Finally, after denial from the state government and the deputy CM about the alleged abuse of the Penans women but with incessant articles from the medias, comments from NGOs and postings on various blog, various task forces have been setup to deal with the matter.
Dr Ng Yen Yen, the Women, Family and Community Development Minister must be praised for her commitment and concern on the alleged claim. She is instrumental in requesting a task force to investigate the alleged abuse. The Police task force has also been mobilized. Sarawak’s Social Development and Urbanisation Ministry also has volunteered their assistance.
For now, let's wait for the action and see if the task force can bring the culprits to justice. If not, then it will one of those "cakap tidak serupa bikin" kind of thing.
* Sarawak Police Dismissive On Report Of Penan Girls Abuse
* Penan Women Sexually Abused By Loggers
From The Star
Police task force sent to Baram to probe rape claims
By LOURDES CHARLES
KUALA LUMPUR: A special task force set up by the police has been sent to Baram, Sarawak, to investigate the alleged rape and other abuses against Penan women and children by loggers.
It is learnt that a four-man team under the supervision of Sarawak Commissioner of Police Deputy Commissioner Datuk Mohamad Salleh went to Baram on Friday to identify the area as well as the victims.
DCP Mohmad Salleh said he has directed the team to conduct a thorough investigation into the alleged rapes and abuses that took place in 1994.
“Although the incident took place some 14 years ago I want to assure the public that we will investigate the matter without fear or favour.
“We want all those who know or have information regarding the incident to come forward and assist us in our investigations,’’ he said.
DCP Mohamad, who took over as Sarawak police chief in December, said he is personally supervising investigations.
He said it would take his officers several days to get to the area and investigate the matter.
He said his officers must first identify the area or areas where the Penan women and girls lived after which they would need to ascertain the allegations.
“I will have something to say in a few days when my officers return to Kuching and brief me,’’ he added.
The Star had reported the alleged rape and abuses by loggers against Penan women and girls early this month.
From The Star
Penan task force to have indigenous rep
By FLORENCE A. SAMY
KUALA LUMPUR: An indigenous representative will be part of the task force set up to investigate claims that Penan women and girls have been allegedly sexually abused by loggers.
Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen said the task force would meet for the first time next Wednesday before heading to Sarawak.
“We are very focused on looking into the plight of Penan women and girls. We will ensure that all accusations are thoroughly investigated.
“We must ensure that Penan women and children are protected and not exploited,” she said here on Friday after launching a manual for assistance from Welfare Department.
Last month, the Bruno Manser Fund, a Swiss environmental non-governmental organisation, highlighted on its website that Penan women and schoolgirls in Baram were allegedly sexually abused by timber workers with some ending up pregnant.
It was reported that many Penan families had to rely on school transport by timber companies, making matters worse.
Dr Ng said the Cabinet was very supportive of the task force when briefed on Wednesday.
She added that a DNA test could be done on Penan women who became pregnant after alleged sexual abuse to track down the perpetrators.
The task force, would also comprise of representatives from NGOs such as the Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) and the Women’s Centre for Change, Penang, the police and representatives from relevant ministries such as the Home Ministry and the Health Ministry.
Dr Ng said her ministry’s director-general Datuk Dr Noorul Ainur Mohd Nur would visit the area first with task force members and the police and she would be paying a visit next month.
On the manual, Dr Ng said it would serve as a guide to welfare officers and local leaders to help them search for those eligible for welfare but were not registered.
The initiative, known as Projek Cari would also see the appointment and training of 870 temporary officers to aid in the search including providing them with the necessary skills and “heartware”.
“We hope to identify families within two months as the poor cannot wait. Last year, 70,970 families received aid worth RM157mil. We hope to double this figure,” she added.
Those who need help could also call Talian Nur at 15999, she added.
Under Budget 2009, the eligibility criterion for welfare assistance was raised from a monthly household income of RM400 to RM720 in the peninsula, RM830 for Sarawak and RM960 for Sabah.
Sarawak to investigate Penan rape claims
By SHARON LING
KUCHING: Sarawak’s Social Development and Urbanisation Ministry is going to the ground to investigate claims that Penan women and girls have been sexually abused by timber workers.
Its minister Datuk William Mawan said his officers are getting in touch with schools in the Baram area to obtain information on the matter.
He said although his ministry is not in charge of Penan affairs, which falls under Deputy Chief Minister Tan Sri Alfred Jabu, it is looking at the matter from the viewpoint of women’s affairs.
“In just a matter of time we will be up there to investigate. Whatever we can do to alleviate this problem, we will do it.
”We will move in a concerted and organised manner to deal with this,” he told reporters Friday after opening a Soka Gakkai exhibition on peace at The Spring shopping mall here.
Mawan also welcomed the taskforce set up by Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Dr Ng Yen Yen on Tuesday to look into the plight of Penan women and girls. He said it reflected immediate and massive concern on the issue.
“We are ready to cooperate (with the taskforce). We are now collecting information and will try to get ourselves updated on what is going on,” he added.
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