Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Reported by Kuek Ser Kuang Teng

The struggle to safeguard ancestral lands of indigenous people in the country hit a new height in the Gua Musang area of Kelantan today.

Some 300 orang asli from the Temiar community put up two blockades, the first of their kind in the peninsula, to stop logging activities on their land.

The blockades, made with wood and bamboo, were set up at the main roads into Kampung Parit and Kampung Lambok from 7am today.

Loggers, trespassers and personnel connected with the Ladang Rakyat (People's Estates) land development project were prevented from entering the many orang asli villages in the locality.

 According to a representative of the Kelantan Orang Asli Network, Azmi Badul, 31 orang asli villages took part in the setting up the blockades.

"The blockades will continue until the state government makes a satisfying decision on our demands," Azmi said when contacted today.

The blockades only attracted a few policemen who came to monitor the situation, but did not interfere.
The Ladang Rakyat project, initiated by the PAS-ruled state government, has angered the orang asli of the Gua Musang area, who claim that their ancestral land was being grabbed by the state and given to logging companies.

All earlier efforts of orang asli have been in vain. Various efforts have been carried out by the orang asli community to safeguard their land parcels, including demonstrations, presenting memoranda to the state authorities and legal action, but all have been in vain.

Centre for Orang Asli Concerns coordinator Colin Nicholas and Peninsular Malaysia Orang Asli Association's Jenita Engi, who are assisting the orang asli community at the site, told Malaysiakini that some individuals, who were not allowed to pass the blockades, just turned back, without confronting the orang asli.

However, the situation could turn ugly if the blockades continue to obstruct people from carrying out their commercial activities in the area.

The state government has denied grabbing any land, arguing that those plots of land taken up for the Ladang Rakyat project belonged to the state.

Kelantan Menteri Besar Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat once said that as long as the local authority had not conducted a perimeter survey and placed demarcation stones on land, and the land office had not issued a land title, the land belonged to the state government.

"I deny that the state government has seized people's land in Hulu Kelantan. What the government has developed is land in the remote areas that is not owned by residents there," Nik Aziz had said.

You cannot get us to dead or roll over for you anymore. The time has come that we will not hesitate to stand up for our rights.

Here, take our advice. From the way things are here in Malaysia, the best solution for "the country to remain peaceful and stable" is for all the ruling party ministers to resign, take their loot and leave. And please for once do something Islamic - Berkorban! Otherwise you are liability to the country and thereafter.

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