Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu made some claims about the Penan while lashing out at NGOs. He said the NGOs were taking advantage of the plight of the less than three per cent of the Penan population who were still nomadic. This excerpt from the Borneo Post:
“They (negative NGOs) are living off the misery of the few, and manufactured lies. This is what we must fight.
“I have known the Penan community for more than 40 years. They are striving for advancement. Only less than three per cent are still nomadic.
“And it is this three per cent that the negative NGOs speak up for. Is this a fair representation when we have another 97 per cent of Penans who have settled down?” he asked.
He said most of the Penans were successful people after they had followed government programmes to get them out of poverty.
He said the role model for the Penans was entrepreneur Datuk Hasan Sui while the role model for the Penan villages was the one at Suai in Ulu Niah where most of its residents were driving twin-cab 4WDs.
“As the Penans are members of the Dayak community, I do not want to see them being exploited,” he said.
And now the reality, which I learnt from a reliable source: