Hornbill Unleashed

October 2, 2009

Police torment rape victim – but ignore rapists

By Pak Bui


Penan IR 01-10-2009-borneopost (3)The Sarawak Police have cemented their reputation of being humble servants for rich timber towkays, and their patrons in the State Cabinet.

The police provide, unquestioningly, the muscle needed to allow the tycoons and politicians to succeed in business. Sarawakians seeking security and justice for the weaker members of society need not apply for relief.

Sarawak Deputy Commissioner of Police Hamza Taib announced on September 30 that the police will question four people, who helped a Penan woman from Long Item, Baram, escape to safety in Kuala Lumpur last October.

The Penan woman was known by a pseudonym “Bibi” in the national task force report on rape, while her alleged rapist was called “Johnny” (known locally as Ah Heng, according to Penan villagers).

From his pronouncements, Hamza appeared adamant that the police report, made by “Bibi” in Long Lama on September 28, was genuine. At the Long Lama police station, the 22 year old woman claimed she had been “conned” by an unnamed Penan man, into going to Kuala Lumpur to make a report of rape against her so-called husband, “Johnny” or Ah Heng, a mechanic in an Interhill timber camp near Long Item.

The Sarawak police did not insist on the inconvenience of mounting even a cursory investigation, before being convinced that the woman genuinely wanted to “clear her name” by denying she had been raped.

Penan rapist - ah hing 2

The police did not establish the most basic facts: that “Bibi” and “Johnny”, also known as Ah Heng, are not even married, and that “Bibi” had told the national police headquarters and Women’s Ministry that Ah Heng had raped her.

The police did not find it odd that “Bibi” came forward in Long Lama to “clear her name”, a full year after she had appealed to Bukit Aman police and Women’s Minsitry officials to protect her from her rapist “Johnny”, also known as Ah Heng.

Hamza’s investigative instincts, and razor-sharp sleuth’s mind, did not entertain even the vaguest suspicion that the poor rape victim was being victimised again – that Ah Heng might have been forced “Bibi” into making a false police report in Long Lama, to protect himself.

Hamza did not consider whether Bibi was being forced or intimidated into denying she was raped, as the Penan Support Group has suggested.

However, to demonstrate his unfailing love of justice, Hamza then threatened to take stern action against the rape victim, if her Long Lama report was found to be false. He did not offer any action against Ah Heng. Ah Heng was said by the Borneo Post to have accompanied “Bibi”, as her self-proclaimed “husband”, to Long Lama to make the report.

Threats and intimidation

Penan rapist - ah hingAh Heng has been described by local Penan villagers as having married at least two wives, but not “Bibi”. The Women’s Ministry task force, headed by Dr Noorul Ainur Mohd Nur, Director-General of the Women’s Development Department, found that “Bibi” had been raped twice by “Johnny”, believed to be Ah Heng.

“Bibi” had borne a child after each rape. The report describes how the rapist had demanded she marry him, but she refused, saying he already had two wives.

It is clear that “Bibi” was safe while she was in Kuala Lumpur, under the care of the Women’s Aid Organisation. But on her return to Long Item, she has fallen into Ah Heng’s hands again. It is equally clear that “Bibi” has not made the Long Lama police report of her own free will.

The police’s inaction on the rapes is directly responsible for exposing rape victims to continuing threats and intimidation. Our police, and our Women’s Ministry, failed to give “Bibi” the protection she desperately needed and deserved.

Colin Nicholas, of the Centre for Orang Asli Concerns and the Penan Support Group, ridiculed the allegations that “Bibi” made the police report in Bukit Aman last October because she was “conned”. (Press confrence Video )

“Are they saying that the Penan women are so good at deception that they can fool the Bukit Aman team of investigators? Are the police so stupid that they were fooled?” he asked.

Police act when it suits loggers

Hamza’s threats were splashed over the front page of the Borneo Post on October 1, under a typically crude and misleading headline “Probe over false (sic) rape report”.

A senior Sarawakian lawyer says it would be far-fetched for the police to press charges against the NGO staff who helped “Bibi” escape from her situation of abuse. It is clear the police “investigation” is aimed at propaganda, by an increasingly desperate Sarawak government, rather than establishing justice for “Bibi” or other rural Dayak girls.

“This is an attempt by the Sarawak government with the possible collusion of the Sarawak police to confuse the public about the actual goings-on in  the state,” said Colin Nicholas.

HamzaAs far as anyone knows, Hamza Taib ( photo Right ) is not related to Top Taib – Taib Mahmud, the resilient and durable Chief Minister of Sarawak. But the police faithfully obey Top Taib, as family members or pets do.

When Top Taib’s men order the police to break down logging blockades in Tutoh-Apoh, the Field Force spring into action. They are fearless.

However, when Penan girls, some still in Primary Four, are savagely raped by loggers, the police fail miserably to investigate, for fear of offending their political and business masters.

There have been numerous eyewitness statements that the police routinely refuse even to take police reports, when violence – sexual or physical – is inflicted on local communities by logging company employees.

Hamza’s own statement that only 14 reports of rape and molest were received in Ulu Baram since 1995, four of which were by Penan girls and women, sheds some light on the abject failure of the police. None of the reports received adequate police investigations to bring the criminals to justice.

Is it any wonder that the Sarawak police are not trusted by rural victims of crime, including the Penan?

The police behave differently when they hear their political master’s voice. For example, when Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu announced the NGOs had a hand in the logging blockades, or the NGOs had a hand in uncovering the sexual abuse of rural girls by loggers, the police ran helter-skelter after NGOs, panting.

These enthusiastic police “investigations” ignored the facts that the “foreign instigators” at blockades are AFP journalists covering the news, and the Penan themselves started and maintained  the blockades.

They ignored the fact that eight instances of sexual abuse were found by a Ministerial task force, which included Royal Malaysian Police representation.

They ignored the fact that local NGOs have uncovered at least 15 instances of sexual abuse by loggers.

Yet the Sarawak police refuse to perform a joint NGO-Police investigation. They have gone back on the promise given by the Inspector-General of Police himself earlier this year, that Bukit Aman would co-operate with NGOs to find out the truth.

The future of our police


The credibility of the police in Peninsular Malaysia has sunk to an all-time low. The police there have displayed brutality towards peaceful demonstrators. They have unashamedly supported Umno’s desperate attempts to cling on to power, clawing and biting. And they have beaten Indian, Malay and Chinese Malaysians in custody – some to death.

On the other hand, the Sarawak police have been less savage in urban areas in Sarawak. But the Sarawak police have pulled out all the stops in the ulu or rural areas. They have used tear gas and live ammunition to terrorise Sarawakians at peaceful logging blockades.

What is the future of policing in Sarawak, if the police obey only their venal masters in business and politics?

Will the Sarawak police become increasingly despised and treated with contempt, like in Peninsular Malaysia? Will the Sarawak police ever be proud professionals? When can our police say they are truly protecting society?

The answer is: our police can only regain their dignity, when the poison welling up in the political and corporate worlds in Malaysia is removed.

This will come about only if voters – urban and rural – rise up and end the evils of political corruption.


  1. […] even managed to make a Penan woman “Bibi” lodge a police report in Long Lama last September, to “retract” her earlier report against him in Bukit Aman a year earlier. This was the government and timber industry’s secret weapon to […]

    Pingback by Sarawak BN Battered in Publicity Wars « Hornbill Unleashed — February 7, 2010 @ 12:02 AM | Reply

  2. Where I come from, LAKIA is also used to describe no good, useless Chinese punks and gangsters of which there a re abundance in Sarawak.

    Comment by goldenscreen — October 8, 2009 @ 8:13 PM | Reply

  3. Dear Aki,

    Did Jasmine says the word ” LAKIA” anywhere in this blog ??

    Comment by Jasmine — October 6, 2009 @ 2:52 PM | Reply

  4. Dear Jasmine Sarawak,
    Now you have potrayed the meaning of LAKIA and everyone who reads this blog will know the word. All this while the chinese who used the word to dayaks has that impression, I agree with Akai that the word should not be used to the dayak because not all dayak change their mind overnight. Dayak are also like everyone else in this world. We have pride and dignity. There is so much to say but I just put it to a full stop to this because it might become a racist quarrel. Let us go together in the name of Sarawak our beloved land kick out the racist BE END gomen out of Sarawak.

    Comment by aki ungkir — October 4, 2009 @ 3:00 AM | Reply

  5. Akai, thank you for your “praise” of “great foochows leaders like ling Liong Sik, and many fabulous Foochows businessmen in Sarawak”. I hope their “greatness’ will not lead you to conclude that the Foochow ‘race’should be erased. Likewise, the “greatness” of Najib and Hishamuddin, Jabu and Masing, George Chan, etc. will not lead you to demand that the Malay race, the Iban race and the Cantonese ‘race’ should be erased.

    Comment by Foochow — October 3, 2009 @ 4:46 PM | Reply

  6. You are right I must stop using that name.I didn’t invent that name,you Sarawkian did.
    Yes you have a great mind,I salute you.
    Let’s see if sarawakians can give a landslide victory in next election.everyone can dream.

    Comment by Akai — October 2, 2009 @ 9:54 PM | Reply

    • Can you also apologise for your remark about erasing “the foochow race” if you are not racist as you have claimed?

      Comment by Foochow — October 3, 2009 @ 1:59 AM | Reply

      • Yes,foochow is a very unique Chinese clan.They are the greatest clan in Malaysia.We have great foochows leaders like ling Liong Sik,and many fabulous Foochows businessmen in Sarawak.Sarawakians are very proud of them. Foochow boleh!

        Comment by Akai — October 3, 2009 @ 11:39 AM | Reply

  7. The penan lady , as believed by many parties , is under pressure and threats to change her statment. She is just a helpless woman in the hands of the man.

    What else can she do ? Its just unfortunate she was tracked down by the man and manipulated by interested parties.

    Very worrying with the happenings in sarawak but i believe Light will win over darkness.

    Comment by Jasmine sarawak — October 2, 2009 @ 5:07 PM | Reply

  8. or until the time when all trees are cut down,and there are no trees to cut in sarawak.Then this desperate timber workers like sea fishermen can go and rape the prostitutes in towns for all we care.Perhaps catch syphilis or AIDS before spreading to their spouse and erase the foochow race.
    We all know that the police is the most corrupted organisations in Malaysia like other govt depts.A total revamp can only materialise if and when we vote a new govt in.Will the natives of sarawak which form more than 50 % of the population turn their oppression into votes.It didnt happen the last GE.There is a reason we call them LAKIA for they change their mind overnight.me no racist but if they want my empathy they have to change their mindset and give us the change we need for a better lives for them.

    Comment by Akai — October 2, 2009 @ 10:05 AM | Reply

    • Please stop using words like LAKIA. A word like this is a shibboleth for narrow minds.

      I don’t think the Dayaks want your empathy. I’m not sure you can provide it either, judging by your remarks.

      What the Dayaks need is for ALL Sarawakians to pull together against the common enemy of corruption. I don’t know if you noticed, but in the last general election, most Dayaks and non-Dayaks alike voted for Taib’s goons. How about ALL of us change our minds overnight?

      Comment by Pak Bui — October 2, 2009 @ 2:40 PM | Reply

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