After Samling denied claims that it entered the Penan territory of Long Pakan late last year, the community has released proof from the ground of a clear intention to extract timber: satellite images of a logging road built by the company on their land.
(LONG PAKAN / BARAM / SARAWAK) In a video message, Penan villagers from Long Pakan in the upper Baram area stand up against logging company Samling: while Samling claims that Long Pakan is outside their concession area, satellite images show the construction of a logging road into the Penan community’s territory, a clear intention that logging will take place on Long Pakan’s NCR land.
Penan villager Dison Betik addresses Samling in a video message recorded on the 20th of February 2022 at a fresh logging road close to Long Pakan: “We are from the village Long Pakan. Here we can see the work of the timber company Samling, taking place on our land. (…) According to Samling, this area is outside of Long Pakan. As we are standing here, we can tell you, this is not true. The land that is being destroyed from Samling is our Native Customary Rights (NCR) land. (…) They already took trees and built bridges and roads. (…) We ask please help us get rid of the Samling Company. That is the desire of the people from Long Pakan. (…) Our headman never gave Samling the permission to exploit our forest. We stand up for our land and our forest.”
Komeok Joe, head of the Penan organization KERUAN, is appalled: “Samling is denying our very existence. How can they claim that the territory of Long Pakan is not within their concession? We Penan might have no roads to our villages, but we are here and will stay.”
Samling entered the area in August with the support of some of the youth of Long Pakan. The village elders and other community members reacted with a blockade in September, and headman Pada Jutang subsequently lodged a police report in early October.
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