KUCHING, 21 Jan 2009: The police have never denied the Penans living in the remote areas of Sarawak their right to fair protection under the law, Criminal Investigation Department Director Datuk Mohd Bakri Mohd Zinin said today.
He said the police would investigate any report or case in a professional manner without regard for ethnic background and offenders could not escape legal action and punishment.
Five cases involving infringement of the fundamental rights of the Penans, including rape, had been solved since 1994, he told reporters after meeting 27 district criminal investigation division chiefs in Sarawak, here.
The five cases were among 11 reported to the police that involved the Penans living in Hulu Baram in Marudi district, he added.
The police in Sarawak had come under fire for not pursuing investigations into the alleged rape of Penan women and girls by loggers.
The matter came to light after a report by the Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) published on 17 Nov. The report questioned the integrity, competence and effectiveness of the police in dealing with matters affecting indigenous people.
This prompted the setting up of a Penan Task Force to look into the allegations. The task force completed their probe in December but as yet, no findings have been released. — Bernama