KOTA BARU: All the 47 orang asli detained when authorities moved in on the blockade in Simpang Petir have been given a two-day remand.
Yesterday, activist Siti Kasim, the lawyer representing the orang asli, said that all those detained had been remanded for two days to assist in investigations by the police and state Forestry Department.
Earlier, a group of orang asli had gathered outside the Gua Musang courthouse to lend their support to those detained.
Videos shared on Facebook showed the group of about 50 orang asli, including those from Perak, Negri Sembilan, Selangor and Pahang, chanting and singing Negaraku in front of the courthouse.
In a short WhatsApp message to the media, Kelantan Mentri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob said he had left the matter of the barricades built in the Balah, Perias and the Gunong Stong Selatan permanent forest reserves to be handled by the Forestry Department and the police.
“The arrest of the orang asli should be left to the wisdom of the authorities and no parties should get involved until a full investigation is complete,” he said here on Tuesday night.
On Tuesday, police and state forestry officers finally moved into the blockade area in Simpang Petir here, set up by the orang asli to protest against logging activities, and dismantled 35 bamboo huts.
Enforcement officers also seized blowpipes and machetes from at least 200 orang asli from the Temiar tribe, who had camped at the three blockades at Simpang Petir, Pos Pasik and Pos Bihai.
State Forestry Department deputy operations director Mohd Radhie Chu Abdullah said that the group was detained for trespassing at a permanent forest reserve.
The blockades were erected and managed by the orang asli about two months ago to protest logging activities in the Balah forest reserve.
The Kelantan government insisted that the orang asli dismantle their blockade or face the consequences, calling these illegal and arguing that the community was hampering development.