The Sarawak Women and Family Council (SWFC) chairperson Fatimah Abdullah has said that the “sensitive” Penan issue has been highlighted and over-exaggerated because of their “political and commercial value”.
Actually, it’ is not that the Penan are of more “political and commercial value” than any other ethnic group in Sarawak. Rather, they are one of the most marginalised groups in the country – and their blockades reflect their desperation. Their situation now is a microcosm of the damaging effects of what is taking place in Sarawak: the clearing of rainforests for logging and plantations, resulting in loss of biodiversity and food sources; the dam-building frenzy (at public expense for private profit?); the emergence of polluting industry; the unhealthy nexus of politics and business; and of course the dispossession of indigenous groups from native customary land, accompanied by ill-conceived resettlement plans.
Excerpt from The Borneo Post
It’s all because of ‘political, commercial value’: Fatimah
By Nigel Edgar
Penan issue very sensitive matter and should be dealt with carefully
KUCHING: The Penan issue has been highlighted and over-exaggerated by some people because of their “political and commercial value”.
Sarawak Women and Family Council (SWFC) chairperson Datin Fatimah Abdullah said if the issue involved other ethnic groups, it would have a slim chance of being picked-up as an issue to be used against the government.
“If I tell you about the Ibans or the Melanaus in my constituency having these problems, these ‘people’ would not pick their issues because they are of no commercial and political value,” she told reporters at the Sarawak Single Mothers’ Association Hari Raya Aidilfitri celebration at Salma Villa at Jalan Depo here yesterday.
Fatimah said it was a very sensitive matter and should be dealt with carefully.
“We have to look at things in the right context,” she said.
In view of that, Fatimah said, it was best the opposition dealt with the Penan issue with sincerity.