Hornbill Unleashed

March 19, 2011

The launch of Penan Vehicle in Kuching

HU Editor

Today, Pakatan Rakyat Governments of Selangor, represented by YAB Tan Sri Dato’ Sri Abdul Khalib bin Ibrahim, Dato’ Mentri Besar Selangor, and Selangor Executive Councillor Elizabeth Wong, Penang State Government representatives DAP Member of Parliament and Sarawak State Assemblyman Chong Chieng Jen, Member of Parliament and DAP National Publicity Chief Tony Pua, Member of Parliament and PKR National Vice Chairman Tian Chua, together with Sarawak PKR State chief and Penan Lawyer Mr. Baru Bian (Penan lawyer), Organising Committee Chairman, PKR Central Committee (MPP) Member and Penan Lawyer See Chee How, the Penan Support Group, community representatives and other party members celebrate the launching of the first ever Penan vehicle specifically for the benefit of deprived Penan school children.

It is a historical milestone in the struggle of Penans as one of the most marginalized communities in Malaysia. Today’s event is made possible with the money generously donated by the Governments of Selangor (RM50,000) and Penang (RM30,000) and organised through the office of Messrs Baru Bian Advocates and Solicitors and the Penan Support Group in direct partnership with the Penan communities.

We want to bring to the fore that ever since the Penans shared their stories with Malaysians and the international community of the rape and sexual exploitation of Penan women and girls in September 2008, there are still no structural changes by the government to ensure the people’s safety. Furthermore, some Penans have been targeted for collective punishment by logging companies which now deny transport to villagers in retaliation for making the rape reports.

This is a pilot project to be used to improve the desperate situation of the transportation needs of rural poor. The vehicle will be used to transport Penan students from as many communities targeted by the logging companies as possible. The project is starting with communities in the Middle Baram region. In addition, the vehicle will be available to transport Penan villagers in critical medical emergencies (examples include pregnancy-related emergencies, life-threatening accidents and the like) to the nearest clinic and the soon-to-be-completed Long Lama Hospital. They will be transported for free.

Recognising the vast areas of Baram, and the limitation of using only one vehicle, we call upon others and especially the Sarawak Government to be partners in ensuring that Penans and other similarly marginalized rural communities will not be denied proper schooling because of lack of transportation.

We call on others to come forward to donate better vehicles and to help organize/manage the project as the area to be covered is huge and there is great demand. We want to work with the School authorities, Sarawak Government, parents and communities to ensure that safe transport is systematically available to Penan children and that lack of transport will not be a reason for Penan children to drop out of school.

We further call upon the Sarawak Government to have the necessary hands-on approach instead of the present arrangement of pushing responsibilities onto School Principals to organise transport when the Principals and their staff are already burdened with so much more than their urban counterparts in ensuring rural students’ welfare and achievement at school work.

The above arrangement has resulted in very inadequate transportation, thus throwing into doubt the delivery of the Sarawak Government’s expenditure for transporting rural students.

While we recognize that Penans and other communities in remote regions of Sarawak face many daunting challenges in being equal partners to urban Malaysians, we thank the Selangor and Penang Pakatan Rakyat governments and their people for enabling the Penan communities to start having a systematic and community-based transportation to be available to students and the critically ill.

We look forward to working with the Penan communities in managing this transportation venture on their own as they are empowered through the training to be provided in managing the car.

By Penan Support Group, Sarawak

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15 Comments »

  1. The BN newsletter – BORNEO POST had the cheek to suggest that Pakatan was now adopting BN’s “buy election” for this contribuition to society. The Boreneo Post didn’t point out that 1) That the election was announced on the same day – the Pakatan leaders had no way of knowing that the announcement by Taib – 2) The car was freely given, not the Rejang Park style of ” I scratch your back, you scratch my back”

    I am cancelling my subscribtion to Borneo Post tommorrrow.

    Comment by gonggong — March 21, 2011 @ 10:23 PM | Reply

  2. Congratulations on the advance for Penans.

    But what can you do with a 4WD with no seating space for more than a few people squeezed in? Is it money well spent?

    From what HH2H says you also need a tank or army truck to negotiqte the terrain.

    Those in power could easily have set aside a fund to buy and maintain a SMALL FLEET of say 12 seater vans as school buses to suit the needs of Penans and other ulu folks in different centres. They are throwing hundreds of millions to the city constituencies and could not spare one cent for the Penans.

    Perhaps one of Taib’s Rolls Royces or son’s Lambroghinis could have paid for these little buses which would be more fully used.

    Or Taib or his filthy rich timber tycoon cronies could have come up with a generous “donation”!

    After all it is just giving back something of what they stole from the ulu people.

    What their invested money earn in interest could easily pay for a fleet of 100 of the best 12 seater 4WDs if there are any around and trained ulu drivers and maintenance mechanics to raise their skill levels.

    Also UMNO could have donated 100 years supply of fuel from the oil they stole from us!

    Comment by Query — March 20, 2011 @ 10:39 PM | Reply

    • No other vehicles can nego these terrains…only 4WD. Buses/Van are no use to this area.

      We have plenty of drivers/mechanics out there….the concerned I highlighted was; can they be responsible otherwise these 4WD bcome their personal use….become “private taxi” ply the interior! All “private taxi in Ulu baram are 4wd! That my point!

      Comment by HH2H — March 21, 2011 @ 12:45 AM | Reply

  3. well done khalid and “gang”

    a govt by the people and for the people.

    land grabber White Rajah, you have learn well how to grab lands from one ex-MB of Johor who now calls opposition ghosts and devils.

    Comment by mmc — March 20, 2011 @ 9:38 AM | Reply

  4. Great initiative by the PR…keep it up…!!!

    Comment by SalaiBABIhutaN — March 20, 2011 @ 1:11 AM | Reply

  5. Ask Taib how he spend his and our state money??

    Comment by babai — March 19, 2011 @ 11:51 PM | Reply

  6. Congratulation to Pakatan Rakyat for initiating a special fund to provide transportation for the Penans and/or rural students.The trustee of this noble project should also take it upon themselves to register for birth certificates and Mycards for the rural folks.

    We can be very sure that timber operators will deny transportation to rural folks who are determined to vote for a change of government.

    Comment by Mata Kuching — March 19, 2011 @ 6:16 PM | Reply

  7. Hye guys…. dont get me wrong thou as I fully support the good sincerely deeds BUT I good question here. Its not just something can be implement without taking account of these few issues!

    1. Who be driving this(these) vehicle? The area so vast and road are only for 4WD expert…not any dick and harry can drive on these road! The area to be covered will be 1/4 the size of West malaysia.

    2. Who will provide the fuel, Tyre, Spare and service for this vehicle? I live in this area and I have 4wd and its not cheap to maintain this 4wd car.

    3. How can we control the movement of this car? Who will be the custodian and be responsible person?

    4. Why not just contract the service to knows the trades?

    5. Final and the most important issue….Who will be responsible for the SAFETY of this kids?

    Comment by HH2H — March 19, 2011 @ 5:54 PM | Reply

    • HH2H just don’t comment for the sake of commenting. At least it is a start. Encourage others to “chip” & not least you. Have a heart for this very noble cause.

      Comment by Gmen — March 19, 2011 @ 6:54 PM | Reply

      • Gmen…I guess you’re making comments just for the sake of comment…you talking about yourself right!

        I have done my small part in helping some of the penan…remember last blockage in logn Nen/Simpang Empat…my friends and I were the first few to donated food to the penan…and in few other occassion as well….no need to states where and when but we(I) was there.

        Now I have a family penan on a fixed payroll…paid monthly, its not I want thme to work for me; actually there is nothing to do…its doesnt warrant someone to paid monthly…they dont even work everyday…. just once or twice a month! Its just that we want to help them ith their them!

        What if the driver just use the car for his onw personal use?
        I know Gmen….there no penan drivers out there….they are few years ago but most of the 4wd ended in the ditch or junked now after fe months!

        I am talking about reality, truth and ON HAND experiences and KNOWLEDGE!

        So Gmen…these are few things I did…..where I’ve been…WHERE ARE YOU?

        Comment by HH2H — March 19, 2011 @ 8:24 PM | Reply

        • HH2H I appreciate that you are indeed helping the Penans,however, please continue to help them but do not post negative comments it is so demoralizing. Since 1963, not much development that has upgraded the lives of these people. Carry on you good work and try to train & employ the 4WD driver, please.

          Comment by Gmen — March 19, 2011 @ 9:23 PM | Reply

          • LIFE WAS BETTER BEFORE 1963

            Comment by Aminus — March 19, 2011 @ 9:49 PM

    • Together we must do what needed to be done and we shall do our best and God shall take care of the rest. Let’s give Pakatan our strong support and donate generously towards any worthy cause.

      Comment by Mata Kuching — March 19, 2011 @ 7:14 PM | Reply

  8. Look at the restaurant and the food served. Compare to the BN functions. Then make your conclusions.

    Comment by Enlightened. — March 19, 2011 @ 5:16 PM | Reply

  9. As a Selangorian I am proud and fully support this “donation”. In fact I wish Selangor can give even more. If Pakatan forms the next govt many ngos from Peninsular will rush to do voluntary work to the Penans and others. The current govt is simply too suspicious of outsiders to protect their corrupt lifestyles.

    Comment by Enlightened. — March 19, 2011 @ 5:12 PM | Reply


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