Hornbill Unleashed

June 24, 2010

Timber company official assaults Penans at blockade

By Patrick Lee @ FMT

A group of Penans were reportedly assaulted after they defied a police order to dismantle a blockade leading to a timber site at Long Sebayang in Sarawak’s Upper Limbang region.

According to the Swiss-based activist group Bruno Manser Fund (BMF), at about 8pm last Sunday, a manager of Lee Ling Timber threatened one of the Penans with a parang.

The manager known only as Ah New, also punched one of Penans in the face and threatened the natives that he would bring in ‘more gangsters to the blockade site’, said a source, according to BMF.

The blockade was recently erected by the Penan, Lun Bawang and Tabun natives to prevent workers from entering a timber work site.

Three plainclothes police officers were present at the blockade site several hours earlier before the incident took place.

They were ferried in by vehicles belonging to the timber company. The officers subsequently instructed the natives to dismantle their blockade.

The activist group stated that despite lodging a police report on the incident at Limbang, no action was taken.

Lee Ling Timber, with its headquarters in Kuching, is a subsidiary of Quality Concrete Holdings Berhad (QCHB).

According to the latter’s website, Raziah Mahmud, a younger sister of Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud, is on QCHB’s board of directors.

Its their right to build blockades

Meanwhile, when contacted, land rights lawyer Paul Raja said the natives had the right to build blockades on their land if they found people to be trespassing.

He also said that blockades have been around for some time, and are hardly a new concept.

“Blockades are set up when a new (logging) company has moved into an area,” Raja told FMT.

“They’ve been built again and again, almost every month, and in some cases, almost every week.”

When queried about the police force collaborating with timber companies, Raja said: “Its a normal practice for the police here. Whenever they (the natives) lodge a report, it just becomes a useless piece of paper.”

“They don’t trust the police, because the police only come to arrest the natives.”

Attempts to contact Quality Concrete and Lee Ling Timber have been unsuccessful.

New blockade on Thursday

Meanwhile, in KUCHING, reports Roselind Jarrow, a meeting arranged by the police between the natives and the logging company failed to settle the dispute.

At the meeting, Quarry Concrete stood firm with its intention to log in the land.

“The police and the ketua kampung advised the company to cease their operations pending further investigations, but the company management refused to do so,” said Nicholas Mujah, secretary general of Sarawak Dayak Iban Association.

The dispute will now be referred to district officer Simunjan next Tuesday.

The villagers meanwhile will carry out a blockade next Thursday if the company continues to log in their land.

Mujah also said that the relevant authorities must investigate Quarry Concrete for allegedly contravening special conditions attached to its licence.

Quarry Concrete is believed to be the third company that the state forest department has given a licence to log the timber in the forest between Sungai Sebangan and Sungai Sebuyau.

Two other companies which were given a similar licences had ceased their logging activities when they were told they had encroached into the people’s communal forest.

1 Comment »

  1. Make a police report to nearest police station….. if they dont take any action…launch a police report againts the I.O. and launch a MACC report againts the police dept as well…. if no action….go to human rights organisation!

    Yes, blockade after blockades been erected but its just stop there….all the illegal logging, enroachment by timber companies all over Sarawak…..none of these companies been charged in court…. reading in news papers…only the small fish been caught…. what?? only cutting down 5-20 trees? What happen to the 1000’s been fell by the big player…Samling, Shin Yang, Interhill, Rimbunan, ETC….??

    I was told that even the “Temuda” of Long Lellang and Temuda of Kelabit Pa’ Tutoh….were totally wiped out, to the extend to cutting rubber tree’s…..including Paul Raja temuda!!!!! I was told that the culprit still roaming freely there……. 1000’s of tree’s were cut down…so no action from Mr Paul???

    Comment by Jati S'wak.. — June 24, 2010 @ 2:47 PM | Reply

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