Sarawak Energy’s Sponsorship Of Innaugural‘Pesta Penan Murum’ Carnival Delights The Penan Community

Murum, 12 December 2012 – In line with Sarawak Energy’s on-going efforts to engage with the indigenous people of Sarawak, the State’s energy provider recently organised and sponsored the inaugural ‘Pesta Penan Murum’. The unique two-day sports carnival in the remote Long Singu village in Murum  was created as a way to unite people and share cultures while enjoying the healthy benefits of sports and games. The carnival was graced with the presence of Y.B. Datuk John Sikie Anak Tayai, Assistant Minister of Penan Affairs & Rural Local Government and Y.B. Liwan Lagang, Assistant Minister of Culture & Heritage and all Penan headmen.The carnival, which was set up together with the Penans from Long Singu, was well received by the community, with more than 1000 Penans turning out. The invitation to the carnival was also extended to other surrounding communities within the vicinity, namely Punan, Kejaman, Sekapan and Tanjong.

The local communities enjoyed a full programme of activities including football, tug of war, karaoke and beauty pageant contests. The karaoke contest, in particular, received an overwhelming response and had to run until 3am in the morning. The carnival also combined several traditional Penan games in an effort to promote the culture. Bit Surang, Resettlement officer for Murum and Chief Organiser of the carnival said: “We have taken into consideration several traditional Penan games. Activities such as Sumpit (blow dart), Payu (wrestling), Payu Usu (arm wrestling) and Ngajat (traditional dance) were among the ones organised.”“It is heartwarming to see the enthusiasm and excitement of the Penan community in the carnival.  We are already working on organising such event again next year at their new resettled area.”

“The new area will provide the community with clean water, better electricity, church, community hall and various other basic facilities. This will definitely help improve the community’s overall quality of life,” added Bit Surang, Resettlement officer for Murum and Chief Organiser of the carnival.

“We are glad that we have given the Penans a joyful event. We started out by asking ourselves how this event will benefit the Penan people and we thought that the most important thing for them was to bring them all together and open up their mind to the world. The sports carnival showed and educated the people on how they can all work together and successfully organise an event,” explained Bit.Headman Long Luar Madai Salo unreservedly supported the event, noting that the event was crucial in bringing development to the Penan people:

“This carnival is the first of its kind and represents a new beginning to all of us. I’m truly delighted about this as this symoblises as an advancement to the Penan people. Good job and thanks to the Government and Sarawak Energy for organising such an event and hope that this will be planned every year”.

This Pesta Penan Murum is only the latest example of numerous engagements and community gatherings that have been organized over the years and reflects exactly how well the company is received among the local population.  The reality of the situation contrasts starkly with the baseless allegations made by radical foreign activists who falsely claim a lack of engagement.

Sarawak Energy employs a number of local ambassadors to help them connect with, understand and serve better the needs of the indigenous people. Only through such exhaustive efforts can mutually beneficial action proceed. It is the State government’s and Sarawak Energy’s vision that everyone who wants it, have access to clean power, enhanced education, healthier amenities and a better quality of life.