Malaysia, the country with the fastest rate of greenhouse gas emissions growth since 1990 among middle and upper income countries, will allow logging to proceed in a contested rainforest area in Sarawak, on the island of Borneo.
The government of Sarawak said it will not recognize the status of a rainforest “peace park” established last month by Penan tribesmen. The park was declared by the Penan as a means to draw attention to their complaints that logging companies continue to decimate their traditional lands. The peace park lies within a zone slated for logging.
Sarawak state forest director and Acting Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Planning and Resource Management, Len Talif Salleh said international media coverage of the peace park “tainted Sarawak’s image.” He claimed the Penan are being “instigated and manipulated by foreign non-governmental organizations” which displayed a “post-colonial mentality” and have “hidden” agendas.
Headman Jawa Nyipa (center) of Long Ajeng presents a map with the boundaries of the new ““Penan Peace Park”
“The establishment of Penan Peace Park announced by 17 Penan communities at Long Ajeng has no legal basis and is not recognized by the state government,” reported The Borneo Post* after a conversation with Len.
The peace park covers some 163,000 hectares of tropical forest in Sarawak’s Upper Baram region. The Penan had hoped the park could become a model for community-managed protected areas, according to the Bruno Manser Fund, an NGO that has been supporting the Penan’s efforts to fight logging in Sarawak.
* The Borneo Post is owned by the Malaysian KTS logging group, according to the the Bruno Manser Fund.
Proclamation of Penan Peace Park has no legal bearings: Len. The Borneo Post December 17th, 2009