GUA MUSANG: Enforcement personnel, who were deployed to demolish blockades, stood as still as statues when orang asli started singing Negaraku.
They only continued their duties after the group of peaceful protesters finished singing the national anthem.
Jaringan Kampung Orang Asli Kelantan president Mustafa Along said they bore witness to the power of the national anthem, as everyone from various enforcement agencies, including the police and rangers, stood up straight as a mark of respect.
“Everybody stood still. Although we could not sing in unison because some sang fast and some very slow, everyone waited patiently until the slowest person finished singing,” he said yesterday.
But after the patriotic moment ended, demolition work started as the enforcement team carried out the Kelantan government’s order to dismantle the blockades in four locations – Cawas, Kaleeg, Kiyeh and Pasik – which were erected about seven months ago to protect the native customary land from logging, mining and plantation activities.
Mustafa said the enforcement officers told him they were merely carrying out orders when asked why the demolition exercise did not come with any prior notice.
“From our previous experience, we were served with notices prior to demolition,” he said.
Jaringan leaders had also questioned why the Kelantan government relied on a controversial memorandum submitted on Aug 16 by 10 orang asli village chiefs, who had no locus standi, to justify their action.
Gua Musang OCPD Sup Mohd Taufik Maidin noted that the orang asli did not hinder the government servants from discharging their duties.
A total of 200 Forestry Department personnel and 230 policemen were deployed for the demolition exercise.
Meanwhile, activist lawyer Siti Kassim said the public should condemn the Kelantan government for making fake claims as an Islamic government.
“They claim that Kelantan is serambi Mekah (corridor of Mekah), but the state authorities’ actions do not reflect compassionate governance.
“They should show compassion, love and understanding if they truly practise Islamic governance.
“But what they did to the orang asli today is very un-Islamic.
“The PAS government had shown its oppressive nature by taking action based on a controversial memorandum,” she said.
She also questioned who drafted the memorandum, which appeared to go against the interest of orang asli.