Murder in Malaysia’s Rainforest

Murdered Penan headman Kelesau Naan from Sarawak, Malaysia's rainforestsIt is with sadness that we note the making of another rainforest martyr [ark] — this time in Malaysia's rainforests — as missing Penan indigenous leader Kelesau Naan, headman of the Penan settlement of Long Kerong in the Upper Baram region of Sarawak, was found dead [more/ark | more2/ark2]. Kelesau fought to defend the Penan's rainforest home and heritage [search] for years and had been leading the recent rounds of protests and blockading of encroaching loggers. It is widely suspected he was murdered as he checked his traps.


Kelesau is a principal plaintiff in a landrights claim against the Sarawak State Government and the Malaysian timber giant Samling [search] by four Penan communities filed in 1998 and waiting for trial since. The Sarawak state government contends that the Penan do not have rights to the forest where their ancestors have lived for millennia because they have traditionally been hunters instead of cultivators. The Penan are the last nomad hunter-gatherers in Asia, surviving by hunting and harvesting jungle plants.
After a long history of devastating the Penan and their rainforests on the Island of Borneo, Malaysian timber companies that first operated in Sarawak [search] have expanded their operations over past decades to rainforests around the world. They have been widely condemned for rainforest destruction [search], indigenous rights violations [search] and rampant corruption [search]. Malaysian rainforest logging companies are perhaps the greatest threat to rainforests and their biodiversity, cultures, ecosystems and carbon on the Planet.
We join with leading Penan campaigners Bruno Manser Fonds in calling for an immediate end to violations of the Penan's human rights and for a full independent investigation into Kelesau's death. EcoInternet and its predecessors have been supporting the Penan's struggle for self-determination in their ancestral rainforests for nearly two decades, even after the struggle ceased to be a cause cél

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4 Responses

  1. SM Muthu says:

    Whatever in this World is GOD's GIFT; what happens, what we do is OUR/MAN's CHOICE.
    The GREED of MAN and the POWER of MONEY is limitless. If sane men cannot stand-up for and do what is right than we are all on the fast-train to doomsday.

  2. Bruno-Manser-Fonds says:

    Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear friends,
    We just receive the following worrying news from the Penan community of Long Data Bila in the East Malaysian State of Sarawak. According to a community report, Mr. Lee, a Samling official involved in a tree plantation project in the area threatened the Penan community of Long Data Bila because the community is opposed to Samling's activities. “If you people try to stop our plans, we will kill you”, the community quotes Mr. Lee as having said.
    Long Data Bila is a small settlement located near Long Benali in the Upper Baram region of Sarawak, inside an area claimed by the Penan before court in 1998. In the light of the recent mysterious death of the Penan headman of Long Kerong, one of the plaintiffs of this case, the Penan are taking Mr. Lee's threat extremely serious.
    BMF calls on the Samling corporation to immediately stop all kinds of intimidations and cease its logging and plantation activities in the contested areas.
    07 January 2008

  3. Regina Marino says:

    What a great lost to this tribe and for the rain forest. My heart goes out to them. We need more people like this man in this world. We don't appreciate the beauty of all living things around us. We need to keep up what he wanted before it is all lost to the world.

  4. Anne Bromley says:

    The most important things on this planet are the trees and the pure water, both of which we have gone a long way to destroying. Power to take by force, power to buy with money, is not a moral right. Money will be useless once the planet starts to self destruct. We are getting into dangerous imbalance now through exploitation. The Penan people are the only ones who should, and can, take care of this area of Malaysian Rainforest. They have been its guardians for centuries, it is their home. Keep the thieves and robber financial interests out of the Penan's rainforest home.
    signed
    Anne Bromley

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