A Penan hunter named Aking Anung from Long Keneng was yesterday attacked with bush knife by a timber company official employed by a sub-contractor of the Malaysian Lee Ling timber group. The incident took place at a newly erected timber road blockade near a timber camp at Long Sebayang in Sarawak's Upper Limbang region.
The blockade had been set up jointly by Penan, Lun Bawang and Tabun natives in an attempt to prevent their land from being re-logged and converted into plantations by Lee Ling and its subcontractors.
Instead of investigating a reported incident of violence against a Penan man by a timber company official, the police officers instructed the natives (Penan, Lun Bawang, Tabun) to dismantle their blockades. After the police left, the timber company manager hit one of the blockade supporters, and announced he would bring in "more gangsters to the blockade site".
"Our communities need support and we ask you to spread this news worldwide", a community spokesman said. The Bruno Manser Fund asked the Lee Ling Group to stop its violence immediately and to respect the native communities' customary rights in the Upper Limbang region.
Lee Ling Timber and the plantation company, Limba Jaya Timber, form part of the Lee Ling Group, which has its headquarters in Kuching, the state capital of Sarawak. The group is owned by the Tiang family and has been partly incorporated in Quality Concrete Sdn Bhd., which is listed on the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange. Quality Concrete is linked to the family of Sarawak Chief Minister Taib Mahmud. One of Taib's sisters, Raziah Mahmud, is a member of the company's Board of Directors.