Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Shahrizat to the Rescue?

This evening, the Fun Fitness Toastmasters Club had their inaugural meeting, and I was there as the General Evaluator. Although there were only nine of us – it was an enjoyable meeting nevertheless. The venue of their next meeting is at FRIM in Kepong – this club has an outdoorsy concept, perfect for Toastmasters who wish to indulge in public speaking in a natural environment. Go, go, go, y'all!
According to the Star today (p N12), Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, the Minister of Women, Family and Community Development, visited tribal settlements in Sarawak state Tuesday after rights activists released a new report documenting seven previously unpublicized claims, including that of a woman in her early 30s who was allegedly held captive for a week by loggers eight years ago. She said she became pregnant after she was raped. Shahrizat promised to reopen investigations into claims of abuse – including that some girls as young as 14 had been among the victims – and deploy welfare officers to monitor complaints from impoverished Penan tribal communities. Industry officials have repeatedly rejected claims of misconduct by their workers and police have said in the past that they did not have enough evidence to prosecute anyone. This is the familiar refrain we hear over the years.
"The Penan community should know that now they have someone to champion their cause and that is us", Shahrizat had said. Now isn't this statement so patronizing, so typical of a BN politician?
The Penans have long protested against timber companies, saying they encroach upon the tribe's ancestral land. Some also voice concerns that state officials were protecting the loggers because it is a major economic sector. When will we see justice for the long-suffering Penans?

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