Projects help Penans improve their living

Source: http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=/2006/4/10/southneast/13790785&sec=southneast

Monday April 10, 2006

Projects help Penans improve their living

MIRI: The Penans in interior northern Sarawak have recorded a marked improvement in their living standards following their willingness to implement a village security and health development project initiated by local authorities.

Marudi district officer James Chas said the quality of life of these once-nomadic natives had improved by leaps and bounds compared to previous years because the project had been successfully integrated as part of their daily lifestyle.

The conditions of the Penans have improved more than that of some of Ibans living near urban centres.

The Penans in each settlement have formed committees to oversee the implementation of projects recommended by the local councils.

Every community chief has the right to form a committee if he registers it with the council. We provide grants of RM500 for them to start activities, he said during a talk at a village near Marudi town, 250km from here.

Chas said it was good to see Penans accepting new ideas and projects outlined by state authorities for their benefit.

He, however, noted that there were some interior communities that continued to shy away from the projects to retain their old lifestyles.