Hornbill Unleashed

April 13, 2010

Sarawak MP thinks Penan rape survivors’ suffering is a “perception”

By Rosita Maja

Is Hajah Nancy Shukri, MP for Batang Sadong, trying to water down the issue of the allegations of sexual abuse of Penan girls and women in Parliament?

Hajah Nancy Shukri claims to be the people’s representative or wakil rakyat for Sarawakians, and is Chairperson of the Women’s Parliamentary Caucus. Yet we have never seen or heard her speak for the plight of the Penan girls and women, and rural girls and women as a whole.

The worst disappointment is this extract from the Malaysian Hansard.

Extract from Parliament Hansard between YB Zuraida Kamaruddin (Member for Ampang) and YB Hjh Nancy Shukri (Member for Batang Sadong) dated March 24, 2010, page 63.

Puan Hajah Zuraida Kamaruddin [Ampang]: Terima kasih Tuan Yang di-Pertua dan Yang Berhormat Batang Sadong. Saya cuma hendak tanya sedikit. Minta sedikit penjelasan tentang pendirian Yang Berhormat Batang Sadong mengenai kedudukan wanita kaum Penan yang telah dianiayai, kes mereka dan kedudukan kes ini dan bagaimana Yang Berhormat Batang Sadong di Sarawak membantu mereka untuk mengatasi masalah ini. Terima kasih.

Puan Hajah Nancy binti Shukri [Batang Sadong]: Terima kasih kerana mempunyai keprihatinan terhadap orang-orang Penan. Yang Berhormat, sebenarnya mereka bukan dianiayai. Itu adalah pandangan ataupun persepsi orang sebelah. Kami berusaha dan kita tidak melaung-laungkannya. Kalau Yang Berhormat tahu apa yang kami lakukan, kami memang sentiasa mengusahakan untuk membantu tetapi kadangkala ada orang lain mengambil kesempatan untuk mengambil peluang untuk mengatakan mereka ini dianiayai. Namun itu adalah persepsi orang. Bukan mereka dianiaya, they are not being, apa nama? We are not doing anything yang melakukan kejahatan terhadap mereka ataupun menganiaya mereka. So, maaf.

Timbalan Yang di-Pertua [Datuk Dr. Haji Wan Junaidi Tuanku Jaafar]: Dianiayai.

Puan Hajah Nancy binti Shukri [Batang Sadong]: Dianiayai. Okay, whatever it is. We know what it means. Terima kasih. Jadi Tuan Yang di-Pertua, kalau dilihat usaha-usaha kerajaan untuk membantu orang-orang Penan ini, memang banyak telah dilakukan. Cuma kita kadangkala, itulah yang kita katakan sesiapa yang mempunyai kapasiti untuk membantu, kita bantu kerana kita tidak mahu membiarkannya. Di peringkat negeri pun telah membincangkan. Selama ini negeri pun telah melakukan beberapa program untuk membantu mereka. Jadi saya harap itu jangan dianggap sebagai kami mengetepikan masalah mereka. Memang itu kalau orang di sini merasa itu menjadi masalah mereka apatah lagi kami di Sarawak. Jadi janganlah menyalah anggap seolah-olah orang Sarawak tidak mengambil keprihatinan terhadap mereka ini. Terima kasih.

Hajah Zuraida Kamaruddin (MP of Ampang and PKR National Women’s chief) raised the issue on the sexual abuse of Penan girls and women in Parliament last week.

Hajah Nancy binti Shukri (MP for Batang Sadong) replied casually that any abuse of the Penan is simply a “view” or “perception” of the opposition benches, implying that rape and sexual abuse of Penan girls and women are nothing more than a perception. She then added that the Sarawak government had made many efforts to help them, but failed to provide details.

It is painful to note that Hajah Nancy binti Shukri is not vocal on women’s issues. It is an even more distressing that she callously tried to water down the issue in Parliament, trying to make the Penan issue seem insignificant. For the YB’s vocabulary, “aniaya” or any of its derivative words like “dianiayai”or “penganiayaan” carries the following meanings: “violated”, “injustice”, “molestation”, “maltreated”, or “torture”!

The rest of the world sees that our people’s representative in Parliament cannot bring herself to admit that the Ministry of Women’s Taskforce Report had confirmed that the allegations of rape of the Penan girls and women in Sarawak are true.

Instead of vague platitudes about “helping” the Penan, Hajah Nancy binti Shukri should have provided specific details about what she and the Sarawak government have done for the plight of the Penan girls and women who remain threatened with sexual abuse by loggers.

We Sarawakians demand that the government outlines what concrete steps have been carried out by the Sarawak government so far, in response to the recommendations of the Ministry Taskforce Report.

The Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development replied to YB Charles Santiago, MP for Klang, that the Ministry had carried out empowerment programmes jointly with Sarawak Women For Women Society, a women’s NGO in Sarawak. According to the Ministry’s reply, these include Gangguan Seksual” (Sexual Harassment), “Pembangunan Minda” (Mental Development) and “Wanita Bijaksana, Keluarga Sejahtera” (Smart Women, Happy Families). The ministry asserted that 1,300 participants had been trained in Phase 1 of the program.

However, a reliable source from the Sarawak Women For Women Society has said that the society only did the programme on “Gangguan Seksual”. This programme focused solely on empowering rural girls, with 500 participants participating in Phase 2 of the programme in Long Lama.

It is extremely disappointing to learn of the failure by the wakil rakyat from Sarawak and the ministry to give Sarawakians a credible answer to our MPs Hajjah Zuraida Kamaruddin and Charles Santiago. Then the ministry went on to give inaccurate facts and figures, and claimed credit for an empowerment programme initiated, organised and coordinated entirely by Sarawak Women For Women Society’s volunteers!

Furthermore, we must ask whether the empowerment programme carried out by the women NGOs alone are an adequate solution for the suffering of the Penan girls and women. Is the empowerment programme enough to address all the issues and recommendations set out in the National Taskforce Report?

The National Task Force investigating sexual abuse of Penan women in Sarawak unanimously confirmed that the allegations of rape and sexual crimes by outsiders who have dealings with the Penan community, including workers of the logging companies and traders, are certainly true.

In most instances, the sexual abuse arose out of the dependence of the victims on transportation provided by logging companies, and the influx of outsiders coming to their villages to buy jungle produce.

Among the taskforce recommendations is for the government to make available the necessary transportation facilities for the schoolchildren and to arrange trustworthy drivers to take them to school and back home.

It is also recommended that kindergartens and nurseries be set up for each village to enable children to have accessibility to early education. It urged for more schools be built near to their villages.

Other issues include the inaccessibility to medical services due to distance and lack of transportation facilities. The task force report recommended that the government step up efforts to provide mobile medical services to the interior. It called for special medical staff to be trained to carry out mobile medical services instead of using the existing medical staff posted to village clinics, to avoid staff shortage at clinics. It further recommended that special medical staff be trained to handle and manage survivors of rape and sexual abuse.

The state and federal governments must immediately implement the recommendations of the task force, and closely monitor their effectiveness.

The Penan Support Group, a network of civil society organisations, also call upon the Government to immediately carry out the following:

  • Make public the current status of the police criminal investigation of the sexual abuse cases and allocate adequate resources for the investigation as well as the prosecution of the perpetrators;
  • Conduct an investigation into the activities of the logging companies identified in the cases of sexual abuse as well as other companies with commercial interests in the Orang Asal native customary rights lands, with a view to uncover and stop violations of human rights;
  • Provide support for the survivors of sexual abuse in the form of financial aid, healthcare, education and counseling for the individuals concerned and their families;
  • Take steps to ensure that survivors of sexual violence among isolated or rural indigenous communities such as the Penan are able to obtain legal redress, for example by making the justice system more accessible to women from these communities, eradicating corruption among the police force, and disseminating easy-to-understand information on their rights and the law;
  • Abide by its obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Convention on the Rights of the Child;
  • Fully incorporate the principles of the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples into federal and state legislation and policies, and not to act in any manner inconsistent with the rights protected therein.

Sexual abuse is absolutely intolerable to any civilised society. Eight months have passed since the release of the National Taskforce Report.

What has been done for them to date?

10 Comments »

  1. Huh? From kaki disco to mujahideen to serial rapist. Wat da fak is this!

    Comment by Fabian Ngui — April 21, 2010 @ 9:50 AM | Reply

  2. YB Nancy kaki disco?? She is Hajah nw rite…wow! Unbelievable….!

    Comment by Ad myy — April 16, 2010 @ 3:24 PM | Reply

  3. Wakil rakyat is chosen by the people to represent the people’s voice.

    If she cannot be there to speak for her people … she is UNFIT to be there!

    Comment by Jasmine sarawak — April 14, 2010 @ 1:23 PM | Reply

  4. Some of the Penan girls sold to Logging managers and Tycoons by gangsters employed by the logging company were underage. It was very common for these tycoons to pay for virgin girls and the gangsters would threaten and took away these girls by force and sell them.

    Nancy has always been a glamour city girl and a disco kaki during her schooling days and when she was working in the bank. What does she care about the problems of women in society. She is now a major supplier of corporate gifts for government departments and a food ration contractor , making her millions.

    Comment by Mata Kuching — April 13, 2010 @ 10:34 PM | Reply

  5. “…kalau dilihat usaha-usaha kerajaan untuk membantu orang-orang Penan ini, memang banyak telah dilakukan.”

    “…Kalau Yang Berhormat tahu apa yang kami lakukan, kami memang sentiasa mengusahakan untuk membantu tetapi kadangkala ada orang lain mengambil kesempatan untuk mengambil peluang untuk mengatakan mereka ini dianiayai. Namun itu adalah persepsi orang.

    Nancy Shukri makan gaji buta as MP! Sounds like she’s loyar buruk!

    What she’s doing is to create good “perceptions” for BN and she’s not any near doing it all.

    If they do so much for the Penans, don’t anybody in PBB/BN know anything? At all???

    If you don’t do your job people will ambil kesempatan! Ayah! Just be a wallflower lah!

    Comment by Watcha — April 13, 2010 @ 5:57 PM | Reply

  6. as a citizen, it is our responsibility too, to protect our own well-being. It is not right to criticize policies, and in that matter, the government.

    We can be critical, but it has to be in a healthy way.

    Comment by mona — April 13, 2010 @ 12:33 PM | Reply

    • Not right to criticize policies and the government? Why? Are they beyond reproach?

      Please also explain how to be “critical in a healthy way”.

      Surely we know there is no such thing as healthy or unhealthy way to kiss ass. Any way is OK as long as it works, right?

      Comment by bodoh — April 13, 2010 @ 2:49 PM | Reply

  7. Hajah Nancy is being affected by her emotion in answering the question. But one shouldn’t be taking the question pose too negatively. Instead,

    Hajah Zuraida, on the other hand, was merely trying to provoke Hjh Nancy, subtlely trying to imply that Hjh nancy is not doing good enough job. So it is natural to defend herself in this particular situation.

    My suggestion is, BN should look at the Penan people issues very closely. Because it has been made international by certain quarters in order to manipulate it.

    Comment by Amirah — April 13, 2010 @ 12:26 PM | Reply

  8. As I understood, YB Nancy is just bulshitting when answering YB Zuraidah’s in parliment. If only we refer her answer as to answer SPM BM paper I may be quite right she may fail her BM 4 not able 2 answer the question in contact. What a painful things 2 hear a people representatives isn’t represent the people. Then who’s she representing? I wonder. The best Malaysian to do so to speak 4 every Malaysian is non other than Karam Singh Walia. He can do all over in 1Malaysia. It’s better to suggest than not, if there ‘s any provision in this Bolehland YB Nancy Parlimentary annual allowance or whatever u want to call it to be tranferred to Walia’s personal account so as to empower him do the concerned ministry task force recommendations. What an ashame 2 have a wakil rakyat of this stature.

    Comment by Minda Mandol — April 13, 2010 @ 10:01 AM | Reply

  9. I just wonder how she would react if one of her daughters is raped?

    Comment by Kuchingnite — April 13, 2010 @ 9:08 AM | Reply


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