MIRI: Home Minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Tun Hussein will travel to the remote settlement in the Ulu Baram district in northern Sarawak this week to personally meet the Penan people who have been living without citizenship since the Independence.
The minister is scheduled to fly into Miri and then into the remote jungles of the vast Baram parliamentary constituency to meet these Penans in Long Kevok settlement on Thursday.
This landmark meeting will see Hishamuddin giving these poverty-stricken native folk official recognition.
The minister will be accompanied by National Registration Department officials, local state politicians and local district officials, according to the programme prepared for him.
Hishamuddin will present birth certificates and MyKads to a group of Penans who had applied for these vital documents unsuccessfully many time over many years.
These Penans are among the estimated 35,000 people throughout Sarawak who are without birth certificates and MyKad.
The minister will also hold a dialogue with the Penans to hear from them the various socio-economic problems that they are facing.
An official at the divisional office level told The Star yesterday that the Penans are eager to meet Hishamuddin.
“In fact, when the Penan communities from other settlements heard that the Home Minister is coming to Long Kevok, they too requested for him to visit their settlements.
“However, Hishamuddin is only able to meet the Penans in Long Kevok and he will then have to proceed back to Miri and to Kuala Lumpur.
“Due to his tight schedule, he can only spend half a day in Ulu Baram,’’ he said.
It was only about a week ago that Hishamuddin issued a statement in Kuala Lumpur, saying that he wants to see these personal-document woes in Sarawak resolved by the end of next year.