Hornbill Unleashed

October 1, 2009


By Penan Support Group


1 October 2009


Penan rapists - ah hengThe Penan Support Group (PSG) would like to acknowledge the important role played by the Jawatankuasa Bertindak Peringkat Kebangsaan bagi Menyiasat Dakwaan Penderaan Seksual terhadap Wanita Kaum Penan di Sarawak (the Task Force) in the mission to ascertain and establish that the reported rapes of Penan women and girls by outsiders had indeed taken place. We applaud the Task Force for correctly identifying imbalanced and poorly planned development programmes as a cause of the problems faced by the Penan, including the exploitative situation that Penan women and children in Middle Baram, Sarawak find themselves in. However, acknowledging that these incidences of violence against women and children have taken place is only the first important step towards more crucially redressing these heinous crimes and the structural problems underlying them.


September 25, 2009

The Termite and Jabu: Theatre of the Absurd

By Pak Bui

A Tragic Comedy of Quotations in Three Acts


TERMITE, friend of loggers, plantation towkays and dam builders

JABU, servant of Termite

DAWOS, servant of Termite and Jabu

LIHAN, servant of Termite, Jabu and other towkays

CHORUS of villagers, from remote areas

NGOs, non-governmental organisations working for native people’s rights



September 24, 2009

Penans with cars and big houses?

By Sim Kwang Yang

Dr. James Dawos The Sarawak Environmental advisor Dr. James Davos Mammit has parroted Alfred Jabu’s attack against NGOs, by blaming the Penan problem on the NGO, who he said manipulated them.

James has a PH D I think.  He is also an old schoolmate from St. Joseph’s in Kuching.  I think he was a few years my junior.

But too many years of politics in BN must have dulled his intellect.  His attack against the NGOs is really a bad reflection of the standard of his political narrative.  Surely, he can have something more original to say, like “I feel sorry for the Penans, and will seek way to get to the truth of the rape of Penan girls.”

But then, as the state environmental advisor, James would probably be fired by his boss the termite, if he shows any sign of support for the Penans. (more…)

September 17, 2009

Statement on Sexual Violence against Penan Women and the Situation of Indigenous Peoples in Malaysia

Statement on Sexual Violence against Penan Women and the Situation of Indigenous Peoples in Malaysia

16th September 2009

Joint Action Group for Gender Equality (JAG)

Centre for Orang Asli Concerns (COAC)

Suara Rakyat Malaysia (SUARAM)


In the wake of the release of the report of the task force confirming allegations of sexual abuse of Penan women and girls, we – concerned citizens of this country – greet Malaysia’s 46th birthday with a renewed sense of outrage. We are gravely disturbed over not only the status of the Penan girls and women whose rights were violated, but also over how their situation reflects the overall state of the affairs of the Orang Asal: the Orang Asli of Peninsular Malaysia and the indigenous peoples of Sabah and Sarawak. (more…)

September 11, 2009


Media Statement of the


on the



11 September 2009

In September 2008, news broke out that Penan girls, some as young as 10 years, were being sexually abused by logging workers in the Middle Baram area of Sarawak. However, local politicians and the police were quick to dismiss these as mere allegations without any basis. (more…)



English Version of “ Part 5” Summary Inside

By HU Editor

What now AIO IRWhen allegations of rape and sexual abuse of the Penan young women and school girls

came to light last September 2008, the Sarawak state government was dismissive with the news reports:

Penan girls claim abuse , Against their will , Violated by loggers , A neglected people

Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud said the reports were nothing but lies and demanded that the newspapers corrected them. Check your information or you will be suspected by the decent people of Sarawak of trying to sabotage us when we have toiled to develop our state, Taib said.

Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu who is the chairman of the steering committee on Penan Affairs said that it would be a waste of time to investigate. He said: I have not heard of such complaints from the Penan communal leaders in my many visits to Ulu Baram. (more…)

The rape of the Penan, and other shameful crimes

By Pak Bui

Penan IRThe government has finally admitted that vulnerable Sarawakians have been raped by logging workers in Baram.

The Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development caved in to demands by NGOs and the electronic media. Malaysian civil society has been clamouring for justice for nearly a year. As a result, the Ministry released its National Taskforce report to PKR Women’s Chief Zuraida Kamaruddin this week.

Our wealthy logging companies behave as if they are kings in rural parts of Sarawak. Rape is an expression of power over the victim as much as it is a crime of passion or lust. Therefore it is no surprise to learn that schoolgirls as young as 10 years old have been molested, abducted and raped by loggers.

These loggers carry out these crimes because they can. (more…)

September 8, 2009

Report on Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Penan Girls and Women… Finally released !

Women, Family and Community Task Force Investigation Report

on Allegations of Sexual Abuse of Penan Girls and Women in Sarawak

Penan ReportPenan Task Force Report in PDF Format

We thank Keadilan Wanita Chief YB Hajjah Zuraidah Kamaruddin and her good team that demonstrated outside Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat’s office today and obtained a copy of this report, and made it available for our readers.

Video & Photo Inside : (more…)

September 6, 2009

Why Sarawak’s emergency airlift service matters

By Pak Bui

cut footJau, a 19 year old Penan man from a remote village, was chopping open a coconut one day, using his foot to steady the coconut. Jau’s foot slipped and he suffered a cut on his left foot.

The wound was small and shallow, but painful. James bound it to stop the bleeding, and bore the pain, as the stoic Penan usually do. He went on farming and hunting. Hunting is Jau’s greatest love, as well as his means of making a living.

Two days later he noticed his wound had become infected. Jau walked five hours to the nearest government clinic. The medical assistant there gave him some painkillers and penicillin tablets, saying he had no other antibiotics. (more…)

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…)

September 3, 2009

Why the Penan Blockades

A testimony by Harrison Ngau Laing, former Member of the Malaysian Parliament and now a native land rights lawyer based in Miri, Sarawak:

Dear All,

logo SAMIts very interesting and indeed refreshing to hear and read of our diverse views and comments on the decision of and action by our penan brothers and sisters in “re-setting” their blockades and on the so-called dialogue held between them and YB Lihan Jok, the Resident of Miri Division and the Ketua Polis Daerah Baram recently on the same subject.

In 1987, I was working with the Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) (environmental organisation) Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) based in Marudi, Baram and it was at our office there that the penans came to lodge the same complaints that they were making today which forced them to set up their blockades then, which complaints concerned the blatant disrespect for their rights over their lands and forests, the pollution of their rivers,disappearance of wildlife which they hunt, the intimidations from gangsters paid by the companies whenever they try to protest, damages done to their burial grounds, the bias of the government against them in favour of the companies, ignoring their complaints as above, etc.


August 27, 2009

Revisiting George Orwell’s Big Brother in Sarawak

By Apang

georgeorwellDM0309_468x353I first came across George Orwell’s classic novel, “1984”, when I was doing my Higher School Certificate in the late 1980s. My English teacher, Janet (whose full name escapes my diminishing brain cells now), had prescribed this as a book to be read for the entire class.

Each week, the class would have to discuss a chapter. I have to admit that I am still not a great admirer of novels. For me, “1984” was just a book to read to pass my English exam. All I could remember of its content was one phrase – Big Brother, and how this “thing” was watching and controlling all aspects of our lives.

Back then, it was an alienating concept that this “thing” would have such manipulative control over human beings. I was young and naïve then. The “unreal” world of “1984” existed only in my imagination, that we citizens, communities, societies, would be controlled, in our thought, our behaviour, beliefs, and ultimately, our actions. (more…)

August 19, 2009

A Long Hard Journey to School

By Chee How

Bull shit

The persistent international outcry over the alleged rape of Penan women and schoolgirls by logging company workers seems to have spurred the Sarawak government to take steps to improve the safety of Penan schoolgirls traveling to and from schools.

Deputy Chief Minister, and Chairman of the Steering Committee on Penan Affairs, Alfred Jabu, continues to dismiss allegations that Penan women and girls were sexually abused by workers from two local logging companies. (more…)

June 23, 2009

Happy Father’s Day, Datuk Seri Shahrizat

By Chee How (on Sunday, June 21)

It’s Father’s Day today!

Shahrizat1On the brighter side, I received a gift from my 5-years old boy. It is a simple bookmark with his charming smile and scrawling of “Dad, I Love You”. I can only imagine how he and his good teacher were struggling to fit those words into the little space. The erased pencil marks tell. It is a priceless artwork for the proud father, needless to say.

Unfortunately, this otherwise wonderful week was ruined by the Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil. Speaking to reporters in Parliament, the Minister was noncommittal about the findings of a task force that was set up to investigate reports of sexual violations against Penan girls and women. (more…)

April 29, 2009

International Shame

Ill-treatments of Penan attract global attention

The longer the government keeps a lid on the task force findings report commissioned by the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development to investigate into the allegations of Penan women been sexually abused by loggers operating on their land, the more attention and criticisms it will draw from the international communities. Survival International, a renowned UK-based international organization supporting tribal peoples worldwide through education, advocacy and campaigns, released this statement Government urged to release findings on sexual abuse of Penan women on their website most recently.


Survival International campaigner Miriam Ross who returned to London earlier this month from a trip to the Borneo rainforests in Sarawak to investigate the plight of the Penan tribe and to find out about their struggle for survival, have spoken to Ruth Walker of Scotland on Sunday and Frances Tamburin of The Guardian Weekly.


April 28, 2009

Release report on rape of Penan women now



By Apang, Zhang M. L. & Voon

The story started …

f_02mindy1The Penan and other indigenous peoples of Sarawak have been struggling publicly for land rights over two decades now. Without these rights being respected and protected, communities have either lost or continue to lose their lands to timber companies, mono-crop plantations and other supposed development projects.

Along with such model of development come workers, from outside mostly, who suddenly live nearby the indigenous communities. With mostly male workers, it wasn’t long that rape and sexual abuses occurred.

The first known case was a document by a NGO Fact-Finding mission which began in 1995 and followed up in 1996. The final report, published in 2000, and accessible online at documented, among others, the rape of a minor Penan girl in Long Mobui in Upper Baram River in the Miri Division. Two police reports were subsequently lodged. However, there is no known follow-up action from the police to date.

The latest cases that came to light was when the Switzerland-based NGO, the Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) broke the news in early October 2008. When the mainstream Malaysian media published the story with details after a visit to several Middle Baram Penan communities, the nation was awakened to the rape and sexual abuse of vulnerable Penan girls. (more…)

April 24, 2009

A race against racism

By Sim Kwang Yang

All my co-writers on this communal blog seem preoccupied with their daily professional and extra-curricular chores, so I am compelled to hold the fort again. After all, I am retired and have all the time in the world, in my hermitage at the top of a hill in Cheras in Selangor, to read, write, eat, and sleep. It seems fair that I should contribute more. I hope not to bore you.

I am grateful for those visitors who have left their comments on this blog, making this a site for a different kind of political and philosophical conversation. Life in Malaysia can be lonely, and so the echoes from the cyber sphere are an affirmation of our common humanity.

The responses to my take on racism are few but enigmatic, which seems to suggest the respondents are deep in thought. God knows we need more people deep in thought like mad in this mad mad world!

There are many faces to racism in the world and in Malaysia. We can, and we ought to stimulate one another on this sensitive subject, responsibly, reasonably, critically, and courteously, just to prove that the Sedition Act is a stupid law, if nothing else.

Having lived all our lives in a country of racial politics, it is natural that we are the victims and perhaps the sometime perpetrators of racist language.

Many of my Chinese friends still like to refer to “Zi Sek Lang”, Kuching Hockien for people whose skin colours are of a different tone from the Chinese light brown. (more…)

April 11, 2009

Alice in Cancerland

“Sometimes we are too engrossed in the grand political narratives, and we lose sight of the ordinary Sarawakian. The following story below about a sick Sarawakian lady makes up for that neglect – Sky”

By Keruah Usit

f_02mindy1Alice was already a young mother when she found out she had cancer of the nose. She was in her mid-twenties, the target age of trashy magazines and “natural-looking cosmetics”. She had a shy smile and dimples in her cheeks, and she had passed on her pretty smile and dimples to her two little daughters.

Alice’s husband Abel, a hunter and farmer, loved her, and, unlike most other husbands the world over, listened to her. Her small children hung on to her every word.

Alice lived by a river in rural Sarawak, three hundred kilometres (as the helicopter flies) from the nearest hospital. She had noticed a swelling growing around her left eye for six months, but she could not afford the two hundred Ringgit it cost to get to Miri Hospital.

April 9, 2009

Survival International: Stop devastation of Penan lands


Survival International, a renowned UK-based international organization supporting tribal peoples worldwide through education, advocacy and campaigns, today warned that logging, oil palm plantations and hydroelectric dams are and will destroy the last remaining Sarawak rainforests and threaten the basic survival of the hunter-gatherer Penan tribe.

In a press statement released this week, its campaigner Miriam Ross has just returned from a trip to the Borneo rainforests in Sarawak to investigate the plight of the Penan tribe and to find out about their struggle for survival.

Ross says, ‘It was terrifying to see the devastation of the Penan’s land, and all the more so to know how quickly it is happening. I went to Penan communities where the loggers have taken so much of the forest that the animals have gone and the Penan have real difficulty finding food.

‘Where the forests have already been logged to death, they are being replaced with oil palm plantations for biofuels and other uses. Oil palm is even worse for the Penan than the logging, because the plantations leave no space for them to hunt or gather. Their way of life becomes impossible.

‘And this is not all. A series of twelve huge hydroelectric dams is planned for Sarawak, and will submerge the villages of Penan and other indigenous people. The first dam is already under construction, and the Penan in the area have been told they have to leave. (more…)

April 4, 2009

Najib and Taib: An Arresting Couple

By Pak Bui

Recalling 1987

Operation Lalang on October 27, 1987 was the last time the ISA was used on a “megaproject” scale – the biggest crackdown siunce May 13, 1969. Mahathir Mohamad used the ISA against his opponents, when his position as Umno president was challenged by Tengku Razaleigh.

Mahathir had just won the Umno election amid furious allegations of cheating. Umno was turned into a new party – or was it? Um, no it wasn’t, it stayed the same old racist party it always was.

Faced with a divided party, Mahathir adopted a traditional Umno solution: stir up racial hatred, declare a threat to national security, and jail political opponents. Then relax, lean back and watch an uplifting American family TV programme like Eight is Enough.

Mahathir’s critics were seized in a bully’s binge: 106 politicians, environmentalists (including Harrison Ngau Laing in Sarawak), religious converts, social workers and teachers were sent out of sight, out of mind, and certainly well out of earshot, to the ISA detention camp, “Universiti Kedua”, in Kamunting, Perak.

KK tan under ISA

I met one ISA “graduate” shortly after he was released from Kamunting. Tan KK was Vice President of the Environmental Protection Society of Malaysia. He had the unwelcome privilege of being the first ISA detainee to be arrested.

Tan was an academic from Taiping, (more…)

March 31, 2009

Shifting Blame – Afraid Jabu’s Fear

By John Riwang <johnriwang@hotmail.com>

There was a time late last year when The Borneo Post Online decided to be on hiatus. The message “Our website is currently being upgraded. We apologize for the inconvenience” became its standard headline for over a month.

Because of their downgraded professionalism that desperately needed to be upgraded, a penniless boy like me had to spend my precious RM1 to buy the ‘hard copy’ version of the Borneo Post. What a pity. ‘A pity’ not because I was not able to gain valuable information from the local paper – that’s because it doesn’t have any. Rather I was deprived of my daily doses of laughter from reading the foolish statements made by our politicians.

But worry no longer, (more…)

March 28, 2009

Santa Claus is Good for You

Filed under: Politics — Hornbill Unleashed @ 6:01 AM
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

By Pak Bui 


Old White Haired Santa Claus appears at the opening of a private hospital in Kuching. He calls for improved health care in Sarawak, particularly in the fields of cancer and kidney care. Applause all around!

The owners of the private hospital, UMNO cadres from Johor, fall over themselves to shake Old White Hair’s hands, almost in tears. The private hospital is declared open – open to all, it seems, or at least all those with a credit card and money to burn. The entire farce is reported on the front page of local papers.
Why focus on cancer and kidneys?

But why focus on cancer and kidney care? (more…)

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