Indigenous communities depend on food from their farms to supplement during the MCO Picture: SAM
Media statement 2 April 2020
SAM has been receiving reports from indigenous communities in interior Sarawak, which describe how the movement control order (MCO) has affected them. The communities are currently anxious over the dwindling supply of essential food items, daily necessities and cash, and their inability to access medical, banking and other essential services and sell their produce in the nearest rural towns.
As a result of the decline in soil fertility and the proliferation of pests brought about by logging and plantation operations, in the last 30 years, many Sarawak indigenous families had been forced to abandon the cultivation of hill rice. For such families, rice is now purchased in the nearest town, along with other food items such as cooking oil, seasoning herbs and spices, sauces, sugar, salt, infant formula, flour, coffee and tea as well as daily necessities such as fuel and personal care and cleaning products. Fortunately, they are still able to depend on their farms and rivers to provide them with vegetables, fruits and fish, proving to us how a diversified agricultural strategy is instrumental for food security.Read more
Press Statment 9 August 2019
In conjunction with the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) wishes to repeat our request to the federal government to conduct ground visits in order to understand in detail how monoculture plantations in Sarawak have caused deforestation and the violations of the native customary rights (NCR). We first put this request forward during the launching of our publication, The Land We Lost – Native customary rights and monoculture plantations in Sarawak, on July 21.
This publication stresses on how we must understand the context of large monoculture plantations in Sarawak accurately. First, they involve deforestation. Second, they are a post-logging development, a result of the depletion in timber resources, caused by indiscriminate logging conducted for more than two decades. Third, they involve NCR violations. Fourth, the excessive size of the plantations does matter, along with the manner and context in which the projects are developed, typically by corporations. As such, we continue to be supportive towards any effort to protect the interests of smallholders all over the country. Fifth, the Licence for Planted Forests (LPF) under the jurisdiction of the Sarawak Forests Department, of which 285,520 hectares are under oil palm cultivation, in principle, is the permit for the cultivation of pulp and paper and timber trees. In 2017, the size of LPF areas stood at 2.8 million hectares, larger than the size of oil palm cultivation in Sarawak, which according to the data from the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB), stood at 1.5 million hectares.Read more
International Day of World’s Indigenous Peoples 2018: Transparency on oil palm plantation project for Iban communities in Marudi
Indigenous peoples in Marudi, Sarawak against the Konsep Baru (New Concept), an oil palm plantation development project. Picture: SAM
Press Statement 09 August 2018
In conjunction with the International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples today, Sahabat Alam Malaysia (SAM) wishes to express our concern on the proposal to develop an oil palm plantation project in Marudi, Baram, which will affect the native customary rights (NCR) of at least 20 Iban villages. The affected customary territories not only include some forested areas, they also contain numerous productive smallholding farms, which are important sources of income and food for the communities.Read more
Now more than ever we stand in solidarity with indigenous communities in their historic struggle: statement from Friends of the Earth Asia Pacific. Today on International Day of the World’s Indigenous People, Friends of the Earth Asia Pacific (FoE APAC) groups from 12 countries are celebrating the stories of the indigenous communities.
Globally, there are an estimated 370 million indigenous peoples, the majority of whom are living in the Asia Pacific region. UN figures indicate that they make up less than 5% of the global population and are considered to belong to the poorest 15%.
For hundreds of years, indigenous communities have struggled for the recognition of indigenous rights and the protection of their lives, culture and territories. These collective struggles have resulted in the adoption of the UN Declaration of the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP) which was adopted by the UN General Assembly in September 2007. Although awareness of indigenous people’s rights and struggles has increased, the struggle for genuine recognition especially on the rights to self-determination, including collective rights to land, resources and territories are still wanting and need to be realized.Read more
Malaysiakini June 21, 2016
Clean Malaysia May 07, 2016
Indigenous Penan communities in Sarawak are mad at the continued destruction of their ancestral forests and they won’t be taking it any more. The Penans, who have traditionally been semi-nomadic forest-dwellers, want all logging stopped in the remote Upper Baram region of Sarawak and the area declared a protected national park.
James Lalo Keso, a former penghulu (paramount chief) in the community of Long Lamai, has sent a poetically poignant letter to the state’s Chief Minister Adenan Satem, urging him to impose a moratorium on all logging. Click to read
Borneo Post Online May 06, 2016
KUCHING: The Penan communities in upper Baram are requesting for a moratorium on the logging activities in their area and for the government to convert it into a National Park to sustain their livelihood.
According to a former Penan penghulu of Long Lamai James Lalo Keso, they were in fact pleased with the government’s interest in the realisation of a park in their area. Click to read
Borneo Post Online April 21, 2016
BELAGA: The natives from upper Balui area who were relocated to Sg Asap to make way for the Bakun dam will be allowed to carry out cultivation activities at their ancestral lands located one km from the dam.
The good news was revealed by Land Development Minister Tan Sri Datuk Amar Dr James Masing, who believed they had rights to the land. Click to read
August 20, 2013
An aluminium smelter plant owned by Press Metal Bhd began operations in 2013 in Similajau, Sarawak. Indigenous communities living near the plant have alleged that since the factory began, they have been falling ill and that their produce have reduced. Peoples' Documentary has the story. Click to watch
In the news today (Malaysiakini, May 22, 2013), indigenous communities from various longhouses both affected by existing dams and would be affected by future planned dams protest at the International Hydropower Association World Congress currently going on in Kuching, Sarawak. Click to read