Govt urged to keep act immediately on Penan issues

By Joseph Tawie, Free Malaysia Today

KUCHING: The Sarawak government has been urged to revoke immediately licenses and leases involving the Penan’s native customary land if it was serious in helping the community and the indigenous people.


The Borneo Resources Institute Malaysia (Brimas) also urged the Sarawak government to recognise the rights of the Penan and indigenous people of Sarawak.

“If the government is sincere in helping the Penans and has nothing to hide, it should immediately revoke licenses and leases which overlap with NCR lands.

“And they should immediately stop the issuing of logging licences, licences to plant forests and provisional leases over the native customary lands (NCR) and territories of the indigenous people, “ said Brimas executive director Mark Bujang.

Bujang was responding to Land Development Minister James Masing’s statement in London on Tuesday that the government was ready to engage non-governmental organisations (NGOS) with regards to issues affecting the Penan community.

Whilst lauding Masing’s statement, he however said that the government must survey and recognise the Penan territories.

“Masing’s comment is seen as a positive development, taking into account that all these years, NGOs working on social and environmental issues have been ridiculed and labelled as anti-development, anti-establishment and negative by certain ministers and civil servants.

“We believe the government should survey and grant recognition of the Penans’ native customary rights land and territories as what Prime Minister Najib (Razak) had announced recently,” Bujang said.

He added the exercise should also cover other areas occupied by the indigenous people of Sarawak.

Land for Penan

Bujang also called on Masing to disclose the exact location where 300 Penans were purportedly given land by the state government to hunt.