Malaysia’s Penan tribe resist logging firms

Armed with spears and blowpipes, hundreds of indigenous tribesmen in the jungles of Borneo island have mounted a last-ditch attempt to try to save their land from logging.

Al Jazeera’s Divya Gopalan reports from Sarawak on the Penan, some of whom still live as nomadic hunter-gatherers in the rainforests of this Malaysian province.

They have been battling loggers since the 1980s, when large-scale industrial logging commenced in the Malaysian state. At times the Penan have faced intimidation and violent crackdowns at the hands of security forces hired by logging firms and Malaysian police.

Meanwhile, vast tracts of Sarawak’s rainforest has been stripped of its valuable timber. Now forestry firms are eyeing forest lands for conversion to oil palm plantations, which will likely leave the Penan even worse off since these estates support less game than even logged-over forest.

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