Metro Ahad apologises to Penans, retracts part of online report

KUCHING: Metro Ahad, a Malay tabloid, has apologised to all Sarawakians, especially the Penans who were offended by an article titled “Ibuku isteriku, bapaku suamiku” (My mother my wife, my father my husband) that was carried its online edition, on Sunday.

In its Sarawak edition today, Harian Metro said that Metro Ahad had withdrawn all statements contained in the article.

“Metro Ahad also admits that there have been misconceptions and factual errors in publishing the article which caused the Penan community to be portrayed in a bad light,” said the peninsula-based Harian Metro in its apology and retraction of the four paragraphs in the article which were offensive to the Penans.

Metro Ahad also confessed that the article was published without any reference to Penan leaders who were more well-versed on their customs.

“We have been informed that the Penans do not practise incest,” the front-page apology said.

In its May 13 online edition, Metro Ahad had alleged that the Penans in Tinjar, Ulu Baram were practising incest which was one of the reasons the Penans found it difficult to obtain the MyKad and other documentation.

The report caused an outcry from various quarters, including Penan paramount chief Temenggong Datuk Hasan Sui who demanded that the tabloid apologise to the people and state, especially the Penans, for claiming incest was accepted by the Penan community.

Meanwhile, Sarawak Urban Development Minister Tan Sri Dr James Masing described the allegations as serious and sensitive, and hoped that the journalist involved would be ready to submit the evidence on the report he had written.

Yesterday, Sarawak Chief Minister Pehin Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud advised non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and individuals not to make negative remarks about any race in the country unless it could not be avoided for specific reason. – Bernama

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