Last Saturday, 22 October, at 10.00am, eight Malaysian police officers, two forest department officials and three Interhill staff jointly dismantled the Penan blockade in Sarawak’s middle Baram region, reports the BMF Team.
13 October 2011: A four-wheel drive stopped by the Penan at Ba Bunau, Middle Baram (Photograph: BMF)
After the dismantlement, Interhill logging company passed the blockade site with heavy machines.
Despite the dismantlement of the blockade, the Penan are maintaining their demands to the Sarawak government and to Interhill logging. Penan spokesperson Lakei Jaau said the Penan have the following five demands:
- The government of Sarawak must recognize the native customary rights of the Penan by withdrawing the timber companies’ licences.
- The companies should immediately stop working on the NCR land of Long Item, Long Kawi and Ba Abang.
- The company concerned must shut down Camp Kabeng and clean the rivers and areas that have been polluted with toxic materials.
- The government of Sarawak must immediately order the company to stop their workers from entering the affected villages without the permission of the kelunan pina (everyone’s consent).
- The Federal and Sarawak Governments must solve the longstanding problems of birth certificates and ICs of Penans and with the direct participation of the Penans.
The Penan are protesting agains the unjustified police action and are pointing to the fact that they have challenged the legality of the current logging activities in a court case filed in December 2009.