Penans in village successfully block timber firm from logging in their forests

The Penans of Long Tevenga deep in interior northern Sarawak rejoicing after they successfully stopped a timber company from continuing logging operations in their forests.

MIRI: The Penans of Long Tevenga deep in interior northern Sarawak have successfully stopped a timber firm from continuing logging operations in the forests around their settlement.

Sarawak social activist Peter Kallang said the indigenous natives used two strategies to stop the loggings that threatened their territorial rights.  

The first was by building a house across the main logging road to block logging trucks and excavators.  

The second was to get the help of social-activist group Bruno Manser Foundation to carry out aerial and ground mapping of the forests.  

Kallang told The Star on Monday (Oct 22) that the two methods combined proved to be effective.  

The Long Tevenga Penans have been fighting against the loggings there for several years.  

"The Penans blocked the timber access road with a big house. The Bruno Manser Foundation and the Long Tevenga Penans then managed to compile 23 territorial maps.  

"These maps helped convinced the Sarawak Forestry Department last week to issue an order to stop the loggings," said Kallang who is chairman of environmental group Save Sarawak Rivers.  

"The order means the logging company cannot enter into the Long Tevenga village without consent of the Penans there. 

"This is an important development as it shows that with determination and mapping evidence, we Sarawak natives can protect our land and forests from private developers," he added. 

Bruno Manser Foundation was formed by Swiss human rights activist Bruno Manser and his family.  

Manser is said to have gone missing in the jungles of northern Sarawak about 10 years ago.

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