Malaysiakini News

Barbarians on their lands

S Thayaparan  |  Published:  |  Modified:

"They change their stories, and when they feel like it. That's why I say Penan are very good storytellers." - James Masing, Sarawak cabinet minister for land use (BBC Today, Dec 7, 2009)

COMMENT With all due contempt, James Masing has got it wrong. The good storytellers, the self-confessed storytellers, are the propaganda arms of Umno.

Specifically with regards to the Penans whose women have seen their allegations of rape (which have turned out to be true) mocked by their Umno allied custodians, and who have had to suffer the added indignity of concocted "incest" stories by Metro Ahad, which later admitted that the stories were false .

I suppose if you can't inform your readership of the plight of an indigenous group (a bumiputera group, lest we forget) to get interlopers off their lands and people, then the next best thing is getting your readers off. As they say, journalism is a sleazy business.

NONE Former The Star journalist Hilary Chiew's outstanding work (and one of the few instances of journalism in Malaysia) on the incidents of rape among the Penans (and governmental indifference, which is criminal or if not borders on the criminal in my opinion) has been completely obliterated by the out-of-court settlement with the Sampling Group, which was implicated in her articles...

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