Sarawak Chief Minister Tan Sri Abdul Taib Mahmud said Penan communities in the state have greatly benefited from the generosity, cooperation and understanding of timber concessionaires in the state.

Penan watching ‘development’. Location: Silat, Ulu Baram, Sarawak. Feb 2003

“There was time when our private sector (timber concessionaires) had to feed the Penans for months on end even though they were stopping the logs from being taken out from the timber concession areas,” Taib said as reported in Borneo Post on Sunday.

Taib also said that it was not a common practice in the timber industry around the world to do such things.

“Only in Sarawak were there people (timber concessionaires) willing to look upon demonstrators humanely” added the Sarawak chief minister.

“Because of that there are reasons to forge partnership with the Penans and other communities in order to protect our forest.

“But we have to identify who our friends and enemies are and not to get their identities mix up,” said Taib who is also Sarawak Forestry Corporation chairman.