Hornbill Unleashed

February 2, 2014

Baram dam already dividing ethnic communities

The blockade mounted by villagers protesting against the Baram hydroelectric project last October. – The Malaysian Insider pic, February 2, 2014.  DESMOND DAVIDSON

The blockade mounted by villagers protesting against the Baram hydroelectric project last October.

The irony of the anti-dam protest in the Sarawak interior of Baram is that even as the indigenous people chalked up 100 days of their quest to stop the proposed RM4 billion hydroelectric dam, their centuries-old way of life, which they claim to want protect, is already being torn down.

There are signs that the proposed hydroelectric dam, which is still in the feasibility study stage, is slowly tearing up the social fabric of the ethnic communities living in the area of the dam site – even those least affected by the state’s grand project to harness Sungai Baram to power its industrialisation plan. (more…)

October 28, 2013

Fresh blockades, warnings to SEB workers

FMT Staff

  • Heavy police presence in downstream Long lama and fresh blockades by natives in upstream Baram has turned the area into a hotspot of demos.

BARAM: Native protestors who chased out 30 Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) workers doing geological studies at the Baram dam site last Wednesday, have set up fresh blockades on the access road into the construction area.

The indigenous landowners set up two blockades and appeared to have successfully prevented workers in the area from returning and pursuing their work on the proposed dam.

Swiss based Bruno Manser Find (BMF) in a statement today said the native are demanding an immeidate halt to all planning and costruction works at the dam site and its access road. (more…)

October 24, 2013

Resettlement Chaos – Outrage Grows Over Murum Natives

Sarawak Report

  • Welcoming site? – why the surprise impoundment of the dam before compensation was agreed or even these homes were built?

It has emerged that many of the families forced from their longhouses at Murum have found there is no replacement housing for them after all, in the half-built resettlement areas they have been bundled into by Sarawak Energy.

Visitors last week spoke to families in Tegulang, all of whom had been given supposed vouchers for a home in the new longhouses, but who found there was not enough room.

Such families are being forced to beg space off relatives, with as many as three families now crowding into the same pintu. (more…)

October 30, 2012

Murum protest: NGO accuses minister of lying

Joseph Tawie

The international community is closely monitoring developments involving the Murum Dam project and the displaced Penan community.

A local NGO has slammed Assistant Minister of Culture and Heritage Liwan Lagang for lying to Senior Minister-cum-Land Development Minister James Masing on the situation with the Penans who were protesting the Murum Dam construction.

Liwan had apparently told Masing that the protesting Penans have agreed to dismantle the blockades mounted since last month on the access road into the dam’s construction site. (more…)

October 13, 2012

Penan rape: Former Star journalist furious with ‘deal’

Hilary Chiew – Malaysiakini

Hilary Chiew, the author of the report ‘Against their will’ which was published on Oct 6, 2008, described the out-of-court settlement between The Star and Samling as disconcerting to the profession of journalism.A former journalist with The Star who wrote about incidents of rape of Penan girls and women in Sarawak has expressed disgust with the English daily for apologising to logging giant Samling over the issue without consulting her.

“Notwithstanding the fact that I had left The Star in early 2010, it is regrettable that The Star did not see it fit to keep me informed of its decision.

“I have never, at any point in time, been informed nor consulted about the negotiations for the out-of-court settlement,” Chiew said. (more…)

May 24, 2012

Tired Penans snubbed

Filed under: Penan,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 7:15 AM
Tags: , ,

Joseph Tawie

Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud and his 56 elected reps turned their backs on a Penan delegation who had journeyed five days to see them at the State Legislative Assembly.

A five-day journey from Long Sa’at in interior Ulu Baram came to nought yesterday when all Barisan Nasional elected leaders spurned a 13-member Penan delegation who came to see them to present the community’s development plan.

All the 71 lawmakers including Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud and his deputy Alfred Jabu Numpang knew the Penans were coming. (more…)

October 20, 2011

Penan couple forced to borrow to pay hospital bill

Filed under: Medical,Penan,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:01 AM
Tags: , , ,

Keruah Usit

A young Penan couple from Long Napir, a tiny farming settlement in Ulu Limbang, Sarawak, were forced to pay admission charges to the Miri Hospital, even though their newborn baby girl died the day after she was delivered.

Roy Dumai, 26, and his wife Seri Yung, 25, were told by the hospital’s accounting section staff that they had to settle their bill. Otherwise, they were warned, Seri’s ‘medical antenatal card’, a record of her pregnancy and delivery, would be confiscated.

“After Seri was discharged, we were ordered to pay RM180, and we were treated very badly,” Roy said. “Some (billing) counter staff had their name tags turned the wrong way round, but I identified two of their names. They all behaved roughly. (more…)

October 18, 2011

Baram Penan set up blockade against loggers


The Penan communities have mounted a blockade in an attempt to stop further logging of rainforests in the middle Baram region.

According to the NGO Bruno Manser Fund (BMF), about 70 people from the communities of Ba Abang and Long Kawi set up the blockade on the logging road near Ba Bunau river to stop Miri-based company Interhill.

“According to community information, the blockade was erected last Thursday, Oct 12, and was attended by more than 70 Penan tribespeople,” it said.

BMF, in a press statement yesterday, said that the blockade is located within the land claimed as native customary land of the Ba Abang community. (more…)

Penan block logging road in Baram, Sarawak


Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear friends,

We have just received the news that the Penan communities of Ba Abang and Long Kawi in Sarawak’s Middle Baram region have started blockading a logging road to prevent the further felling of their rainforests.

According to community information received by the Bruno Manser Fund, the blockade has been erected last Thursday, 13th October 2011, and has been attended by more than 70 Penan tribespeople. The blockade is located near the Ba Bunau river within the claimed Native Customary Rights land of the Ba Abang community. It is mainly directed against Interhill, a Malaysian logging company based in Miri, Sarawak. Interhill is also known to be the owner of the Pullman 5-star hotel in Sarawak’s capital, Kuching. The Pullman Kuching hotel is being operated by the French Accor group. (more…)

June 17, 2011

Sarawak dumped semi-nomadic Penans

Ang Ngan Toh

The Sarawak government forced more than 1,000 semi-nomadic Penans out of their homes in the rainforest and dumped them in a vast oil palm plantation, a London-based non-governmental organisation, Survival International (SI), says.

The Penans refused to move, but later had no choice as they have to give way to work on the Murum dam project, SI director Stephen Corry said today.

The Murum dam, slated to come on stream next year, is the first in a series of 12 new hydroelectric dams that will flood the villages of the Penan and other indigenous communities. (more…)

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. (more…)

February 11, 2011

Tribal chief and savage nobles

Keruah Usit

An internationally renowned Penan leader, Along Sega, died a week ago, in his late 70s. His passing went unnoticed by our mainstream media – the newspapers carried little more than the usual advertisements for Chinese New Year sales.

Malaysiakini alone carried the obituary of one of the most revered and courageous Penan chiefs in the history of Sarawak.

Along was a pioneer in the peaceful resistance of the Penan against the intrusion of loggers into the Penan lands over the past three decades. (more…)

Penan win appeal in landmark NCR decision


Stephen Tiong, Malaysiakini

The Court of Appeal has ruled in favour of five Pen

ans in a landmark decision against a timber company, the Forestry Department and the Sarawak government, for encroachment into land to which Native Customary Rights (NCR) was exerted.

In a unanimous ruling on Monday, the three-member bench overturned the High Court’s dismissal of the Penans’ claim.

February 4, 2011

Nomadic Penan leader Along Sega has passed away


It is with great sadness that we have to inform you that Along Sega, the iconic paramount leader of the last nomadic Penan group in the Upper Limbang region of Sarawak, Malaysia, has passed away yesterday, 2 February 2011, at 5 p.m. local time at Limbang hospital. Along was in his 70s and leaves behind his wife Yut and a number of children and grandchildren. While the exact cause of his death remains unknown, we have been informed that he had being suffering from strong pains in his legs during the last weeks.

October 29, 2010

Penan seek outside help

Feeling that their complaints and appeals against logging activities and deforestation have been falling on deaf ears, the Penan community is starting to look outside the country for aid.

A nomadic Penan travelled all the way from the Sarawak interior to Pulau Jerejak to highlight the community’s plight at the bi-annual Friends of the Earth International (FOEI) conference.

Sagong Nyipa, from Layun in Tutoh, shared his experiences (more…)

Govt ignores Penan’s choice of resettlement land

By Joseph Tawie

The government’s plan to relocate about 1,000 Penans affected by the Murum Dam project to a 24,000 hectares area has been described as “merely paying lip service”. “We still don’t know how the government came to a decision on the size of the area without consulting us,” said Ramlie Bujang, a spokesman for the Peleiran-Murum Penan Affair Committee (Pemupa).

Land Development Minister James Jemut Masing recently (more…)

October 6, 2010

The jungle is a dangerous place

By Sim Kwang YangNONE

For all middle-class urban citizens, the jungle must seem like a primitive, wild place. We urbanites can only be comfortable when we are surrounded by what we consider to be the advanced products of industrial civilization. Plunged into the middle of the jungle, we would probably not survive on our own for more than a few days.

But the Penan are perfectly comfortable in this jungle environment. They are familiar with the forest, and know it like their back of their hand. Like all jungle dwellers, the Penans are totally immersed in the land where they live. They depend on this environment for their survival.

October 4, 2010

In Bakun, information is POWER

NONEBy Wong Teck Chi

The Belaga state seat which houses the controversial Bakun dam, is seen as one of the few Orang Ulu constituencies the opposition has a chance of winning in the next Sarawak state election, which needs to be held before July next year.

However, lack of information caused by remote geographical factors might prove to be a stumbling block for local voters to make informed decisions on their future.

The constituency is as large as Pahang state, but has only a population of around 20,000 and 7,000 registered voters. About half are concentrated in the Sungai Asap resettlement area. (more…)

October 2, 2010

Foundation charts path to help Penans before Sarawak Poll, Why?

By Malaysian Miror

Yayasan Sejahtera, a foundation which seeks to alleviate hardcore poverty in the country, is to implement a plan to uplift the life of the Penan people in Sarawak.

Its chairman,  Shahrir Abdul Samad, said the plan, which would focus on the Lusong Laku and Pulau Beruit areas, would be launched on Wednesday by Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud.

The comprehensive community development plan would encompass support for sustainable livelihood, basic food needs, building and rehabilitating of homes and, at the same time, provide basic community services, he said in a statement. (more…)

October 1, 2010

Penan wars trilogy: Crimes in the jungle

By Sim Kwang Yang

I reproduce below the police reports written by the Penans themselves, so that they may now have a face. The Penans are not just faceless and voiceless characters. Now they have a personality, just like you and I.

I recommend that you read the reports carefully for the Penans are great storytellers, having in their heritage a fine oral tradition. They are painstaking when it comes to details and they are eloquent in the emotive retelling of their experiences.

Until today, it is worthy to note that no one has been arrested or interrogated in relation to the reports. The excuse is that the police cannot prosecute the perpetrators of the crimes because they could not be identified.

September 30, 2010

No way home for Bakun natives

By MalaysiaKini

Many among the 10,000 Orang Ulu who were resettled by the government to Sungai Asap 12 years ago because of the Bakun hydroelectric dam project, are still nostalgic about their old life in the upstream areas of Sungai Balui, which are full of natural resources and good things to eat.

However, following the completion of the RM7.3 billion project and the commencement of the water catchment process by year’s end, there will be no return to their native customary rights (NCR) land as most of it will be under water.

The remaining highlands will become islands in a lake as big as Singapore, which might then be developed by the government to become new tourist spots for nature-lovers or those who enjoy fishing. (more…)

September 22, 2010

Penan rapes: Complaint to UN rapporteur


By Susan Loone

A regional human rights organisation has expressed concern about the ‘significant delay’ in response by Malaysia to sexual violence against Penan women and girls by workers attached to a private logging company in Sarawak.

Pooja Patel, the Forum-Asia representative in Geneva, acknowledged that Malaysia had set up a national task force.

However, the NGO remains deeply concerned that “no concrete measures have been taken so far to act upon its findings and recommendations or bring perpetrators to justice”. (more…)

September 21, 2010

Penan power and a press conference that wasn’t

penan benalih baram blockade 270807 community 03By Sim Kwang Yang

Trouble was brewing in 1990 in the jungle of Sebatu near Long Ajeng, Ulu Baram in Sarawak. Penans from 15 villages had put up a long-standing blockade in their attempt to stop loggers from entering their area. A blockade is a simple collection of branches laid across the path of a jungle road to prevent timber trucks from entering.

Eventually, the state police decided to take action. They sent in 300 members of the much-feared Federal Reserve Unit (FRU) and tore down the blockade by force, while arresting the people on site. (more…)

September 16, 2010

Samling denies allegations over ‘Penan rape’ circular

NONEBy Hazlan Zakaria

Logging company Samling Global has denied claims by indigenous rights NGO, Bruno Manser Funds (BMF), that a circular it sent out to timber workers in the Baram region last July, was admission of its staff involvement in the alleged sexual abuse of Penan women.

“BMF’s allegations are baseless,” said the firm in a statement emailed to Malaysiakini by its corporate communications representative.

Admitting that it did indeed send out such a circular, Samling, however, said that it was standard practice and is issued regularly as a reminder to its employees that the company does not tolerate any criminal act or inappropriate behavior from them. (more…)

September 15, 2010

Leaked Samling document acknowledges timber group’s role in sexual exploitation of Penan women

Logging giant is prohibiting all employees from entering Penan villages or providing transport to Penan without permission

An internal document from Sarawak’s logging giant, Samling Global (HKEX 3938), leaked to the Bruno Manser Fund, acknowledges for the first time that the timber group is concerned about the involvement of its staff in the alleged rape of native Penan girls and women in Sarawak, East Malaysia.

By Bruno Manser Fonds

On 9 July 2010, Chin That Thong, General Manager of Samling’s Forest Operations in Malaysia, sent a directive, entitled “Kes Rogol Wanita Penan” (Rape Case of Penan Women)”, to all Samling timber camp managers, drivers and employees in the Baram river region. The letter informs the logging group’s staff that they are “forbidden to visit any Penan villages or transport any Penan except with the permission of the Camp Managers concerned.” Chin threatens employees who are found to have disobeyed his orders with expulsion from their jobs without compensation. (more…)

September 7, 2010

One Year After: Penan Communities Re-Blockaded to Protest over Government’s Broken Promises

By Panai Ayat – BMF

On September 2, 2010, around 150 Penan villagers from Long Nen in Sungai Layun,Long Belok and Long Sayan in Sungai Apoh, Tutoh, Long Bangan in Sungai Terawen,Tutoh and Ba’ Marong in ulu Sungai Si’ang, Tutoh gathered to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the simultaneous blockades held by the same communities in the area between August and September last year.

The gathering in fact was held not only to commemorate the anniversary of the protests but also to honour the three-decade struggles of the Penan communities in Sarawak against the continued violations of their Native Customary Rights (NCR). It was held as a reminder to our people to appreciate their rights, livelihoods, traditions and culture that are closely tied to the forests, which have now been largely destroyed by logging companies. (more…)

September 3, 2010


By Sarawak Report

Samling, the giant logging company owned by the timber tycoon Yaw Teck Seng and favoured with numerous timber licences by the Chief Minister, Abdul Taib Mahmud, was at the heart of the housing bubble that led to the sub-prime mortgage crisis and the world economic crash, according to our exclusive research.

We have established that Mountain House, a major new-town development in San Joaquin California, currently labelled as the ‘epicentre’ of the housing crash, was a Yaw family project.

How US ‘Dream Homes’ became ‘Mortgage Nightmares’

Started in 2001, Mountain House was originally advertised as “The Town of Tomorrow” and ”The American Dream Made Reality” with houses selling for over $800,000, mainly through sub-prime mortgages (more…)

September 1, 2010

A flower for the Penan

By Sim Kwang Yang

This is a record of my struggle for and with the Penan people, specifically with a group of 15 villages, now still living in the remote jungles of the Baram region in northern Sarawak. The year was 1993.

The protest movement that we started has since grown in strength, and thanks to the reach of the Internet, the cry of pain from the far flung, God-forsaken forest can now be heard everywhere. Though I have given up active politics due to ill health, many new Green warriors have joined the fray and kept the issue alive.

It is not easy to keep the Penan issue alive. The Penans live in remote forests, and we have to cover great distances to overcome the physical and cultural barriers to connect the Penans with the rest of the world. (more…)

August 31, 2010

Samling threatens Penan with retaliations over rape allegations

30 August 2010
Logging giant threatens to suspend all transport services for locals unless Penan retract sexual abuse allegations

LONG AJENG,Malaysian logging giant Samling has threatened the indigenous Penan communities of Sarawak’s Upper Baram region with the suspension of all transport services provided for locals unless they retract sexual abuse and rape allegations against the timber companies active in the region.

The new dispute between Samling and the Penan arose after the release of a report by an international fact-finding mission in July 2010. The report had uncovered seven new cases of sexual exploitation of Penan girls and women in the Upper Baram region by timber workers and had asked the Malaysian government to address the grievances of the Penan communities. (more…)

August 18, 2010


Episode three of Sarawak Gone’s, The Dam, the Bidayuh travel to the Bakun Dam resettlement scheme and hear from the resettled Kenyah at Sungai Asap about their experiences and see first hand the results of resettlement. They also meet with Iban at Rumah Agi who fought to retain customary right to their own land in the face of palm oil exploitation.

August 17, 2010

Taib Mahmud stuck in a time-warp

taib mahmud and sarawak timber kickbacks 2By Keruah Usit

Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud has courted further controversy by releasing an edited transcript of an interview he gave to an Oxford radio station during a recent marketing trip sponsored by his family.

In the interview, he rejected criticism leveled against his state government by NGOs on the ‘Penan issue’.

According to Bernama, Taib spoke with “regret” of the attention given by “unfriendly” NGOs, particularly foreign ones, to the plight of the Penan. He avoided any direct reference to the sexual abuse of Penan girls by loggers, as documented by a federal government ministerial task force.

August 11, 2010

Winds of political change blow through Sarawak


An opposition party poster hanging in a Penan tribal chieftain’s wooden longhouse deep in Malaysia’s rainforests signals winds of political change blowing across Borneo island.

The Penan are among the most disadvantaged of Malaysia’s indigenous people, and have for decades fought a one-sided war against the powerful logging and plantation firms that are obliterating their ancestral land.

But a political transformation in Malaysia, which threatens to unseat the coalition that has ruled for half a century, has put the Borneo island states of Sabah and Sarawak in a powerful position.

And the poster in the Penan longhouse, promoting the leaders of the Democratic Action Party — one of a trio that make up the opposition alliance — is the sort of thing that has the government worried. (more…)

August 10, 2010

Taib expresses regret over NGOs’ unfriendly views


Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud has expressed regret over the issue of the Penans being hurled at the state all the time by “unfriendly” non-governmental organisations (NGOs), particularly foreign NGOs, which he said held the wrong view that they should be left to roam the jungles like the orang utans.

However, he said, if the government left the Penans to roam like animals in the forests, then the state would be accused by human rights groups of not doing its duty to help them develop.

“To date, some 500 of the Penans are still wandering as nomads in the forests,” he said during a recent interview with a British television station at Oxford, near London. (more…)

August 3, 2010

Penan rapes demand a prompt national response


By Salbiah Ahmad

It was hard not to miss the consistent media reports since the end of 2009 to date on the sexual abuse of Penan women and girls. What was more distressing was the government inertia in responding promptly to the reported abuses, despite a government task force supporting the allegations of rape and sexual abuse.

It is unclear if the report is an official secret as that report is still not on any government website. These are the hiccups associated with the BN government’s fear of dissemination of information that has the public giving the thumbs-up to Selangor’s FOI enactment.

The delay in releasing the task force report is disquieting. The reason for the delay could be that Malaysia’s UPR (universal periodic review) was due in February 2009 before the Human Rights Council (HRC). Malaysia’s country report did mention the task force to “investigate the report of alleged sexual harassment and abuse of Penan women in Sarawak by logging company workers”.  (more…)

July 31, 2010

Masing ‘the good storyteller’ fails to defend indefensible Taib

By Apang and John Riwang

So James anak Masing was in England, accompanying his white-haired lord Taib Mahmud. Taib had been whacked during this overseas trip, and so we made an interesting discovery, via Bernama, that James Masing is a great storyteller himself.

No matter how our cynical minds work, we are sure we aren’t the only ones to expect James Masing be the first to jump to Taib’s defense, following his lord’s unceremonious entrance and exit at Oxford University.

Since Taib is someone who is often spoilt with grand entrances and exits wherever he goes, with no shortage of boys and girls with wagging tails rushing to kiss his hand, we hope that he managed to keep his blood pressure under control. Or at least that he managed to endure the slight dent to his ego. (more…)

Police urged to earn Penans’ trust

By Keruah Usit

A leading indigenous land rights lawyer, See Chee How, has urged the police to immediately follow up leads and evidence provided by the Penan Support Group (PSG), in order to gain the trust of Penan survivors of sexual violence.

See’s call to action followed a meeting between representatives of the PSG, PKR women’s chief and Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin, and DAP State Assembly representative for Pending, Violet Yong, with Sarawak Criminal Investigation Department head Huzir Mohamed on July 24.

“We have given Huzir some evidence to investigate and charge offenders such as Ah Hing,” ( Photo of  Ah Hing ) See explained. “The police must show to the Penans that they are committed to their jobs.”

Ah Hing is a Chinese mechanic in the sprawling Kabeng camp in middle Baram, belonging to Interhill, a logging company internationally criticised for practising destructive forestry and for ignoring the rights of indigenous people.

July 28, 2010

S’wak govt always ready to discuss Penan issue: Dr Masing

By The star

The Sarawak state government is always ready to engage with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to discuss the Penan issue, Land Development Minister Datuk Seri Dr James Masing said.

He said the state government has been engaging with NGOs from all over the world, including the United Kingdom and the European Union, through discussions and site visits on how it handled the Penan people.

“We have nothing to hide and what we are doing now is for the good of the community,” he said on the sidelines of the Inaugural Oxford Global Islamic Branding and Marketing Forum here Tuesday. (more…)

British MPs write to Taib on abuse of Penan

By MalNONEaysiakini

British members of parliament have written to Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud expressing their concern over the sexual abuse of Penan women and girls and the marginalisation of the Penan.

Speaking for the British parliament’s All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Tribal Peoples, its chairperson Martin Horwood (right) in a letter to coincide with Taib’svisit to the UK this week expressed the group’s concern for the new cases that have emerged of rape and sexual abuse of Penan women and girls.

Horwood also asked that Taib “take steps to ensure that Penan women and girls are protected from sexual violence and the perpetrator of such abuse brought to justice.”

Since 2008 when reports first emerged in the mainstream media of Penan women and girls being subjected to rape and abuse at the hands of logging workers, criticisms have been levelled at the Taib government for failing to acknowledge and investigate the crimes.


July 27, 2010


Sarawak Report Monday, July 26th, 2010 GMT

If the people of Oxford had not heard of Abdul Taib Mahmud, Chief Minister of Sarawak, until today, they certainly know all about him now.  His visit, tied to Sarawak’s heavy sponsorship of the Said Business School’s ‘Inaugural Global Islamic Branding and Marketing Forum’, was supposed to buy him credibility.  In the event it ended up as a public relations disaster, as his reputation preceded him and was stuck up on banner headlines by protesters outside.

Even though it is the sleepy summer holiday period, a colourful crowd of demonstrators descended on the School to express their outrage that the University should have welcomed such a man and accepted such dubious sponsorship from the Timber Industry of Sarawak.  The local press was soon on the scene, followed by Malaysian news teams, who had clearly been brought along to puff up the Chief Minister’s profile.  Even the flunkies could not ignore a demo like this and they were soon filming, taking notes and conducting interviews. (more…)

July 25, 2010

Penans bite the bitter pill


By Joseph Sipalan

Multi-million ringgit promises didn’t cut it for the Penans, for Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak failed to live up to the hype of his much-touted maiden prime ministerial visit to Ulu Baram yesterday.

It was reported that some 2,000 people from the Penan, Kayan, Saban and Kenyah tribes spent four hours at the event – some walking two days just to attend – after word spread about Najib’s pledge of more than RM100 million to complete various projects in the area.

Despite the supposed aim of the visit to help the premier see first-hand the problems faced by the Penans and other tribes living in the area, it ended up being more of a public relations exercise as community leaders did not even get the chance to come close to Najib, let alone have a meeting. (more…)

Pay for your own expenses to help the police to solve crimes

By Rosita Maja

YB Hajjah Zuraida  Kamaruddin, MP Ampang, Keadilan National Women’s Chief came from Selangor for the purposes of meeting up with the Sarawak Commissioner of Police pursuant to a letter from the Polis Diraja Malaysia dated 13.07.10 signed on behalf of  Police Commissioner  Sarawak  by Tuan Huzir Bin Mohamed (Ketua Jabatan Siasatan Jenayah or Criminal Investigation Department head).

The letter was addressed to a number of  NGOs from the Penan Support Group or PSG) requesting them to come and make reports to the police to help in the investigation of the rape incidents as contained in the NGO taskforce report ” A Wider Context of sexual exploitation of Penan Women and Girls in Middle and Ulu Baram, Sarawak”.

YB Zuraida came as the  President of  WIRDA  (Women’s Institute Research Development and Advancement) a women’s NGO, which comes under the PKR women’s wing. She attended also as the national PKR women’s chief to make the reports as requested by Sarawak police, hoping that the police can look into the allegations of rape of the Penan girls and women with urgency. (more…)

July 24, 2010

Malaysia’s Timber Baron coming to the UK – Join the protest

By Malaysia Today

One of Asia’s greatest kleptocrats and single-handedly one of the most destructive forces against the environment and the people who depend on it, the Chief Minister of Sarawak, Abdul Taib Mahmud, will be making the opening address at the Said Business School’s inaugural Islamic Branding and Marketing Forum on Monday 26th July.

During his 30 years of iron grip over Sarawak, Taib Mahmud has systematically plundered a country once rich in natural resources, oil and timber.  He and his family are now multi-billionaires, while indigenous tribes resort to the law courts to reclaim their ancestral lands. (more…)

July 22, 2010

Lies, damned lies and official denials

By Pak Bui

It is now clear that rural girls and women, Penan and other Dayaks, have been raped and violated by loggers. It has also been shown that the loggers are able to abuse the rural womenfolk, because the logging companies enjoy immunity from the laws obeyed by the rest of us.

The Penan Support Group (PSG) has explained in intricate detail the domination of rural areas enjoyed by logging companies, thanks to the support of the political elite.

The loggers behave as if they were untouchable, because the state authorities, in collusion with the federal BN government, have not come anywhere near to a competent and unbiased investigation of the sexual violence and the political corruption in their businesses.


July 21, 2010

Penans not ‘NOBLE SAVAGES’ but our ‘FELLOW BEINGS’

By Sim Kwang Yang

The political, cultural, and journalistic climate in Malaysia has improved after all, and the long-suffering Penans have begun to attract national attention.

While I was the sole opposition MP in Sarawak, I began to take on the lonely cause of fighting for the indigenous people of my homeland. There was massive infringement then of their land rights, first from loggers, and then from the plantations.

No newspaper in Sarawak dared carry any of the news and press statements because of their fear of Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud. He was and still is the big patron behind the loggers, the plantation companies, and most other big businesses, including those that owned the newspapers.

The national press was also not in the least interested in this issue for reasons best known to themselves. Massive numbers of the native people in Sarawak suffered untold misery of dislocation and marginalisation in silence for decades. (more…)

July 17, 2010

Shahrizat reached out to Penans to personally look into their plights ?

Shahrizat Visited Tourist Center at Batu Bungan

Where is Batu Bungan ? (more…)

Shahrizat: the people’s champion?

By Rosita Maja

Minister for Women, Family and Community Development has said: “The Penan community should know that now they have someone to champion their cause and that is us.”

On July 6, the Penan Support Group (PSG), a coalition of 36 NGOs, released a report, “A wider context of sexual exploitation of Penan women and girls in Middle and Ulu Baram, Sarawak, Malaysia” in Parliament. The PSG brought to light more incidents of rape, sexual abuse and exploitation of Penan girls and women by timber workers. (more…)

July 16, 2010

Penan Support Group: Govt denials “appalling”

By Penan Support Group

THE Penan Support Group (PSG) is appalled that Deputy Women, Family and Community Development Minister Heng Seai Kie has refuted the findings in the PSG’s mission report uncovering more cases of rape and sexual exploitation among the Penan. Heng cited minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil’s “fact-finding mission” on 13 July to the Baram region and the lack of police reports as proof.

We find this denial and misinformation problematic for several reasons. First, the minister’s visit was not a “fact-finding mission” to investigate the allegations of new rape cases, but to merely “have a feel of the place”, to quote a report in The Star.

Second, the minister did not meet any of the members from the Penan communities cited in the PSG report. She spent only one hour on her walkabout of Batu Bungan, an accessible village near the prime tourist spot of Mulu National Park. This is nowhere near any of the three remote villages the PSG mission members visited during their investigation. (more…)

Penan woman gives birth following alleged rape


A Penan woman from Long Item, Baram, Sarawak, given the pseudonym ‘Bibi’ by last September’s damning National Task Force Report by the Women’s Development Ministry, has given birth to another baby in February this year. The father was her alleged rapist, an Interhill logging camp worker known as ‘Johnny’ or Ah Hing.

Bibi had made a police report of rape in Bukit Aman in 2008, and had been given refuge by the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO), a participant in the National Task Force. However, she later returned to Long Item to see her family, and fell back under Ah Hing’s control.

Ah Hing told the police and the Borneo Post, a local daily owned by a logging company, that he was Bibi’s husband and not her rapist. However, the Penan Support Group has documentary evidence that Ah Hing is registered with the government as the father of two sets of children born to two different mothers aside from Bibi: a Chinese woman and another Penan woman. (more…)

July 14, 2010

Endemic scourge

By Hilary Chiew

It is systematic and endemic! screamed a report on the plight of the Penans. The report was titled “A Wider Context of Sexual Exploitation of Penan Women and Girls in Middle and Ulu Baram, Sarawak, Malaysia”.

Indeed, from the testimonies gathered from the victims, family members and their fellow tribe members, it does seem that sexual violence against the Penans has taken on a life of its own and the “monster” has grown over the years.

This “monster” has firmly established itself in both federal and state governments, and enforcement authorities that continue to turn a deaf ear to the cry for help from those remote and isolated settlements.

The findings of the Penan Support Group, Forum Asia and Asian Indigenous Women’s Network (PSG et al) released last week, again showed the vulnerability and long suffering of the Penans’ fairer sex in the vast logging frontier of the Baram district in Sarawak. The district is as vast as the state of Perak. (more…)

July 13, 2010

MP submits emergency motion on Penan rape

By MalaysiaKini

PKR Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin submitted an emergency motion today to discuss whether the damning report by NGO Penan Support Group (PSG) alleging the sexual abuse of Penans in the Baram valley is symptomatic of a larger pattern of exploitation of the indigenous community.

An excellent Chinese article:-


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