Clare Rewcastle writes to members of the Sarawak Press highlighting the predicament of the Penan and the leaked information contained in government reports that have been withheld.
Dear members of the press,
You have received the Save Rivers information that the Murum Blockade is still in action and I am sure you will work to counter the false rumours that the people of the area have been reassured by their assemblyman Liwan Lagang into ending their protest. Mr Lagang cannot claim to represent these people, because although he has found it perfectly possible to visit and negotiate with them, both he and the BN government he represents have found it ‘impossible’ over 30 years to provide them with Identity Cards or the vote!
Because these people are denied their ICs, according to a report drawn up by the government’s own official agent, their ability to draw on any compensation agreement that is drawn up is highly compromised. As a first step towards any compensation agreement therefore the Government should immediately issue ICs to these people, who are all easily accessible through the roads driven through their lands by loggers, and then enrol them onto the electoral register. This is the first necessary act towards demonstrating that the Sarawak state is acting in good faith on this or any other matter relating to the resettlement of the Murum Penan.
We urge the Sarawak press who are covering this story to read the full government reports into the plight of the Murum Penan communities, which were leaked by us after being withheld from publication. These reports show a shocking and indeed criminal level of neglect by the Sarawak government of the basic human rights of Sarawak’s indigenous peoples in this area and it is your duty as journalists to reveal the facts as laid out by the government’s own reports.
These reports are:
- The contemporary Ethnography, which is part of the SEIA for Murum, which has been illegally kept secret, and
- the Resettlement Action Plan, also illegally kept secret.
Please read these disgraceful admissions by the agents of the Sarawak Government. They can also be found on our site along with some analysis of the main issues.