Some groups poisoning minds of the Penans, says Jabu

  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 28 May 2003

KUCHING: The state government wants to reach out to the Penans but is wary about certain groups it says are poisoning the minds of the indigenous community.  

“Most of the Penans in Baram and Belaga have fallen into the trap of some non-governmental organisations which have done nothing good for the community,” said Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu. 

He singled out Sahabat Alam Malaysia and Sahabat Angin as having told two Penan chiefs not to have any discussions with the government. 

However, the two headmen later apologised to him for their actions, added Jabu. 

“The government wants to reach out and help the Penans.  

“We build schools for Penan children and provide other amenities for the community,” he said here yesterday. 

Jabu, who is also state Minister for Rural and Land Development, said that unlike the Penans in Baram and Belaga, the Penans of Suai, Miri, had a different attitude towards development programmes. 

Jabu was present when a Penan leader, Datuk Hassan Sui, related to reporters the success story of more than 80 families at his settlement in Suai. 

Hassan had earlier attended an underwriting agreement ceremony for the initial public offer of BLD Plantation Bhd, a joint venture between the Penan group and the Sarawak Land Development Board to develop an oil palm plantation on 1,800ha of native customary rights land in the area. 

Jabu said the Government had also introduced chicken rearing and other agriculture schemes to help the Penans.  

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