Tabloid fined for fallacious report on Penans
Posted on May 24, 2012, Thursday
METRO Ahad has been ordered to pay the Penan community 50 ‘tasah’ being compensation for its fallacious report on May 13 which claimed incest was accepted by the community.
Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu Numpang yesterday said the fine was in accordance with the community’s custom.
The decision was made at a meeting on May 18 chaired by Datuk John Sikie Tayai, Assistant Minister in the Chief Minister’s Office in charge of Native customs and Penan affairs.
Jabu told the august house in his winding-up speech that 50 ‘tasah’ refers to 50 pieces of rubber sheets obtained from wild rubber trees.
“The compensation will be handed over to the Penan chief, Temenggong Datuk Hasan Sui, publicly, at a later date.”
The Rural Development Minister further said the meeting had decided that the fine was necessary although the tabloid had apologised on May 17.
At the same time, he hoped that such incident, which showed insensitivity to the local communities, would not be repeated.
“The media must be sensitive when reporting news related to the culture and custom of a community” he advised.
Metro Ahad had been condemned for its front-page report entitled ‘Ibuku Isteriku, bapaku suamiku’ (my mother my wife, my father my husband), which claimed that marriages among members of immediate families were allowed in the community. Jabu, in responding to the report, had on May 15 said it was a ‘sensationalised’ piece of news.
Hasan, meanwhile, stressed on the same day that the report was like adding insult to injury.
In his winding-up speech, Jabu also assured that the Penan community would enjoy better life in the next few years as the government had embarked on a rubber plantation programme for the community.
He revealed that the Penans would be able to earn a monthly household income of RM2,500 in 2015 compared to RM300 to RM400 per month now.
“Members of the opposition, if you really care for the Penan, please do not oppress and suppress them from participating in the government’s projects. By getting them (the Penan) to the DUN complex is like ‘melepaskan batuk di tangga’ (not doing the job sincerely),” said Jabu who is also Rural Development Minister.
An effort to get Jabu’s estimation of the equivalent to the Penan’s 50 ‘tasah’ was futile yesterday as reporters waiting for him at the lobby of State Legislative Assembly building did not see him there.
On Tuesday, PKR brought several Penan community leaders and representatives of 18 Penan groups to the legislative assembly complex in the hope that they would meet Second Minister of Resource Planning and Environment Datuk Amar Awang Tengah Ali Hassan to hand over their proposal for a Penan Peace Park project in upper Baram.
However, their attempts to meet Awang Tengah failed as the minister was said to have a tight schedule.