Hornbill Unleashed

October 8, 2012

Shocking Secrets From The Reports On Murum Over 40% Of Penan Children Malnourished

Sarawak Report

701 children in these villages have no access to school

Over 40% of the under five year olds living in the Penan villages due to be flooded at Murum are malnourished and 12% are severely malnourished, according to yet another shocking report that the government has attempted to keep secret.

This is just one of a series of disgraceful admissions about the criminal neglect of these tribal people by Taib Mahmud in the wake of his state-sponsored destruction of their forests.

Other monumental failings are in the categories of education and health.

Among the devastating conclusions of this official document are:

” The majority of the families interviewed (46%) are always short of food….Seventy-five percent of the respondents interviewed reported that they always run out of food. ”[14.3. Cont Eth Rpt]

“The data presented on school enrollment is actually a description of a dismal failure. This is not a failure on the part of the community but on the part of the education authority”. 

“It takes about two hours to reach the clinic, while from the farthest long house, Long Luar, the trip to the clinic takes about six hours…there is no available public transport”[14.4.2 Contemporary Eth Rpt]

79% of all deliveries are “unsafe” home births and “there are no reliable statistics on infant deaths” or of any ” programmes implemented by the Health Department”[14.1/14.2 Contemporary Eth Rpt]

The Penan who have moved to Asap “live in buildings once used as a chicken farm houses”[15.1 Contemporary Eth Rpt]

“Among the Penan there is a universal desire to be registered and to have official identify cards so that they can benefit from government assistance programmes and be recipients of the government services requiring proof of identity”. However, “the majority of the community (over 80%) are still without identity cards” [4.4 Contemp Eth Rpt]

Only 2% of the children go to school and there is 100% drop out rate of children from 5 affected villages. “The reasons given by all students for this high drop out rate related to no money and no transport to get to school”

“The nearest Penan village (Long Peran) is 90 kilometers away from Asap [only school] along mainly timber roads while the furthest (Long Malim) is approximately 250 kilometers away.”[15.6.1 Contemporary Eth Rpt]

Only one Penan is employed in the government service “[ Contemp Eth Report]

“Since 2005, the community has never received any assistance or services from either the Government or NGOs”[10.14 Contemp Eth Rpt]

Following our release of the resettlement plans the Penan have stepped up their protests and intensified the blockade against lorries constructing the dam by cutting off a second road to the site.

Living “below subsistence level” and worse off than before 

The so-called Contemporary Ethnography report on these vulnerable people was commissioned in 2010 as part of a Social and Environmental Impact Assessment that was designed to be “the first step in achieving ‘international standards’ for the resettlement of those communities affected by the Murum HEP“.

Determined or just desperate? The blockade moves in to its second week

In fact it has been kept secret in contravention of all international protocols covering the resettlement of indigenous peoples affected by dams, including the United Nations Declaration On The Rights Of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), to which Malaysia is a party.

Worse, no moves have been made to reach agreement with these people over what should happen to them when their communities are due to be flooded early next year.

Today, we are able to release the first public copy of this study on the condition of the Western Penan, leaked by disgusted insiders within the Sarawak Government.

It details how these Penan moved from sustainable lifestyles in the 1990s to their current “below subsistance level” lifestyle, thanks to logging and the absence of any state assistance to make up for the destruction of their lands.

The details of the report lay bare the appalling and shocking extent of Taib Mahmud’s cynical neglect of these jungle people, who have been left literally starving as a result of his destruction of their lands and sources of food.

What happened to the timber billions? – We ask the ‘richest man in Malaysia’ 

The excuse for the mass timber extraction and environmental destruction of Sarawak was that the billions of ringgit made from all that wood would assist these people in “progress and development”, yet the report makes this stark conclusion:

“All the communities are currently living below subsistence level. In relative terms, their old way of life was seen as far wealthier.. Formerly, they had easy access to abundant resources that met their dietary needs and provided products that could be traded or sold. Even after monetisation, well into the 1990s communities could make a decent living from combining subsistence and commercial production. This does not seem to be possible anymore as the forest resources have diminished and access to the remaining areas is difficult and time consuming.Goods that were once readily available have become scarce”

No right to exist – 80% have been denied Identity Cards to make them eligible for government assistance

So, we ask Chief Minister Taib Mahmud, who has now been confirmed by his own daughter-in-law as the richest man in Malaysia and probably the whole of South East Asia, what happened to all those billions of ringgit from selling off the jungle that belonged to the Penan, while they stay starving, without doctors, schools or transport?

We also ask Sarawak Energy and its‘Partners” at Hydro-Tasmania on what basis do they think their management of their social and corporate responsibilities towards the Penan reach benchmarks that would acceptable under the protocols of the International Hydropower Association, which it hosts next year or that of UNDRIP?

Systematic ethnic genocide

Perhaps the most sinister aspect of Taib’s neglect of these Penan people, who have lived in these jungles for generations, is the refusal of the brutal old tyrant to even admit that they officially exist.

The report makes clear that the communities have applied numerous times for their ID Cards, without which it is impossible to apply for basic services and employment. Yet there has been deliberate official obstruction:

“Among the Penan there is a universal desire to be registered and to have official identify cards so that they can benefit from government assistance programmes and be recipients of the government services requiring proof of identity. The results of the household survey indicate that while a reasonably large proportion (60%) have birth certificates the majority of the community (over 80%) are still without identity cards “[4.4 Contemp Eth Rpt]

Worryingly, the report confirms that as the waters start to rise above their homes and villages and flood their lands, only those who have these Identity Cards will be eligible even for the pittance in compensation and resettlement provisions that the Government are planning to provide. Yet there has been clear bureaucratic non-compliance with these people’s rights:

“41% have applied for one in 2009 but are yet to receive the card. Ownership of Mykad is an important issue as this document will be important for administering compensation payments, resettlement agreements, education registration, and provision of other government services.”[4.14 Contemp Eth Rpt]

Whole families have joined the blockade, fighting for survival. Will they be left to die?

Is this merely an attempt to save more money by denying these people their rights?

Is it just another attempt to prevent people who would reject Taib Mahmud from having a chance to cast their vote?

Or is this deliberate and murderous revenge against the Penan for having so publicly exposed the greed, plunder and corruption of Taib Mahmud through their blockades against the loggers, which have received publicity around the globe?

No government assistance

Time and again the report points out how these people, who are so well below the poverty line often living on just a fraction of the RM850 considered to be the rural poverty index in Sarawak, receive no help from the state.  In terms of shelter they say they saw no evidence of government support:

“To our knowledge, Penan have not received government assistance similar to the Housing Aid Programme offered to the Orang Asli by the Ministry of Rural and Regional Development via the Department of Orang Asli Affairs. The process of building a new Penan longhouse may therefore take years over the course of a series of partial aid given by different timber companies.”[3.4 Contemp Eth Rpt]

Neither, having destroyed their old way of life and culture, has the government moved to provide jobs:

“Apart from working in the timber industry and the oil palm plantations, there were a few cases of Murum Penan employed in government agencies or working for individuals in other communities. These cases are reported individually below:

(i) House maids – There are two cases of Penan women working as housemaids earning a monthly wage of RM200; both are from Long Wat.

(ii) Government servant – Only one Penan is employed in the government service earning RM 2,500 per month.[ Contemp Eth Report]

And what about the all important support for food and education, now that the forests are bare?:

“The Penan longhouse communities claim that since 2005, the community has never received any assistance or services from either the Government or NGOs. This has left them the impression that they are just insignificant in the power equation and easily forgotten. Given their remoteness and the difficulty and expense to visit them regularly, this sentiment is understandable”.

So what about agricultural assistance to help them help themselves?

“In 2009 most of the Long Wat households did not establish rice fields because they had no seed to plant due to total crop failure in 2008. Furthermore, they could not obtain seeds from Penan farmers of other longhouses (as most were in a similar situation) nor did they receive any assistance from any of the relevant government departments.

Malaysia’s shame

Few fish left in these rivers muddied by logging and polluted now by oil palm pesticides and fertilisers

The genocidal tactics of Taib Mahmud come on top of a string of outrages and corruptions that leave a stink of shame on Malaysia’s Federal Government, which still refuses to get rid of this greedy ruler.  Constantly they have begged for Taib to leave, time and again he has promised and then refused.

It seems he wants to ensure that he has washed away and destroyed the very last of Sarawak’s unique and special tribal cultures and stolen all they have left for him to steal, before he feels his work is done.

And Najib seems willing to do his bidding. Just this week BN announced an 80% cut in the rural education budget for Sabah and Sarawak!  Is this the Prime Minister’s response to the shocking conditions of communities like the Western Penan?

As the report sums up:

“The data presented on school enrollment is actually a description of a dismal failure. This is not a failure on the part of the community but on the part of the education authority. The oft quoted figures by the education authorities state that Malaysia’s literacy rate is above ninety percent with free education for all until form five (about 18 years old). However, in the Murum valley the authority has failed miserably. There is not even one school for the eight villages, where more than 1,500 people live. In other words these people have been marginalised”[15.8.4 Contemp Eth Rpt]

It is not just the Education Department that has been a “dismal failure” for the Penan and the people of Sarawak.

Eager pupils – it is a rare chance for the Penan children to learn when missionary volunteers drop by to spend a day or so trying to teach

The writers of BN’s own official reports have heaped so much shame on their political clients with their objective and professional analysis of the state of Penan that, 5 years since the construction at Murum began, 5 years after these reports should have been published and then negotiated and agreed, they were still kept locked up as secret documents.

Taib even had five years to do something about this situation and show some small piece of humanity and generosity towards these people who have lived so much longer in Sarawak than his own second generation family, yet he has chosen to watch them starve and (he hopes) to die out for ever.



  1. HE HE HE…Wonder how Yang Di-Kasehi Taib and his BN goons help the poor Dayaks to achieve success and yet keeping them even poorer and uneducated…?????

    “We’ll help you by keeping you poor & uneducated” – BN Slogan for poor Dayaks! HA HA HA

    Bravo taib bravo!

    Dayaks must have vision and discipline to achieve success — Taib
    by Hilary Sebastian, The Borneo Post, May 16, 2010, Sunday

    BINTULU: Pakatan Rakyat (PR) which has a different political agenda cannot emulate the power-sharing concept that Barisan Nasional (BN) has been practising for the past 50 years, said Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud.

    Moreover, leaders of the various component parties of BN practise a high degree of tolerance and respect and are able to work together in harmony with each other which has led to the success of its power-sharing concept, he said.

    On the other hand, the opposition does not practise power-sharing, instead its leaders are politically divided, he said in his two-hour speech at the second Parti Rakyat Sarawak (PRS) triennial delegates’ conference here yesterday.

    “The concept of dividing power and power sharing are two different things. In BN, its leaders who are of different races agree from the start on equal power sharing, unlike the opposition which wants to share power only after getting the mandate from the people,” added the chief minister who is also state BN chairman.

    Elaborating on the power sharing in BN, Taib said the concept is evident when all its component parties discharge their duties in close cooperation with each other with mutual respect, wisdom and vision to serve the people, without any selfish personal or party agenda.

    Besides that, Taib also stressed that BN has a proper governing system, whereas the opposition has no experience to show in running a government.

    “611 (15 per cent) cases are still under process and only 81 (2 per cent) applications were rejected as they were under Section 47 or due to breach of title condition,” he said.

    Therefore, based on the statistics, the chief minister said the government, through the Land and Survey Department had received over 84 per cent of applications for renewal of titles.

    “I have always emphasised that this policy on land lease renewal is a reasonable one and I have always said that the state government is sensitive and responsive to the needs of the people,” he said. For example, the chief minister said, prior to this policy of renewal of land leases, there was no provision in the Sarawak Land Code for renewal before the expiry date.

    “Having considered all feedback received during the recent land seminars organised in Bintulu, Sibu and Kuching with inputs from leaders of SUPP, I have decided to simplify the renewal process with regard to land used for residential, commercial and agricultural purposes.

    “The revised rates are flat, and does not involve calculations, which could give rise to bureaucratic delays.”

    Jabu says govt committed to eradicating poverty
    Borneo Post, May 18, 2012, Friday

    THIS IS THE RULE: Jabu showing a copy of the Standing Order to Wong (not in the picture) when debating on the poverty eradication programme.

    DEPUTY Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu yesterday assured that the government “is committed to eradicating poverty”, but he wanted people to understand that the poverty line would not be static.

    “Poverty eradication programme does not stop at a particular year. The poverty line in 2020 will be different from that of now.

    “To people who suppress and oppress the opportunity of us eradicating poverty, we will condemn you,” he said when responding to a supplementary question raised by Snowdan Lawan (BN-Balai Ringin) in the august house.

    Jabu, who is also Minister of Rural Development, pledged that the Penans in Long Beluan and Ulu Baram under the Rural Transformation Programme (RTP) would earn a monthly household income of at least RM2,000 by 2016.

    “I can prove to you that by 2016, they can make RM2,000 to RM2,500 per family per month compared to RM300 now.”

    He then blasted the opposition for having deprived the rural community of their opportunities to earn higher income.

    “You, the opposition, do not sympathise with our people.” His comment instantly propelled Wong Ho Leng (DAP-Bukit Assek) to defend the opposition bench.

    Jabu, however, declined to let Wong have the floor. The minister was repeatedly heard saying “Shut up” and “Sit down” as well as “You observe” while showing a copy of the Standing Order (SO).

    When Wong refused to heed the advice, Jabu turned to Speaker Datuk Amar Mohd Asfia Awang Nassar to discipline the opposition leader.

    Although Asfia did step in according to the SO, the debate went on and on with Jabu uttering “Chihuahua is a bitch because it is a female.”

    Jabu also labelled Wong as ‘lawyer buruk’ (terrible lawyer).

    Education is top priority: Moggie
    Borneo Post, Monday 23 April 2001

    KUCHING – Parti Bansa Dayak Sarawak (PBDS) will take drastic action to raise up the education level of the Dayak community, including effecting a change in the culture of the people if needed be.

    The party is putting education as a top priority for its activities in the next two to three years in order to ensure that the community is not left behind in the k-based economy. Party President Datuk Amar Leo Moggie said efforts were being made in trying to get the community, the parents in particular to understand the need to change their attitude and concept towards education. If the culture of the people was found to be a main factor behind the Dayak’s current attitude towards education, then it must change, he said to reporters after officiating the opening of an Educational Motivation Seminar at Kpg Entinggan, Samarahan today.

    “The performance of the Dayaks and Bumiputeras in particular in education is not as good as compared to the Chinese for instance. Why is that so? Maybe it is the cultural background. If so, what we need to do is to change that,” he said.

    In its seriousness to address this issue, the party had at September last year set up the PBDS Education Committee. Starting next month, a research would be conducted to obtain systematic data as to why the Dayaks were not performing satisfactorily at the school and university level, Moggie who is also the Minister of Energy, Telecommunications and Multimedia said.

    The research would be carried out separately under the supervision of lecturers by University Kebangsaan Malaysia and Universiti Teknologi MARA with the PBDS Education Committee as the main body overseeing it. Showing concern as to the level of education performance especially in rural schools, he said the trend of the quality of passes for the past few years had not been that satisfactorily. The research would be professionally carried out and the results obtained would hopefully give the party some idea on what was needed to be done to improve the situation.

    “This is a serious matter. It is a major challenge for us,” he stressed.

    He said the people had to know that while the government had been doing a lot to help, such as providing the support, building schools, giving education funds, loan schemes to pursue education at higher levels, the community must be willing to change their attitude too. A k-based society could only exist if the people were educated and had the necessary skills, he pointed out. “Parents must be reminded that they must give priority to education,” he said.

    Comment by Teddy Gumbang — October 10, 2012 @ 8:49 AM | Reply

  2. This is what Taib and the geng called development……

    Comment by Penan Tong Tokong — October 8, 2012 @ 12:29 AM | Reply

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

%d bloggers like this: