Monday, 10 November 2008

Swiss NGO denies IGP's claim

Swiss NGO denies IGP's claim Tony Thien Nov 8

Swiss-based NGO Bruno Manser Fund (BMF) has rebutted claims that it has refused to cooperate with the police, a claim made by the Inspector-General of Police Musa Hassan.

BMF, an environmental and human rights organisation, said that it was surprised that Musa had alleged that they were unwilling to cooperate and offer information about the alleged rape of Penan women by logging company workers.

This was reported in The Borneo Post on Nov 7 in a front-page report titled "Uncooperative NGO stalls investigation: IGP".

"BMF wishes to clarify that we have never been contacted by the Malaysian police on the issue," said BMF director Lukas Straumann.

"The Borneo Post quotes the IGP as saying that 'the NGO who brought up the issue in the first place does not want to give a statement to us now,' is incorrect and should be rectified," added Straumann.

Probe welcomed

According to his statement, Straumann said BMF has also sent a letter to The Borneo Post to clarify the matter.

Straumann stressed that the BMF had already welcomed the probe undertaken by the police, the Women Family and Community Development Ministry and the Malaysian Human Rights Commission (Suhakam).

"BMF has called for fair, independent and thorough probes and is willing to cooperate with the Malaysian authorities in order to bring about justice and help improve the victims' situation," he added.

Authorities immediately acted upon BMF's widely-publicised claims of sexual abuse and rape by logging company workers on the Penan women in September.

The Criminal Investigation Department in Bukit Aman has established a special task force to probe the issue.