Hornbill Unleashed

July 28, 2013

Rep’s remarks on Penan rapes elicit disbelief

Keruah Usit

The first-term Sarawak state assembly representative for Telang Usan in Baram, Dennis Ngau, has spread ripples of disbelief and laughter in the social media following his remarks on the rape of Penan women and schoolgirls.

Ngau made his remarks in response to a PKR accusation that Women, Family and Community Development Minister Rohani Abdul Karim, had misled a regional forum by making a verifiably incorrect claim. The minister had said that the recommendations of her ministry’s Task Force Report, on sexual violence by loggers in Baram, had already been carried out.

NONERohani (left) said this at the Seventh Meeting of the Asean Commission on the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Women and Children, which was held in Kuala Lumpur from July 22 to 24.

Dennis Ngau rode to the minister’s rescue, but stumbled. “I did not read the Task Force Report, but I’m sure the government took it seriously and at times may have to adjust to suit the local environment,” he was quoted as saying by the Borneo Post.

Instead of saving the minister, Ngau appears to have trampled her underfoot. His verbal slapstick has drawn even greater attention to the minister’s controversial claim.

Sarawak PKR vice-chairperson and state assemblyperson for Batu Lintang See Chee How had on July 23 challenged the minister for trying to paper over the scandal surrounding the loggers’ sexual assaults.

NONE“I am disappointed with the minister as she did not speak the truth at the international forum,” See, a human rights lawyer, told the press.

“I regret the minister was misguided and wrongly advised into making an embarrassing statement that most of the recommendations listed in the National Task Force Report were executed,” he went on.

“Someone commented that BN ministers lie to the Malaysian public on a daily basis. They do. But misleading an international or regional audience is serious.”

Task Force’s shocking findings

Loggers in Baram have raped girls as young as 10 years old. These crimes were uncovered by a federal Cabinet Task Force in September 2009.

The ministry’s Task Force was unanimous in the finding that “sexual abuse of Penan girls and women by outsiders dealing with the Penan, including logging company employees and traders, had indeed taken place.” Their brief visit, over four days, documented eight cases of sexual abuse.

According to the Task Force, the roots of this sexual violence included poverty, isolation, excessive dependency on logging companies for transportation to clinics and schools, mistrust of the authorities among the Penan and prejudice towards the Penan.

NONEThe Task Force had recommended far-reaching improvements in transportation of schoolchildren, infrastructure, birth and citizenship registration, healthcare and education, and in the self-determination of the Penan.

These findings were then broadened in July 2010 by another investigation by the Penan Support Group, a coalition of NGOs. The PSG uncovered seven new instances of sexual violence, and tied these in with the wider socio-economic deprivation of rural communities.

Logging companies offer powerful support and generous donations to the ruling political elite. They own newspapers, infrastructure and even politicians.

‘No further action’ by government

Five years later, the Penan face exactly the same challenges, and are as vulnerable as ever to sexual abuse. Not a single rapist has been brought to justice: the police blame a lack of funds for their failure.

“The complaints lodged with the police on sexual assault against Penan women have been classified as ‘NFA’ (no further action),” See said.

“Until today, there has not been any arrangement done to ferry Penan children to their boarding schools and back to their settlements.”

Penan settlements in Baram Tengah have had to rely on a single four-wheel-drive vehicle, purchased for them by the Selangor and Penang state governments, to have access to distant schools and hospitals.

NONESee (left) noted that the Sarawak government had gone as far as sponsoring a women’s empowerment workshop in Baram, conducted by a local NGO, Sarawak Women for Women Society. But, he added, there was no additional effort put into the health services, national registration and pre-school classes in Baram, as recommended by the Task Force.

“However, I welcome the commitment by the federal minister to visit the Penan community in Sarawak to review the implementation of the recommendations made in the report, and I hope she will make full and frank disclosure of her report later,” he said.

See was more direct in calling Dennis Ngau’s outburst “the confession and proof of a failed assemblyman” in a social media remark.

“This is the single most important cabinet report affecting the people of Ngau’s constituency, he didn’t bother to read (it) but quickly jumped up to defend the mediocre minister, and is making it worse for her now,” See observed.

Ngau had told the Borneo Post that the BN government had engaged with the Penan in dialogues and meetings “to make them understand why they must accept development”.

He also appeared to doubt the findings of rape by the ministry’s Task Force, telling the Borneo Post that “the Penan that I met and asked even denied that such thing [sic] even occurred”.

12 Comments »

  1. IT IS A SHAME THAT HORNBILL UNLEASHED HAS NOT REPORTED ONE WORD OF THE SARAWAK INDEPENDENCE WALK IN KUCHING ON 21 JULY 2103.

    MAY BE IT THINKS SARAWAK INDEPENDENCE DOES NOT EXIST.

    IF SO, THAT IS CORRECT.

    HOWEVER, THE INDEPENDENCE WALK WAS A RE-STATEMENT OF OUR INDEPENDENCE RIGHT WHICH WAS DENIED BY ANNEXATION OF OUR COUNTRY INTO MALAYSIA BY MALAYA!

    Comment by ANTI-MALAYAN COLONIALISM — July 28, 2013 @ 9:47 PM | Reply

  2. This is just one of the many very good idiots BN representatives (wakil rakyat). This one is the most outstanding one because self-declared himself as idiot and moron. Let PRN11 punishes all these idiots and morons.

    Comment by buruk — July 28, 2013 @ 4:04 PM | Reply

    • Many of these crooks still go to Church and Mosque and acted like they had been very pious and righteous.

      Comment by Christina Andrew — July 28, 2013 @ 7:37 PM | Reply

    • what you expect from a room boy….

      Comment by rod — July 28, 2013 @ 11:31 PM | Reply

  3. What actually were all the recommendations? & were they ALL carried out?

    Sarawakians were furious when Sharizt came over at height of public furor on it. More anger when she met Penans at the Mulu Resorts!

    Rohani wont be the first to lie.

    Comment by Tall tales — July 28, 2013 @ 3:46 PM | Reply

  4. opposition politicians blaming timber companies of being evil.

    next time, when they form the government, they will NEED these timber companies for their financial support

    who knows, by that time, timber companies practice open mass killing, looting, raping and destruction. by that time, longhouses will be torched openly with the occupants inside.

    will the opposition stop them? think not!

    Comment by peacemalaysia — July 28, 2013 @ 3:38 PM | Reply

    • We will come looking for you because you will definitely be one of the perpetrators of those torching, looting, mass killing, raping. The oppositions will not let you go easy like what BN is doing.

      GOT IT “peacemalaysia” IDIOT?

      Comment by brian — July 30, 2013 @ 11:48 AM | Reply

  5. Malaysians in general and the Penans in particular want to know where is the RM100 million Penan Fund and how and who had been spending the money? Can Alfred Jabu who has been appointed to take care of Penan affair and the fund show an audited account of the fund?

    Comment by Mata Kuching — July 28, 2013 @ 8:01 AM | Reply

    • There are always bastards who disguised as sheeps when their sole intention into politics was to cheat their less educated and poor rural folks.

      Comment by Ronnie — July 28, 2013 @ 1:25 PM | Reply

    • The RM100 Million statement was only to make people happy to vote for them. Next will be the excuse as to why there is no RM100 Millions until the next State Election when they say and promise something else again. That’s the State Gov’t and PBB SOP for State Elections otherwise we will not have Dennis Ngau as our PBB representative for the SOON TO BE FLOODED AND DROWN ULU BARAM!

      Comment by brian — July 29, 2013 @ 1:30 PM | Reply

  6. BN reps are only interested in PANGKAT, PUJIAN, PINGAT, PULUS (DUIT) , PELANTIKAN JAWATAN and PUJAAN ( praised and adored). Do not expect too much from them

    Comment by robinhood — July 28, 2013 @ 6:49 AM | Reply

    • As some one rightly said before…CORRUPTION IN MALAYSIA IS REWARDED WITH POSITIONS,DATUKSHIP,TAN SRI, DATUK SRI,PEHIN(PAYHIM} ETC and 30 PLUS YEARS IN POWER like we know WHO lah!

      It really does pay to be corrupted in this country!!!

      Comment by brian — July 30, 2013 @ 1:46 PM | Reply


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