Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Langkawi's Rainforest Not Important?

Having to witness how our local people here in Langkawi are allowing their rainforest to be cut, burned, cleared and developed, I can conclude that they do not love their land anymore. 

Semenanjung (Mainland) people (and that includes me as well) are not as courageous as the Penan communities to protect the precious rainforest they love. When our daily lives are not affected by the loss of something, we tend to take things for granted or become bystanders or even complaining among ourselves. When will we have the courage to fight back (and that includes me too) ? ...sigh...

Malaysia's Penan fear police crackdown against logging road blockade

25th July 2011
(LONG WIN, Sarawak, Malaysia). Indigenous Penan communities in the Malaysian part of Borneo are fearing a police crackdown after having staged a logging road blockade near Long Win in Sarawak's Apoh Tutoh region. The blockade was set up to defend the communities' last remaining rainforests against logging by Rinpark Sdn Bhd, a Malaysian logging company linked to the family of Sarawak Chief Minister Abdul Taib Mahmud ("Taib").

According to the Penan, the Malaysian police
 have sent a number of police officers to the blockade which had been set up in May 2011 by the villagers after Rinpark failed to live up to promises made to the community during an earlier blockade. The blockade was dismantled by the police and forestry enforcement officials yesterday (Sunday 24 July 2011) but re-erected by the locals this morning. 

While the forests of Long Win, Long Bangan and nearby native communities have been logged several times already, the locals are fearing that their last forests will be cut down in order to make for oil palm plantations. "Please alert the international community on what is happening to our forests", a Penan spokesperson said to the Bruno Manser Fund. "The situation is very tense now as the police and forest department staff have set up a camp near the blockade site".

The involved logging company, Rinpark Sdn Bhd, is closely linked to the highly corrupt Malaysian Taib family. One of its directors is Azerina Mohd Arip, the first wife of Taib's late brother Arip Mahmud. Rinpark shareholder-cum-director Patrick Embol Anak Undi is also a main figure within the Taib-linked Lanco group of companies that is involved in controversial land deals in Sarawak's Balingian region.

For three decades, the Penan have struggled to defend their rainforests against logging. While the Taib family and a handful of logging tycoons have made a fortune from the cutting down of Sarawak's forests, the Penan have seen suffering from the negative consequences of the destruction of their natural environment. 


  1. A Semenanjung ObserverAugust 5, 2011 at 8:39 PM

    The biggest difference here is that the livelihood and culture of Penans (as well as any other indigeneous communities around the world, including the Orang Asli of the Peninsular) are entirely or almost entirely tied to the environment.

    Whereas, most "Semenanjungs" are living in highly anthropogenic environments ie: Kampungs surrounded by farmlands and plantations or urban areas.

    To separate the people from their indigeneous/ancestral lands by destroying them is no different from taking a KL-ite's stable job and income away by flattening the entire city!

    No amount of excuses, be it the "moral responsibility to modernise communities" or to "maximise profit yield from unused lands", can justify such abhorrent acts of criminality.

  2. Hi a Semenanjung Observer,
    Thank you for the additional info.
    I love the phase you used, "... abhorrent acts of criminality." Unfortunately, these criminals got away easily without penalties.

  3. sometimes that is not important and we ignore will become very important and meaningful.


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