PETALING JAYA: The federal government has filed a civil suit against the Kelantan state government to seek the legal recognition of the native land rights of the Temiar orang asli in Pos Simpor.
Attorney General Tommy Thomas said for the first time since Merdeka, the federal government is instituting legal proceedings on behalf of the orang asli in recognition of its constitutional and legal duty to protect and promote the well-being and advancement of the orang asli.
“Having researched the law, this Chambers has filed a civil suit in the High Court at Kota Baru for the federal government of Malaysia,” he said in a statement yesterday.
“The defendants are the state government of Kelantan, the Kelantan state director of Lands and Mines, the Kelantan state director of the Forestry Department, and five private entities, seeking, inter alia, the legal recognition of the Temiar orang asli’s native land rights in Pos Simpor, and injunctions to restrain private parties from encroaching upon and destroying the native land for commercial profits,” he added.
Thomas said the beneficiaries of this suit were the orang asli and the litigation would be cost-free to them.
“Although the Kelantan state government has jurisdiction over matters relating to land, forestry and mining, it is also bound by a paramount and non-delegable duty to protect and preserve the welfare of the Temiar orang asli,” Thomas said.
Unfortunately, Thomas said the fundamental rights of the orang asli, as Malaysian citizens, had been neglected and infringed for far too long.
“Moved by their plight, the Prime Minister and the Cabinet resolved that legal proceedings be considered to reflect the federal government’s commitment to the orang asli,” he said.