Wednesday, July 22, 2009

New Penan blockades

Sad news from Sarawak. The Penan has been suffering. The last remaining forest (in that region) will be gone soon...and politicians keep raping...and justice in sight...
July 24, 2009 MYT 2:59:00 PM
Standoff between Penans and loggers in Borneo eases

MIRI: Semi-nomadic Penans and timber workers involved in tense logging disputes in two different locations in Ulu Baram in northern Sarawak have retreated from the timber-blockade flash-points on police advice.

The disputing parties did not want to aggravate tension in disputes where the usually peaceful Penans had picked up spears and parangs to prevent loggers from entering what they claim were their ancestral lands, according to Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM).

SAM field officer for Sarawak, Jok Jau Evong, told The Star Friday that according to the latest reports from deep in the interior was that the Penan protestors had laid down their arms after the timber workers at the sites agreed not to proceed with their logging operations in the disputed territories.
''The standoff has eased. The police are at the site and they have the situation under control. The timber companies have withdrawn their workers and machinery from the sites.
''The Penan protestors have also cooled down. They are still there at the vicinity of the blockade sites but they are just sitting around.
''The timber workers said they are only following directives from their company bosses. If they were instructed not to proceed, they will not go any further. For now, the tension has eased,'' he said.
Asked if this meant the timber companies had aborted their plans to carry out further logging in the forests where the Penans claimed their ancestral heritage was, Jok said he had no answer.
He said that only the companies concerned would know what they intended to do now following the dispute.
The anti-logging protests at Ba'Marong and Long Paloh, some 300kms inland from Miri, had reached boiling point.
The Penans, who claim that their forests were being ravaged by loggers, blocked access roads into the forests with logs and timber debris to prevent heavy machinery and timber trucks from entering and leaving.
They guarded the blockades armed with spears and parangs.
Baram police chief Deputy Supt Jonathan Jalin was outstation and could not comment on the dispute.
However, a check with his officers at the Marudi police station showed that policemen and General Operations Force personnel who had been deployed to the blockade sites are still there.


July 22, 2009
New Penan blockades as anti-logging protests flare up again

MIRI: Anti-logging protests have flared up again in the interior jungles of northern Sarawak where the semi-nomadic Penans live.

Two incidents of timber blockades have occurred in the Ulu Baram district, one in the upper reaches near Long Lama Village, some 300km from here, and another near Long Paloh in the middle region of the district, some 100km from Marudi town.

Sources told The Star yesterday that police in Long Lama and Marudi received reports about anti-logging protests by the Penans and have visited the sites.

No arrest has been made.

Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) field officer for Sarawak Jok Jau Evong confirmed yesterday that his office had received information from the Penans in the two areas that blockades were erected across roads used by loggers to transport heavy machinery into the jungles and access roads used to ferry logs out of the jungles.

He said there were 40 Penans staging a protest in Ba’Marong, a Penan settlement on a tributary of Sungai Tutoh, which is three hours journey by timber road from Long Lama.

“The Penan chief there, Sagung Nyipa, said the Penans from Long Nen village are also joining in the protest,” he said.

“The other protest is in Long Paloh, upstream of Sungai Patah. There are about 30 Penan men, women and children at this blockade site.

The protest in Ba’Marong is against logging operations being carried out by a Sibu-based timber consortium while the one in Long Paloh is against a Miri-based timber giant.

The protests have been peaceful.

The two private companies are also involved in property construction, road construction, oil palm projects and heavy industrial projects throughout Sarawak.

“The Penan chiefs told us that they have no choice but to resort to the blockades to stop the logging,” Jok said.

This is because their land rights have been violated and their daily source of food and water have also been destroyed.

He added that the forest reserves in Long Paloh are the last remaining forests for the Penans in that region.

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