IPOH: The Government has received several reports of unscrupulous people making deals with companies to exploit products of the orang asli community.
Deputy Rural and Regional Development Minister Datuk Zainal Abidin Osman said such agreements were tantamount to wresting the rights of the indigenous group.
“The companies would encroach into what is supposed to be orang asli reserves and reap the benefits for themselves.
“This is not right as the land rightfully belongs to the orang asli,” he said.
Zainal Abidin added, however, that such incidences were isolated and the Orang Asli Affairs Department was working to solve them.
He was commenting on a recent report that a company had allegedly tapped rubber at an orang asli estate in Ulu Geruntum, near Gopeng.
The company had reportedly signed an agreement with a former village head, allowing it to tap the trees in return for a monthly compensation to the orang asli.
The department has since ruled that the agreement was non-binding and Perak Rural Development and Plantation Committee chairman Datuk Saarani Mohamad has urged the orang asli to exercise their rights and evict the company from their land.
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