Penans want to pursue RM100 mln promise – Assemblyman


PROOF: Baru Bian (centre) shows the newspaper cutting at the press conference while explaining the matter.

KUCHING: Penans now want to know about the RM100 million promised by the federal government for the community in 2008.

Ba Kelalan assemblyman Baru Bian said the Penan community had asked him to raise this matter during a meeting he had with the longhouse representatives last weekend at Long San.

“It was my first visit. I met over 200 representatives from about 20 longhouses there. They want to ask the government where the money is. After the election, they have not seen the money until now,” he said on Wednesday.

According to Baru, the natives were now more aware of their rights and wanted to know what happened to the promise made four years ago.

He showed a newspaper cutting of The Borneo Post published on Sep 25, 2008, provided to him by the Penan representatives, which reported Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu as saying the federal government had approved an allocation of RM100 million for the Penan community.

Jabu was also quoted as saying in the report that the fund would be used to improve the living standard of the community and bring them into the mainstream of development.

Meanwhile, Baru said during a dialogue with the longhouse representatives he was told that the people were unhappy with the Baram dam project.

“Everyone stood up opposing the dam project. It was about 95 per cent of them. I was touched when I saw the river. I really feel for them,” he said.

He said earlier they had lodged a police report against a community leader who they alleged had made a false statement that the people supported the dam project.

Baru, who is a lawyer by profession, also said PKR was ever ready to help the people who might need legal help.