Members of the Penan tribe, who live in the rainforests of the Malaysian state of Sarawak, have re-erected a road block in protest against logging activities by the Malaysian Samling corporation. This was reported by Penan sources today. The community action took place near Long Benali in the Upper Baram region of Sarawak one month after the Malaysian police cleared a near-by roadblock set up by villagers of the same community.
The Long Benali road block is situated at a strategic location because the community is the entry point to one of the last contiguous pristine rainforest areas of Sarawak. More than ninety percent of Sarawakª¾s rainforests have already been logged as a consequence of an environmentally destructive and short-sighted local government policy. Sarawakª¾s forestry policies are widely criticized for failing to live up to international sustainability standards.
The Samling Group, one of Malaysiaª¾s largest logging companies, has recently been listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange with support from Credit Suisse, HSBC and Macquarie Securities. The three banksª¾ services to Samling have drawn the criticism of 37 non-governmental organizations from 18 countries who called on investors and banks to shun Samling.
Credit Suisse denies that its leading role in the Samling listing is a breach of its Sustainability Policy. HSBC, whose forest sector guidelines exclude financial services to commercial logging operations in primary tropical rainforests, declined to answer specific questions raised in an NGO letter addressing the issue. Both banks are signatories to the Equator Principles, which establish social and environmental standards for project finance.