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Malaysia's indigenous people seek to protect forests

Borneo's Penan say enough is enough as logging activities threaten their way of life

UCA News reporter, Kuala Lumpur

UCA News reporter, Kuala Lumpur

Published: November 03, 2020 07:39 AM GMT

Updated: November 03, 2020 07:40 AM GMT

Malaysia's indigenous people seek to protect forests

Orangutans are under threat in Borneo because of deforestation. (Photo: Sarawak Tourism Board)

Indigenous people on the island of Borneo are up in arms over continued deforestation that has left their once lush environment a mere shadow of its former self.

Intensive forest clearing has caused an ecological disaster in the Malaysian state of Sarawak where both numerous critically endangered species and indigenous ways of life are at risk of disappearing for good unless all large-scale deforestation ceases in already badly fragmented and much-thinned forests.

“[Further] logging will destroy our forests,” Komeok Joe, a leader of an indigenous semi-nomadic ethnic group known as the Penan, has warned in an interview with Al Jazeera.

“It will destroy our rivers and medicines and prevent us from satisfying all of our needs in the forests on which we depend for our lives. We Penan communities reject any logging activities in our Baram territory,” he added.

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