Alah Beling used to believe that staging blockades here was the only way for the local Penans to defend their rights to the land.
The 58-year-old thought that by doing that, he and fellow villagers could get the state government and logging companies to listen to their plight and attend to their demands.
“Only now I realise how wrong that was. I was detained in Lambir for a month for that. When I got out, there was no change—not even a bit.
“The environmentalists and human rights activists, whom we met then, told us it was the only way for us to get the state government and (logging) companies to listen. Looking back, it was a silly decision on our part,” said the Penan community leader from the Long Beluk resettlement scheme. (more…)
Eleven Penan leaders have demanded that Adelaide University in Australia return A$400,000 (about RM1.2 million) in donation received from former Sarawak chief minister Taib Mahmud.
The letter, sent to Adelaide University vice-chancellor Warren Bebbington and signed by the Penan leaders with their thumbprints, said the donation should be returned to Sarawak as they claimed the money was illegally acquired by Taib.
“When Taib studied law in Adelaide as a young man, he was as poor as we are today. Later on, he decided to become a politician.
“But instead of helping us indigenous people, Taib became greedy and was only interested in enriching himself and his family members,” read the letter, which was signed by former Penan penghulu James Lalo Keso. (more…)
The grassroots are not concerned over the RM2.6 billion donation or 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB), so Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin should stop harping on it, a Penang Umno delegate said today.
Datuk Musa Sheikh Fadzir warned Muhyiddin to stop his “road shows” criticising Umno president Datuk Seri Najib Razak, and urged the deputy president to only speak publicly on matters that could strengthen the party.
He also asked former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad to stop speaking negatively about Umno, adding that every insult he hurled at Najib was an insult to its members.
“To the deputy president, no more road shows on 1MDB. If you want to go on road shows, just talk about how we can strengthen the party,” said Musa when debating at the party general assembly in PWTC, Kuala Lumpur. (more…)
Is there a message when five PKR state assemblymen abstained from voting during a house vote on a motion on land reclamation that was brought by an Umno legislator at the Penang State Assembly?
Did they fully understand their actions or did they misinterpret the system?
Malaysia follows the Westminster system where members of the House vote as a team. To ensure this, a monitor known as Whip enforces party line although in certain rare circumstances the Whip may be relaxed and allow members to vote based on individual conscience – free voting or conscience vote.
Those supporting the reclamation land motion might have used the term free voting or conscience vote too loosely. (more…)
The decision on banning the use of loudspeakers outside the mosques and surau except for the prayer call or ‘azan’ and ‘iqamah’ in Penang will be gazetted soon.
This was stated in a letter from the Penang State Mufti Office dated Sept 1 concerning the decision of the Penang State Fatwa Committee meeting on July 1 and 2 and confirmed at the Penang State Fatwa Committee meeting on Aug 23 and 24.
The letter quoting excerpts of the minutes of the Penang State Fatwa Committee Meeting stated that the meeting had agreed that the command decided at the State Fatwa Committee Meeting dated April 7, 2011 on the prohibition of reading the Al-Quran before ‘Subuh’ (dawn) using the loudspeakers outside the mosque and surau must be improved by including the prohibition on the use of loudspeakers outside the mosques and surau for all programmes, meetings and so on. (more…)
A group of individuals wearing red shirts “dropped by” at a post-Bersih 4 forum featuring Bersih 2.0 chairman Maria Chin Abdullah, several opposition elected reps and activists in Bayan Baru, Penang tonight.
They were spotted entering Dewan MBPP at about 9.25pm as activist Adam Adli Abdul Halim was speaking.
The 40-odd individuals were welcomed by the host of the programme, Bayan Baru MP Sim Tze Tzin, who said the forum was open to everyone.
Members of the audience, mainly made up senior citizens, clapped to welcome the group to the “Post Bersih 4: Where is Malaysia heading?” forum. (more…)
The Malaysian Armed Forces and the police will take part in the 2015 National Day celebration in Penang after all.
Armed Forces chief Gen Zulkifli Mohd Zin said they would take part in the procession after the Penang State government withdrew its state-level national day celebration theme and adopted the national theme.
Inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar said PDRM would also take part in the celebration. “Okay, we will join the parade,” he said.
Zulkifeli and Khalid were commenting on the decision of Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng who announced the withdrawal of the state level national day celebration theme of ‘Bersih, Cekap, Amanah’. (more…)
PKR today acknowledged that the Pakatan Rakyat as a formal coalition is no more, but a coalition government is still intact in Penang and Selangor.
“We are thankful to Allah SWT for the spirit and cooperation of Pakatan Rakyat in Selangor under the leadership of Menteri Besar Azmin Ali, and in the leadership of the Penang Chief Minister, Lim Guan Eng (which) continues,” said PKR president Wan Azizah Wan Ismail.
As for the PAS-led Kelantan government, Wan Azizah (photo) said PKR will continue to support the leadership of its Menteri Besar Ahmad Yaakob. (more…)
The media was told not to cover or write about the talk tonight by senior lawyer Muhammad Shafee Abdullah at Permatang Pauh, the constituency of jailed Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim.
Shafee, who led the Sodomy II prosecution team, is on a roadshow to talk about the case.
The event tonight is organised by a pro-Umno NGO Kelab Warisan Mutiara Pulau Pinang.
The organiser of the talk dubbed ‘Sejenak bersama TS Shafee Abdullah’ told reporters to leave the hall at the Seberang Perai Politeknik before the talk began. (more…)
Facing a mammoth parliamentary by-election in their backyard, Penang PKR has started to take the first step towards closing ranks and empowering their grassroots.
In a move which observers foresee as an attempt to patch up differences within the state leadership, it is learnt that former PKR Balik Pulau MP Yusmadi Yusoff was appointed as an advisor to the Penang PKR Youth.
For the past several months, the state PKR has been experiencing much haggling over the party’s direction, state policies and of late, over who should be appointed as municipal councillors. (more…)
Penang is worried that the Election Commission (EC) will conduct a state constituency re-delineation exercise, similar to the one it announced in Sarawak.
On Monday, the EC announced that Sarawak would have an increase of 11 state seats.
The fear is compounded by the EC’s refusal to meet the Penang state-appointed committee on re-delineation, despite the committee requesting for a meeting in November. (more…)
Protesters holding placards outside the Kampung Rawa mosque in George Town after Friday prayers, demanding Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng to be jailed.
Perkasa protesters’ behaviour yesterday over the “Allah” issue was highly embarrassing and not representative of Muslims, said Penang PKR.
Its chairman, Datuk Mansor Othman, said the coarse language used was very shameful as the words were uttered after the protesters conducted their Friday prayers. (more…)
There is nothing wrong in Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng saying that non-Muslims can use the word ‘Allah’, said opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim today.
“He’s absolutely right, there is a compelling reason to support the position he takes,” he said.
Anwar explained that world renowned religious leaders such as Dr Sheikh Yusof Qardawi have expressed their openness in allowing non-Muslims to use the word ‘Allah’. (more…)
The Deputy Chief Minister supports Chief Minister Adenan Satem whose vision is the same as that of Sarawak Governor Abdul Taib Mahmud.
Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu Anak Numpang has advised the Penan community to take a good look at themselves and take stock of where they were going.
He argued that those who taught the Penans to set up blockades and demand compensation from timber companies “were actually making the Penans lazy and dependent on the compensation”. (more…)
Members of Penang’s Voluntary Patrol Unit (PPS) during a state-level Merdeka parade last August.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has declared Penang’s Voluntary Patrol Unit (PPS) an illegal organisation, and its assets and properties will be seized, the Home Ministry said today.
Its secretary-general Datuk Seri Mohamad Khalid Shariff said Zahid made the declaration yesterday, invoking Section 5(1) of the Societies Act 1966, which empowers the minister to declare an organisation illegal. (more…)
The Sarawak Penans are appealing to Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem to reconsider the ethnic group’s request to alienate land for a Peace Park.
A Penan village chief has appealed to Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Adenan Satem to reconsider the ethnic group’s request to alienate land for a Peace Park.
The government under Adenan’s predecessor Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud had rejected the idea of alienating a large swath of land in the interior close to the Sarawak-Kalimantan border exclusively for a small ethnic group. (more…)
Australian journalist Paul Malone urges Sarawak CM Adenan Satem to grant the Penan rights over their traditional lands.
Two visiting writers from Australia and Switzerland are in the Sarawak capital in the hope that they can call on Chief Minister Adenan Satem and present him with copies of their books to persuade a change in government policies towards the Penan, on timber and the environment as well as see the necessity for good governance.
Australian journalist Paul Malone wrote, “The Peaceful People: The Penan and their fight for the forest” (more…)
An Australian journalist of 40 years’ standing, Paul Malone, has described the Penan as ‘peaceful people’ who refused to mount revenge attacks even when their women and children were massacred by outsiders.
“They have shown great restraint in their anti-logging and anti-dam protests, where excessive force has been used against them,” Malone says in his book ‘The Peaceful People: The Penan and their fight for the forest’.
The book was launched in Kuching this afternoon by Sarawak PKR vice-chairperson and Batu Lintang assemblyperson See Chee How. (more…)
Did you know that every time a minister or the local YB visited their areas, the Penans would set up blockades to their settlements?
“Setting up blockades will not help their cause. How will the government develop their areas if blockades are set up everywhere?” asked Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu last week.
The Penans have been warned they will be left behind if they continue to run away from the government.
Of course Jabu knows the “simple-minded” Penans are just innocent victims of instigation, which is why “the government does not blame them”. (more…)
Was the recent visit of Deputy Chief Minister and Minister of Rural Development Alfred Jabu anak Numpang to the upper reaches of Baram River by helicopter ‘official’ or to fish for Malaysia’s most expensive fish – the empurau.
This is what Save Rivers Sarawak Network (Save Rivers) demands to know.
“Based on ground reports and from timber workers, Jabu seemed to enjoy fishing for the empurau,” Save Rivers chairperson Peter Kallang (left) said today.
The empurau in the Kuching market, fetches between RM600 and RM800 per kilogramme. (more…)
A British filmmaker has released a documentary based on the life and trials of the Penan tribe in Sarawak, to coincide with the World Conference on Indigenous Peoples at the United Nations in New York.
The 30-minute video by Ross Harrison was released with the support of Swiss-based rainforest advocacy group Bruno Manser Fund, a strong critic of former Sarawak chief minister, Tun Abdul Taib Mahmud.
Harrison spent six weeks last year living with the Penang tribe in making the documentary, “Sunset Over Selungo”, named after a remote river in the state. (more…)
Former chief justice Abdul Hamid Mohamad has highlighted the problems faced by Muslims in Penang, which he warned could spread if left unchecked.
Among others, he said a former Penang mufti told him that it was difficult to secure allocations for Islamic activities in the state as various religious groups wanted their fair share.
“If this is not stopped, it will spread to the whole of Malaysia. Maybe Islamic programmes will have to be shared with other religions.
“Government departments and campuses may be required to not only prepare surau but also churches, gurdwara and temples,” he added. (more…)
The plight of the suffering Penans who had to make way for the Murum Dam in Sarawak has been reconfirmed by Suhakam commissioner James Nayagam.
Nayagam who visited the displaced community recently managed to witness first-hand the horrendous situation they are in and the “empty promises” made to the Penans by the state government.
For starters, the Suhakam commissioner acknowledged that the access road to the resettlement areas was in deplorable condition. When it rained, it became inaccessible even to 4WD vehicles to ferry the children to school. (more…)
Ng Ai Fern
James with pupils at a primary school near the Murum resettlement
The promised brighter future for Penans who made ways for the Murum Dam turned out to be another miserable letdown with unfulfilled promises, no schooling and inadequate infrastructures, among other dissatisfying living conditions.
The disgruntlement of the community at the two resettlement areas – Metalun and Tegulang – was brought to the attention of the Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) yesterday.
“The access road to the resettlement areas were in bad condition, especially when it rains – it cannot be used to ferry the children to school using the four-wheel drive,” Suhakam Commissioner James Nayagen pointed out. (more…)
CAPT DR THIRU JR
Yes minister, no problem!
Governments and corporations must exercise greater responsibility when engaging with those most affected by their developments.
BY the time you even get to the first sentence, I would be halfway to my wife’s longhouse in Betong, near Sri Aman, for a two-day trip before heading straight to London to finish the remaining Gawai Dayak celebrations with a well-deserved holiday.
Driving makes me think so I found my mind shifting itself to a Gawai Dayak message this week. (more…)
While the community is thankful to Chief Minister Taib Mahmud, they hope his successor will give them more in terms of social economic opportunities, and educational and infrastructural development.
The Penan community are hoping that new Sarawak Chief Minister Adenan Satem will create more opportunities for the community to develope and improve themselves.
Community leader Hassan Sui said their main quest was to improve their living standards.
There are 15,000 Penans in the state. (more…)
Catholic priests in Penang have urged their parishioners to continue keeping calm following two incidents on Sunday and early yesterday morning that were meant to provoke religious tension.
Church of the Assumption (pic) parish priest Father Dominic Santhiyagu said today that parishioners are happy that in the midst of the incidents, all segments of society and race have called to provide moral and spiritual support.
“We are sad that there are elements out to create mischief between the various communities. (more…)
BN leaders have joined others in Penang to express their condemnation of the recent attacks on churches in the northern state.
Penang Gerakan chief Teng Chang Yeow said these were “cowardice acts by irresponsible elements”.
“They (the culprits) do not deserve to be called Malaysians. Malaysians love peace and harmony,” he said, speaking from Singapore.
Teng urged the police to act fast to bring the culprits to book. (more…)
The controversial banner which was put up outside a few churches of different denominations in Penang today.
A Catholic priest has advised Christians not to react to a number of banners which read “Allah is Great, Jesus is the son of Allah” that appeared outside churches in Penang to prevent religious tension from rising.
The banners were hung outside the Victory Lutheran Church, St John Britto Catholic Church, The Church of the Immaculate Conception and the Church of the Assumption on the island and the Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Butterworth on the mainland. (more…)
Tensions went up a notch in Penang today when a Muslim non-governmental organisation demanded that local authorities ban the open selling of pork in the state.
Solidarity and Charity Organisation (Isco) claimed that the selling of pork openly was a disregard to Muslim sensitivity in the state.
Its president, Abdul Rahman Makhtun, said in a letter to Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) president Datuk Patahiyah Ismail today that the council should be more aware of Muslim sensitivity as the animal was haram in Islam. (more…)
Although DAP national chief Karpal Singh has urged the Penang government to seek legal advice on the use of the word ‘Allah’ by non-Muslims in the state before a conviction occurs, state leaders have been silent over the matter.
Under the Penang Islamic Religious Administration Enactment 2004, non-Muslims are prohibited from using 40 words, including ‘Allah’.
Conviction under the Enactment carries a RM3,000 fine or jail term not exceeding two years or both. (more…)
The indigenous language radio station Radio Free Sarawak broke the news today that the community of Murum Penan, resettled by Sarawak Energy, are making emergency calls to say they are now cut off by the dam’s rising waters and running out of food supplies.It was the same day that it emerged that the Norwegian CEO, who has made much of his role in allegedly transforming and improving the lives of the natives of Sarawak, will leave at the end of his current contract later this year.
The Environment and native rights group, the Bruno Manser Fund, revealed the news of Mr Torstein Dale Sjotveit’s departure in a press release late afternoon: (more…)
A young Penan mother and her baby leaving their old longhouse at Long Tangau to their new resettlement village at Metalun last Sunday. – The Malaysian Insider pic, December 3, 2013.The 77-day Penan blockade of the Murum hydroelectric dam has been lifted, following an extra RM8,000 offered to each family.
The end of the blockade was announced yesterday by one of the state’s Native Customary Rights (NCR) land lawyers, Abun Sui Anyit.
Anyit, who is also offering legal assistance to the protesting Penans, said they had been “strong-armed by the state government into accepting a token compensation package”. (more…)
According to their lawyer, the Penans were forced into accepting a RM23,000 compensation per family, RM8,000 more than the previous offer.
MURUM: The Penans here have been forced to concede defeat and abandon their blockades after 77 days as impoundment of the contentious Murum Dam continued.
According to villagers, flooding will soon drown their longhouses, logging roads and bridges, completely destroying their lives and livelihood. (more…)
This picture taken last month shows banners proclaiming dissatisfaction with the Baram dam project.
Sarawak is bullying its indigenous people with a compensation package that has been called “a joke” for those who have been displaced by a dam project in Malaysia’s largest state, an activist told The Malaysian Insider.
Peter Kallang, chairman of Save Sarawak Rivers, trashed the package which Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said “is probably among the best in the world”. (more…)
Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud (pic, left) has stood his ground and said that the state government will not pay an extra sen to the 100 Penan families displaced by the Murum hydroelectric dam project.
Describing their cash demands as “outrageous”, Taib said the government will not budge and pointed out that the demands “would be rejected anywhere in the world”.
The 100 Penan families, who have set up a blockade on the access road to the dam site, are demanding RM500,000 compensation for each family while the state government is only prepared to pay RM15,000 per family. (more…)
An undated photo of the Penans protesting against the construction of the dam in Murum.
Some 30 human rights and environmental non-governmental organisations have sent letters to 15 Malaysian missions worldwide calling for “good faith negotiations” with more than 100 Penan families who are displaced by the Murum hydroelectric dam project in Sarawak.
The organisations which represent national, regional and international civil society groups are also demanding that the Sarawak state government re-negotiate the compensation package which was offered to the Penan families. (more…)
William Mangor and P Ramani
Meanwhile a 13-member Penan delegation which is in Kuala Lumpur detailed their dire straits to a coalition of civil and women’s rights NGOs led by All Women’s Action Society (AWAM).
While a group of natives from Murum are currently in Kuala Lumpur exposing to West Malaysians the severity and urgency of their situation, their families are continuing with the blockades insisting that the state government meet their demands.
Penan and Kenyah community lawyer Abun Sui Anyit said today that the protestors in Murum will not backdown on their demands despite the police intimidation, harrassment and the authorities having severed access to food water and medicines. (more…)
Green Party MP Kim Booth has brought up in the Tasmanian Parliament state-owned Hydro Tasmania’s involvement in the contentious Murum Dam and the human rights violations against the Penans in Sarawak.
The Tasmanian Parliament has called on its government to intervene immediately and compel the Sarawak administration to compensate the Penans affected by the Murum Hydropower Dam project.
The Penans have hit a stalemate on their negotiations with state government and the Murum Dam main contractors Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) over compensation and resettlement issues.
Thirteen members of the Penan tribe in Murum, Sarawak travelled all the way to Bukit Aman today to handover a memorandum to the Inspector General of Police demanding that the police “stop immediately any intimidation and provocation” towards the Penans who have erected bloackades at the Murun dam site (more…)
Fourteen representatives of the Penan community marched to Parliament House today, demanding a stop their eviction from their ancestral land, which has been taken over for a mega-dam in Belaga, Sarawak.
They went to the Opposition Leader’s office to hand over a memorandum that also asks Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak to ensure a consultation process between them and the authorities.
Two hours earlier, they had gone to Bukit Aman police headquarters to hand over a memorandum urging the police force to behave in neutral manner over the blockade they have mounted near the Murum Dam. (more…)
A group of Penan have descended on the federal capital from Sarawak and they will hold protests outside the federal police headquarters in Bukit Aman and go to Parliament tomorrow to get the authorities to look into their plight.
They will be meeting with Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar at Bukit Aman, in the morning and submit a memorandum to him to get the police in Sarawak to stop harassing them.
After meeting Khalid, they will walk to Parliament House to report the Sarawak government’s discrimination of the Penan community to the MPs. (more…)
The quite shocking duplicity of Sarawak Energy (SEB)’s full-force propaganda drive has been exposed once again by a simple film.
In this latest documentary from Tegulang, the resettled Penan from Murum have been allowed to speak for themselves, instead of having SEB and Bernama speak for them to tame journalists.
And the very Penan leader, Pengulu Pao Tului, whom SEB portrayed for months as the man who willingly negotiated with them, has gone on camera to slam the way his community has been treated. (more…)
A Penan lawyer-cum-activist has called on the IGP and the federal government to intervene in the Murum issue.
MURUM: Penan protestors mounting blockades at the Murum Dam site here claimed policemen who intimidated and harassed them were drunk.
Penan activist cum lawyer Abun Sui Anyit said based on ground reports from the blockade site, the police officers stationed in the area were allegedly being provided alcohol by the dam’s main contractors Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB). (more…)
On November 7th, the Norwegian head of Sarawak Energy took great care to make his accusations against the Penan tribespeople at the Murum Dam blockade as public as possible, by insisting on broadcasting them in full on our site.
In an email to the Swiss NGO BMF, which he copied into our comments section, he claimed that these families had been extorting money from members of the public, by setting up a toll on the public road. (more…)
Peter Sibon & Joanna Yap
Two more Penans have been arrested yesterday afternoon in relation to the Murum dam blockade.
They were arrested when they went to the Belaga police station to visit their relatives who were among the eight Penans arrested the day before, according to Sarawak Conservation Alliance of Natural Environment (SCANE) chairman Raymond Abin who has been keeping in touch with the protestors.
The two individuals have been identified as 16-year-old Philip Bujang and 21-year-old Merit Gadong. (more…)
The eight Penans, whom police arrested at a blockade on the access road to the Murum hydroelectric dam in Ulu Belaga, Sarawak, Thursday afternoon, have been remanded for three days until Sunday.
Their lawyer, Abun Sui Anyit, said they were being held under Section 341 of the penal code.
Under the section, the arrested Penans, aged between 12 and 60 years old, would be in police custody until a magistrate could hear their case. (more…)