The fire in the tahfiz school last week, shocked us, as did the rape of the Penan girls in 2008.
Look at the response of the ministers and the public into the two crimes; then focus on the police investigation, and the treatment of the victims and their families, to see that peninsular Malaya, needs to do more for Sarawakians.
Santa Claus and Blood Money
We celebrated Malaysia Day yesterday. Najib Abdul Razak returned from Washington, after meeting the white supremacist, Donald Trump and was given a hero’s welcome.
One of the first things Najib did was to “donate” RM30 million for the tahfiz schools. Santa Claus has come early in peninsular Malaysia.
When the rape of the Penan girls was exposed in 2009, the girls had a hard time convincing the authorities they had been raped. The police disbelieved them as did the Sarawak government.
Malaysia Day means nothing if our Sarawak cousins cannot have a proper investigation when crimes are committed, and must fight hard to be heard and believed.
Did the girls who were raped and became mothers, receive any financial compensation from the timber companies, or financial help from the government, to bring up their families? The girls were underage and were forced to leave school, to care for their children. Their families were already living in poverty.
Two days after the tahfiz school fire, the police managed to arrest the 7 culprits who had torched the hostel, extract a confession and told us that the “case is closed.” All done and dusted in two days. Syabas.
Contrast how it was almost impossible to get the police and the Sarawak state authorities to conduct an investigation into the rape of the Penan girls?
It was difficult to act, because the timber barons are good pals of the erstwhile Chief Minister, Taib Mahmud. It did not help when the Dayak minister, said the Penans were good storytellers. Another Sarawakian insulting his own people.
Till today, the Penan girls have not received any justice. Sarawakians may wish to remind Najib about this. It is never too late for justice to be served.
Counselling for victims and families
The Women, Family and Community Development Minister, Rohani Abdul Karim said that her ministry is providing counselling services to family members and victims of the fire at the tahfiz school, because “all the fire victims were still traumatised following the heart-breaking incident”.
She said, “In our commitment to assist victims and family members, the government is extending counselling services and presently they are in need of support and help from everyone.
“I have also instructed the counsellors to attend to them not only in the hospital but to be with them when they return home.
“Today I got to meet all the victims except for the two in the Pediatric ICU. They are still in a state of trauma.
“When I asked the victims to recount the incident, some of them refused to talk while others cried in recalling the horrific moment and had to be consoled by their mothers.”
Did her ministry offer counselling or financial assistance to the Penan rape victims? The victims and their parents are also traumatised, endure social stigma and rejection by the community. Many spiral into depression.
Why the selective treatment?
Sadly, Rohani is Sarawakian and has betrayed her fellow Sarawakians.