KUANTAN: Orang asli village chiefs or Tok Batin are neither threatened nor offered anything during a dialogue in Cameron Highlands, says Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Fuziah Salleh (pic).
Fuziah said the meeting was held between government representatives and several Tok Batin to discuss their issues.
"Since we were there, we took the opportunity to listen to the problems of the orang asli community. We discussed possible solutions to their issues.
"The Tok Batin voiced their problems to us and we listened. We did not promise anything because that is not Pakatan Harapan's way," she said after attending a Chinese New Year walkabout at a shopping mall here Sunday (Jan 20).
Fuziah said among the issues discussed were education, infrastructure, job opportunities and abandoned economic projects.
"We talked about the lack of teachers at orang asli villages because they are reluctant to be posted there. A suggestion is to train orang asli as teachers and then send them back. After this, we will find ways to solve their problems," she said.
Fuziah was responding to allegations on Facebook that several Tok Batin were "locked up" in a hotel in Brinchang and forced to support Pakatan in the Cameron Highlands by-election.
She said her presence at the meeting was in her capacity as a Deputy Minister in charge of the Islamic Development Department (Jakim), which was also involved in orang asli affairs.
Fuziah said among those present at the meeting on Saturday (Jan 19) were Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Dr Md Farid Md Rafik and orang asli Senator Bob Manolan Mohamad.
"There are no elements of threat or inducement. If they want to say I did that, then prove it or else I will sue," said Fuziah.