Was the recent visit of Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Rural Development Alfred Jabu anak Numpang to the upper reaches of Baram River by helicopter ‘official’ or to fish for Malaysia’s most expensive fish – the empurau.
This is what Save Rivers Sarawak Network (Save Rivers) demands to know.
“Based on ground reports and from timber workers, Jabu seemed to enjoy fishing for the empurau,” Save Rivers chairperson Peter Kallang (left) said today.
The empurau in the Kuching market, fetches between RM600 and RM800 per kilogramme. (more…)
A British filmmaker has released a documentary based on the life and trials of the Penan tribe in Sarawak, to coincide with the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples at the United Nations in New York.
The 30-minute video by Ross Harrison was released with the support of Swiss-based rainforest advocacy group Bruno Manser Fund, a strong critic of former Sarawak chief minister, Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud.
Harrison spent six weeks last year living with the Penang tribe in making the documentary, “Sunset Over Selungo”, named after a remote river in the state. (more…)
Former chief justice Abdul Hamid Mohamad has highlighted the problems faced by Muslims in Penang, which he warned could spread if left unchecked.
Among others, he said a former Penang mufti told him that it was difficult to secure allocations for Islamic activities in the state as various religious groups wanted their fair share.
“If this is not stopped, it will spread to the whole of Malaysia. Maybe Islamic programmes will have to be shared with other religions.
“Government departments and campuses may be required to not only prepare surau but also churches, gurdwara and temples,” he added. (more…)
The plight of the suffering Penans who had to make way for the Murum Dam in Sarawak has been reconfirmed by Suhakam commissioner James Nayagam.
Nayagam who visited the displaced community recently managed to witness first-hand the horrendous situation they are in and the “empty promises” made to the Penans by the state government.
For starters, the Suhakam commissioner acknowledged that the access road to the resettlement areas was in deplorable condition. When it rained, it became inaccessible even to 4WD vehicles to ferry the children to school. (more…)
Ng Ai Fern
James with pupils at a primary school near the Murum resettlement
The promised brighter future for Penans who made ways for the Murum Dam turned out to be another miserable letdown with unfulfilled promises, no schooling and inadequate infrastructures, among other dissatisfying living conditions.
The disgruntlement of the community at the two resettlement areas – Metalun and Tegulang – was brought to the attention of the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) yesterday.
“The access road to the resettlement areas were in bad condition, especially when it rains – it cannot be used to ferry the children to school using the four-wheel drive,” Suhakam Commissioner James Nayagen pointed out. (more…)
CAPT DR THIRU JR
Yes minister, no problem!
Governments and corporations must exercise greater responsibility when engaging with those most affected by their developments.
BY the time you even get to the first sentence, I would be halfway to my wife’s longhouse in Betong, near Sri Aman, for a two-day trip before heading straight to London to finish the remaining Gawai Dayak celebrations with a well-deserved holiday.
Driving makes me think so I found my mind shifting itself to a Gawai Dayak message this week. (more…)
While the community is thankful to Chief Minister Taib Mahmud, they hope his successor will give them more in terms of social economic opportunities, and educational and infrastructural development.
The Penan community are hoping that new Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem will create more opportunities for the community to develope and improve themselves.
Community leader Hassan Sui said their main quest was to improve their living standards.
There are 15,000 Penans in the state. (more…)
Catholic priests in Penang have urged their parishioners to continue keeping calm following two incidents on Sunday and early yesterday morning that were meant to provoke religious tension.
Church of the Assumption (pic) parish priest Father Dominic Santhiyagu said today that parishioners are happy that in the midst of the incidents, all segments of society and race have called to provide moral and spiritual support.
“We are sad that there are elements out to create mischief between the various communities. (more…)
BN leaders have joined others in Penang to express their condemnation of the recent attacks on churches in the northern state.
Penang Gerakan chief Teng Chang Yeow said these were “cowardice acts by irresponsible elements”.
“They (the culprits) do not deserve to be called Malaysians. Malaysians love peace and harmony,” he said, speaking from Singapore.
Teng urged the police to act fast to bring the culprits to book. (more…)
The controversial banner which was put up outside a few churches of different denominations in Penang today.
A Catholic priest has advised Christians not to react to a number of banners which read “Allah is Great, Jesus is the son of Allah” that appeared outside churches in Penang to prevent religious tension from rising.
The banners were hung outside the Victory Lutheran Church, St John Britto Catholic Church, The Church of the Immaculate Conception and the Church of the Assumption on the island and the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Butterworth on the mainland. (more…)
Tensions went up a notch in Penang today when a Muslim non-governmental organisation demanded that local authorities ban the open selling of pork in the state.
Solidarity and Charity Organisation (Isco) claimed that the selling of pork openly was a disregard to Muslim sensitivity in the state.
Its president, Abdul Rahman Makhtun, said in a letter to Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) president Datuk Patahiyah Ismail today that the council should be more aware of Muslim sensitivity as the animal was haram in Islam. (more…)
Although DAP national chief Karpal Singh has urged the Penang government to seek legal advice on the use of the word ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims in the state before a conviction occurs, state leaders have been silent over the matter.
Under the Penang Islamic Religious Administration Enactment 2004, non-Muslims are prohibited from using 40 words, including ‘Allah’.
Conviction under the Enactment carries a RM3,000 fine or jail term not exceeding two years or both. (more…)
The indigenous language radio station Radio Free Sarawak broke the news today that the community of Murum Penan, resettled by Sarawak Energy, are making emergency calls to say they are now cut off by the dam’s rising waters and running out of food supplies.It was the same day that it emerged that the Norwegian CEO, who has made much of his role in allegedly transforming and improving the lives of the natives of Sarawak, will leave at the end of his current contract later this year.
The Environment and native rights group, the Bruno Manser Fund, revealed the news of Mr Torstein Dale Sjotveit’s departure in a press release late afternoon: (more…)
A young Penan mother and her baby leaving their old longhouse at Long Tangau to their new resettlement village at Metalun last Sunday. – The Malaysian Insider pic, December 3, 2013.The 77-day Penan blockade of the Murum hydroelectric dam has been lifted, following an extra RM8,000 offered to each family.
The end of the blockade was announced yesterday by one of the state’s Native Customary Rights (NCR) land lawyers, Abun Sui Anyit.
Anyit, who is also offering legal assistance to the protesting Penans, said they had been “strong-armed by the state government into accepting a token compensation package”. (more…)
According to their lawyer, the Penans were forced into accepting a RM23,000 compensation per family, RM8,000 more than the previous offer.
MURUM: The Penans here have been forced to concede defeat and abandon their blockades after 77 days as impoundment of the contentious Murum Dam continued.
According to villagers, flooding will soon drown their longhouses, logging roads and bridges, completely destroying their lives and livelihood. (more…)
This picture taken last month shows banners proclaiming dissatisfaction with the Baram dam project.
Sarawak is bullying its indigenous people with a compensation package that has been called “a joke” for those who have been displaced by a dam project in Malaysia’s largest state, an activist told The Malaysian Insider.
Peter Kallang, chairman of Save Sarawak Rivers, trashed the package which Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said “is probably among the best in the world”. (more…)
Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud (pic, left) has stood his ground and said that the state government will not pay an extra sen to the 100 Penan families displaced by the Murum hydroelectric dam project.
Describing their cash demands as “outrageous”, Taib said the government will not budge and pointed out that the demands “would be rejected anywhere in the world”.
The 100 Penan families, who have set up a blockade on the access road to the dam site, are demanding RM500,000 compensation for each family while the state government is only prepared to pay RM15,000 per family. (more…)
An undated photo of the Penans protesting against the construction of the dam in Murum.
Some 30 human rights and environmental non-governmental organisations have sent letters to 15 Malaysian missions worldwide calling for “good faith negotiations” with more than 100 Penan families who are displaced by the Murum hydroelectric dam project in Sarawak.
The organisations which represent national, regional and international civil society groups are also demanding that the Sarawak state government re-negotiate the compensation package which was offered to the Penan families. (more…)
William Mangor and P Ramani
Meanwhile a 13-member Penan delegation which is in Kuala Lumpur detailed their dire straits to a coalition of civil and women’s rights NGOs led by All Women’s Action Society (AWAM).
While a group of natives from Murum are currently in Kuala Lumpur exposing to West Malaysians the severity and urgency of their situation, their families are continuing with the blockades insisting that the state government meet their demands.
Penan and Kenyah community lawyer Abun Sui Anyit said today that the protestors in Murum will not backdown on their demands despite the police intimidation, harrassment and the authorities having severed access to food water and medicines. (more…)
Green Party MP Kim Booth has brought up in the Tasmanian Parliament state-owned Hydro Tasmania’s involvement in the contentious Murum Dam and the human rights violations against the Penans in Sarawak.
The Tasmanian Parliament has called on its government to intervene immediately and compel the Sarawak administration to compensate the Penans affected by the Murum Hydropower Dam project.
The Penans have hit a stalemate on their negotiations with state government and the Murum Dam main contractors Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) over compensation and resettlement issues.
Thirteen members of the Penan tribe in Murum, Sarawak travelled all the way to Bukit Aman today to handover a memorandum to the Inspector General of Police demanding that the police “stop immediately any intimidation and provocation” towards the Penans who have erected bloackades at the Murun dam site (more…)
Fourteen representatives of the Penan community marched to Parliament House today, demanding a stop their eviction from their ancestral land, which has been taken over for a mega-dam in Belaga, Sarawak.
They went to the Opposition Leader’s office to hand over a memorandum that also asks Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to ensure a consultation process between them and the authorities.
Two hours earlier, they had gone to Bukit Aman police headquarters to hand over a memorandum urging the police force to behave in neutral manner over the blockade they have mounted near the Murum Dam. (more…)
A group of Penan have descended on the federal capital from Sarawak and they will hold protests outside the federal police headquarters in Bukit Aman and go to Parliament tomorrow to get the authorities to look into their plight.
They will be meeting with Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar at Bukit Aman, in the morning and submit a memorandum to him to get the police in Sarawak to stop harassing them.
After meeting Khalid, they will walk to Parliament House to report the Sarawak government’s discrimination of the Penan community to the MPs. (more…)
The quite shocking duplicity of Sarawak Energy (SEB)’s full-force propaganda drive has been exposed once again by a simple film.
In this latest documentary from Tegulang, the resettled Penan from Murum have been allowed to speak for themselves, instead of having SEB and Bernama speak for them to tame journalists.
And the very Penan leader, Pengulu Pao Tului, whom SEB portrayed for months as the man who willingly negotiated with them, has gone on camera to slam the way his community has been treated. (more…)
A Penan lawyer-cum-activist has called on the IGP and the federal government to intervene in the Murum issue.
MURUM: Penan protestors mounting blockades at the Murum Dam site here claimed policemen who intimidated and harassed them were drunk.
Penan activist cum lawyer Abun Sui Anyit said based on ground reports from the blockade site, the police officers stationed in the area were allegedly being provided alcohol by the dam’s main contractors Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB). (more…)
On November 7th, the Norwegian head of Sarawak Energy took great care to make his accusations against the Penan tribespeople at the Murum Dam blockade as public as possible, by insisting on broadcasting them in full on our site.
In an email to the Swiss NGO BMF, which he copied into our comments section, he claimed that these families had been extorting money from members of the public, by setting up a toll on the public road. (more…)
Peter Sibon & Joanna Yap
Two more Penans have been arrested yesterday afternoon in relation to the Murum dam blockade.
They were arrested when they went to the Belaga police station to visit their relatives who were among the eight Penans arrested the day before, according to Sarawak Conservation Alliance of Natural Environment (SCANE) chairman Raymond Abin who has been keeping in touch with the protestors.
The two individuals have been identified as 16-year-old Philip Bujang and 21-year-old Merit Gadong. (more…)
The eight Penans, whom police arrested at a blockade on the access road to the Murum hydroelectric dam in Ulu Belaga, Sarawak, Thursday afternoon, have been remanded for three days until Sunday.
Their lawyer, Abun Sui Anyit, said they were being held under Section 341 of the penal code.
Under the section, the arrested Penans, aged between 12 and 60 years old, would be in police custody until a magistrate could hear their case. (more…)
- PRESS STATEMENT – SUARAM Condemns Crackdown in Murum : Protesters, Including Children, Arrested and Detained
SUARAM condemns ongoing harassment of Penan communities in Murum and Baram. Yesterday (7 November 2013), saw another action from the Royal Malaysian Police which clearly shows the failed role of the police force. Eight Penan who have been blockading against the Murum damsince August were arrested yesterday and brought to the Belaga Police Station. (more…)
Eight Penans including their leader Ngang Buling are now being detained at the Belaga Police station following their arrests yesterday afternoon at a new blockade site which they erected at the Murum dam access road near Sungai Majoh Kecil within the dam site.
They have moved to this new site since Tuesday from the previous one to ensure that no workers or officials from Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) enter the dam site unless their demands are met.
In arresting them, some 80 police personnel, including 40 members of the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) were involved in the operation against the Penan. (more…)
Penan families affected by the Murum Dam have accused Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) of trying to mislead them and the general public into believing that they would receive RM213.3 million in compensation for their longhouses and infrastructure facilities
Peliran-Murum Penan Affairs Committee (Pemupa) chairperson Ngang Buling vehemently refuted the claims today and said there was no truth in the SEB statement.
“The Penan are shocked by the claim, which to them is all rubbish,” said Ngang.
He was commenting on a ‘blanket statement’ issued by SEB on the payment of compensation to the Penan communities affected by Murum Dam hydroelectric project (MDHEP) in the Belaga district. (more…)
The government has dispatched more police personnel including 43 members of the Public Order Riot Unit (PORU) to the Murum dam site in Belaga in an effort to arrest 40 Penans said to be involved in putting up blockades to protect against the impoundment of the dam.
Last Wednesday, their leader Ngang Buling, was arrested and detained, but was released on Friday on police bail.
He is to be charged under Section 448 of the Penal Code for trespassing and is expected to appear in court on Nov 4, 2013. (more…)
Human rights NGO Suaram has condemned police action against Penan protesters fighting against the impoundment of the Murum dam, urging the police to instead protect the indigenous people.
Suaram coordinator R Thevarajan said that by arresting a protester and breaking up the blockade the community had put up to halt progress on the dam, the police are siding with the exploiters instead of the rakyat.
“We urge the Royal Malaysian Police to safeguard law and justice and to protect the interests of the Penan people instead of taking the side of the exploiters. (more…)
The Penan and Kenyah communities have lodged a police report after their pleas were allegedly ignored by the state government and Sarawak Energy Berhad.
MIRI: Penans affected by the alleged unannounced impoundment of the Murum Dam have lodged a police report against the Sarawak government and the main contractors Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB).
In the police report lodged yesterday, they claimed that SEB had failed to notify them of the impoundment and that most members of the community are yet to move to the new resettlement sites and are at risk.
They said the community was still in negotiations with the state government and as such SEB’s action to impound the Murum Dam was illegal. (more…)
A tense situation prevailed at the Murum Dam blockade when 30 police officers confronted 300 Penan protestors who offered themselves for arrest.
MURUM: Police moving in to stop the ongoing blockade by Penans on the road to the Murum Dam construction site arrested a protestor and fired a shot in the air to “stop” the people.
Ngang Buling, a Penan from the Murum region, was arrested this morning for reasons as yet unknown. Police are holding him at the Belaga station for questioning.
Quoting Ngang Buling, Save Rivers Network, a coalition of NGOs said the police are likely to hold him for four days. (more…)
Police from Belaga fired shots into the air to stop more than 300 protesters who also wanted to be arrested after a protester, Ngang Buling, was arrested at their Murum dam blockade site at 10.10am today.
Save Sarawak Rivers Network (Save) chairperson Peter Kalang said after Ngang was arrested, some 300 others who were guarding the blockade rushed to the police personnel and demanded that they be arrested as well.
“The police feared some untoward incident might take place and fired shots into the air to stop the action of the protesters,” Kalang said in a message to Malaysiakini. (more…)
Penan representatives demanding higher compensation from the state government and its energy company for their settlement land have lodged a police report in Miri over the move by Sarawak Energy Bhd (SEB) to impound the Murum hydroelectric dam.
The Penans want the impoundment stopped and are said to among other demand half-a-million ringgit compensation per family.
The group came to the coastal Miri city all the way from their deep jungle home, which will be submerged once the dam is filled with water in a year’s time.
They claimed SEB gave no notice when it started work to fill the reservoir. (more…)
A Sarawak-based NGO which has been accused of instigating Penans to stage blockades against the Murum HEP has hit back at the Sarawak Energy Board (SEB).Penans staged blockades on their own will, and reports of Sarawak Energy contractors burning their old longhouses came directly from the victims, claims SAVE Rivers Network.
SAVE Rivers Network chairman Peter Kallang said: “It’s a lie. SEB is trying to paint the picture that we (the NGOs) are trying to instigate the people there.
“In fact, we were never even there.” (more…)
The Sarawak government-owned Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) started the impoundment of the RM4 billion Murum dam at Ulu Belaga yesterday, ignoring the plight of the Penans from six villages who are currently mounting a blockade.
“More than 100 Penans from Long Wat, Long Luar, Long Tangau, Long Menapa, Long Singu and Long Malim which are upstream of the Murum river, have since last week erected a blockade.
“They are protesting against the failure of the government to fulfil its promises as SEB, the owner of Murum dam, started the impoundment on Sunday,” said Raymond Abin, national coordinator of the Sarawak Conservation Alliance for Natural Environment (SCANE). (more…)
Despite many challenges, a Christian-Muslim dialogue at a church in Penang last night went on smoothly amid heavy presence of policemen.
Even the protesters who were against it attended the two-hour session at St. Mark’s Church to listen to what was being discussed.
The dialogue was organised by PAS’s Parit Buntar Member of Parliament Datuk Dr Mujahid Yusof Rawa (pic) and the party’s Tasik Gelugor information chief Abdul Rahman Kasim, and Reverend John Kennedy from the Anglican church. (more…)
The Sarawak government’s policy of prioritising the protection of flora and fauna rather than the survival of the Penan community has received severe criticisms from lawyer and human rights activist Harrison Ngau.
“The state government is giving priority to the protection and preservation of plants and animals at the expense of the Penan, whose livelihood and survival depend on the forests surrounding them,” Ngau said.
Ngau (left), who is also chairperson of the Baram PKR division, was commenting on the move by the government to gazette the Suling-Selaan forest in Ulu Baram as a national park. (more…)
Native communities affected by the Murum hydroelectric project have begun the shift to their new homes in the resettlement scheme in Tegulang, upstream Bakun
BELAGA: Eighty-nine Penan families from Long Wat who are affected by the impoundment of the Murum hydro electric project (HEP) have been relocated to a new village resettlement scheme in Tegulang.
Tegulang is in upstream Bakun and according to Belaga assemblyman Liwan Lagang the new village’s location was ‘chosen’ by the Penans themselves.
“The site of the new homes was selected by the affected residents during a SEIA (Social and Environmental Impact Assessment) process. (more…)
Progress? Taib made billions out of their timber and lands and is now making billions from Murum Dam. Yet these Penan have been forced to live in a converted chicken coop at Sungai Asap.
Dear Prime Minister – As you know, Malaysia voted in favour of the adoption of the United Nations Declaration on Indigenous Rights (UNDRIP) and is a signatory to the Universal Declaration on Human Rights.
Malaysia is also a member of the International Finance Corporation (formulator of the World Bank’s sustainability framework) and Sarawak Energy is a Board Member of the International Hydropower Association, which has produced a protocol governing the building of dams. (more…)
Families gathered at outdoor camps – last October’s Murum blockade was joined by women and children for several weeks
Sarawak Energy adopted a familiar tactic towards the renewal of the blockade at Murum by the indigenous Penan people at the weekend.
They patronised them, by complaining that they had been “instigated” by un-named NGOs.
Over the past days there have been reports that scores of the indigenous tribes people have again brought the construction site on their lands to a grinding halt. (more…)