will be left) with less problems.
“That kind of development approach, with human touch, is the way forward for Sarawak,” Masing (left) said in his winding-up speech on his ministry. (more…)
The Sarawak government took away their forest and land to build dams but left the community in Sungai Asap with ‘chicken feeds and crumbs’, claims an assemblyman.
KUCHING: The government has failed to look after the needs of more than 10,000 people who were resettled in Sungai Asap as a result of being displaced by the Bakun Dam.
Said Sarawak PKR chief Baru Bian: “It’s shocking… there is no public toilet in Sungai Asap despite the fact that there are markets and shops. I was shocked when told about this.
“I asked an elderly woman who was selling vegetables where I could pee. She told me that since there is no public toilet, I could pee in the bush. (more…)
Lu Wei Hoong
The Penans displaced by the Murum dam project are seeking the help of the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) to press home their demand for at least half a million ringgit in compensation to each family from the state government.
The demand was made in a memorandum dated Sept 25 signed by Jawatankuasa Hal Ehwal Penan Peleiran-Murum (Pemupa) secretary Suie Bunyau.
“(We demand) at least RM500,000 compensation per household due to the submerging of our ritual land including agricultural land, temuda land, orchard and ‘pulau hutan’ (forest island by the dam),” read their 10-point open memorandum. (more…)
Kua Kia Soong
The Penans have been blockading against the construction of the 944MW Murum Dam since Sept 26, 2012. More than 1,600 Penans from eight Penan villages (including one Kenyah Badeng longhouse) are affected by the construction of the dam which is now about 70% completed.
Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB), contractors and private companies involved in the project have been forced to use ferryboats or tugboats through the Bakun Dam reservoir to transport goods, machines, building materials etc. to the Murum Dam site. (more…)
The Royal Malaysian Police force needs to be educated on human rights and perspective of the people’s struggle, claims Suaram.
Human rights NGO, Suaram, has called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ismail Omar to warn his men not to interfere in the Penan tribe’s rights struggle in the Murum dam issue in Sarawak.
“In order to bring the credibility to the force, they should be seen as a neutral party and not to take the side of the oppressor. (more…)
Ahmad Fadli KC
For the sake of their children’s education, a group of Penan parents have decided to hang up their hunting tools and set up home in an abandoned chicken coop.
These Penan parents made their heart-wrenching decision to move away from their longhouse in the interior of Murum in the Belaga district of Sarawak’s Kapit division, because there is no primary or secondary school there.
Labang Paneh, 35, said he initially made the daily two-and-a-half hour journey with his children to the school in Kapit dvision’s sub-district of Sungai Asap, but the travel proved to be too much. (more…)
The Penans are peaceful people and if there is any riot, it would be as a result of provocation, says senior lawyer Baru Bian.
Increasing the number of police personnel in Murum Dam where the Penans have been relentlessly mounting blockades to demand that the state government and Sarawak Energy Berhad respect their rights and demands, smells of provocation, according to local lawyer Baru Bian.
Bian, who is also Sarawak’s PKR chief, was concerned with reports that the police will be sending reinforcements to the Murum dam construction site. (more…)
No engagement, just one demand that Hydro-Tasmania pull out of Sarawak!
As the Penan people of Murum enter the fourth week of their blockade against the Murum Dam, local and international NGOs have rallied to their support.
On Friday protestors, surrounded by news reporters, gathered outside Hydro-Tasmania’s impressive tower block headquarters in Hobart to demand that the company cease its lucrative partnership programme with Sarawak Energy.[click for video] (more…)
Senior Minister Awang Tengah Ali Hassan’s claim that NGOs with ‘ulterior motives’ are misleading the Penan community has showed up his ignorance, says SAVE Rivers Network.
SAVE Rivers Network (SAVE Rivers) a coalition of a number of non-governmental organisations, has slammed the Second Resource Management and Environment Awang Tengah Ali Hassan who claimed that the Penans in Murum have been led astray by certain quarters with ulterior motives.
“It is utterly false to say that the Penans are being made use of by NGOs,” said Peter Kallang, chairperson of SAVE Rivers, adding that it showed up his ignorance. (more…)
A ‘first’ notification on resettlement sites issued by the state government to Penans affected by the Murum dam which is 75% complete has raised more questions.
Save Rivers Network (SAVE Rivers) has ridiculed the first notification of the Social and Environmental Impact Assessment (SEIA) Report for the proposed resettlement sites and service centre for the Penans affected by the Murum dam project.
The notification was released on Oct 11 by the State Planning Unit (SPU) and involved the Metalun and Tegulang Resettlement sites as well as the Murum service centre. (more…)
The Penan’s blockade of the Murum dam road began on 26th September.
Leaked plans to resettle Malaysia’s Penan have surfaced, as the tribe continues to hold atwo-week blockade on the road leading to the controversial Murum dam.
Anger is growing within the tribe, which says it has been ‘manipulated’ and ‘cheated’ by the Sarawak government as it makes way for the dam.
The Murum Penan say they have been kept in ‘complete darkness’ about the resettlement plans, despite the dam’s construction starting four years ago, and only months remain until their ancestral lands will be entirely flooded. (more…)
Hilary Chiew – Malaysiakini
Hilary Chiew, the author of the report ‘Against their will’ which was published on Oct 6, 2008, described the out-of-court settlement between The Star and Samling as disconcerting to the profession of journalism.A former journalist with The Star who wrote about incidents of rape of Penan girls and women in Sarawak has expressed disgust with the English daily for apologising to logging giant Samling over the issue without consulting her.
“Notwithstanding the fact that I had left The Star in early 2010, it is regrettable that The Star did not see it fit to keep me informed of its decision.
“I have never, at any point in time, been informed nor consulted about the negotiations for the out-of-court settlement,” Chiew said. (more…)
The problems of Penans affected by construction of the Murum dam will not be resolved as long as state government policies remain unfriendly to them, said Sarawak PKR head Baru Bain.
He said that creating a special ministry to look into the Penans’ problems and demands is of secondary importance.
“You can have a few ministers to look after their problems. But if the ministers are ineffective, there would be no point,” he said.
Bian, a lawyer and the Ba’Kelalan assemblyperson, was commenting on the failure of negotiations between Penan representatives and the state government on pre-conditions for construction of the dam. (more…)
Premier Najib Abdul Razak should live up to his position as acting women, family and community development minister by addressing the long overdue issue of rape against Penan women, Zuraida Kamaruddin (PKR-Ampang) told Parliament this evening.
Pointing out that this was the first time a man was helming the Women’s Ministry, Zuraida(right) said the people expected something different.
“What is the government’s action against the offenders who raped Penan women in Sarawak as reported in by the Rights of Penan Women Taskforce?
“Seeing that the Women’s Ministry has been taken over by a man, I urge the prime minister to investigate this matter and bring the offenders to justice,” she said during the budget debate session. (more…)
The Penans affected by the Murum Dam project claim that the government had four years ago agreed to a compensation package which they want honoured.
Negotiations between the Sarawak government and the Penan community ended in a deadlock after the latter refused to accept any ‘compromise’ on the compensation package from the state.
Spokesman for the community Isah Abang said the government must keep to its promises especially on the cash compensation. (more…)
701 children in these villages have no access to school
Over 40% of the under five year olds living in the Penan villages due to be flooded at Murum are malnourished and 12% are severely malnourished, according to yet another shocking report that the government has attempted to keep secret.
This is just one of a series of disgraceful admissions about the criminal neglect of these tribal people by Taib Mahmud in the wake of his state-sponsored destruction of their forests.
Other monumental failings are in the categories of education and health. (more…)
The Penans are intensifying their blockade on Murum dam construction and against the Sarawak Energy Berhad with another linkage road to the dam site being blockaded yesterday. The road is going through an oil palm plantation, was an old logging which is narrow and passable by four-wheel drive vehicle only. Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) is using the road as an alternative route to the dam site for the past 3 days.
Since the Penans started the blockade last week, Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) and other companies have stopped using the main access road to Murum dam project site. The major works on the construction of the dam have been paralyzed over the last one week. The drivers have left home and let their cement tankers, lorry trucks and trailers with building materials had been hauled over and park at the road side near the blockade site. The access to the construction site of Murum hydroelectric dam project is totally blocked on all directions with the setting-up of second road blockade by the Penans. (more…)
Sarawak Parti Keadilan Rakyat today urged Suhakam to probe human rights abuses against the Penan community in Murum committed by the state headed by the nation’s reportedly richest man.
“The latest exposes carried in the alternative media and in some mainstream press in the past few days bring home to us the heights of heartlessness and hypocrisy this government has reached.
“The revelations tell of the unimaginable suffering of the Penans in Murum who have been treated in the most callous and contemptible manner by the dam-building bullies and the uncaring government headed by the man reputed to be the richest man in Malaysia,” said Baru Bian,chairman of Sarawak PKR. (more…)
The latest exposes in the alternative media and some mainstream press on the Penan blockade of an access road to the Murum dam in Belaga district over the past few days brings home the heights of heartlessness and hypocrisy that the Barisan Nasional government has reached.
“The revelations tell of the unimaginable suffering of the Murum Penans who have been treated in the most callous and contemptible manner by the dam-building bullies and the uncaring government headed by the man reputed to be the richest man in Malaysia.
A senior Sarawak native customary rights (NCR) lawyer has hailed a decision by the apex court of Malaysia on an NCR matter as a much needed victory.
The fight for recognition of native customary rights (NCR) on land received a shot in the arm following the federal court’s decision on Balare Jabu and others against timber company Merawa Sdn Bhd .
Hailing the decision, NCR lawyer Baru Bian said it was “another victory” in their legal battle for the claims and defence of NCR cases in Sarawak. (more…)