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Friday, December 2, 2016

Stop bullying us, Orang Asli tell Kelantan government

GUA MUSANG - Two representatives from the Orang Asli community in Gua Musang today urged the PAS-led state government to stop bullying them, saying that they are protesting only because their rights were being trampled on.

Ahud Duga, the Kampung Pos Tohoi village head told FMT that rampant logging activities in their lands have seen them lose 80 per cent of their food supply.

“Our source of food such as fruits and fish are affected by the logging. In fact, even our drinking water has become sandy,” he said, adding that villagers were forced to walk a long distance to collect water.

Ahud said the depleting number of trees in their jungles have forced the Orang Asli community to walk more than 30km to gather essential daily resources such as rotan.

He pointed out that the Orang Asli have been living in their lands for a long time, adding that it is now absurd to be labelled as “trespassers”.

“Why are we always being blamed? This is the fault of the logging companies.

“They (logging companies) get rich while we are living as destitutes. That’s why we are against them.”

The PAS-led state government had said that certain groups had instigated the Orang Asli community to go against the authorities.

However, the Orang Asli community told FMT most of them are protesting against the state government because they are fed-up of being “fooled”.

Another representative from the Kampung Pos Hau settlement, Ayap Uda, expressed similar sentiments, pleading that the state government acknowledge their land rights.

“Stop bullying and threatening us, we are not asking for the whole of Kelantan or Kuala Lumpur.
“We are demanding the state government acknowledge our rights,” he said.

“If our demands are met, we will respect the state government, otherwise we will have to keep protesting.

The Kelantan government recently issued a freeze order on logging activities in the Balah permanent forest reserve after 200 villagers formed a blockade to prevent lorries from transporting extracted timber out of the reserve.

But the Kelantan Forestry Department and the police removed the blockade on Tuesday before arresting 47 Orang Asli who were subsequently released.

By Faiz Zainudin

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