What Rainforest?

KTS : Recipient Of The First Annual What Rainforest Golden Bastard Award
August 27, 2008, 4:29 pm
Filed under: Indigenous People, Logging, Media Reports, Oil Palm

We at What Rainforest? would at all times, try our level best to maintain our tact and decorum. However, sometimes, some timber companies do not deserve such treatment; not when they have the heart to insult the very people who very much deserves their appreciation.

Hence, for the noble act of offering two packs of salts to the Punan people of Ulu Tatau, we would like to award KTS What Rainforest?’s First Annual Golden Bastard Award.

We thank the Star for exposing this atrocity. However, we deplore the fact that the Star (we believe that it was not the reporter’s intention) attempted to protect KTS by not revealing the company’s name. Thanks to reliable sources, We proudly bring you this little piece of information.

Below are 3 articles picked up from the Star in regards to the matter.

Homeless Fire Victims See Timber Giant’s Aid As Insult
by Stephen Then, August 26 2008

MIRI: The 600 Punans who were made homeless when a fire razed their longhouse in Ulu Tatau, central Sarawak, said they felt hurt, insulted and humiliated when a timber giant gave them aid in the form of packets of salt.

The hungry and tired victims from Rumah Ado, located five hours by timber road from Bintulu, had been appealing for help from the Government and some timber companies operating in the Tatau district after the fire on Thursday.

Yesterday, the manager of a private logging consortium, which has its headquarters in Sarawak but with several overseas projects, handed the fire victims two packets of salt each.

Punan leader Penghulu Sanok Magai received the salt at the fire site in front of hundreds of victims.

However, the Punan National Association is fuming mad and its publicity chief Calvin Jemarang described the act as cruel and heartless.

“Why must this timber company insult the fire victims like this? If it is reluctant to give any aid, then do not give anything,” he said.

“These victims are homeless, have little food and drink and their future is uncertain, and yet this timber company humiliated them like this.”

Relief aid has been slow in arriving. The Bintulu Welfare Department has been sending rice, clothing and noodles in limited amounts because of logistic problems.

Jemarang appealed to politicians and private firms to give more aid.

Salt Is All They Give After ‘Milking’ Land
by Stephen Then, 27 August 2008

MIRI: The timber giant that rubbed salt into the wounds of the 600-plus Rumah Ado fire victims in Ulu Tatau in central Sarawak has logging concessions and oil palm projects in the state encompassing nearly 100,000ha – about 1.5 times the size of Singapore island.

This private consortium is involved in projects such as timber extraction, construction, agriculture plantations, engineering and heavy industries.

Two days ago, a manager of this consortium gave two packets of salt to each of the Punan natives of Rumah Ado, who lost their homes during a fire last Thursday after the residents appealed to the timber giant for relief.

The Punan National Association labelled this gesture as inhumane, with association publicity chief Calvin Jemarang condemning the act as insulting and humiliating to the fire victims.

Yesterday, The Star received a call from a church worker in Belaga district near Bakun, complaining that this same company had refused to give a single sen to some 300 fire victims from his longhouse that was gutted a few years ago.

“They have a logging camp not far from our longhouse. The management refused to help. Some labourers at the camp gave us rice and clothing out of pity, but the management simply refused to give anything,” said the church worker.

Sources from a government department in Bintulu yesterday disclosed that this company had secured almost 100,000ha of land development projects.

In the meantime, two other timber giants – Samling Corporation and Grand Perfect – have ferried construction materials and rice to help the fire victims, while the Red Crescent and the Lions Club in Bintulu have chipped in with material aid, food and medicine.

Sarawak MP Slams Salt Aid For Punans As ‘Tasteless Act’
by Sim Leoi Leoi, August 27 2008

KUALA LUMPUR: The matter of 600 homeless Punans receiving packets of salt as food aid from a timber company has irked Sarawak MPs.

Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Peter Chin Fah Kui, who is also MP for Miri, said the gesture of giving the salt was “very disrespectful – to the extent of being arrogant.”

“I have directed the Malaysian Timber

Industry Board to contact the Sarawak Forestry Board to find out, which company is involved.

“This is so that I will be able to know for certain what is going on. But from what I read from a newspaper report, such aid sounds very artificial on the part of the timber company,” he said in an interview at the Parliament lobby here yesterday.

Chin was responding to a report that the Punans, victims of a fire which razed their longhouses in Ulu Tatau, central Sarawak, last Thursday, had received packets of salt after appealing for help from the Government and some timber companies operating within the district.

Chin said such a gesture from the timber company was “very unusual.”

“I want to look into the issue very closely. Why should aid be given in this manner? What do the packets of salt symbolise?” he asked.

Backbenchers’ Club chairman Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing, who is also Bintulu MP said the timber company involved had benefited from the Government’s concession of logging rights.

“It’s only right that they help the fire victims in their area by giving them food aid in their time of need and difficulty.

“It’s part of their social obligation,” he pointed out.

Tiong said by giving the victims packets of salt, the company showed that it had “no humanitarian side” at all.


2 Comments so far
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The local press on Saturday carried a story with the Penghulu saying that he never said those things and it was all a lie. He was accompanied by representatives from KTS (so named in the report). So there are two things: either that the Star practices very bad journalism or it demonstrates the hold that loggers have over local representatives of the community, in which case you can see why the issues are so complicated vis a vis logging.

Comment by Jen

Thanks to you

Comment by NewssyLee

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