Sarawak daily accused foreign environmentalists or conservationists of instigating the Penans to erect blockades and disrupt logging actitivities in upper Baram areas recently.
“It’s confirmed! Foreigners are behind many of the blockades set up by Penans in timber camps in the state,” Borneo Post front page news report said, on Saturday.
The daily said they spotted four foreigners, (two were women) seen among the Penans manning a blockade in upper Baram on Friday.
“It has long been suspected that many foreign environmentalists and socalled conservationists had been instigating and encouraging the natives to erect blockades and disrupt logging activities, though they had always denied their involvement”.
The state daily identified the foreigners involved as one from Australia, Indian and two Dutch women. They were seen at an access road at Long Bangan and Long Nen in upper Baram, orchestrating the protesters with signboards for pictures to be taken.
However Long Bangan Penan headman Unga Paren denied any foreigners involvement in the blockades and insisted they were their works.
Unga said those foreigners seen in Long Bangan were tourists who were curious of what’s happening and that they left after a few minutes.
“The blockade can only be removed after all the demands have been met,” said Unga. “The villagers protested in a peaceful manner.”
Unga said the locals resorted to setting up the blockades because of the rapidly disappearing games, jungle produce caused by logging activities and state government failure approve a Penan ‘forest reserve’.