Thursday, April 15, 2010

Penans in search of tribesman appeal for food

Thu, 15 Apr 2010 06:45
By Roselind Jarrow

MIRI: A group of eight nomadic Penan families of Ba’ Puak are on the verge of starvation unless food rations are immediately delivered to them.

“We are seeking the help of the public at large to provide us with our daily necessities as our rations have drained out after carrying out almost five months of search and rescue (SAR) operation for one of our men who went missing around the forest in Loagan Bunut National Park last year,” said the headman of the group Jepery Moyong.

“We appeal to the general public to help us with foods and provisions to enable us to sustain our community SAR operation.

“We will be starving soon and have no choice but to ask for help since we are severely facing shortages of food,” he said, adding that it was not easy to find food in the peat forest.

Jepery also said that they did not want to cause trouble and be accused for illegal encroachment into the national park.

Emang Moyong, 33, went missing on Nov 2 last year after performing at a cultural event organised by Petronas at its gas pipeline project camp site in Tinjar.

Emang was then purportedly asked to do video filming on the Penan’s way of hunting with blowpipes at Loagan Bunut National Park.

He was said to have been threatened by the so-called film crews. Since then, the Penans have launched a community search and rescue (SAR) operation in the thick forest around the park area.

The Malaysian Police had also carried out a three-week SAR operation in November and December but were unsuccessful.

The police have since closed the case as their operations after failing to trace and locate Emang whereabouts.

“We the Penan families are determined to continue with our search even though the authorities have ceased their SAR operation.

“We will not stop our SAR operations as we believe that Emang is still alive,” he said.

Jepery said Emang was frightened and traumatised and and could be hiding from somebody.

“This situation can happen to any nomadic Penans as we are seldom in contact with outsiders,” he said.

Emang’s wife Usun Malin, 26 and two children Maria, 8 and Mathew, 6, are still hopeful to find him alive.

“We would only be relieved if his remains are found that is if he had died, and then we will go back peacefully to Ba’ Puak,” said Usun.

The nomadic Penan group of Ba Puak is among the few Penan nomads left in the rainforest of Sarawak.

There are about 15 families at their settlement in Long Selulung, Ba’ Puak in upper Tutoh River area in the interior part of Baram District in the northern region of Sarawak.

The Loagan Bunut National Park has an area of 10,736 hectares and was gazetted by the Sarawak State Government as totally protected area on 29 August 1991. It is more or less about 100km from Long Selulung in Ba’ Puak.

The national coordinator of Sarawak Conservation Alliance for Natural Environment (SCANE) Raymond Abin is sympathetic with the plight and distress of the nomadic Penan Ba’ Puak.

He called upon civil society organisations, government and private agencies and the public to help in the community SAR operation and provide assistance in-kind to the nomadic Penan Ba’ Puak.

He said all assistance can be done through Sarawak Conservation Alliance for Natural Environment (SCANE) at Lot 1046 Shang Garden Shoplot, Jalan Bulan Sabit, Miri, Sarawak. Tel: MY +60 85423044 +60 85423044 Call Email:

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