Logging company encroaches and abuses Penan villagers
Long Lunyim is a Penan community
from Sungai Pelutan, Baram, located in the Miri Division of the
state of Sarawak, Malaysia which used to be a part of another village
called Long Tepen. The people of Long Lunyim decided some years
ago to leave the village of Long Tepen and establish as a separate
longhouse altogether slightly further away over disputes with the
Long Tepen's headman on the encroachment of logging activities onto
their customary land.
The logging company Lajong Lumber, a subsidiary of Rimbunan Hijau,
has been showering the chief of Long Tepen with cash and his sons
with jobs with the company in exchange for the people's land. The
company's operations started to get nearer and nearer to Long Lunyim
and eventually encroached onto its individual farms and communal
forestland. When the Long Lunyim people went to the company to complain
and to demand Lajong Lumber to stop their operations, the company
would simply reply that it had already paid their chief and that
he had allowed them to enter the land.
The Long Lunyim community had written several letters from 2000-
2003 to several local authorities and the company itself asserting
among others, that they no longer belonged to Long Tepen or the
authority of its chief and committee and since they far outnumbered
the latter the company had no right to buy their consent from Long
In August 2003, a blockade
was put up by Long Lunyim which was then dismantled after six days
when the protestors were invited to see the General Manager of the
company in Miri, who showed receptive to all of their demands.
However on September 4, the police came looking for a member of
Long Lunyim, Mr. Semali Sait, promptly arrested him and confiscated
his father's gun, which by the way, does possess a valid licence.
They handcuffed him all the way to the Marudi Police Station, a
journey by land and river which could have taken some 6-7 hours.
His fellow villagers became highly traumatised in the process, a
bad thing when you are about to begin your planting season. The
next day his father Sait Kiling went to the nearest police station
to demand explanation and he too was then arrested, handcuffed and
brought to the Marudi lockup. Both father and son were under remand
for 8 days and were then wrongfully charged under Section 506 of
the Penal Code for alleged criminal intimidation. They are now out
The arrest and charges were based on a police report lodged by Lajong
Lumber's Camp Manager and a worker who claimed that they were threatened
and intimidated by five Long Lunyim villagers, including Semali
and his father. The two of them however vehemently denied the accusation
and they have proof to back their claims.
But the company acted cold blood. While the people were either in
jail, worried sick in Marudi for the two and the other three who
were never detained but named in the police report, or scared to
death back at home, the company managed to push in 10 tractors,
2 units for road construction and 8 for logging, into the people's
forest reserve area, to grab all the timber there very quickly.
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