FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: 4 October 2009
The denial of rape allegations by a Penan woman made headlines in the Borneo Post on 29th September which has a photo of an unidentified woman with her eyes blocked out and captioned “What? Me a Rape Victim?”
One of the Penan woman, known by a pseudonym “Bibi” in the national task force report on rape, retract her statement made in Bukit Aman, that she was raped by the rapist called “Johnny” or (locally known as Ah Heng, according to Penan villagers) a mechanic in an Interhill timber camp near Long Item.
"Bibi" lodged a police report at a police station in Long Lama, Sarawak, accompanied by “Johnny“, supposedly the perpetrator of the crime.
Then two days later, the Sarawak Deputy Commissioner of Police Hamza Taib announced on 1st October that the police will question four people, who helped “Bibi” to get out of her village to travel to Kuala Lumpur to seek help from the Women NGOs and Bukit Aman police, last October.
Had the Sarawak Deputy Commissioner of Police Hamza Taib ever ask himself why the Penan woman only came forward to retract the statement after a year later and after the allegations of rape is proven true in the Taskforce Report by the Women's Ministry ?
And why is the Sarawak Police going after the whistle blowers? We are not going to teach the police what to do but it is the job of the police to go after the criminals and ensure security and safety of the people.
And what are the grounds for Hamza Taib to conclude that the police report, made by “Bibi” in Long Lama on September 28, was genuine? It was reported that at the Long Lama police station, the 22 year old woman claimed she had been “conned” by an unnamed Penan man, into going to Kuala Lumpur to make a report of rape against her so-called husband, “Johnny” or Ah Heng, a mechanic in an Interhill timber camp near Long Item. Yet, there is no doubt that Ah Heng is not “Bibi”’s husband at all. “Bibi” is just one of his women.
Bukit Aman has recorded numerous statements from “Bibi” and she was even interviewed by Dr Noorul Ainur Mohd Nur, the Director-General of the Women’s Development Department, who headed the Women’s Ministry task force.
If indeed Bibi had been duped to go to KL by an unknown Penan man at her longhouse, why these queries never surfaced in the series of interviews conducted by Bukit Aman D11 officers and Dr Noorul Ainur Mohd Nur’s taskforce team?
Is the Sarawak police challenging the efficiency and credibility of Bukit Aman and Women’s Ministry task force, which in fact also comprises of staff from PDRM?
One of my colleagues also has personally interviewed “Bibi” and “Bibi” confessed that she was “paksa” (forced) into having sex and carried the baby. After delivery of the first daughter, she was raped again and given birth to the second baby. And “Bibi” said, Ah Heng warned her not put his name as the father of the children.
So the birth certificates of both the babies do not show the father’s name!
We are worried that the Penan woman “Bibi“ is under another vicious cycle of mental, sexual and emotional abuse by the perpetrator, Ah Heng and his interested parties.
We cannot help to conclude that “Bibi”'s case falls within the range of the different types of sexual exploitation or exploitative relationships that girls and women might find themselves caught in. “Bibi” may have been coerced and put under duress into retracting her confession about the rape. “Bibi” is an ignorant lady and never went to school. She never know the consequences of making a false police report and she is to face charges now because of her inconsistencies of her report at Bukit Aman and Long Lama. We have to stop violence against women.
We call for the Sarawak Police to investigate into the allegations with care and diligent and call for investigations into the perpetrator, Ah Heng, instead of going after the whistle blowers.
Justice must be seen to be done as soon as possible.
Member of Parliament for Ampang
KEADILAN Women's Wing Chief