PUTRAJAYA (Bernama): Representatives of the Temiar community from Kelantan met Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad on Friday and were assured that the Prime Minister would help resolve problems associated with their customary land.
The 220 residents of 17 settlements in Gua Musang had come in five buses to seek the Prime Minister's help to find a solution to their customary land being encroached by several companies, and used for durian farms since Feb 18, so much so that they had to erect barricades to keep away the intruders.
Five spokesmen for the orang asli handed a memorandum and explained their problem to Dr Mahathir.
Among them were Jaringan Kampung Wilayah Tanah Adat Pos Simpor chairman Nur Mohd Shafiq Dendi Abdullah and Association for the Protection of the Natural Heritage of Malaysia (Peka) president Puan Sri Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil.
Nur Mohd Shafiq Dendi said that during their meeting, Dr Mahathir had asked where the orang asli were who had come to see him, and when told that they were outside the Perdana Putra building, the Prime Minister expressed the desire to meet all of them.
Dr Mahathir then came out to the compound of the building and spoke with them.
He said he sympathised with the plight of the orang asli who had to erect barricades to prevent their land from being encroached.
“I listened to their problem. The Pakatan Harapan Government sympathises with them and is prepared to help find a solution to the issue.
"I can only say that I will help them by negotiating with the Kelantan PAS government because the land comes under the jurisdiction of the state government,” he said to reporters after meeting the orang asli residents.
Dr Mahathir said the Government would also look at the issue from the legal angle to find the best solution to the problem that has been plaguing the residents for a long time.
“The positive sign is that Tun (Dr Mahathir) is really concerned and we can bank on the Prime Minister to help resolve the issue immediately,” said Nur Mohd Shafiq Dendi.
Shariffa Sabrina said the spirit displayed by the Prime Minister, who went to the extent of coming to the compound of the Perdana Putra building to meet the orang asli, boosted their confidence that the issue could be resolved.
The activist who strongly condemned illegal logging said she was confident that the Prime Minister understood their plight. - Bernama