Hornbill Unleashed

October 4, 2009

Heartbreaking account of hunting Penan girls for sex

By Rosita Maja


After endless calls from many quarters of civil society and the continuous international pressure, the Penan Taskforce report was finally released to the public three weeks ago.

However,  Abdul Jalil, Federal Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, failed to release the report in a responsible manner. She only released the report to PKR Women Chief Hajjah Zuraidah Kamaruddin, after a demonstration by PKR Wanita outside Sharizat’s office on September 8.

Penan Girls hunted for sex by the loggers

The full report makes for heartbreaking reading.

The report runs to more than a hundred pages. The harrowing details force us to imagine the threats suffered every day by Orang Ulu girls and women in Baram and elsewhere. The girls and women suffer from fear, like the fear of animals running away from hunters.

Penan ReportTestimonies in the report describe the widespread crimes of loggers or logging truck drivers touching and  molesting schoolgirls them along their way to school.

It outlines a coomon practice of forcing schoolboys to get down from the vehicle they were hitching on, while the logging truck drivers proceed to molest or rape the girls. Another common tactic used by the loggers to hunt for their prey was by going to their villages, to buy food as if they were setting their traps for their prey.

Rape is one of the worst crimes against humanity! Why did the Minsitry take nearly a year to make public the report ?

The Ministry owes an explanation to Penan girls and women and the entire Malaysian public, for unreasonably with holding the report for such a long time. Justice delayed is justice denied.

The Ministry can be seen as condoning this crime, by not seeing that justice is done as soon as possible for the victims.

What have the police done so far?

Penan rapists - ah hengThe police have been typically unresponsive. The police have written to the Penan Support Group of NGOs, claiming that they cannot afford to fund a Joint Police-NGO investigation into the allegations of rape.

If the police are not taking the initiative and are not making any serious and earnest effort to investigate these crimes, then who will?

If the police and government have announced that they lack the capacity and funds to conduct proper investigation, then who else can investigate?

The Inspector General of Police (IGP) Musa Hassan owes all Sarawkians, in
particular the young girls and women who fell victim to rape, and the victims’ family
members, an explanation. Why has he gone back on his word?

He made a
promise to the Penan Support Group of 35 NGOs on
January 2 this year that he would give his full backing to the joint Police-NGO
investigation into the allegations of rape by those employed in the
logging industry in Sarawak.

The IGP’s promise was made in front of his senior officers, including leaders of the Criminal Investigation Department in Bukit Aman. Now Bukit Aman has washed its hands of these crimes.

The tenure of the IGP has been extended for another year, despite strenuous opposition and objection by various quarters. The IGP should make good use
of his remaining time in office, to honour his pledge.

The IGP must follow through with his promise given to the
neglected native communities, including the Penans, that their safety
and security from vicious predators will be improved.

People first? Performance now? Fat chance.

Rosita Maja is still writing to the Prime Minister’s wife Rosmah Mansoor, via Rosmah’s website at the Prime Minister’s Office, every day. Rosita is calling for Rosmah’s attention to address the issue of the alleged sexual abuse and rape of Penan girls and women. So far this effort has been, as you might expect, like trying to make an elephant learn the ballet.



  1. A few books to introduce, they are available in Kuching Popular Book stores.

    *Authored States – Musings of Jamaluddin Ibrahim (Chinese)

    *March 8 The Day Malaysia Wake Up – Kee Thuan Chye (Chinese)

    *Journeys Through Southeast Asia – Karim Raslan (English)

    *Pleasant Surprised In Norway (Memory of Taiwan and Code of Norway) – Brian Wu (Chinese)

    * Dubai – Do Buy the World

    * A Nyonya in Texas – Lee Su Kim (English / MPH Book Store)

    Comment by V Yap — October 4, 2009 @ 10:37 PM | Reply

  2. Police no funds to support a joint police-ngo investigations ?
    Of course no funds.
    Ngos are a threat to the sarawak government’s commercial interests!

    There are funds to kill them off.

    Sorry, forgot to add great post! Can’t wait to see your next post!

    Comment by karen miri — October 4, 2009 @ 7:59 PM | Reply

  3. Police no funds to support a joint police-ngo investigations ?
    Of course no funds.
    Ngos are a threat to the sarawak government’s commercial interests!

    There are funds to kill them off.

    Comment by karen miri — October 4, 2009 @ 12:13 PM | Reply

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