RM50k for Penan cause
See Chee How (Lawyer for Penans), Jenita Engi (Penan Support Group), YB Zuraida Kamaruddin, YB Rodziah Ismail, Barubian (Lawyer for Penans), Voon Shiak Ni (Lawyer for Penans), John Liu (Penan Support Group)
YB Rodziah Ismail
26 October 2009
The Penan Taskforce Report , which was initiated by the Federal Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, was finally released after endless calls for nearly a year from many quarters of civil society and enormous international pressure.
The Penan Taskforce report was released to KEADILAN Women Chief Hajah Zuraidah Kamaruddin (Parlimen Ampang), after a demonstration by KEADILAN Women outside Sharizat’s office on the 8th September 2009.
The full report makes for heartbreaking reading and the report runs to more than a hundred pages. Testimonies in the report describe the widespread crimes of loggers or logging truck drivers sexually abusing and molesting schoolgirls them along their way to school. It outlines a common practice of forcing schoolboys to get down from the vehicle they were hitching on, while the logging truck drivers proceed to molest or rape the girls.
Another common tactic used by the loggers to hunt for their prey was by going to their villages, to buy food and later entice the girls and ask to have sex with them.
These crimes committed on the Penan community has been going on for the last 10 years and nothing much has been done to address the issue either by the Federal Government or the Sarawak State government.
Its a regret that some of our fellow Malaysians has to endure a life in fear and threats and the girls and women has been used ann abused for sexual pleasures , short of the word ” sex slave” only , by the influx of male workers from outside because of the extensive logging activities in their area. Girls as young as 10 years old were sexually abused and raped.
Rape is one of the worst crimes against humanity! Yet the Ministry had unreasonably withhold the taskforce report for nearly a year and many quarters has called for an explanation for the undue delay for the release.
Following up the release of the taskforce report, Keadilan women’s leaders led by KEADILAN Women Chief , YB Hajah Zuraida Kamaruddin, initiated a Memorandum to Alfred Jabu, the Chairman of the State Cabinet Committee on Penan Affairs pertaining to concerns by the Keadilan Women’s Wing over the rape and sexual abuse of Penan girls and women in Sarawak as revealed by the national Ministerial Task Force Report by the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development..
However, the whole team of delegates were refused entry into the premises to Alfred Jabu’s office by security guards, who closed and locked the gate to the building.
Alfred Jabu who is also the The Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister and Minsiter in charge of Penan affiars, has refused to accept a memorandum concerning the plight of Penan.
It has been seen that the Sarawak Government has not been responding well to the issue and we do condemn Sarawak Govennment for continuing to be in the denial mode.
Selangor Government has been following up the issues closely with the penan support group in Sarawak and has been very concerned with the seriousness and urgency of the matter and call for the Sarawak State government to be more pro active to look into the issue with urgency and to take the necessary measures and steps to prevent further abuse and rape of the girls and women in the community.
Selangor Government expressed their grave concerns and passions for the problems faced by the Penan Community in sarawak and it is understood that the member organizations of the Penan Support Group are planning various empowerment programmes for the Penan communities in Baram particularly with the Penan women and to assist the victims and survivors of the heinous sexual offences.
The Selangor government through the Women’s Affairs, Welfare, Science Technology & Innovation and Culture Committee had approved a fund of RM50,000.00 being Selangor government’s heartfelt contribution towards their good efforts which we hope will give the necessary relief and to spur other organizations and individuals to contribute generously.
YB Rodziah Ismail
Pengerusi Jawatankuasa Tetap Hal Ehwal Wanita, Kebajikan,
Sains Teknologi & Inovasi dan Kebudayaan
Kerajaan Negeri Selangor,
Timbalan Ketua Wanita KEADILAN