Penan continue protest in Murum but concerned over police presence.
PRESS STATEMENT – Penan continue protest in Murum but concerned over police presence.
Murum, Belaga, Sarawak.
Indigenous Penans are continuing with their peaceful blockade despite 10 of them being arrested and detained in Belaga police lockup. The 10 were released yesterday, including 2 underage boys. The 10 Penan heroes have now joined the other Penans at the blockade site.
However, the police were acting aggressively and intimidating the Penans that caused the Penans blockade to fail so far.
Another report from the ground at the blockade site is that police are drinking alcohol which is believed to be provided by Sarawak Energy Berhad (SEB) and some of them were drunk. The Penans could smell alcoholic from their mouthes during the police discussion at the blockade site. Even the Malay Muslim police were also consuming alcohol at Murum Dam site.
We urge the authorities to investigate the allegations of drunk police officers at Murum Dam. We are concerned about the safety of the Penan if drunken police are allowed to join the operation at Murum Dam, especially those with weapons.
Despite the report lodged by Penans against the police yesterday, the police are still aggressively intimidating them.
The Penans complained that a policeman known as Soffian had pushed a Penan at the blockade site. The police also acted harshly against Penan community leaders who tried to calm the heated argument at the blockade site.
We urge the government to reconsider the current forces stationed at Murum Dam, for them to be pulled out from Murum Dam site since they are aggressively acting against the peaceful Penans.
We urge the Sarawak Government to immediately resolve the problem and the Penans’ grievances.
We also urge the Inspector General of Police (IGP) and Federal Government to investigate the human rights violations at Murum Dam against the Indigenous Peoples, Penans.
– Report Ends-
ABUN SUI ANYIT
Legal Advisor For The Penans