Loggers blame blockade at Balah forest reserve on lawyer

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 01 Oct 2016

KOTA BARU: An association representing loggers has alleged that lawyer-activist Siti Kasim is behind the logging blockade in Gua Musang, a claim she has denied.

Kelantan Loggers Association adviser Datuk Rushaimi Razak claimed Siti had instigated and used the orang asli to build the blockade at the Balah forest reserve.

“If the loggers and concession holders are involved in illegal activities, why not get a court order or an injunction to stop the operations?

“This concession belongs to Kompleks Perkayuan Kelantan Sdn Bhd and is about 15km from the nearest orang asli settlement.

“What right have they to stop the logs from being transported out?” Rushaimi said.

He said a police report would be lodged as they had proof in the form of a video taken during the blockade.

In response, Siti said she was educating the orang asli about their rights, saying the orang asli had been planning to set up the blockade for a long time.

“Don’t underestimate their intelligence. They have wanted to do it for ages,” she said.

Siti said more villagers had come out in support of the blockade and had prevented several lorries from going into the area.

She also reminded the loggers the issue at hand was “the rights of the orang asli.”

“They depend on the forest for sustenance and income.”

Gua Musang OCPD Supt Rajab Ahad Ismail said three orang asli villagers were held briefly for questioning during a standoff at the entrance to the logging area.

“We had to calm the situation and lead one of the orang asli villagers out as he was aggressive.

“None of the orang asli were threatened by chainsaws nor any shots fired,” he said.

Kelantan Forestry Department director Zahari Ibrahim said the logging activities were legal and that the loggers had a licence to bring out the logs.

Messages to Deputy Mentri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Abdullah for comments went unanswered.

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