Khamis, 14 April 2011

Should the raped Penan women listen to Shahrizat and vote BN?

Should the raped Penan women listen to Shahrizat and vote BN?The picture does not lie. Shahrizat Abdul Jalil, the newly (re)appointed  Women, Family and Community Development minister was photographed in the Star newspaper on 28 May 2009, looking extremely concerned. She was inspecting the bruises and scars on a five-year old child who had been abused at home.
Those who were present at the hospital bed remember how Shahrizat tried to compose herself, whilst speaking of her disbelief that people could harm children.
“No matter what problems you have, whether in a marriage, at work or anywhere else, it is not an excuse to do something criminal like this.
“There are other ways to solve your problems, be it through family, community or the Welfare Depart­ment.”
The list of injuries was extensive and included long cane-like scars on the child’s back, a bruised lip, chipped or missing teeth, pinch marks and a bump on the head.
Shahrizat was clearly shocked at seeing the bruises all over the child, that she ordered a full investigation and said she would personally look into the case.

“I am so... (paused to compose herself) ... I am speechless to see the scars on the back of the little boy.
“It is so awful and very sad. Obviously the abuse must have been going on for sometime.
“We have to find out why this has happened,” she stressed.
Shahrizat was rightfully moved by this child.
So why did Shahrizat lack the same level of concern, shock and urgency to act, to investigate the rape of the Penan girls and women?
It was left to a Swiss based NGO, Bruno Manser Fonds (BMF) to highlight the rape of the Penan women and till today, our government has failed to dispense justice on behalf of these women.
The original BMF media release (15 September 2008) is as follows:-
Penan women from the Middle Baram area of Sarawak are launching a cry of alarm to the international community over cases of sexual abuse by logging company workers in the East Malaysian state's rainforests.
The Penan are accusing workers from Interhill and Samling, two Malaysian logging companies, of harassing and raping Penan women, including schoolgirls.
“I want to make it known that we are being sexually abused by the timber company workers on a regular basis”, a Penan woman from Sarawak's Middle Baram region said to BMF.
According to research undertaken by BMF, the perpetrators are frequenting several Penan settlements in the Middle Baram, looking for women. The company workers are based in logging camps in the region and are usually drunk when they arrive at the villages.

“When we hear their off-road vehicles coming, we just leave everything as it is and flee into the forest”, the Penan source said.

“They come on an almost weekly basis, but the situation is worst during the school holidays when they know the students are in the villages.”

In other cases, school transports operated by company vehicles had been arranged in such a way that schoolgirls had to stay overnight at a logging camp, where they were abused.
The Penan communities are reporting several cases of pregnancy as a consequence of abuse by company workers. They also accuse the loggers of using armed “gangsters” to intimidate them and of handing out alcohol to the young Penan.

Complaints by the Penan to those in charge of the logging camps and to the Police have so far had no effect.
The Bruno Manser Fund is asking the Malaysian government to start a formal enquiry into these serious criminal offences. In particular, the government is being asked to ensure that the victims are protected and that the harassment of Penan women by company workers is brought to an end immediately.

There has been no action since this report first emerged in mid-September, 2008.
Instead, blame shifted onto the Penans for fabricating stories and BMF was criticised for bringing Malaysia into disrepute.
Months later, the government-led task force into the Baram district finally completed its investigation but the results were inconclusive and to date, the Penan girls and women have not received any form of justice.
Why should Shahrizat tell the Sarawakians, including the Penan, to be grateful for all that BN has done for them? Why should the Penan vote BN?

Tiada ulasan:

Catat Ulasan