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Taib Hopes Malaysian Envoys Will Help Correct False Perceptions About Sarawak
He said the state had always been a victim of malicious attacks, especially from NGOs, despite the fact Sarawak has been successfully managing forests quite well, while the welfare of the Penans were well looked after.
"Regarding forest issues, Sarawak has policies on forest reserves to make sure that 50 per cent of our forests cannot be 'touched', in fact 84 per cent of the state is still covered by forest.
"Although some of the forests we harvest, we did it in on a systematic basis. We only cut by size and make sure the forest is at least 50 years of age. In the same time, we replant back the forest," he said at the 8th Heads of Missions Conference dinner, here Thursday night.
The event is the last formal occasion for Taib as the chief minister of Sarawak.
Also present was Foreign Ministry deputy secretary-general Datuk Ramlan Ibrahim.
On the Penans, Taib said the Sarawak government never interfered or control the community in respect of their rights
"The truth about Penans, 5,000 of them still semi-nomadic, while less than 2,000 are fully nomads. As far as the state government is concerned, their basic equality as Malaysian citizens is still respected, but the Sarawak government has been accused of destroying nomadic culture," he said.
He also revealed that he had two adopted children from the Penans.
Taib said he hoped the misperceptions would be corrected by the Malaysian representatives overseas.
Ramlan in his speech promised that Malaysian ambassadors and high commissioners would help to provide correct information so that Sarawak is no longer viewed with suspicion by the international community.
news coverage in our Newswire service.
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