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Action Alert: Stop Malaysian Samling Group - Global Leaders in Rainforest Destruction

Destroyer of ancient rainforests and indigenous livelihoods from Malaysia to Guyana now a publicly listed company that along with its financiers is facing renewed international protest

By Forests.org, a project of EcoInternet - April 18, 2007

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Additional Background

Indigenous people living in tropical rainforests in Malaysia and Guyana are stepping up the global campaign against the Samling group, one of Malaysia's leading timber companies, and gravest threat to rainforests and their inhabitants worldwide. The Samling Group holds 1.6 million hectares of tropical rainforest concessions in Guyana and 1.4 million hectares in the Malaysian state of Sarawak. On the recent occasion of its public listing at the Hong Kong stock exchange, 37 organizations from 18 countries asked investors and banks to shun the company for its failure to comply with basic environmental and social standards. Samling and the Malaysian government are leaders in the destruction of he Earth's rainforests and must be stopped.

In Malaysia, nomadic and semi-nomadic Penan communities living on the Limbang river in the North of the state of Sarawak have launched an appeal to the international public urging Credit Suisse, HSBC and Macquarie Securities, the three banks who have sponsored Samling´s recent public listing, to stop supporting the timber giant. "Samling is destroying our last remaining rainforest in the Upper Limbang", headman Awing Tubai said on behalf of the Penan communities. "We need clean water for drinking and fishing and intact forests where we can gather our food and other forest products."

Meanwhile, other Penan communities from the Upper Baram region of Sarawak report renewed police action on their native lands. Officers of the Sarawak Forestry Corporation and a special police force unit removed a long-standing Penan logging road blockade near Long Benali, a community located at a strategic entry point to one of Sarawak’s last contiguous primary rainforest areas. Timber company workers of Samling were present at the site, as the Malaysian government and police did their bidding to open new rainforests to industrial logging. The police action took place in an area "certified" by the Malaysian Timber Certification Council.

In the South American state of Guyana, the Akawini Amerindian Village has asked the Government to help end an agreement with a Samling-subsidiary. Their council has said that the villagers were threatened with court action unless they signed an agreement allowing logging on their lands by Guyanese Samling subsidiary Barama Co. Ltd. "As soon as the agreement was signed we saw heavy duty machinery such as bulldozers, logging trucks and excavators come onto our village lands." The Amerindians fear the destruction and loss of their forest resources through the Samling subsidiary's activities that they were coerced into approving. Barama's Forest Stewardship Council certification partially paid for by WWF on 570,000 hectares of tropical forest was suspended because of such landowner swindles in the Northwest Region of Guyana, further making a mockery of "certification" of sustainable ancient rainforest logging.

Please send the email below targeting the banks funding Samling; Credit Suisse, HSBC and Macquaries Securities Ltd., asking them for a public statement to withdraw their support to Samling and refund of IPO profits. Let these rainforest destroying banks, Malaysian tourism and business, and Malaysian government know that globally all remaining large and intact rainforests must be permanently protected from industrial development; and they can expect boycotts and further protests should the barbarous Malaysian industrial timber industry not be disbanded.

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Hornbill from Malaysian rainforests
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