Give us the land as promised, say orang asli

THE orang asli staying in Kampung Busut Baru, Bukit Cheeding, Banting are demanding for the remaining 202ha that was promised them.

The orang asli of the Temuan tribe who moved into the new settlement in 1993, claimed that they have been fighting for the land that was promised to them as part of the compensation for moving out from their earlier settlement.

The community had to vacate the earlier settlement in Kampung Busut Lama, in Air Hitam, Sepang, to make way for the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

They said all 85 families were promised 3.6ha of land each where they could build a house for their family and plant crop on the remaining land to earn a living.

“After fighting for quite sometime, each family only gets 2.8ha each. This is not enough as our families are also expanding. Most of us depend on the land to make a living,” said Batin Sari Senin, the community leader at a dialogue recently.

He added that they felt cheated and regretted giving up their village.

He said if he had known this would happen, he would not have moved from the original settlement in Sepang. Our ancestors lived there and it was much nicer than here.

“We will fight for the rest of the land which the government had promised us. We want the remaining 202ha to be given to us,” he said.

He said they had lodged complaints with the authorities and were told that only 404.6ha of the initial 607ha was appoved by the previous state government to be set aside as the Orang Asli Settlement.

Insufficient land to conduct their agricultural activity has led them to do so at a nearby area.

With the use of an excavator, they have dug drains and cleared part of the peat forest, located at the fringe of their settlement.

Markings have also been put up to divide the plots among themselves.

According to the Selangor Forestry Department, the orang asli have encroached into the Kuala Langat Utara Forest Reserve.

Under Section 47 (1) of the National Forestry Act 1984 (Amendment 1993), those entering the forest can be fined RM10,000 or face a three-year jail sentence or both.

“As an orang asli of this country, I believe we have the right to use the land for agriculture.

“We have to earn a living as well,” he said, claiming that the community was given permission to use the land.

He also claimed that they did not know the land was a protected area, adding that there was no clear demarcation of the boundary that separates their land and the forest reserve.

Batin Perat Dula, a leader of the orang asli community in Pulau Banting, a nearby orang asli settlement, said the ruling sounded ridiculous as it was the first time he had heard of orang asli encroaching into a forest reserve.

“I know there are many cases where people (other than orang asli) have done this.

“The government should pay more attention to what these people are doing instead of focusing on the orang asli,” he said.

The Selangor Forestry Department assistant director for operations and enforcement Mohd Yussainy Md Yusop said the plan of the area showed the boundary clearly and that the work done was outside of the orang asli’s allotted land.

He said another dialogue would be held with the relevant authorities like the land office and the Orang Asli Affairs Department to solve the issue. The excavator was also later confiscated.

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