Hornbill Unleashed

August 11, 2014

Anti-dam protesters dig in at blockades as leave deadline passes

Natives protesting against the Baram dam and manning the blockade at Long Kesseh rest outside their quarters during a break in their watch. – The Malaysian Insider pic, August 7, 2014.DESMOND DAVIDSON

Natives protesting against the Baram dam and manning the blockade at Long Kesseh rest outside their quarters during a break in their watch.

Natives protesting against the proposed Baram hydroelectric dam have begun to fortify their positions at the blockades they set up to thwart its construction as the deadline for them to leave the area lapsed on Sunday.

Despite rumours that “the police and forest officers are coming” to dismantle the blockades, the number of people manning it has reportedly increased tenfold from the usual 10 to more than 100.

“We are not in favour of violence but we will do all it takes to defend our land,” Peter Kallang, chairman of Save Sarawak Rivers Network, or known as Save Rivers, told The Malaysian Insider. (more…)

August 10, 2014

Over 3,000 Punans without clean water

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 8:00 AM
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A total of 161 Punan families, comprising over 3,000 villagers, at Punan Bah, Belaga have been without clean water for consumption and domestic use for two weeks.

The village is located about two and half hours by express boat from here.

“Two weeks now since the end of July, not even a drop of rain and our gravity feed water pipe is all dried up. We are facing a very severe and acute crisis of no clean water for consumption as well as domestic purposes like bathing and cooking,” said Kapit District Council Councillor Melai Alang, who resides in Punan Bah. (more…)

July 21, 2014

Baram villagers witness first hand proof of empty promises

Anna Chidambar

Reports that the Sarawak state government has unofficially given the “green light” for the construction of the controversial RM4 billion hydroelectric power (HEP) Baram Dam have not deterred villagers at the anti-dam blockade in Long Lama who are adamant at staying put.

The Long Lama blockade was set up by the Baram Protection Action Committee (BPAC) about nine months ago on Oct 23, 2013 as a sign that the villagers were against the HEP dam project to be sited between Long Naah and Long Kesseh some 200km inland from Miri City.

When strong rumours spread that Baram Dam had received the green light, 170 Baram villagers paid a visit to the resettlement areas of Sungai Asap and Tegulang and Matalun in the Belaga District in mid-July to listen to the experiences of those who had resettled making the way for the Bakun and Murum dams. (more…)

June 4, 2014

Taking a dig at arrogant corporations for insulting the Penans…


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…)

May 12, 2014

Call off Baram dam project

10292202_827893897239630_8584294067030666560_nS.M. Mohamed Idris

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) would like to urge the Sarawak government to heed the call of the communities affected by the Baram dam, as expressed through the People’s Declaration against the Baram Hydroelectric Project 2014 released recently.

The proposed 1,200MW Baram dam is located between Long Naah and Long Kesseh, 200km from Miri. It is estimated that 20,000 people from the Kayan, Kenyah and Penan communities from 26 villages would be displaced by the dam.

Affected communities have begun blockading since October 23, 2013, to halt the movement of heavy machinery intended to be used for the related construction works. (more…)

April 26, 2014

Sarawak to amend NCR land code

Adenan SatemFMT

The amendment will allow NCR land anywhere in the state to be bought or sold to any native group.

Sarawak government intends to  amend the State land code to allow sale and purchase of Native Customary Rights (NCR) land among the natives regardless of where these lands are located.

Chief Minister Adenan Satem said the Land Code Amendment  Bill will be tabled for approval in the State Assembly sitting in  November this year.

“The amendment to the land code would enable the natives to buy  any NCR land in any place in the state because if we limit the sale and  purchase of NCR land only to members of natives in particular place or longhouse, the value of the land is almost valueless,” the chief  minister told a press conference at his office here today. (more…)

February 8, 2014

Over 100 days, villagers continue protest to stop Baram Dam

Anna Chidambar

It has not been easy for the Baram villagers but they are determined to continue the protest to halt the construction of the Baram Dam.

(Jan 30) is the 100th day of their protest and they are staying put at the sites where they had mounted two blockades. The blockades were first erected on Oct 23 last year, just as a key meeting was held in Geneva to discuss Malaysia’s human rights record where UN member states had urged Putrajaya to respect the rights of the natives.

Vowing to protect their ancestral lands from the construction of the proposed RM4bil hydroelectric dam in Ulu Baram, hundreds of villagers have, on rotation basis, manned the two blockade sites – KM15 and Long Lama for the past 99 days with only one common objective in mind – stop Baram Dam. (more…)

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…)

January 22, 2014

Palm Oil Company Fined Millions for Burning Sumatran Forest

Filed under: Human rights,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:00 AM
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Tripa burningAnnette Gartland @ http://ens-newswire.com/

An Indonesian court has found the palm oil company PT Kallista Alam guilty of illegally burning large swathes of the Tripa peat forest, which lies within Sumatra’s Leuser Ecosystem, the only place on Earth where tigers, elephants, rhinos, and orangutans can be found living together in the wild.

The court ordered the company to pay 114.3 billion rupiah (US$9.4 million) in compensation and 251.7 billion rupiah (US$20.8 million) to restore the affected areas of forest.

Tripa burning in 2012. (Photo by Paul Hilton/ SOCP/YEL)

The case was brought against PT Kallista Alam by the Indonesian Ministry of Environment. (more…)

December 10, 2013

Indigenous Peoples of Sarawak and Sabah commemorate Human Rights Day with demand to State Government to respect their rights

1464023_403094736490980_206375553_nMark Bujang

Press Statement

Today is Human Rights Day and it is on this date that in 1950 the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaiming its principles as the “common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations”.

In the last Universal Periodic Review (UPR) conducted by the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland last October on which Malaysia was under review, the Malaysian Government in its opening speech declared its commitment to the protection and promotion of Human Rights in the country. (more…)

November 15, 2013

Bakun’s Sg Asap re-settlers sue govt

Winston Way

The natives want the government to pay interest on delayed payment of compensation.

Residents of the Bakun Resettlement Scheme (BRS) in Sungai Asap and Sungai Koyan in Belaga, Kapit have filed a suit against the Sarawak government for failing to pay interest on the compensation for the loss of their original longhouses.

They named the Kapit Land and Survey Department superintendent and the Sarawak government as the first and second defendants. (more…)

November 9, 2013

Two Penans visiting detained relatives arrested

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…)

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. (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 7, 2013

Spotlight On Murum……

Sarawak Report

At the weekend Taib Mahmud bemoaned that the recent ‘spotlight of publicity’ on Sarawak has created negative perceptions of his government of the state.

So, clearly he wants no further light shone on the disgraceful treatment of the Penan at the Murum Dam site.

The tribe are still holding out in protest against his authoritarian command to start filling the dam before compensation has been agreed or even the government’s own promises fulfilled.

However, one team of observers has just made the tortuous 9 hour journey to see the beleaguered community, who are maintaining their blockade at the site, despite a heavy and menacing armed police presence and the arrest of one of their leaders last week. (more…)

“Same same”, yet Sarawak and Kalimantan are miles apart

Sun setting over Kapuas RiverApang

It was some two decades ago when I first visited Pontianak in Kalimantan Barat, or Kalbar as Indonesians call it. Kalimantan is administratively, and perhaps politically, carved into five regions: Kalimantan Barat, Tengah Utara, Selatan and Timor.

Sarawak and Kalimantan share the island of Borneo, partitioned by the British and Dutch colonial occupiers. The division is not only physical in nature, but has socio-cultural and political consequences, felt until today.

One must refer to these historical facts and the subsequent divergent ideological and political leanings of both countries over our shared history, to attempt to answer the question “I wonder why the Indonesian and Malaysian states continue to have flare-ups now and then over supposed border disputes, and over the mistreatment of migrant workers in Malaysia.” (more…)

October 4, 2013

Cops should protect Penans, not arrest them


Human rights NGO Suaram has condemned police action against Penan protesters fighting against the impoundment of the Murum dam, urging the police to instead protect the indigenous people.

Suaram coordinator R Thevarajan said that by arresting a protester and breaking up the blockade the community had put up to halt progress on the dam, the police are siding with the exploiters instead of the rakyat.

“We urge the Royal Malaysian Police to safeguard law and justice and to protect the interests of the Penan people instead of taking the side of the exploiters. (more…)

‘Lives threatened, long-house torched, villages drowned’

Aidila Razak

Penans from Ulu Murum, where the hyroelectric dam has been built, are terrified for their lives now that police have broken up their blockade, where about 300 have been demanding ample compensation for land and livelihood lost.

According to protester Gareng Jalung, 30-40 police officers armed with “loaded pistols and machine guns”came to break the blockade and bar protesters from stopping the dam impoundment.

Gareng, who was at Belaga police station when contacted, said that one long-house has also been torched, prior to the impoundment which has left seven Penan villages under water, all without notice.

“It is like the government is trying to kill us off. The Long Wat long house was torched last week, and we started our blockade on Sep 18. (more…)

Stop impoundment, Penans plead

William Mangor

The Penan and Kenyah communities have lodged a police report after their pleas were allegedly ignored by the state government and Sarawak Energy Berhad.

MIRI: Penans affected by the alleged unannounced impoundment of the Murum Dam have lodged a police report against the Sarawak government and the main contractors Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB).

In the police report lodged yesterday, they claimed that SEB had failed to notify them of the impoundment and that most members of the community are yet to move to the new resettlement sites and are at risk.

They said the community was still in negotiations with the state government and as such SEB’s action to impound the Murum Dam was illegal. (more…)

October 3, 2013

Police arrest a Penan near Murum dam

MurumDukau Papau

Police from Belaga fired shots into the air to stop more than 300 protesters who also wanted to be arrested after a protester, Ngang Buling, was arrested at their Murum dam blockade site at 10.10am today.

Save Sarawak Rivers Network (Save) chairperson Peter Kalang said after Ngang was arrested, some 300 others who were guarding the blockade rushed to the police personnel and demanded that they be arrested as well.

“The police feared some untoward incident might take place and fired shots into the air to stop the action of the protesters,” Kalang said in a message to Malaysiakini. (more…)

Foreign Troublemaker Causes Anguish In Murum

Sarawak Report

Native people of Murum say they are being bothered by a foreign troublemaker and have lodged a police report against him.

Torstein Dale Sjotveit is a Norwegian, who yesterday caused complaints after shouting in the faces of Penan indigenous people, whom he is ejecting from their ancient homelands.

It is also alleged that he berated the police, calling them ‘cowards‘ for not taking harsher action against the protesting natives. (more…)

October 2, 2013

‘Dam workers’ lives threatened by protesters’


Workers at the Murum hydroelectric dam had their lives threatened by protesters who were instigated by “foreign troublemakers and anti-government NGOs”, Sarawak Energy Bhd says.

It said in a statement that the incident involved a “small” group of protesters who on Sept 28 allegedly threatenedits workers, using machetes.

This halted work on the  powerhouse and tunnel, which only resumed this afternoon.

However, in a press conference after lodging a police report against SEB this afternoon, Penan protesters said that SEB’s CEO Torstein Dale Sjotveit and police were “rough” towards the protesters and verbally abused them. (more…)

September 14, 2013

‘Sarawak wants flora and fauna, not Penan’

Dukau Papau

The Sarawak government’s policy of prioritising the protection of flora and fauna rather than the survival of the Penan community has received severe criticisms from lawyer and human rights activist Harrison Ngau.

“The state government is giving priority to the protection and preservation of plants and animals at the expense of the Penan, whose livelihood and survival depend on the forests surrounding them,” Ngau said.

Ngau (left), who is also chairperson of the Baram PKR division, was commenting on the move by the government to gazette the Suling-Selaan forest in Ulu Baram as a national park. (more…)

August 15, 2013

Women’s minister to ‘revisit’ inaction on Penan rape

Keruah Usit

Rohani Abdul Karim, the new minister for women, family and community development, has a greater and more urgent task than simply to “revisit” Penan communities in middle Baram “soon”.

She intends to study the outcome of recommendations of the ministry’s 2008 task force that had confirmed Penan girls had been sexually violated by loggers.

Rohani (left) appears clueless regarding the systemic failure to address the socio-economic plight of rural women from the Penan and other ethnic groups in Baram.

“During the revisit, we will be going through all the recommendations and see how many have been implemented. For those recommendations that have not been implemented, we will take it from there,” she promised the Borneo Post on July 30. (more…)

June 20, 2013

No better life for the Penan, four years after study

Tharshinaa Chandran

The Penan of Baram in Sarawak thought their lives would change for the better after the National Taskforce was set up in 2009 to study their problems.

However, four years later, Amelia Balan, 22, and other Penan women continue to suffer the same problems plaguing their village in Baram Tengah.

The promises of the government to offer them protection from sexual attacks, birth registration and citizenship problems and water and healthcare facilities have yet to be fulfilled.

Disappointed with the stagnant developments in her village, Amelia (left), has come forward with four other Penan women to ask new Women, Family and Community Development Minister Rohani Abdul Karim to deal with the matters affecting her people. (more…)

March 26, 2013

Sarawak NCR defender’s attacker walks free

Keruah Usit

Iban native customary rights (NCR) defender Surik anak Muntai, 66, has expressed his anger and concern that the oil palm “company executive” he identified to police as one of his assailants has been freed on police bail, after three days in remand.

Surik, a farmer from Melikin in Serian, suffered horrific injuries on his right forearm and both knees as a result of a ruthless assault by four men on March 15.

Serian police have declared that police are unable to identify any of his assailants. District police chief DSP Mohd Jamali Umi told local daily The Borneo Post on March 21 that the four attackers wore masks and Surik could not identify them. (more…)

December 5, 2012

Living Like “Tarzan”, “Poachers” And “Cavemen”! – SEB Man’s Outburst Against Sarawak Natives

Sarawak Report

Idris Buang – foot-in-mouth spokesperson for SEB

Freedom of information requests in Australia have recently brought to light the full, unedited interview of SEB Board Member and spokesman, Idris Buang, by the TV programme Dateline, about Sarawak’s mega-dam plans.

And his arrogant and incautious remarks, which disparage the native way of life of many of Sarawak’s indigenous tribes, have brought gasps of amazement and outrage.

Among a series of slurs, he says on behalf of SEB: (more…)

November 29, 2012

Sarawak gov’t, developers urged to learn Penan ways

Dukau Papau

 Sarawak Land Development Minister James Masing has warned his colleagues in the government and large-scale developers they need a “human touch approach” in dealing with the Penan community as the eyes of the world are watching the government’s moves.

“If we approach big development projects affecting our people in the future in this manner, I am confident that we will be successful and (will be left) with less problems.

“That kind of development approach, with human touch, is the way forward for Sarawak,” Masing (left) said in his winding-up speech on his ministry. (more…)

October 25, 2012

The gov’t has rejected us, say Murum natives

Ahmad Fadli KC

It is a four-hour journey by 4WD from Sarawak’s gas and timber capital of Bintulu if one wants to head for the tropical rainforest of Murum in the interior of the Kapit division.

To spur development in Murum, the Sarawak government has approved logging licences, permitted palm oil plantations and is also building the Murum hydroelectric dam at a cost of RM3 billion.

The locality holds eight longhouse communities, accommodating some 1,400 Penan natives. (more…)

IGP must stop his boys from provoking Penans

FMT Staff

The Royal Malaysian Police force needs to be educated on human rights and perspective of the people’s struggle, claims Suaram.

Human rights NGO, Suaram, has called on the Inspector General of Police (IGP) Ismail Omar to warn his men not to interfere in the Penan tribe’s rights struggle in the Murum dam issue in Sarawak.

“In order to bring the credibility to the force, they should be seen as a neutral party and not to take the side of the oppressor. (more…)

October 24, 2012

Life’s a chicken coop for Penan with kids in school

Ahmad Fadli KC

For the sake of their children’s education, a group of Penan parents have decided to hang up their hunting tools and set up home in an abandoned chicken coop.

These Penan parents made their heart-wrenching decision to move away from their longhouse in the interior of Murum in the Belaga district of Sarawak’s Kapit division, because there is no primary or secondary school there.

Labang Paneh, 35, said he initially made the daily two-and-a-half hour journey with his children to the school in Kapit dvision’s sub-district of Sungai Asap, but the travel proved to be too much. (more…)

Police Claim Humanitarian Aid For Murum Is “Incitement” As Fears Grow Of Crackdown

Sarawak Report

The Penan are holding out on their blockade into its 4th week. They need food.

Police numbers are being increased around the Penan blockade at the Murum Dam. Yesterday, they announced that they had detained an NGO sympathiser, who was bringing food and declared that this humanitarian act was ‘incitement’.

“It is not wrong if he had sent the items to the Penans at their longhouse”, stated the local police commander.  This was possibly in recognition that the Penan have received no government support since their hunting grounds were logged in preparation for the dam and that half of their children are officiallymalnourished. (more…)

October 20, 2012

International Solidarity Builds Behind The Murum Penan

Sarawak Report

No engagement, just one demand that Hydro-Tasmania pull out of Sarawak!

As the Penan people of Murum enter the fourth week of their blockade against the Murum Dam, local and international NGOs have rallied to their support.

On Friday protestors, surrounded by news reporters, gathered outside Hydro-Tasmania’s impressive tower block headquarters in Hobart to demand that the company cease its lucrative partnership programme with Sarawak Energy.[click for video] (more…)

October 19, 2012

‘Penans protesting against dam since 2009′

Joseph Tawie

Senior Minister Awang Tengah Ali Hassan’s claim that NGOs with ‘ulterior motives’ are misleading the Penan community has showed up his ignorance, says SAVE Rivers Network.

SAVE Rivers Network (SAVE Rivers) a coalition of a number of non-governmental organisations, has slammed the Second Resource Management and Environment Awang Tengah Ali Hassan who claimed that the Penans in Murum have been led astray by certain quarters with ulterior motives.

“It is utterly false to say that the Penans are being made use of by NGOs,” said Peter Kallang, chairperson of SAVE Rivers, adding that it showed up his ignorance. (more…)

October 10, 2012

IT’S A LIE, Murum Blockade is still on: The Penans are fighting for SURVIVAL – HELP THEM!

Mark BujangIT'S A LIE, Murum Blockade is still on: The Penans are fighting for SURVIVAL - HELP THEM!

The Penans in Murum affected by the Murum Hydro-electric Power (HEP) Dam are still blockading the road leading to the construction site of the dam despite newspaper reports saying otherwise.

Raymond Abin, coordinator for Sarawak Conservation Alliance for Natural Environment (SCANE) confirmed today via telephone that the blockade in Murum is still on and the reports in the newspapers saying that the blockade has been lifted is false.

Raymond said, “Liwan Lagang did indeed tried to negotiate with the Penans to dismantle the blockade, however the Penans were not happy with him as he could not assure them in writing that the government would accede to their demands.” (more…)

October 8, 2012

Shocking Secrets From The Reports On Murum Over 40% Of Penan Children Malnourished

Sarawak Report

701 children in these villages have no access to school

Over 40% of the under five year olds living in the Penan villages due to be flooded at Murum are malnourished and 12% are severely malnourished, according to yet another shocking report that the government has attempted to keep secret.

This is just one of a series of disgraceful admissions about the criminal neglect of these tribal people by Taib Mahmud in the wake of his state-sponsored destruction of their forests.

Other monumental failings are in the categories of education and health. (more…)

October 7, 2012

Penans tighten Murum dam blockade noose

Dukau Papau

The Penans tightened their blockade of the Murum dam construction by cutting off another linkage road to the dam site starting on Thursday, thus paralysing the transportation of building materials worth hundreds of thousands of ringgit.

The new blockade was set up on an old narrow logging road through an oil palm plantation, passable only for four-wheel drive vehicles.

“Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) had been using the road as an alternative route to the dam site for the past three days,” said Raymond Abin (left), National Coordinator of Sarawak Conservation Alliance for Natural Environment (SCANE). (more…)

October 5, 2012

Baru Bian SOS to Suhakam on behalf of Penans

Dukau Papau

Sarawak Parti Keadilan Rakyat today urged Suhakam to probe human rights abuses against the Penan community in Murum committed by the state headed by the nation’s reportedly richest man.

“The latest exposes carried in the alternative media and in some mainstream press in the past few days bring home to us the heights of heartlessness and hypocrisy this government has reached.

“The revelations tell of the unimaginable suffering of the Penans in Murum who have been treated in the most callous and contemptible manner by the dam-building bullies and the uncaring government headed by the man reputed to be the richest man in Malaysia,” said Baru Bian,chairman of Sarawak PKR. (more…)

Baru tells of the unimaginable suffering of the Murum Penans

“It is obvious that nobody in this current government has the will or the desire or the moral courage to do what is right” – Baru Bian

The latest exposes in the alternative media and some mainstream press on the Penan blockade of an access road to the Murum dam in Belaga district over the past few days brings home  the heights of heartlessness and hypocrisy that the Barisan Nasional government has reached.

“The revelations tell of the unimaginable suffering of the Murum Penans who have been treated in the most callous and contemptible manner by the dam-building bullies and the uncaring government headed by the man reputed to be the richest man in Malaysia.

October 4, 2012

Landmark win for Penans in federal court

Joseph Tawie

A senior Sarawak native customary rights (NCR) lawyer has hailed a decision by the apex court of Malaysia on an NCR matter as a much needed victory.

The fight for recognition of native customary rights (NCR) on land received a shot in the arm following the federal court’s decision on Balare Jabu and others against timber company Merawa Sdn Bhd .

Hailing the decision, NCR lawyer Baru Bian said it was “another victory” in their legal battle for the claims and defence of NCR cases in Sarawak. (more…)

Masing’s statement insulting to Penans, say groups

Dukau Papau

Orang Ulu leaders and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are reacting strongly to the statement made by Land Development Minister James Masing alleging that the Penans are ignorant of the benefits of the Murum dam, resulting in them being unhappy.

Masing had said that there was a need for better communication between the implementers of the project and the people at the grassroots.

“I have made a recommendation to the steering committee to include Culture and Heritage Assistant Minister Liwan Lagang to be part of the team which oversees the implementation of the project. (more…)

September 30, 2012

SARAWAK’S SHAME ! – Secret Report Reveals The Despicable Neglect Of The Penan People

Sarawak Report

The blockade camp is running out of food – the Penan need help

To access our leaked copy of the secret “Resettlement Action Plan” refer to the base of this report.

The “Resettlement Action Plan” for the Penan communities due to be flooded by the Murum Dam should have been released BEFORE building started on the site.

According to international human rights protocols, the Penan ought to have been fully consulted and in agreement with the details of any move and they should have received guarantees about the lands, money and community services they could expect from the resettlement IN ADVANCE. (more…)

September 28, 2012

Hundreds of Penan blockade road to Murum dam

Filed under: Human rights,Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 2:03 PM
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Hundreds of Penans reportedly staged a blockade against the controversial Murum dam project on Wednesday, said a Sarawak NGO.

“The Penans set up the blockade on the access road to the dam at Seping River Bridge, about 40km from the Murum HEP dam project site.

“At least 200 Penans are at the blockade site carrying placards and banners bearing slogan ‘We Want Justice’, ‘We Demands Our Rights’, ‘Stop Murum Dam’, ‘Sarawak Energy (SEB) No Entry’. (more…)

August 30, 2012

A Penan chief at the Merdeka parade

Keruah Usit

“Four of us tua kampung (village chiefs) were flown over to Kuala Lumpur  for the Independence Day celebrations once,” Jawa Nyipa, the wizened headman  of Long Ajeng, recalled. “That was the first time I’d ever been on an  aeroplane.”

We were chatting over a cup of tea one night on the wooden floor of Jawa’s house in Ulu Baram, in eastern Sarawak. The fluorescent tube was guttering like a candle, thanks to the unpredictable power supply from a small  generator, fuelled by a mixture of petrol and diesel.

The house was airy and comfortable, built on two floors, with rough-hewn  walls, and windows overlooking the river, and a wall of forest on the opposite riverbank. (more…)

May 31, 2012

‘Penan Peace Park is for all of us’

Filed under: Human rights — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:02 AM
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Keruah Usit

Most Penan have never seen the bright lights of Miri, Kuching or Bukit Bintang. The Penan have lived traditionally for centuries in the forests of northeast and central Sarawak, as nomadic hunter-gatherers.

In the past few decades, nearly all the 15,000 Penan have now settled down as rice farmers, give or take the odd week-long hunting trip. But their hearts remain in the rainforest.These shy, slender but remarkably strong people are used to living sustainably in their ‘tana’ or forests. They prefer the cool shade of the canopy to the air-conditioning of urban tower blocks. (more…)

May 17, 2012

Tabloid’s Penan incest story “offensive and baseless”

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 12:01 AM
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Kelvin Egay

On Sunday May 13, the front page of the tabloid Metro Ahad read:‘Ibuku, isteriku, bapaku, suamiku’ (My mother, my wife, my father, my husband). On page 4, the report was titled ‘Abang kahwin adik sendiri’(Brother marries his own sister). This must have been the most offensive caption ever on Mother’s Day!

The Metro article was a pathetic effort at sensationalising a non-existent issue to humiliate the Penan.

The Metro reporter Hadzlan Hassan highlighted his ignorance of Penan‘adet’ or customs and the customs of Sarawak’s indigenous communities, by writing a story on purported incestuous marriages. (more…)

March 16, 2012

Simunjan flare-up: Five held, excavators torched

Keruah Usit

In another heated dispute over Native Customary Land Rights in Sarawak, police have arrested five Iban villagers in Simunjan for allegedly setting fire to 13 excavators of an oil palm company.

The company is a joint venture between two government heavyweights: federal investment arm Tabung Haji, and a statutory body, the Land Consolidation and Development Authority (LCDA).

According to Nicholas Mujah (left), secretary-general of Sarawak Dayak Iban Association (SADIA), an NGO defending native land rights, six Iban men had initially been arrested on March 13. (more…)

January 2, 2012

Shahrizat, Taib and Penan link

 Mariam Mokhtar

It all began with the despair of a few young girls who had been raped by workers in the timber industry of Sarawak’s interior. The girls were Penan. The loggers had the protection of one man, the chief minister of the state.

Nevertheless, one woman in West Malaysia had the power to intervene and bring justice to the raped women. She didn’t.

As minister in charge of the affairs of the women of Malaysia, she failed. Not because she could not have done something about it. Her ministry presented a report eight months after the rapes were highlighted, but that was the end of her involvement.

October 21, 2011

Hospital ‘acted correctly’ in billing bereaved parents

Keruah Usit

Medical staff at Miri Hospital and Limbang in Sarawak provided “appropriate care and management” to the Penan couple whose child died a day after birth at the hospital in Miri, the Sarawak Health Department says.

Department director Dr Zulkifli Jantan also came out in defence of the behaviour of billing counter staff at Miri Hospital, following news reports yesterday about the impoverished young rural couple being forced to pay RM180 as their medical costs.

Seri Yung, 25, and Roy Dumai, 26, from Long Napir in Sarawak, had travelled four hours by ambulance from Limbang to Miri for the delivery of their second child, but the baby died of asphyxiation.

“We are of the same opinion as you, that it is tragic that a precious life was lost. However, our investigation shows that the staff in Hospital Miri and Limbang had provided appropriate care and management,” Zulkifli said. (more…)

October 18, 2011

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…)

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