Honored chieftain allegedly murdered in Borneo for his opposition to logging
Jeremy Hance, mongabay.com
January 3, 2008
Keleasu Naan had been one of the key figures in the Penan community's fight against logging. He was also a plaintiff and witness in a land rights claim that has been awaiting trial since 1998.
Logging in Borneo has been rampant since the 1980's. In 2005 just over 50% of Borneo's forest remained. More recently palm oil plantations have increased pressure on the forests. Naan's Penan community had managed to keep logging out of what the villagers claim is their ancestral land, but they now believe that several timber companies plan to resume logging. Aboriginal peoples of the Malaysia's Sarawek region, the Penans number around 10,000. They currently live in settlements, but have not completely abandoned their traditional nomadic ways. They subsist off small gardens, hunting, and gathering. Since so much of the Penan's resources come from the forest, its disappearance may mark their own.