Friday 27 May 2011

Penan rapes: S'wak ticked off for inaction

Police and the Sarawak government got a lashing from Wanita PKR today for their inaction on the rampant cases of timber workers raping Penan women and girls in the Upper and Middle Baram regions.

The latest involved a 20-year old girl who had been repeatedly raped by an Indonesian logger since early this year, Wanita PKR national vice-chief Voon Shiak Nie said in Kuching today.

"The girl came to know the Indonesian man in her village in Ulu Baram, where he worked as a logger. It was reported that he coaxed the girl to follow him to Miri on the pretext of finding her a job.

NONE"Instead, he raped her repeatedly," Voon said, adding that a police report had been lodged with the Miri police last Monday.

Voon said the girl said there had been similar cases of rape involving other women in her village.

Only after Wanita PKR chief and Ampang MP Zuraida Kamaruddin highlighted such cases in Parliament during a session last year as well as lodging police reports, did the Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development carry out an investigation.

The task force that conducted the probe released its findings last year, but only showed 14 cases of such offences.
Authorities just refuse to take action
Voon said Wanita PKR tried to hand over a copy of the task force report to Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu, who is in charge of Penan affairs, after he said he had not received the ministry's report, but he refused to accept it.

She said Wanita PKR had passed over copies of the ministry's findings to several state ministers and also handed over a letter on the exploitation of the Penan women to the prime minister's wife, Rosmah Mansor, when she was in Kuching last year.

The refusal of the authorities to act on the ministry findings or the complaints of the victims led an independent NGO, the Penan Support Group, to conduct its own investigation, which revealed another seven cases of rape of Penan women and girls.

The PSG report titled A Wider Context of Sexual Exploitation of Penan Women and Girls in Middle and Ulu Baram, Sarawak, Malaysia, carried out with Forum-Asia and the Asian Indigenous Women's Network (AIWN), revealed that sexual attacks on Penan women and girls was systematic and widespread.

The problem, the fact-finding mission found, was endemic to the Middle and Ulu Baram regions where several logging companies operate.

Voon, who is a lawyer, said no one has so far been investigated or charged for the crimes against the Penan women and girls.

She also criticised Parti Pesaka Bumiputra Bersatu Youth leader Fadillah Yusof for not acting on the wing's promise last year to collate information on the rape of Penan women and girls in order to help the police to prosecute the culprits.

Newly-elected Telang Usan state assemblyperson Dennis Ngau said recently there had been a surge in the number of male foreigners in the interior areas of of Baram because of the expansion of the oil palm plantations and logging activities.

No comments:

Post a Comment