Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Nearly half a century of failure in understanding “simple-minded” Penans

(Right): Alfred Jabu

07/10/2014 - 14:00      

Jimmy Adit

QUICK TAKE: Did you know that every time a minister or the local YB visited their areas, the Penans would set up blockades to their settlements?
“Setting up blockades will not help their cause. How will the government develop their areas if blockades are set up everywhere?” asked Sarawak Deputy Chief Minister Datuk Patinggi Tan Sri Alfred Jabu last week.
The Penans have been warned they will be left behind if they continue to run away from the government.
Of course Jabu knows the “simple-minded” Penans are just innocent victims of instigation, which is why “the government does not blame them”.
He knows the real culprits behind the blockades are the NGOs, so he issued a stern warning to them to back off and mind their own business.
“What have we done to you? Did we poke our nose into your issues and affairs? What do you know about us and our needs and aspirations?” Jabu was said to have told foreign and local activists.
About the Penans, their needs and aspirations, Jabu should know better. After all he had said this: “I have dealt with them for over 40 years. They are very simple-minded people”.
“Over 40 years” is the time Jabu has been in the state cabinet, it’s therefore rather strange that so many members of the Penan community have so few good words for the deputy chief minister. They even called for his resignation!
“This is because Jabu does not understand the plight of the native communities affected by the construction of dams. He can’t even understand the plight and miseries of the people affected by the Bakun and Murum dams,” Save Rivers Network Sarawak chairperson Peter Kallang was quoted as saying.
It’s even stranger that after more than 40 years of wheeling and dealing with the “simple-minded” Penans, Jabu still cannot get the community to see his side of the story.
On the contrary, the blockades and the protests get even bigger and louder. They make the more than 40 years look more like a failed comedy.
- See more at: http://www.theantdaily.com/Main/Nearly-half-a-century-of-failure-in-understanding-simple-minded-Penans#sthash.wnhXNJlq.dpuf

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