Sharizat on Penan investigation: “We’ll look into it”

From the Nut Graph HERE:

KUALA LUMPUR, 18 June 2009: The government is still unwilling to commit to making public the Penan task force report.

Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil continued to be noncommittal when she was asked about the findings of a task force that was set up to investigate reports of sexual violations against Penan girls and women.

We will look into it,” Shahrizat said, when quizzed during a press conference in Parliament today.

After such a long time, the answer is still “We will look into it”?

To refresh the memory. What happened was that there were allegations that the Penan women and children were being raped by loggers from the logging companies nearby. Apparently, some of these incidents happened when the loggers were supposed to be transporting the young girls to school, but instead brought them some place else and raped them. This has caused much distress and even a few pregnancies.

Those were the allegations.

Then came the denials. Some people (read: politicians) said that there were people out to smear the good name of the state of Sarawak. They said that there was no proof, no evidence, and so none of this ever happened. They said that the Penan community never complained about any of this ever happening, and so couldn’t possibly have happened.

The investigation was carried out some time after public pressure became a little too much for the Ministry to sit and do nothing. The investigation concluded, and the report sent to the Ministry in December.

Asking what has happened from then till now is more like asking what has NOT happened.

There is something not right here. Why is the Ministry so unwilling to expose the findings of the investigation? To whose benefit is it to keep the findings secret?



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