KUCHING: A Sarawak assemblyman has described plans for a Penan radio service in Ulu Baram as “unfair” to the other ethnic communities in the state.
Telang Usan assemblyman Dennis Ngau said he agreed with PKR Baram’s decision to set up a radio service for the Penan community.
But they should also consider doing so for other native groups, said Ngau, who is a member of the ruling Gabungan Parti Sarawak.
“I would like to request radio stations for the Kelabit, Saban, Berawen, La Kiput, Punan and all the other 30 ethnic groups all over Sarawak. It’s not fair to the others if only the Penan is to be given a radio service,” he told FMT.
On Thursday, PKR Baram branch chairman Roland Engan said branch members were holding discussion with the communications and multimedia ministry, Radio Televisyen Malaysia and others about setting up the service.
Engan said besides education, communication is the most important tool for any community, especially among the Penan, to progress and develop.
Ngau said he also refused to explain further about his advice that the Penan community should embrace change instead of fully depending on the jungle.
He said PKR Baram should not pretend that they know the kind of life that the Penan in Ulu Baram lead in depending on the forest. It is not the “Garden of Eden”, he said.
Engan had earlier criticised Ngau as failing to understand the Penans’ dependence on the jungle as their way of life. “He cannot just ask them to sacrifice their way of life for the sake of embracing change,” Engan said.