Miri police probed four foreign journalists after four Sarawak timber companies lodged separate police reports against them for reporting Penan blockades in upper Baram.
Marudi police chief Deputy Superintendent of Police Jonathan Jalin confirmed they had taken personal details of the four foreigners. He also said they were not arrested despite rumors spread in Miri of their arrested over the blockades.
The four were two Australians, a Pakistani and a British passport holder were covering blockades by Penan at Apoh-Tutoh area in Baram.
According to Jalin, they “won’t tell us which organisation they were from”.
The executive director of local non-governmental organisation Borneo Resources Institute Malaysia (Brimas), Mark Bujang, identified the four as journalist from Agence France Presse in a press statement on Saturday.
The Borneo Post, a local daily owned by KTS group, one of the four timber companies lodging the police report, in a front-page report on Saturday, labeled them as foreign NGOs who were instigating the Penans to erect blockades at Long Nen and Long Bangan.
It ran the headline “Foreign hands in blockades” with a subhead that read: “Foreigners caught on camera mingling with and instigating Penans at Long Nen and Long Bangan blockades.”
Brimas director, Bujang said the blockades at Long Nen and Long Bangan were erected because the Penans there were “not happy with Pusaka-KTS Forest Plantation Sdn Bhd for establishing an acacia and eucalyptus plantation within their native customary rights (NCR) land”.
He said at least 20 villages in the Apoh and Tutoh areas of Baram were affected by the PKTS plantation. PKTS is a joint venture company between the Sarawak Timber Industries Development Corporation, whose acronym in Malay is Pusaka, and KTS Holdings Sdn Bhd.