Hornbill Unleashed

November 9, 2013

Eight Penans arrested at new blockade site at Murum

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 4:08 AM
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Dukau Papau

Eight Penans including their leader Ngang Buling are now being detained at the Belaga Police station following their arrests yesterday afternoon at a new blockade site which they erected at the Murum dam access road near Sungai Majoh Kecil within the dam site.

They have moved to this new site since Tuesday from the previous one to ensure that no workers or officials from Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) enter the dam site unless their demands are met.

In arresting them, some 80 police personnel, including 40 members of the Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) were involved in the operation against the Penan.

Those detained are Ngang Buling, Lau Siang, Ramli Bujang, Awa Juman, Balan Berau, Anthony Juman, Tom Arip and Tingang Lingok.

For Ngang, chairperson of the Peliran-Murum Penan Affairs Committee (Pemupa), it was his second arrest; he was arrested early last month, and his case is still pending.

NONEAccording to Raymond Abin (left), the regional coordinator of Borneo Resources Institute Malaysia (Brimas), “The Penans and their children from 300 families will continue with the protest and will defy any police order to move out.

“Despite the arrests of their leaders, they will not move out from the blockade. In fact, they are ready to be arrested together with their leaders.

“They are not scared at all,” Raymond said.

“So you expect more of the protesters will be arrested in the next few days,” he added, pointing out that the police are still identifying some 40 Penan who are alleged to be the ringleaders.

Urging the police to exercise restraint in dealing with the Penans, Raymond said that he received reports that the police were quite rough in arresting them.

He said the police have also mounted their own ‘blockade’ to ensure that no outsiders are able to go to the dam site or to get in touch with the protesters.

“Our men could not get in touch with the Penans,” Raymond said.

‘Demanding money from motorists’

Meanwhile, a police spokesperson said that the eight were arrested including two teenagers   for demanding money from motorists for passing through the blockade following reports lodged by members of the public.

The police also seized two oil drums, rocks, banners used in the blockade and cash of RM735.00 which was alleged to be the amount of money collected from the motorists.

Last week Commissioner of Police Muhamad Sabtu Osman had urged on the Penan to cease their illegal activities failing which the Police had no alternative but to arrest them.

The Penan communities have intensified their protests and erected blockades, after they found out that the authorities and SEB have ignored their demands for compensation and proceeded with the impoundment of the RM4 billion Murum dam last September.

Up to October, only Penans and Kenyah from three villages have moved out from the affected area and have resettled at Tegulang, while Penans from four other villages have refused to move out and have been carrying out protests unless their demands are met.

Among the demands are RM500,000 for each family for the loss of ancestral lands, fruit trees, heritage and culture, 25 hectares of land to be allocated to each family and 30,000 hectares of forest as their hunting ground.

More than 1,500 Penan and Kenyah from the 300 families have to move out as the dam, once reaching full capacity, will submerge about 24,500 hectares of their land.

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