PUTRAJAYA: The Pakatan Harapan government has been urged to take a stance on the Telom hydroelectric dam project in Pahang, which was proposed by the previous federal government.
Jeffry Hassan, an orang asli from the Pos Lanai settlement in Kuala Lipis district, said some 2,000 natives would lose their livelihood if the 7,600ha project goes on.
“If the project is allowed to proceed, the lives of the orang asli here will be affected. There are about 2,000 of us living here. And 7,600 hectares is not a small area.
“The orang asli rely a lot on the forest. We would lose our source of income and our ancestral lands. The land where our ancestors’ graveyards are located will be destroyed,” the activist told reporters.
Parti Sosialis Malaysia (PSM) secretary-general A. Sivarajan, who is representing the orang asli group, said the Pakatan government should state its stand in view of the coming Cameron Highlands by-election.
Although Pos Lanai is in Kuala Lipis, the area falls under the Cameron Highlands parliamentary constituency.
“Now that there is a by-election, it is time for Pakatan to take a stance on the dam. Will the project be scrapped or will it be reviewed?
“This is an issue affecting the folks in Cameron Highlands and it must be addressed. Don’t ask for the people’s votes but ignore this issue,” said Sivarajan.
On Sept 18, 2015, the natives successfully halted the project through a temporary injunction issued by the Kuala Lumpur High Court.
In August 2016, however, Tenaga Nasional Bhd went to the Temerloh High Court and won an injunction to prevent Jeffrey and his fellow committee members from disrupting their measurement work on a second dam in Pos Lanai.
On the same matter, Jeffrey also asked the Attorney General to waive court costs over the case.
“We received a letter from the Attorney General’s Chambers ordering us to pay court costs totalling RM12,000.
“We are not rich. We do not have the financial capability to pay,” he said, adding that they had taken the matter to court as they were seeking to protect their own rights.
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