Hornbill Unleashed

November 13, 2009

Another BN clown joins the Jabu circus

By Zhang ML

Hassan SuiHasan Sui (photo right) was a member of the Task Force set up by the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, which concluded categorically that the allegations of sexual abuse and exploitation of Penan women in Baram are true.

In fact, he was roped in by the state government to the Task Force as a representative of the Penan. As such he was supposed to represent the challenges and interests of his “own people”, the Penan, in the task force. He was meant to participate in the work of the Task Force, originally set up to investigate the allegations and to make recommendations for protection of the girls and women.

However his statements made in the Borneo Post on November 7 make for nauseating reading. It would appear he has tried to undermine the credibility and importance of the findings of the ministerial Task Force.

He said “recent allegations of sexual abuse of Penan women and girls in Baram were obvious examples of how outsiders had once again meddled in the affairs of the ethnic group”.


October 2, 2009

Police torment rape victim – but ignore rapists

By Pak Bui


Penan IR 01-10-2009-borneopost (3)The Sarawak Police have cemented their reputation of being humble servants for rich timber towkays, and their patrons in the State Cabinet.

The police provide, unquestioningly, the muscle needed to allow the tycoons and politicians to succeed in business. Sarawakians seeking security and justice for the weaker members of society need not apply for relief.

Sarawak Deputy Commissioner of Police Hamza Taib announced on September 30 that the police will question four people, who helped a Penan woman from Long Item, Baram, escape to safety in Kuala Lumpur last October.

The Penan woman was known by a pseudonym “Bibi” in the national task force report on rape, while her alleged rapist was called “Johnny” (known locally as Ah Heng, according to Penan villagers).

From his pronouncements, Hamza appeared adamant that the police report, made by “Bibi” in Long Lama on September 28, was genuine. At the Long Lama police station, the 22 year old woman claimed she had been “conned” by an unnamed Penan man, into going to Kuala Lumpur to make a report of rape against her so-called husband, “Johnny” or Ah Heng, a mechanic in an Interhill timber camp near Long Item.


September 5, 2009

Plight of Borneo’s Penan -Malaysia’s Penan tribe resist logging firms

Armed with spears and blowpipes, hundreds of indigenous tribesmen in the jungles of Borneo island have mounted a last-ditch attempt to try to save their land from logging.Al Jazeera’s Divya Gopalan reports from Sarawak on the Penan, some of whom still live as nomadic hunter-gatherers in the rainforests of this Malaysian province.


Spears versus bulldozers in Borneo

They have been battling loggers since the 1980s, when large-scale industrial logging commenced in the Malaysian state. At times the Penan have faced intimidation and violent crackdowns at the hands of security forces hired by logging firms and Malaysian police.

Meanwhile, vast tracts of Sarawak’s rainforest has been stripped of its valuable timber. Now forestry firms are eyeing forest lands for conversion to oil palm plantations, which will likely leave the Penan even worse off since these estates support less game than even logged-over forest.

[  Video Inside ] (more…)

August 24, 2009

Road-blocking Penan communities fear imminent police action

Road-blocking Penan communities fear imminent police action


Communities protesting against planned oil palm and acacia plantations on their native lands

Penan BlockadeLONG BANGAN / LONG NEN / LONG BELOK, Sarawak / Malaysia. Three indigenous Penan communities in the rainforests of Borneo are fearing police action on account of their protest against oil palm and acacia plantation projects on their native lands.

Last Thursday, 20 August, Penan of Long Nen, Long Bangan and Long Belok in Sarawak’s Tutoh river region set up manned road blockades to prevent vehicles from a number of logging and plantation companies from entering their native lands.

According to Penan sources, four policemen visited the blockades on Sunday and announced that they would come back with more of their colleagues to dismantle them. The blockades are mainly directed against Pusaka KTS and Samling, two controversial Malaysian logging and plantation giants. (more…)

June 8, 2009

Life and Time of a Penan Selungo between two “worlds”

By Apang  @ Hueditor

Penan Selungo and their World

squat 9Anthony is just such a humble and quiet person whose shy nature would not stand out in a crowd. He has no reason to want to stand out in the first place. He is a Penan from Ulu Baram, Sarawak, a home to him but a wild jungle to most of us. While his identity card lists him as being born in the year 1965, but that is just a year created when applying for his identity card. Anthony, like so many of his fellow Penan Selungo (there are also Penan from Lapok and Silak in the Baram, and also Penan from the Belaga District and their languages all differ from one another) had existed long before there was any need to have a paper as identity.

So, the calendar was an alien concept to the very people who live for generations with their natural environment. Unlike other Dayak people who are subsistence farmers that use crop-farming cycle as concept in time, the Penan would be using fruiting season in dating their time. (more…)

May 23, 2009

Painting Penan Reality

By John Riwang @ HuEditor

penanThere was a time I lived with the Penan for one year. Once every 2-3 months, I would go to the nearest urban center for a day to buy rations. During each visit, I would accidentally bump into friends and relatives in town. Each time they see me in town the first thing they’d say is “Welcome back to civilization! How is it over there? Are you becoming ‘one of them’ already?” This is usually followed by their laughter.

I did not really understand their reaction at first. It was only later that I begin to realize people tend to paint a different – and frighteningly, almost uniform – picture of the Penans, and hence their twisted perception of the Penan reality. They would ask me the kind of food I ate with them, whether they wore ‘western’ clothing like us, and whether they were true Penan,  in the sense of whether they were still nomadic or have they become “modern” (which, I found out later, doesn’t really appeal to many); some even asked if they could speak Malay. Sometimes, I don’t really know how to respond to their strange inquiries. (more…)

May 21, 2009

Parangs against the bulldozer: the tale of one Sarawak mountain (Part II)

By Sim Kwang Yang

2788875590_2b73c19f05As usual, it was a low grade but literate civil servant who tipped me off about the brewing trouble at the south-western tip of Sarawak.  I took the trouble of driving the 100 KM myself to kampong Stunggan Melayu, a large cluttered Malay village on the outskirt of Lundu town.  There I met the civil servant in his home.  Over a cup of coffee prepared by his wife, he showed me huge files containing records of infringement onto the mountain side in the past; local people were hungry for land to plant new crops of pepper and cocoa when prices were good.037  IMG_0773_resize (Small)

This time though, the attempt to take logs out of the majestic Gunung Gading seemed very serious.  The Chinese loggers had already opened up an access road all the way to the water-catchments at the very top of the peaks.  The arrival of the15 Cocoa tree and fruits tractors and other forms of heavy machinery and the establishment of a logging camp somewhere up the mountain meant that within the space of a few years, the whole mountain faced the risk of being denuded.

I was then told that there were 18 villages around the mountain side, human settlements that had depended on the mountain for much of their needs for many decades.  The local communities there were very racially mixed, with Ibans, Chinese, Malays, and even the rare Selakaus among them.  They were all farmers and fishermen, and lived an isolated independent existence bothering nobody else. (more…)

May 20, 2009

Parangs against the bulldozer: the tale of one Sarawak mountain

By Sim Kwang Yang

Padan BeachThe sky over Pandan Beach, about 100 kilometres from the Sarawak capital of Kuching, must be one of the most beautiful corners of the universe.  No words can describe its brilliance.  No human artist can ever recreate its splendour.  When you lift your head to the vast expanse of glorious colours against the deep azure background, you have to believe in a God.

Kampong Pandan is a small Malay fishing village consisting of traditional stilted wooden houses lining the water’s edge along a small bay.  The village is nestled against the backdrop of the twin-peaked mountain, the Gunung Gading.  Partly hidden by swaying coconut palms and short brushes, Kampong Pandan is the very picture of idyllic seaside rural charm.  Its picture-perfect serenity could have been what Joseph Conrad tried to portray in Almayer’s Folly. (more…)

May 14, 2009

Signature Forgery Trial Adjourned, Again

Foul play in death of anti-logging Penan chief Kelasau Naan?

By Ken Hu @ hueditor@gmail.com

507fb2185a8eee2fbb8d1774b126e17bThe trial of 2 suspected of forging signature of the son of late Penan chief Kelasau Naan of Long Kerong to dispel suspicion of any foul play in the death of the anti-logging Penan chief had proceeded at the Miri Magistrate Court today, with 3 witnesses called. Originally set for two-day hearing has been adjourned to May 20 for continuation of trial after today’s hearing.

Andrew Wee, an employee of Sarawak timber concessionaire Samling and 2 Penan brothers, Raymond and Ismail gave evidence for the prosecution in the trial of the 2 suspects, Kho Thien Seng and Sedi bin Li, charged for forging the signature in a letter bearing Nick Kelasau’s name and sent to online portal Malaysiakini purportedly denying any element of foul play in the death of his father. (more…)

April 10, 2009

Signature Forgery Trial Adjourned

Foul play in death of anti-logging Penan chief Kelasau Naan?

By Ken Hu

Trial of 2 suspected forging signature of son of Penan chief Kelasau Naan to dispel suspicion of any foul play in the death of the anti-logging Penan chief had proceeded for 2 days and adjourned for continuation of trial on May 11.

nickNick Kelasau, 44, son of Kelasau Naan gave evidence for the prosecution over the last 2 days in the trial of the 2 suspects, Kho Thien Seng and Sedi bin Li, charged for forging his signature in a letter bearing Nick’s name and sent to online portal Malaysiakini purportedly denying any element of foul play in the death of his father.

The 2 suspect are charged for forgery and if found guilty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term of up to 2 years, with fine, under section 465 of the Penal Code.

Nick, when contacted, expressed his astonishment and amazement that the suspects’ lawyer kept persuading him to admit that he had signed the letter and suggested that he could have signed it unknowingly.

“The event that took place early last year was still fresh in my mind. I could not have mistakenly signed it too, or I would not have lodged the police report if I have signed it,” said Nick.

507fb2185a8eee2fbb8d1774b126e17b1Kelasau Naan, 80 years old anti-logging Penan leader had gone missing on Oct 23 2007 after telling his wife, Uding Lidem, that he was going to check on an animal trap he had set near their hut – situated near the Sungai Segita river about two hours walk from their long-house of Long Kerong.

Failing to locate Kelasau despite the use of tracker dogs, the villagers feared that their headman had died.

On Dec 17, the villagers discovered Kelasau’s skull (more…)

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