Tuesday, August 23

Don’t confuse us, say Penans

KUCHING: The Pelieran Murum Penan Action Committee (PEMUPA) together with 1,500 residents from seven Penan villages located at the Murum Hydro Electric Dam Project (HEP) demand that the Land and Survey Department immediately halts its current native customary land surveying works until clear and proper information are made available to them.

“We are making this demand because the information given to us by the Land and Survey Department is not clear and confusing to us, the Penans,” said PEMUPA Chairman Surang Alung.

He said in early August this year, a group of surveyors and officers from the Land and Survey Department started to survey and demarcate the land in the Murum HEP area.

The survey works which were done arbitrarily without the participation of the local residents became an issue to Penans when there is little or no information being given to them regarding the said works.

“Even if there is information given by the Land and Survey Department, it is very confusing, not consistent and at times conflicting. The information given differs from village to village.

“The officers of Land and Survey Department told us that not all of our lands will be surveyed even though it will be inundated by the waters of the dam later.

“They further went on to say that only three acres of land will be surveyed for each family, while some villagers were even told that only their fruit gardens will be surveyed,”
Surang said.

“We were also told that only our temuda lands which we have cultivated before 1958 will be surveyed. All the temuda lands cultivated after 1958 belong to the state. Besides that, we were also told that aerial photographs will be used to demarcate our lands.

“We would like to state here that the areas which are affected and will be inundated by the Murum HEP are the native customary lands of the Penans.

“We have occupied and lived in the Murum, Peleiran and Danum since time immemorial. During all this time, our ancestors were living a nomadic life. Because of our nomadic lifestyles we have a lot of old camp sites (la’ lamin), historical sites, grave sites (tanem), sacred sites, etc all over the Murum HEP area.

“We have occupied this area before the arrival of the Brookes and continued to occupy this area up to the present government,”
said Surang, pointing out that the Murum project will inundate 24,500 hectares of the Penan’s customary land.

“If the government uses the 1958 cut-off point as an indicator of native customary rights claims for our temuda and fruit gardens, then this is not fair for us. We cannot accept this cut-off point as it is not logical for us to lead a sedentary lifestyle before 1958 as we were still nomadic during that time.

“As long as our community is not given clear and proper information and our views and concerns are not taken into account, then the survey works for each Penan village will be facing more problems and the issue will not be solved,”
he warned.

“We want to make it clear here that we want all our lands to be surveyed. It is important that our gardens, fruit orchards, temuda, pulau galau, communal forest, grave sites etc be included in the survey.

“We also want our tana pengurip (ancestral domain) for each Penan village which is going to be inundated by water to be surveyed,”
he said.

The Penan villages affected by the Murum HEP are Long Wat (82 families with 339 people), Long Malim (45 families with 211 people), Long Singu (64 families with 265 people), Long Tangau (28 families with 107 people), Long Luar (52 families with 189 people) and Long Menapa (39 families with 167 people).

Also affected is the Kenyah Badeng village of Long Umpa (35 families with 197 people).


Sri Belalang said...

The fact is that the indigenous population affected by a Dam have been asked to sacrifice their entire natural and cultural heritage in the name of development.

Just look at Bakun HEP. A lot of problems; mystery death, illegal logging, floating houses, gangsterism, displaced, a severe shortage of fish, vegetables and jungle products.

Apai irau said...

Ikan Masing said he is the one to champion Bakun peoples rights.Henry Luhat said,his brother Dr.Ellie has nothing to do with Murum Penans.Interesting to see indeed if these two who are THE DEFENDERS of Asap people and the Penans can really take care of these people. Bakun has started operation but issue of compensation are still heared every day .Good job THE DEFENDERS.