The Ingenuous Peoples of Malaysia
In 2015, it was estimated that the indigenous peoples of Malaysia represented about 13.8% of the population of 31,660,700 million.
In Sarawak, indigenous peoples are collectively known as natives (Dayak and/or Orang Ulu) and account for 1,932,600 people, or 70.5% of the population of Sarawak. The Penan population however, is very small, at around 10,000. Unlike the other indigenous peoples of Sarawak, who grow most of their food, the Penan are hunter-gatherers until the post-World War II missionaries settled many of the them, mainly in the Ulu-Baram district.
The Penan are a reserved people, but extremely warm and hospitable, without prejudice and famous for their silent blowpipes and poison darts they use for hunting.
Though living condition is gradually improved for them, they still facing a fight for their survival. Logging, monoculture and deforestation is threatening the forest on which they depend. Although only around 200 of the tribe of hunter-gatherers remain nomadic, even those who have settled remain dependent on the forest.
Source : www.iwgia.org/en/malaysia
Penanlab.my, established in 2018 is an online Malaysian based purpose driven social enterprise that aim to brand and promote local craft products such as Penan bags; sourced and weaved from Penan ladies. Though all bags are finely handmade by our lady masterweavers, they embodied the personal sense, style and sensibility of ours. We would like to elevate the humble & modest status of Penan arts and products, make it more pop & current, and share our love for the bag with the rest of the world.
At the same time, we would like to create connection and greater social conscience among the public on the roles of the ingenious communities such as the Penan. They help to protect our environment, fight climate change, and build resilience to natural disasters, yet their rights aren't always protected.
While Indigenous Peoples own, occupy, or use a quarter of the world's surface area, they safeguard 80% of the world's remaining biodiversity*.
Source : World Bank, IFAD*