NGOs instigating ‘simple-minded’ Penans, said Jabu
August 21, 2013
Penans are protesting against the laying of a gas pipeline to send gas from Sabah to Bintulu in Sarawak.
KAPIT: Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Alfred Jabu believes that the Penans in Long Meraan, Sungai Maoh in interior Baram were instigated to set up the latest road blockade against a gas pipeline.
About 100 Penans protested against the laying of a gas pipeline to send gas from Sabah to Bintulu in Sarawak and had set up blockades on five roads.
Reports quoted their chief Belaweng Tunau as saying they were against the project as it had destroyed their environment and the jungle which was the source of their food and income.
He had also said that it had caused river pollution.
But Jabu, claimed he had “dealt” with the Penans for four decades and that such protests were unlike them.
“I know the Penans. I have dealt with them for over 40 years. They are very simple-minded people.
“I was in Baram about 10 days ago. I had advised the Penans not to be easily instigated for the benefit of certain non-governmental organisations (NGOs),” Jabu, who is Sarawak Minister of Modernisation of Agriculture and Minister of Rural Development, told reporters here.
He had earlier officiated at the joint delegates conference of the Balleh and Pelagus branches of the Pesaka Bumiputera Bersatu (PBB) party.
Jabu said some NGOs were still influencing the Penans in the Selungo river areas such as Long Said, Ba Lai, Long Kerong and Long Spigen.
“But there are also the Penans who understand, appreciate and welcome the government’s efforts to bring development and progress to them.
“In the next five years, I believe the group opposing the government’s efforts can see the socio-economic difference in the group welcoming such assistance.
“Then they will blame the NGOs for leading them astray,” he said.