Call to release Penan task force report

Women’s and indigenous peoples’ advocacy groups are urging new Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil to release the findings of the 2008 Penan task force.

The task force was commissioned by the ministry under former minister Datuk Seri Dr Ng Yen Yen in October 2008. It was dispatched to investigate claims that young Penan girls and women have been sexually abused by logging company employees. The claims caused widespread public outcry. However, the task force’s report has not been made public even though it has been five months since the task force completed its investigations.

“We remain confident that the new minister will prioritise the findings of this report,” Women’s Aid Organisation (WAO) executive director Ivy Josiah told The Nut Graph.

Josiah, who was part of the task force, stressed that WAO was concerned that the report’s findings have yet to be made known.

“So long as the report is not shared with the public, the Penan community continues to become more vulnerable,” she said.

“By withholding the report, the government may be guilty of neglecting the community.”

Women’s Centre for Change (WCC) programme director Prema Devaraj, who was also part of the task force, said the release of the findings would help ensure the well-being of Penan women and children.

“The investigations took place and a report has been produced. The government now has a responsibility to disclose the findings to the public,” she stressed.

“The public have a right to know the outcome of the investigation, and what the government plans to do with regards to the information in the report.”

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See: Task Force To Probe Allegations Of Sexual Abuse Of Penan Women


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